By Gary Permenter
Just after the new year began, a person driving through Chickasaw County would have noticed a significant number of “90” signs in yards throughout the county. A curious person asking for more information would have discovered that Chickasaw Association churches were participating in P90E, a spiritual “get-in-shape” experience. The signs, which were on local city streets, major highways, and very rural roads, marked a home or business where someone was going through P90E.
The experience was a take off on a popular exercise program which takes people through intense physical workouts for a 90-day period. Easter was the 90th day of 2013, and P90E was designed to be a 90-day journey preparing for East Sunday. The material was divided into two separate readings for each day. The first readings covered the 89 chapters of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the first chapter of Acts. The second reading focused on a specific theme, such as unity in the body of Christ, gratitude, internal ministry to church members or staff, compassion for the poor, etc. During the study, participants were encouraged to keep a journal of their insights and what they sensed God doing in their lives.
Wade Mathis, pastor of Pleasant Ridge Church in Woodland, said about the experience, “As a pastor, I want my people to read the Word of God, think through what it means, and how to apply it to their lives. This is the kind of thing that is hard to teach once a week during a 30-minute sermon. Every day for 90 days we read the Bible, thought about its meaning, and considered how to apply it.”
Patrick Collins serves as pastor of Pleasant Grove Church in Woodland. He said, “I enjoyed the daily time of reading the verses and sharing thoughts about the verses on the association’s Facebook page. This study has stirred hearts in our church, and I feel that we are about to experience a might move of God at Pleasant Grove.”
In addition to the personal growth emphasis, the wider experience of shared commitment was a benefit for the association and gave the opportunity for spiritual conversations with neighbors and friends. Daniel Heeringa, FBC Houston pastor, said, “P90E was special because we could ride through neighborhoods and surrounding areas and see the road signs that marked yards where God’s Word was being studied and prayed over daily. That builds a wonderful bond among God’s people in a community while at the same time, stimulating questions from others. That helps the church be a powerful witness for the Lord.”
Minnie Jo Hill, a member of Van Vleet Church, summed up her experience, “I read once that when you finish reading a good book and lay it down, you feel like you’re saying goodbye to a good friend. I feel a little like that about this journey through the gospels, only it’s hello, not goodbye. Also, the Lord gave me a love for writing, and I never will pick up my Bible again without my pen and paper.
The Chickasaw Association plans to go through another shared devotional experience to begin next year.
Gary Permenter is the Associational Missions Director for Chickasaw Association.