“The Way” to Holy Wow
by Barry Shafer
April 28th, 2016

Quick question: Which of the following are most likely to generate a “wow!” reaction from you:

Mountains, ocean, a concert, a video, an unexpected good grade, a shooting star, a sunrise, a sunset, a surprise favor from a friend


Quick follow up: Think about the “wow!” reaction for a minute. Why do we react that way? What causes that feeling? Take a minute to jot down your thoughts.


One more question, maybe two: When was the last time something in the Bible made you say “wow!” or react in a “wow” way? What was it?


Circle which best response describes your typical reaction after personal Bible/devotional time?

                                Zzzzzzz           Hmmmmm             Owwww            Wow


1. Digging In

Here’s a cool fact: every opening of our Bible is a potential “wow” moment, whether we’re looking at one verse, one chapter, or a whole book. So, let’s open a Bible (or Bible app).


The verses below show us what a Holy Wow moment can look like. As you read these passages, look for the these things:

  1. Action: Underline the action. How is the moment of Holy Wow experienced? What happens that leads to the Holy Wow?
  2. Results: Draw a “wow” burst over the results of the Holy Wow or words used to describe the Holy Wow.


Matthew 13:23 (NIV)

[Jesus speaking]

23 “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”


Luke 24:27-28; 30-32 (NIV)

Quick Backdrop: The day Jesus arose from the tomb, He sidled up to two of His followers walking along the road. They were downcast about the death of Jesus, and they didn’t know it was Jesus beside them. They talked about the events of the past few days—Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. After Jesus listened to their explanation, He connected all the events to Scripture. This is where we pick up the action.            


27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.


30 When [Jesus] was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”


John 14:21 (NIV)

[Jesus speaking]

21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”


2. Taking It Inward

Prayerfully and thoughtfully respond to these questions to internalize the actions and results you just observed. Journal your thoughts in a notebook or e-doc.


How can we replicate the actions in these passages today?


What would these Holy Wow moments look like today? How might we experience these results in our lives?


What’s common in all of these situations?


3. Seal the Deal

You may have picked up on two common threads in each of these passages: Jesus and God’s Word. There are many ways to infuse our personal Bible experience with the actions shown in these passages, but the two guys in Luke 24 said it best: their hearts were burning as they listened to Jesus open the Scripture to them. Jesus is still available to us today to explain all the Scriptures to us, just as He did with the two followers along the road. He is “the way” to Holy Wow. So, here are three questions you can ask every time you open your Bible, questions that infuse Jesus and God’s Word and are guaranteed to bring the Holy Wow. Ask these the next time you open your Bible.


Jesus, what do you want me to see?

Jesus, what do you want me to learn?

Jesus, what do you want me to change?


Download PDF version here.

This originally appeared here and is shared with the author's permission.

Barry Shafer has been communicating the truth of God’s Word since 1984 as a volunteer youth leader, youth pastor, pastor, author and speaker. Barry, with his late wife Dana, founded InWord Resources in 1996 to strengthen youth ministry with discipleship materials and experiences that meaningfully engage teens in Scripture. Barry is author of Unleashing God’s Word in Youth Ministry (Youth Specialties/Zondervan) and has written numerous teen devotionals and small-group Bible studies.

Barry holds a mass communications degree from Anderson University (Anderson, Ind.) and a master’s degree in biblical studies from Cincinnati Bible Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio). He lives in Middletown, Ohio with his infant son Reade and his wife Jessica, who happens to be a Grammy-winning opera soprano. If you’re curious about that fascinating world you can check out Jessica’s website here! [LINK: www.jessicarivera.com]

When Barry’s not studying, writing, being a diva spouse, or “daddy-ing” Reade, you can find him reading on the porch, biking on a trail, pulling for the Packers, or playing a little golf.

More of Barry Shafer: www.inword.org