I was reading the introduction to a book on the Bible the other day, written by Francis Chan. Here is a portion of what he said:
For the past 35 years, I have been reading and studying the Bible daily. I honestly can’t imagine how life would have turned out if I neglected this habit. Each morning, I take time to seek God and remind myself of what is true and real.
It is my favorite time of the day.
His favorite time of the day.
I wonder, is that true for you?
So let’s make this a safe place for a moment, shall we? I’m betting that it’s not true for you. At least, not all the time. Maybe not most of the time. Heck, if we asked Francis Chan, he might even admit that it’s not his favorite time of the day, every day. I mean, some of us are hoping that at least half the days it can be our favorite time of the day.
Or it’s a goal, even as you read and internally respond to this — you desire for the time you read the Bible to be your favorite time of the day, but you just don’t know how to get there. Maybe you don’t even really know where to begin.
As a pastor, I feel like I’m supposed to say exactly what Chan has written, “Reading the Bible is my favorite time of the day.” And most days it is. Most days I love waking up, coffeeing up, praying up, and then gobbling up the Bible. But not every day. I’m just like you in that. I need reminding about why the Bible — God’s Whole Story — is an important part of my day, for every other part of my day. That the story is here for my pleasure and enjoyment. That I don’t have to feel guilt or shame tied to the pursuit of God’s Whole Story, rather, I want to delight in the Story.
It’s another reason we are beginning this adventure we’ve been telling you about. An eighteen month (or so) hike through God’s Whole Story. And we begin this Sunday exploring why you should read this story, as the pathway toward your delighting to do so. I believe God will bless you with being able to say, with Chan, “It is my favorite time of the day.”
Between now and Sunday, as a small first step in the journey, take a few minutes to watch a helpful video from the organization we are partnering with in this series, The Bible Project, as they show us that the Bible is, in fact, one big amazing Story told by God. And they introduce the app we are encouraging you to use, Read Scripture, and how it helps you read The Whole Story. (We’ll talk more about that on Sunday too!)
We are now making our way into the “Prophets Before the Exile” section of The Whole Story. I really like the way our Read Scripture plan breaks a bit here from the order of the books of the Old Testament in our common English translation of the bible. For the Read Scripture plan is more in line with how the story actually unfolded.
On Easter Sunday, the Calvary family got to witness God working in the lives of two men who publicly affirmed their faith through baptism. It was a joy to see!
As the Bible is an ancient text, it makes sense that much of it is a recording of history. But to respond by merely reading it as a textbook would be a mistake, for this is history written with a very particular purpose. Namely, it is a theological history — its authors, under the inspiration of God, make theological arguments by the way they tell the stories, and what they include in them.
King of My Heart (Samuel part two)
It’s a little hard to believe that we are already twelve sermons into our adventure through the Bible called The Whole Story. I have been very encouraged to hear from many of you how this pace of moving through the Scriptures week-by-week, book-by-book has helped you see things you’ve never seen before, and appreciate our Father and his Son, Jesus, so much more. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed preaching as much as I have this year, discovering how, as our friends at The Bible Project say it, “The Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus.”
Eight Acts of Service on Easter
We’ve arrived once again to the glory of Holy Week. And as Easter Sunday draws closer, it is good to remind ourselves of ways we can bless those who don’t normally attend Calvary on this highest attended service of the year.
Samuel Part One
As Douglas Wilson has observed, these are fragile times. And when a nation finds itself in the kind of mess we find ourselves in, there is a kind of widespread longing for a leader who has the qualities, vision, and ability to show the way out. That makes sense. Who doesn’t want to find their way out of a mess? But it’s a dangerous spot to be in. It can leave one vulnerable to charlatans and pipe dreams.
Two weeks ago, we spent our Sunday morning gathering in the book of the Judges. It describes a time in the nation of Israel of great darkness, disobedience, destruction, and dystopia. It was a time, states the last sentence in the story, when “there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25). It was very disturbing.