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!)
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.