We’ve been on quite a journey through the pre-exilic prophets in our Whole Story sermon series. I’ve heard from so many of how much God is teaching and revealing to you through these books that few of us have spent any substantial time studying. For my part, I have come to a place of now counting these as some of my favorite portions of Scripture, that I will come back to again and again.
And the reason I will is because these men have taken me by the hand, and lead me into previously unexplored territory on the character, attributes, majesty, glory, and plans of this stunning God we find in the pages of Scripture. Take this last week as an example — our study of the prophecy of Zephaniah.
In this little book, we find language that draws probably the greatest contrast in all of Scripture. Namely, we have one of the most awesome descriptions of the wrath of God in judgment for a little over two-thirds of the prophecy: the earth will be consumed in the fire of his burning jealousy and wrath; the very order of creation will be reversed, returning to darkness, gloom, and void. And, we have one of the most vivid and soaring descriptions of the love of God for his people, with language that at first read seems almost over the top. The words used, by God, for how God feels about sinners are frankly hard to comprehend and accept.
All in the same book.
And all connected to this Day — the Day of Yahweh, the Day of Judgment — that is coming. This urgent proclamation that “the END is near!”
If you’d like to learn more about all of that, I encourage you to listen to my sermon on the book of Zephaniah. And for further study on this book of stark contrasts and the coming end of the world, head over to our friends at The Bible Project. There you will find videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this book, as well as all the books found in The Whole Story of God.
One other thing.
The aim of The Whole Story sermon series has been to inspire in you a love for the Bible. Part of how that love should very naturally work itself out is in the desire to read it regularly, and hopefully, daily. So each week, our hope has been that you will have read the portion of the story under study prior to coming to the Sunday morning service to hear a sermon from that book.
One way to do that is to use the sermon and reading guide that we’ve handed out in our service the last two weeks, which is also available on the Whole Story Resource Table in the lobby, and can be downloaded here. Another way is to use the Read Scripture app, which allows you to have the week’s reading already put together for you, and includes the Bible Project videos for each book and various themes, right inside the app. We highly recommend you download it.
One other aspect about that daily reading plan — it includes taking in a Psalm each day. You can watch this three minute overview video that explains the whole story of the Bible, the reading plan, and why the Psalms are so important to our daily intake of God’s Word.
“Each day’s reading session includes a Psalm, because we believe that reading the Bible isn’t just an intellectual experience, but also spiritual. We invite you to take the year to develop the daily habit of praying through the Psalms [as a spiritual experience]. And by the end of the year, you’ll have prayed through the whole book of Psalms two and a half times!” (The Bible Project)
Therefore, this coming Sunday, to emphasize this aspect of our exploration of The Whole Story, I will be preaching a sermon from Psalm 19. I encourage you to read it each day, as well as take in the video on the Psalms from the Bible Project team. That way you will be prepared with a ready and expectant heart as we gather together Sunday morning at 10:30am at Calvary.
Enjoying the God of The Whole Story with you,
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.