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,
I had a class on preaching once, many years ago, from a pastor and a professor. And here is what he argued was the key question the preacher must ask of every text of Scripture:
2 Corinthians and The Whole Story
The reason that we began the Whole Story sermon series in January of last year was for the simple reason that we wanted to inspire you to read the Bible.
In the unsearchable counsel of God's will for the world, he has so designed that salvation will come through the church, that body of people gathered by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Why Should I Read The Bible?
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.
One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human.
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Whole Story
On Sunday, January 7th, we will begin a year and a half exploration of the whole story of the whole Bible...
1 Corinthians (part two)
This last Sunday in our Gathering, we studied the book of 1 Corinthians together. The week of preparation leading up to that moment in the pulpit was deeply encouraging, as I sat at the feet of Paul, and watched him apply the reality of Jesus and the fullness of the Good News to four main issues in the lives of Christians in the church at Corinth. I discovered that each issue was a case study in the application of the good news to the very practical matters of our lives.