Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's a New Year - In Case You Didn't Notice!

One of the wonderful things about being a pastor and a preacher is the ongoing exploration of the Bible that is part of my vocation.  And one of the joys for me is when I run across a way of viewing a familiar passage of Scripture that opens me up to a new insight either about the story of God in Jesus or my own story as a follower of Jesus.

I’m sure that is not unique to my experience.  Reading and studying and learning and living the Bible is a vocation for everyone who has decided to follow Jesus.  One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that we each read and re-read it always in a new context and under new circumstances.  Think of the transitions we experience throughout a normal course of a person's life.  We are read to as a child, we enter highschool, and then we graduate and go to college.  College happens and then we begin a career, some get married, perhaps children arrive.  A new job, new friends, and before you know it the grandchildren appear.  Then there is aging and retirement and the last stages of life.  As a result we see all along the way things in the Bible that we may never have seen before.  We apply the Bible to our lives in new ways that bless us and  ideally the world around us.

And so, don’t be one of those people who say, “O yeah I’ve read the Bible.  I know what's in it.”  Be someone who says, “I am reading the Bible and it is becoming a part of me in ever new and better ways.  It’s changing me all the time."

I want to encourage you to commit to read the Bible again this year.  Or if that is too daunting, commit to reading a portion of the Bible – the gospels, or all of the epistles, whatever…Genesis, which is full of fabulous stories of people encountering God, making mistakes and sometimes getting it right.  Or the Psalms, which has always been the church’s prayer book.  Commit to engage the Bible’s story and teaching and to find your story in the midst of it.  This is a new year, a new day and the Lord, I know, has something for you.

If you are like me, accountability with this can be tremedously helpful.  One practical way to do that is to join with a few others who are going to read through, study and apply the Gospel of John.  The group is call P1:6, which is a take-off on Philippians 1:6 where Paul says, "I am confident in this, that the One who began a good work in you will bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

You can find out more about this and other opportunities here.

Hope to see you!  And the Lord give you peace!