New Year, New Challenge

Alright, so our Bible Challenge for 2014 is completed. Let me congratulate all of you who journeyed with me through the entire Bible in 2014! Let me reiterate, the point of this challenge was not read every word in the Bible (if you did then well done indeed). The point was to get you reading your Bible more in 2014 than you did in 2013, or maybe more than you ever have in your whole life. The point was to whet your appetite for the Word of God.

On numerous occasions, Jesus tells people that he offers us food that will sate their hunger and quench their thirst. Accomplishing those things only happens when we are going deeper into our relationship with Jesus, and that only happens as we spend time with him, in prayer, meditation and, yes, reading the Bible.

Sometimes you don’t even know you are hungry for something until you get a taste for it. It is my prayer that as you took part in the challenge for 2014 that you appetite has been thoroughly whetted because of the taste that you got of God’s Word.

We are going to embark on another journey together for 2015, starting January 5th. The schedule will be posted under the “Bible Challenge” tab on the main page of this website. We’re going to slow things down for 2015 and take the year to journey through the New Testament together. That will mean a little bit lighter reading schedule, which I’m sure some of you will enjoy. Basically you will be reading a chapter a day, sometimes only part of a chapter.

This challenge is going to be less about quantity and more about quality. While there will be less reading to do each day, I hope you will take the time to dig deeper into each reading. Really ask the Holy Spirit to show you what he wants YOU to hear during each day’s reading. How does he want to continue transforming your life to better imitate Jesus? What actions does he want you to do in response to what you read? I don’t know about you, but I felt that we blasted through the New Testament in 2014’s challenge, and there is so much to unpack. It is my hope that by reading less, we will have room to respond and process more.

Another change for 2015 is that I will not be blogging as much. I’m sure many of you realize how much of a commitment it was for me to write as often as I did. It was my goal to write every day when we first began our challenge, but that soon whittled its way down to four or five times per week. My goal for this year will be to blog twice per week, once on Friday and once on Tuesday. The focus of my blogs will not be as much our Bible Challenge, although I will be commenting on it from time-to-time. The focus is going to be on what I am going to be speaking on during our Sunday morning gathering. Friday’s post will be some opening thoughts, scriptures to read and some questions to ponder going into Sunday, and Tuesday’s post will be some follow-up material about Sunday’s sermon.

Here’s a preview of how 2015 is shaping up regarding our 2015 Sunday gatherings. We’re going to start by spending some weeks exploring what the difference is between being a follower of Jesus, and being a fan of Jesus. Then we’re going to take some time looking at one of the outcomes of being a follower of Jesus: that we are “those who overcome”. This phrase shows up in Jesus’ letters to the churches in the book of Revelation. What does it mean to be an overcomer and what does Jesus say about those who overcome?

Then we’re going to take time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to explore “The Art of Biblical Manliness”, and that will lead us into a walk through the book of Daniel through the summer months.

I want to encourage you to continue the pattern you started in 2014, and build on it in 2015. I know we have so much that demands our time, but there is nothing more important than our spiritual nourishment; and I have never heard anyone say that spending time with God is a waste. It takes away from other things, sure, but it is all a matter of priority and importance. Our time with God should take away from other things, because it is more important.

So thank you for journeying with me through the Bible in 2014, and I sincerely pray that God richly blessed you as you dedicated time to be in his Word. And I invite you to continue the journey withe me and with PEMC as we key in on the New Testament in 2015.

Happy Reading.

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