God's Mission for Zion in the New Year
God’s Mission For Us in the New Year
For many of us, the New Year marks a new beginning. A new season to achieve those goals or mark those changes we agonized over the year before. And the year before that. And the year before that, perhaps. Why is it, that when we make resolutions to celebrate the coming of a new year, we are more likely than not, to fail? According to an article put out by Forbes a few years ago, only 8% of Americans are successful in keeping their resolutions. Apparently, resolutions are doomed to fail oftentimes because they aren’t tangible enough. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, then you need tangible goals in order to be able to keep your resolution. It is much easier to follow a plan that says, “no potato chips, fries, or ice cream,” because these things can be concretely measured and extracted from one’s diet.
In the same way, if your resolution is to read the Bible more this year, it helps to have a measurable goal. Unless you read zero Scripture last year, it’s really hard to tell whether or not you actually read more. That is why a reading plan comes in handy. Have you ever considered making your way through the entire Bible this year? I’d like all of us at Zion to take this journey together. To read through the Bible in a year. Perhaps you’re wondering, why? What are the benefits?
The Word of God is powerful. It cuts through our veneer. Exposing us for who we really are. It enables us to be reflective while at the same time, revealing God’s deep, powerful love for us (Hebrews 4:12).
The Word of God provides growth. The author of Hebrews posits again in chapter 5 that the Scriptures provide spiritual nourishment which brings us to a place of maturity in our faith. We grow as we read and hear.
The Word of God provides guidance for our journey. The Psalmist extols the virtues of God’s Word in Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” What would happen if we actually viewed Scripture as that source of light that enables us to step forward? Think of God’s Word in the context of Epiphany as a star in the sky that guides us along the path to where Christ is cradled. As Martin Luther once asserted, “The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.”
The Word of God gives us an unshakable faith. As Luke records the Words of Christ himself, “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them . . . is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built” (Luke 6:47-48). The Scriptures give us strength and an unshakability. This means that our faith is not obstinate, but rather, tested, seasoned, and sturdy.
With all of these benefits and many more cited within Scripture, why would those of us who are followers of Jesus not want to read these words and let these words read us? Why would we not want a deeper glimpse into who God is, who Christ is, the promises offered, and the amazing plan of salvation that God has been orchestrating through the millennia?
Attached to the same email as this newsletter is a reading plan. This will get you through all of Scripture in a year. You’re welcome to modify it to engage the plan as a two-year or even three-year plan. Whatever works, do it. Read it. Let God’s Word sweep through your hearts and minds. Let the light of His powerful, life-giving, faith-strengthening Word light the path of 2019 as you journey, much like the Magi, to find where Christ is cradled. There are videos you can watch every step of the way that will help illumine some things along the way. Just go to thebibleproject.com to watch the video for each section. One more thing. There is an application for your smart phone or tablet with which you can engage in this reading plan. The app outlines the readings and the videos for you and makes it very easy. In fact, I would be glad to help you download the application if you have trouble navigating your smart phone or tablet.
Let’s do this!
Pastor Dan Hues