I urge every MoSt Church member to participate in next year’s church-wide Bible reading project! It will be unlike any reading project you have ever done before. While most Bible-reading efforts focus on what to read, our focus in 2015 will be not on what we read, but on how, when, and where we read. That’s right: what you read is left completely up to you.
How will that work? Let me answer in a Q & A format.
Q. When will the 2015 reading project start and conclude?
A. Our reading will start on Mon., Jan. 5 and will continue through Fri., Nov. 20.
Q. At what pace should I read?
A. You’ll make the call as you’re the one who determines both the parameters and pace of your reading. Whatever you decide, tailor your choice to maximize your ability to actually accomplish the reading.
Q. So what’s the plan? What’s it made of?
A. This project has four components. The first concerns the place and time of our reading. Strive to be as consistent as possible in this, making it a matter of daily routine – the same place and time.
Second, if at all possible, do your reading in a paper (non-electronic) format. Is that a change for you? Roll with it for it’s good to get out of your comfort zone on occasion!
Third, take a few, simple notes on each day’s reading. Those notes can be as simple or as involved as you want to make them. The point is to truly engage what you’re reading.
The fourth component is not directly related to your daily reading, but will connect with the persistent theme of gratitude that runs throughout all of scripture. At the end of each day, take ten minutes to write down three matters that happened that very day for which you are thankful, and as best as you can discern, why those three things happened. Then, pray in regarding such. Try to make this step virtually the last thing you give real thought to, and actually do, right before you go to bed each night. Seek to work this fourth component on a daily basis – no exceptions! – whether or not your Bible reading plan is daily.
Q. Why should I participate?
A. The purpose behind all of this is fourfold. We want to help you: (1) create a habit of body and mind that associates a specific place and time with feeding on God’s word, (2) develop a mental and tactile sense about such, (3) truly engage what you read, and (4) fill your mind at the close of each day with good things you recall that cause you to thank God.
Further, think not only of the benefit you’ll receive forming this habit of discipline, but think also of the good your children, grandchildren or other loved ones will derive in the future from pouring over your handwritten notes about Scripture and your thankfulness to God. Just imagine the possibilities of what God could do with such tools!
Q. Is there a verse that sums up the essence of this effort?
A. Yes! In fact, there are two texts: Philippians 4.8 and Psalm 106.1. Memorize both passages as soon as possible if you haven’t already. In fact, I’d encourage you to recite Phil. 4.8 every morning, out loud, before you even get out of bed, every day next year. Similarly, I’d encourage you to recite Ps. 106.1 aloud before and after your night’s posting of three things for which you are thankful. Using these two verses so can only help us deliberately enhance the growth of a mind bent all the more toward the Lord.
Q. How will you go about your reading, preacher man?
A. I’ll read the Old Testament through on a six-day-per-week schedule with Sunday being my ‘off’ day. I’ll do my reading sitting in my favorite chair in my study at my house somewhere between 5:15-6:30 a.m. The translation I’ll use for this project is The Jewish Study Bible: Second Edition. I’ll make my thankfulness list in a small, leather journal that was given to me as a gift. And I’ll make my Bible notes in the NIV Note-Taker’s Bible.
If you have any questions – or are looking for some suggestions – as to this project, do let me hear from you.
Oh, and I’d greatly enjoy hearing how, when, and where you’ll do your reading and writing, as well as the what of it. Share such with me, won’t you?
May we be formed by this daily discipline it into something more of a blessing from God to each other and the whole world.
“From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4.8 CEB)