a first time for everything

i started writing this sunday night, but the got tired and went to bed. and then was busy on new year’s eve with cleaning the house, church stuff, and having “Christmas part 2” with my sister and brother-in-law that flew in from minnesota. so anyways, happy new year. and i’m pretty sure this post is still as relevant today as it would have been on sunday

so this year (2008) our church theme will be focusing on “Getting to know our God through His Word”; we’ll be calling this Route 66. (since there are 66 books in the Bible)

so as a part of this we’re encouraging our congregation to go through the entire Bible either by reading or listening (on CD’s or iPod, etc.). it doesn’t really matter to us if they read or listen as long as they get “the Word” in them. so we’ve got a one year Bible reading plan that we passed out this morning at church.

so it’s confession time. i hope you haven’t placed pastors in general, but me specifically on any kind of pedestal. because i’m about to firmly kick it out from under me.

i have never read or listened through the entire Bible from Gen.-Rev. yes, i know a shocker that a pastor could even be a pastor and not have read the entire Bible cover to cover. i’m even kinda somewhat surprised myself. growing up i was in “Bible Quiz Team” and studied various portions of Scripture exhaustively. in college i graduated as a “Biblical Literature” major. and i’ve been actively involved in ministry for the past 15 years or so!

but still i’ve never gone through the whole Bible.

now don’t get me wrong, there were times that i started on a plan to read it all the way through. but it ended as just that; “plans that i started”.

so this year i’ll be going through it by listening to it on my iPod rather than trying to read it. if you’ve ever tried to “read” it through and it’s just not working for you. don’t beat yourself up thinking you’d be taking the “easy” way out by listening to it. it doesn’t mean you’re not dedicated enough or a slacker; just a different type of learner.

besides doesn’t the Bible say, “faith comes by hearing”. (emphasis added) in fact most Christians didn’t get their very own copy of the Scriptures to read for themselves until the printing press was invented so say the last 550 years. and even then at first it was only the rich who could afford one. the first 1500 years of the church very few had one of the “handwritten” copies. and actually the new testament portion of the Bible wasn’t even written by the apostles for the first 60 or so years of the church. they were too busy living it; relying on the old testament scriptures.

(see i was paying attention in my Bible classes in college. either that or i know how to use google and wikipedia) :-)

anyways, back to my story. i’m listening through the Bible this year. i’m not even sure why it didn’t occur to me to listen to it in audio format before now. i’ve had my iPod for over two years now and have never done it before. i didn’t even have to buy any cd’s or anything since you can find a free version (the World English Bible) of it in audio for online. (you can find several versions/languages at that site but the World English Bible version is the most understandable in today’s english)

so maybe it’s the fact that we’ll be going through it as a church and i figure it’s my “job” as one of the pastors to do it as well. or maybe it’s just the fact that this year’s theme has just shone a light at this glaring inconsistency in my life and i’ve finally decided that there’s a first time for everything. including the first time i’ve gone through the Bible.

so i’m off to a good start. i began on Christmas Eve (12/24/07) and have mostly been listening to it when i’m exercising (i like to run/walk) or when i’m doing the dishes. in order to get through the Bible in a year you have to read/listen to a little more than 3 chapters a day. but it’s so easy to just listen to it that i’ve been doing about 10 chapters a day. so at this rate i’ll be done in about 112 days (there are 1189 chapters in the Bible). so i’ll actually be able to make it through the Bible maybe THREE times this year.

we’ll see.

anyways i encourage you this year. if you’ve never read/listened through the Bible. there’s a first time for everything. and this could be your year. you can either click on the links above to download an audio version for free. or go to barnes and nobles or a christian book store or amazon.com and find a cd version that you like (they even have ones that are “dramatized”). or if you prefer to read you can download our church’s daily reading plan by clicking on this link here: Reading Plan 2008 full.pdf.

even if you’re not a Christian i encourage you to read it. the stories are referenced all the time in pop culture, movies, music, speeches. and it’s a great work of literature overall. after-all there’s probably a reason it’s been the #1 best seller of all time worldwide.

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// today i'm thankful for:
1. a first time for listening through the Bible
2. friends from our lifegroup getting baptized last night
3. my sister and brother in law being around
4. getting to borrow a Wii for the week
5. deb and i’s 9 year anniversary is tomorrow!