A Word for the New Year
Hello, and merry Christmas again!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was very nice, as it was a good time with family and friends. The Christmas Eve services at Central were a highlight for me as well, as we got to celebrate the birth of our Lord together, meet some new folks, and be reminded of the ‘bell’ that rung on that very first Christmas day to alert us that the Messiah has come. Or as we sung…
Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King!
Today’s Central Thoughts will be a short one, as I’m taking it easy this week – as I hope you can as well. Really, I just want to do one thing:
Invite you to read the bible with us this year.
I know the bible can be difficult to read, to get in to, and to understand (spoiler alert: no one truly understands all of it! If someone says they do, run….fast…). But I also know (and believe) that it is God’s Word to us, communicating to us the story of God’s dealings with humanity, of his intentions for each of us, and at its center, the Messiah in whom it all finds its true and deepest meaning. And God still speaks to us through it. So in every sense, although it can be difficult, it is worth reading…and that means,
it is worth learning to read.
Hence, the 2024 Central Reads Bible Plan.
The bible plan is meant to help you learn to read it, in bite sized bits (some are big bites!), and we’ll be putting resources up on the web and social media to help you along. I’m going to be putting together some videos to give you my perspective on things, putting up blogs as we go, and leaning on The Bible Project to help along the way (see below). If you already read it regularly and have your own plan – awesome. If not though, this is the year and the time to start. There are printed reading plans all over the church, so make sure you grab one on Sunday.
You can do the readings in a bible (if you don’t have a bible, here’s some good ones I’d recommend), or you can also do the readings directly on your mobile device (via our website – just click here on your mobile device, and add it to your homescreen for one click daily readings). If you have questions as you go, I beg you to ask someone who you can trust in faith – like me (email me anytime). In fact, we set up a new email address for all of your bible-related questions…please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also two other things on this.
First, we’re going to have two sermon series to kick off the year to get us started in this direction. The first will be a mini-series on the bible itself: what it is, what it is not, how to read it, and so on. The second will be a longer series on the whole biblical story – from a very particular perspective. I think you’ll like both. I want to encourage you to make sure to check those out, especially if you’re diving into the bible for the first time.
Second, as I said above, I’m going to be leaning on something called The Bible Project as we go. It’s a non-profit Christian organization whose mission is to – for free – help ordinary people (like us) learn to read and understand the bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus. Personally, I am head over heels in love with The Bible Project, the videos they create, their podcast, the classes they offer – and it’s all free. I love their perspective, their interpretation of scripture, the creative choices they’ve made, and so on. I listen to their podcast all of the time, and watch their book-intro videos before I read any book from the bible. I feel 100% confident leaning on on them…however…since I haven’t digested everything from them, I can’t 100% endorse every little nook, cranny, and detail. But, again, from my perspective: I don’t know anyone who is doing anything better on the bible right now – so I want to encourage you to dive in, check out their resources, watch their videos, and even listen to their podcast (it’s a bit bible-nerdy…but that’s not really a bad thing!). If you’re new to reading the bible – check out this series of videos that are designed for people exactly like you.
Well, I said this was going to be short, and it’s not.
TL;DR: read the bible with us this year, it’s totally worth it.
Merry Christmas, and I’ll see you on Sunday to close out the year!