The Lost Art of Rest

The Lost Art of Rest

You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. — Exodus 31:13b, 14a

Rest is medically, mentally, and spiritually vital for human health. But it is also rejected by an overbooked, overscheduled, and overconnected culture. In both the modern workforce and entertainment/sports pursuits there is seldom a quiet moment for reflection. When is the last time you were quiet and in a quiet room? To illustrate how completely we reject rest, just think about your first reaction when someone calls and wakes you up from sleep. The first thing out of our mouth is a denial that we were sleeping, as if that were some kind of drug addiction we were trying to hide from all our family and friend.

Moses, the great lawgiver, was instructed by God about Sabbaths. In some churches it is common to talk about Sabbaths. In Churches of Christ, not so much. It is often regarded as a component of the Old Law that Jesus never commanded for New Covenant believers. In addition, the Hebrew writer suggests that our Sabbath will be fulfilled when we enter into eternity. So, I grew up basically hearing about the Sabbath only as it related to the Jews and more often than not, the Pharisees.

In college, however, I preached for a small country church. I still have fond memories of the fine folks there, but in my young and sometimes arrogant perspective I scoffed at their Sabbath keeping. Now, granted, it was a kind of personalized Sabbath practice. Playing cards, going fishing, or working on your car were all frowned upon. Sitting back in a recliner after eating too much at a Southern country dinner table and watching wrestling on the television, however, was perfectly acceptable. Anyhow, I did encounter a kind of Sabbath keeping in my younger preaching years. I seldom see that any more.

Sabbath observance was a command of the Lord and one of great consequence. Before Moses was born, the Sabbath was established on the seventh day of creation when God rested. So it predates the Law and it is connected to the identity and reality of God.

The Sabbath was a sign. God tells Moses in our text that the Sabbath was a sign for the generations to come, so it was to last a long time. The Sabbath is a signal that we understand that God is the most important person in our lives and we dedicate time to growing closer to Him… not by working harder or studying deeper or praying better. Just by being with Him.

The Sabbath was so that the Israelites would know that God is God. He gets to make the rules about how we live our life. But more than just rule keeping…

The Sabbath was to remind us that God makes us holy. So it’s not Sabbath keeping that makes us holy, it is our identity with a God who rested. It is our trust that He will provide even if we do not exhaust ourselves in work and play on the Sabbath.

The Sabbath was not to be ignored, at the penalty of death. Ok, we might just say at this point that God takes rejection of his word and will seriously. This might be a good place to revert to the idea that the LAW of Sabbath is an Old Covenant law, but the practice of Sabbath is an eternal principle. I know, that’s convenient. 

The Sabbath was to be regarded as holy. It’s all about holiness. More on that later.

The Sabbath command was written by the finger of God. It wasn’t Moses’ invention, but a Divine principle from our Creator. 

I think it is fair to say that if we fail to keep the Sabbath we do not expect to be stoned or for God to strike us down. In the Covenant of Grace in which we live we are not going to rely on precision obedience as a savior. But there is a deeper lesson beyond the law. God’s command to observe the Sabbath was not capricious. It had depth and significance… and I think we can see the result of the loss of Sabbath in our world.

It would be a sad rejection of grace to try to do what the Pharisees did – to establish what movements constitute ‘work’ and then try to do everything but those items. But to celebrate the Sabbath, there might be some ways…

*Reserve a day to rest or at least half a day once a week. I know, trying to schedule rest seems like an oxymoron but if we do not do it intentionally, then the cries of a thousand things that “have to be done” will drown out our purposeful Sabbath.

*Talk to God about your inability to sit still in His presence without making mental lists of the things you’re going to do once this forced Sabbath has come to an end.

*Holiness is the theme of Sabbath. God’s holiness is to become our holiness. What are we doing to become a more holy people? Trusting in our Abba is important. Do you think that He would ‘rest’ on the seventh day, declare that day holy, require all of Israel to stop working on that day, if it were not beneficial? Do you think if we just worked harder at it we could be a holier people … or is it that by putting down our tasks we can focus instead on renewal and faith? Charles Swindoll wrote, “To enter our Sabbath rest, we must put an end to self-reliance – trusting in our own abilities to overcome difficulties, rise above challenges, escape tragedies, or achieve personal greatness.”

*Talk about Sabbath. It’s a weird message. No one is talking about taking a weekly respite from the flurry of the world’s call. It will bless others to know there is a practice that can bring them peace and holiness, even just for a short time.

*Be kind to others. If you will embark upon the Sabbath practice, you can be assured that others will not. Even devoted Christians will often fail to heed the call to purposeful rest. It’s not our job to look down upon them or to judge them. No one obeys any command or practice perfectly.

*Don’t say “I can’t”. I know there are some reading this who are saying to themselves that the commitments and obligations of life make Sabbath keeping impossible. I can relate. Again, no one does it perfectly. But let’s be honest. Many of the things that are filling up our frantic days are put there by ourselves.

*A word to parents and families. Our inability to say ‘no’ to our children and the many activities available to them, and the fear that we/they might miss out on something great if we withdraw for a bit, is killing our families. How many of us are teaching our children to forget Sabbath because we allow them to fill up almost impossible to keep schedules? Has family time disappeared? What are the greatest values of our lives? If we value holiness, closeness to God, mental clarity, and bodily strength then we should value Sabbath.

*Be kind to yourself. That might mean not beating yourself up on not being a very good Sabbath observer. Remember, we’re not trying to perfectly keep a law, we are trying to live in rhythm with a principle. It might take some practice. Your Sabbath practice might start with an hour and grow from there. It might not be on the ‘seventh day’ but might be another time when you can devote yourself to quiet and peace. I know I continue to struggle with this.

Sabbath is out of fashion, a relic of a time and pace of life that can’t compete with our connected and conflicted world. Our calling is not to live up to the call of the world, but the call of God. Rest, friend. Unashamedly and in connection with God, seek Sabbath.

“Be faithful to your secret place, and it will become your closest friend and bring you much comfort. In silence and stillness a devout person grows spiritually and learns the hidden things of the Bible. Tears shed there bring cleansing. God draws near to the one who withdraws for a while. It is better for you to look after yourself this way in private than to perform wonders in public while neglecting your soul.” ― Thomas à Kempis

Thanks for reading. JD

Photo Credit:
Aaron Burden

A Promise and a Procedure

This week’s text in the International Sunday School Lesson is Genesis 17:1-14.  Ninety year old Abram received from God a promise and a procedure. The promise was first expressed from the time of his calling in Genesis 12.

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great,  and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)

Over and over God affirmed that he was going to keep his promise, no matter how unpromising the situation became. All of this was to come through a son. Not the son of the Egyptian slave Hagar, though Abram loved Ishmael and God blessed him in his own way. No, he was not the son of promise. Through it all Abram believed God. Even though his own devices and plans to try to help God failed miserably. Perhaps that’s at the core of the procedure.

God reminded Abram that he would the “the father of many nations”. He changed his name to Abraham (a footnote in the NIV says this “probably means father of many nations”). After affirming the land promise and the peoples promise, God gave Abraham a sign of the covenant he made with him.  It was a sign that would be a national symbol, every male would carry with him.

“As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.”

I will admit that most Bible class teachers are going to squirm a bit to be talking about such a personal procedure. It is one that would affect Abraham in a personal way also. He’s trying to procreate, and this is going to take some time to heal. It’s one more delay in producing a son with Sarah. This is quite a request for an almost-100-year-old-man and for all the males in his nomadic tribe. So Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised on the same day. 

The term ‘circumcise’ means ‘cutting around’. In the last verse of our text, God uses that terminology to demonstrate his intention.

“Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

So a refusal to be circumcised was equal to being cut off from the promises of the covenant. We all know Abraham was the father of the faithful and he did act in faithful response to this command from God. In Israel’s history they kept this command, mostly.

During the journey through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into disuse, probably because the Israelites were under God’s judgment during that time, but was resumed by Joshua’s command before they entered the Promised Land (Joshua 5:2–9). It was observed always afterwards among the tribes of Israel, although it’s not expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan until the time of Christ, about 1,450 years later. (Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & Customs of the Bible (pp. 23–24). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.)

By the New Testament times a question arose among the Apostles. The Gentiles were flooding into the church … they were an uncircumcised people … what is supposed to be done about this? At the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) it was decided that they could be allowed into the church without this procedure.

Later Apostle Paul would use the idea of circumcision in a spiritual way.

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh… (Philippians 3:3)

 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,  having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12)

Paul also played down the role of circumcision for today when he concluded, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6).

Circumcision  has been released from faith practices today except among Jews and Muslims. It remains a common practice among the general population. Neonatal circumcision has been the most common surgery in America for over a century. Nearly six out of ten newborns are released from hospitals foreskin-free in the United States, but it is rare everywhere else in the world. (LINK)

So how to apply this passage without demanding circumcision of all Christian males today? Some questions to ponder…

Are We Willing to do Difficult Things for God?

Observe the faithfulness of Abraham when he was asked to do a difficult thing. To institute this painful procedure he would have to put off for a while the desire of his heart, procreation with Sarah as promised by God. He could cut off the foreskin in obedient faith, or he could be cut off from the people of God. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ also calls us to demonstrate obedience, sometimes in difficult situations. A read-through of the beatitudes or the Sermon on the Mount can demonstrate this.

Are We Willing to Obey God When the Path Ahead is Unclear?

Abraham’s obedience was not only difficult, it seemed arbitrary. Abraham demonstrates an obedience that is stunning in it’s borderless following. Even later when Abraham is willing to sacrifice Isaac, we are amazed at his faith demonstrated in obedience. Do we have enough faith to obey when we can’t see the significance of our actions? When we are obedient to God’s Word without having to understand all the details we are walking in fields of faith.

Do We Really Believe God?

We’re all given a choice in whether or not we choose to follow God, or take the path of being cut off from Him forever. But I think there’s a deeper issue at work here. Do we believe God when everything we see and experience is opposite of what He has promised? Who hasn’t looked up at the sky and with all we have within us shouted, “WHY?” Ultimately when we choose to follow God there are things that we do that may or may not make a lot of sense to us. Who can explain why baptism washes away sin? The Bible clearly states that it does, and I believe it. But the mechanics of that escape me. How does prayer ‘work’? Can we sense the Holy Spirit as He lives within us?  Do we need to know the answers to those questions before we can believe Him?

At first the circumcision of Abraham, and the nation, seems like an ancient ritual with nothing to do with our modern times. But in actuality it teaches us a lot about faith. That’s a discipline in which I always need to grow.

Thanks for reading, JD.

 

Photo by Colin Carey on Unsplash

Introduction to God

There are lots of ways that people try to use Genesis chapters 1 and 2 to prove one theory or another about any manner of scientific or doctrinal inquiries, which is fine. But it’s not the introduction to where life began or creation or day/age theories that really catches my attention. I just think it’s the introduction to God.

Of course it doesn’t explain everything about God or try to answer every question we can come up with. St. Augustine wrote, “We are talking about God. What wonder is it that you do not understand? If you do understand, then it is not God.” I think we would all be willing to admit that we have a lot more questions about God and for God than we do answers.

To me, that’s what makes the things revealed about God all the more crucial for us to ponder. Not just the factual data, but the revelation of the God who is our Father. And it’s not done in an orderly way. OCD people cannot enjoy Genesis 1, after all it begins with chaos! Oh, I’m sure they see the pattern … of the ways that God speaks, creates, sees, affirms.. but it’s messy.

It introduces us to our God who creates order out of chaos.

The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3, AMP)

I don’t know what that chaos was like, even with the pretty vivid description. God spoke, and it was so. I was born into a world of order. Seasons change pretty much on time. Weather patterns are somewhat predictable. Gravity keeps us well grounded. But I do know what chaos looks like when the orderly life falls apart. I’ve tried to speak into my own chaos and found it just got more chaotic. But somehow in the roughest of times when we feel like we are free falling through life, there is a peace that is beyond our understanding. It comes from God who creates order out of chaos and is always powerful enough to do it. In the opening words of the introduction to God, calm comes from the void.

It introduces us to our God who takes His time to accomplish His will.

And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light [distinguishing it] from the darkness. 5 And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was [f]evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:3-5, AMP)

It’s my working theory that God who can create order in the chaos and light separated from darkness in one day could have actually created it all in one day. One word. But like an artist who has a vision for what they desire to paint, and who enjoy so much the painting of it, God took his time. Six days of speaking, seeing, proclaiming that it’s good. I know when we think about God and His power we assume not only that he can make things right but that he ought to do it … now. When we’re broken hearted and we’ve prayed and cried our eyes out we just can’t see through our own chaos what God is doing. Or Why.

I’m not going to affirm that your heartaches are God’s brushstrokes on a celestial canvas. But like Ravi Zacharias teaches, life can be like an embroidery … on the underside it is a mess. You can’t imagine that there is anything of value there. But when you turn it over you can see what was not revealed previously. I wonder if the angels thought to themselves that this creation of the world didn’t look like it was going to turn out that great. Then suddenly verse 20 bursts into color: “Then God said, ‘Let the waters swarm and abundantly produce living creatures, and let birds soar above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.’” That’s a wow moment. God doesn’t make prodigals come home and he doesn’t clean up addicts and he doesn’t afflict tyrant world leaders … on our time table. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t at work. Patiently. Creating. Beauty.

Genesis  introduces us to our God who loves in community.

In verse 2 we’ve already read about His Spirit. But there’s more.

Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]… So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26a, 27, AMP)

OK, so the Amplified Bible added “Father, Son, Holy Spirit”, but I think rightly so. God didn’t make humans because he was lonesome. He lives in community. We call it a Trinity. The Bible doesn’t use that word but it’s a good descriptive word. It is striking that of all the beautiful things God made, he only made one thing in his image. And that was us. There’s something about every human being that when God sees them it’s like looking in the mirror. Humanity can be pretty crummy sometimes but God made each one in His image. He made humans to live in community. Even though they were different in some ways, they were able to live together as one. And even make more humans.

This text introduces us to our God who rested.

So the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts (inhabitants). 2 And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (ceased) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [as His own, that is, set it apart as holy from other days], because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and done. (Genesis 2:1-3, AMP)

Now if you ask me, that’s weird. God … rested. I know resting implies tiredness, but I don’t think God gets tired. He was done, and he stopped working. For a day. And he wants us to rest on a day. There are those who remind us that the command to observe the Sabbath is the only one of the ten commands Jesus never repeated. And I know there is a sabbath rest awaiting us in heaven. But I’ve heard that idea abused…as if to say if we rest we are somehow letting God down. Quite the opposite. Before Moses ever walked down Sinai with the tablets of stone … way before… God blessed and sanctified that day. So rest with God. Do we ever need that message today…in our nonstop world.

So if some want to sift through this text with a fine tooth comb looking for jewels of truth, I have no complaint. We should caution, as did Chrysostom, “Let us accept what is said with much gratitude, not overstepping the proper limit nor busying ourselves with matters beyond us”. With gratitude I accept Genesis 1 and 2 as an introduction to God. God 101, if you will. He creates order out of chaos. He takes his time to accomplish his will. He lives and loves in community. He rests because we need to rest.

Every Cloud Wears a Rainbow

Every Cloud Wears a Rainbow

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. – Genesis 9:13

She was born in Philadelphia in 1847. As a young girl she was interested in writing, her first poem published when she was only 12 years old. Lizzie De Armond was a believer in Sunday School and worked tirelessly writing hymns for children as well as material that could be used in classes. Her best known hymn is seldom heard in churches today. The first stanza is as follows:

If the dark shadows gather as you go along,

Do not grieve for their coming; sing a cheery song.

There is joy for the taking; it will soon be light.

Every cloud wears a rainbow if your heart keeps right.

We have been thinking a lot about clouds and storms, floods and rainbows in the past week. We have witnessed horrors and heroics. Most of us will go about our lives as usual, while many thousands are pulling out wet carpet, tearing out cabinets, and feeling quite hopeless. It seems trite to suggest that those who are hurting so deeply should ‘sing a cheery song’, but it is true that ‘there is joy for the taking’. Every cloud does wear a rainbow.

One Jan­u­ary 1st, De Armond writes, “Now in the light of the glad New Year, 1915, if an­y­thing I have writ­ten has helped to lift one soul above the cares and wor­ries of ever­y­day life, and brought it near­er to the great lov­ing heart of Je­sus, the joy is mine, but the glo­ry be­longs to God.”

Lizzie’s husband died in 1923, leaving her with eight children to raise. She had let her writing efforts go dormant for a while, but now she took it up with renewed vigor to support her family. She found a rainbow in that dark cloud.

I don’t know what 600 year old Noah thought when he saw his first rainbow, but I know what we should think. On our darkest day, God still keeps his promises. In fact, it’s often after the storm that we see so clearly His presence. Keep your heart right and you’ll see it. Every cloud wears a rainbow.                   

Thanks for reading. JD

Reference: http://cyberhymnal.org/bio/d/e/a/dearmon_l.htm

Disaster Relief Opportunities

UPDATED 9.1.17

As Hurricane Harvey continues to dump rainwater in South Texas, I want to re-publish a list of some disaster relief agencies that will appreciate your prayers and help.

There are many many wonderful relief agencies that will be doing all they can to reach out to the communities suffering devastation. The following is a list of those that I have experience with and that I can recommend. I appreciate greatly those relief agencies that work through local churches because of the contacts these churches already have in the community. All of these (AND MORE) came to our rescue after Hurricane Katrina.

One Kingdom: Whites Ferry Road Relief Ministry

Disaster Assistance COC

Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort

Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team

International Disaster Emergency Service

Operation Nehemiah

Convoy of Hope

Samaritan’s Purse

Recent article in Christian Chronicle about Harvey Disaster Relief.

HOUSTON, TX:

MEMORIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST We are coordinating the receipt and distribution of funds for the immediate needs of churches and individuals affected by the devastating floods from Hurricane Harvey. If you would like to donate, there are several options:
• Online at http://www.mcoc.org/ – select “Disaster Relief”
• Text the dollar amount with dollar sign and “Disaster” to 713-766-6983
• By check to Memorial church of Christ with “Disaster Relief” in the memo.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/pg/mcochouston

PORTER CHURCH OF CHRIST Donate emergency supplies to meet immediate needs.  Contact Daniel Burns for more information:  Daniel@PorterCofC.org . Donate money to support our relief efforts.   Donations are tax deductible and can be mailed to us at Porter Church of Christ, POBOX 770, Porter, TX 77365. FACEBOOK.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.

The Coastal Bend communities are receiving support Through Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team. If churches want to help Rockport, San Patricio and Aransas Counties, and the surrounding areas, please contact CoCDRT. They can call Karen Kofahl at 214-734-9647. Thanks, David Srygley, Arlington Heights Church of Christ, Corpus Christi, TX, 361-241-1612.

BAYTOWN, TX. 

MISSOURI STREET CHURCH OF CHRIST in Baytown, TX requesting your prayers, and taking monetary donations for, Harvey flood relief efforts. MoSt Church – P.O. Box 4295 – Baytown, TX 77522. The need everywhere here is not for clothes, etc., but for money. Contact me if you have questions, etc. God bless all of you! David Smith 832-414-9866   preachersmith@gmail.com

LAKEWOOD CHURCH OF CHRIST in Baytown, TX accepts donations marked for Hurricane Relief (Lakewood Church of Christ, 7701 Bayway Dr, Baytown TX 77520) this can also be done more quickly securely and online HERE.  Also, send gift cards to the congregation noted for Hurricane Relief (Lowes, Target, Walmart are three good ones). Send / bring cleaning supplies to us or donations for those supplies to hand out. If possible, coordinate a trip to come help and work/listen to people. (This should not be done immediately, but after waters recede and needs are made known. Coming in now will potentially cause more issues unless you are dropping supplies off or providing food. It may also place you in unnecessary danger. Please do not send clothing right now. Please do not send sleeping bags or blankets right now.

LAGRANGE CHURCH OF CHRIST in LaGrange, TX. This was the last day for our building to serve as the drop off center for La Grange. All items have been moved to the newly acquired Second Chance warehouse on Reynolds street. If you have a donation to drop off or if you are in need and would like to pick up supplies, then please visit their facility. Second Chance 851 S. Reynolds
La Grange, TX 78945

I thank God for those who give so much of themselves to bless strangers who are suffering.

Thanks for reading, John

 

The Narrative Lectionary

For the past several years I have been preaching along with the Revised Common Lectionary. There are many beneficial reasons for this which I have enumerated in other blog posts. I’ve enjoyed the RCL and although it has its own weaknesses, it is a well respected and often used lectionary.

Beginning September 10th I’ll be preaching along with the Narrative Lectionary. I decided a long time ago that just preaching what seemed to me to be a good text for the week was not a good plan. I would end up preaching texts I enjoyed and avoiding texts that are more difficult. Preachers compose series of sermons that are topical in nature, which runs the great danger of snipping verses out of context and using them in ways they were never intended.

So what can our church members expect from the lessons through the NL?

*Expect to start at the start. Yes, it’s ingenious but we are actually going back to “In the beginning…”. The first five sermons are in the Pentateuch, Genesis and Exodus to be specific. The second lesson is a good example of why it’s good to use a lectionary. If ever there was a story to avoid, it’s the one where Abraham is told to sacrifice his son. Who gets that? But it’s the text for September 17 and we shall examine it.

*Expect to spend the Fall sermons moving us through the Old Testament through most of December. Those Old Testament prophets were forward looking, seeing in the distance a Messiah. 

*Expect to begin the New Testament studies on Christmas Eve with a few sermons from Luke. Starting at the New Year we will be making our way through the gospel of John. The first half of each year is focused on one of the four gospels. It’s John for 2018.

*Expect the crescendo of John’s Gospel to come at Easter time. From there through May 20 we will be looking at texts relating to Paul’s ministry in Acts and Philippians. 

*Expect the summer to be made up of three series of sermons that are more topical sounding, but are based on Scripture. The summer series for 2018 are the Ten Commandments, I John, Ruth, and Stewardship. 

*Expect that we won’t have covered everything in the Bible, so we’re going to start in Genesis again in September 2018.

As you can see, the reason this is called the “Narrative Lectionary” is that it attempts to cover the sweeping story of God’s people from the beginning through the life of Jesus and the early church. There’s one story there, even though we often see it as a jumbled assortment of stories. Notice also that this story is woven into the important days and seasons on the church calendar … Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. In Churches of Christ we haven’t always paid attention to these… and sometimes we’ve pretended they didn’t exist. But each one of those seasons is an emphasis in the story of the Bible. 

By following links above you can know what the texts are for each week. Feel free to study ahead. Prepare some questions to cover in LifeGroup that Sunday night. And please, pray for your preacher. I can tell you I’m excited about the days ahead. 

For those who are not attending Forsythe Church of Christ each week, you can always follow our podcast  (or search for Forsythe Church of Christ at iTunes). You can also read the weekly sermon notes posted at our WEBSITE. You can subscribe at our website and those notes will arrive magically in your email inbox every Sunday morning.

Thanks for reading, JD