At Genesis, we are going through the F-260 together. This is a Bible reading plan put out by the great folks at Replicate Ministries. The plan covers five days of reading, generally two chapters per day, and goes through the story of Scripture chronologically.
Along with the reading plan, we are memorizing passages together as a church, and I am preaching a passage every Sunday that we’ve read the prior week (a strategy the Replicate folks had discussed as a way to get more people motivated to stick with the reading plan).
You can see a glimpse of how all that fits together on our website. Now that we are a little more than three months into 2019, I wanted to give a few thoughts on how the process has been.
We’ve Covered Significant Passages Together
I think the thing I have enjoyed the most about preaching and reading together is that, as a church, we get to hear some of the most significant passages in Scripture and how they fit together. It has been a blessing to hear passages that we likely wouldn’t hear over the course of one year.
We started with Creation, but we then quickly got to the call of Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and saw God’s faithfulness to that promise uniquely through the Joseph narrative. As we got into Exodus we saw the Passover and learned how Jesus is our Passover lamb. One sermon on the Ten Commandments (Exod 20:1-17) isn’t a lot, but we got to see how God wanted Israel to live as a way to reflect him to the world. As part of reflecting God and relating to him, we hear about the Day of Atonement (Lev 16).
I had never preached on why the Exodus generation was not able to enter into the Promised Land (Num 13-14), but we as a church got to hear that as well. As they entered the land we didn’t get much in Joshua, but we did hear his final address to the nation which helpfully summarized what God had done for them up to that point (Josh 24:1-28)
Judges didn’t get any play this year, but a story that took place during the time of the judges did—Ruth. It was only one Sunday, but we saw how God was continuing to provide a way of salvation even during the dark time of the judges.
Now that we are getting into the kingdom, we’ve seen Saul as a bad king who contrasts significantly with David (1 Sam 15) and this Sunday we will be hearing the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7).
Speaking for myself, and speaking for at least some in the congregation (I haven’t talked to everyone), this aligned approach has been helpful. Not only are we hearing passages we might’ve never heard (or might’ve taken decades to hear over the course of preaching), but we are seeing the way they relate to God’s promise to bless the world through Abraham’s seed and bring redemption through Jesus.
We’ve Memorized More Than We’re Used To
I meet with a group of guys on Friday mornings where we go through our readings from the past week. Wait. We meet on Thursday mornings now. Either way—part of that meeting is going through our memory passage together. We don’t always (shoot, we don’t usually) knock it out of the park. Memory work isn’t something that you can cram for really well. You can try, but your cramming will show itself soon enough.
A few weeks ago, after another time of stumbling through that week’s passage, I wanted to encourage the guys. “Think about it, though, this year you’ve already likely memorized or attempted to memorize more than you have in a long time.” For some of us, our best Scripture memory moments are in the past—back in college when going to class twelve hours a week was being full-time.
The steady chipping away at a passage a week is getting us back into the habit of engaging God’s word through memory work. We don’t get the passage word perfect, but we keep after it. On Sundays, we rehearse it together as a church. Nobody is getting badges for their memory work or anything like that, but we keep storing up God’s word in our heart (Ps 119:11, which will be an upcoming memory verse). This has been important for us and I hope bears lasting fruit.
We’re Connecting Dots and Joining In
One of my most encouraging times on Sunday is when a light bulb goes on for someone. Back at our sermon on the tenth plague someone came up to me and said, “I had heard that Jesus was our Passover lamb but I didn’t ever know what that meant.” Those are the moments that make things worth it. Church leaders often over-assume how much their congregation knows. There are some sharp people at Genesis—super sharp—but, on the whole, we are like every other church. We generally need help putting the pieces together. That is great for me because I never want us to be 100% full of people who can crush everyone at Bible drills—I always want people new to Jesus to be comfortable in our midst.
Speaking of, another person came to Genesis a few weeks back with little background in the Bible and wrote me, saying, “I am so glad you are going through the Bible it is so helpful to me.” She came from a church background that didn’t emphasize regular Bible reading and felt like she could enter into what we are doing without a bunch of hoops. That’s so encouraging to me.
Almost every Sunday I make mention of the reading plan and how people can join us at any time. Simply providing a simple plan means that people—even in March or April—can join up. I’m continuing to see people grab the reading plan as they leave on a Sunday.
A little more than a fourth of the way through 2019 and I can say I’m glad we are doing this. 2020 won’t look the same as 2019, but this approach—at least for this year—has been good for us and I look forward to the weeks that are to come.
If you’ve been with us on this journey, I’d love to hear how it has benefited you. Just comment below.