Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Friday, January 1, 2010

Begin this year well

Perhaps you have heard it said that it's better to try and fail than to not try at all. The truth is that many of us gave up on new beginnings and fresh starts because we didn't want to try again, only to fail...again.

But you will never succeed if you never try...again. You don't have to fail. This year can be different. 2010 can be the turning point for you, but it will only happen if you try.

I suggest one thing that will make a major, huge, dramatic impact in your life. You won't have to sweat for 30 minutes a day, it won't cause your muscles to ache, and you won't have to give up sweets (though all of those things could be a by-product, I suppose). I suggest that you decide that a daily dose of Bible reading and a little bit of prayer should be the new normal in your daily routine. Why not start today? I'll help. Go get your Bible. I'll wait.

Got it? Read Genesis 1 (yes, the whole chapter) and Lamentations 3:19-26. (I've pasted these below to make it easy for you)

Now, keep a small notebook or pad or journal next to you as you read. As you have questions or as things jump out at you...if something excited you or makes you mad...write it all down. This reading, for me, prompted thoughts like: What did God have to work with when he created? How long did it take? Did the angels help? What does it mean that the 'Spirit of God was hovering over the waters?' If you follow Genesis in strict order, the earth existed before the sun and moon (which don't get created until the 4th day). Given what we think we know about physics, that is impossible. Is there a way to reconcile the Bible and science on this? What does it mean that mankind was created in God's 'likeness'? Do we look like Him? Or is it something on the inside? WooHooo! God created Sex before there was sin! (see v.28)

Now, I don't want you to answer my questions...I want God to answer my questions. I wrestle with them, engage Him on them, and meditate on them. And often, God speaks through my questions. The Lamentations piece may ignite you to a fresh start, and I think many of us can relate to Jeremiah's situation.

Finally, if you need some help, there is usually a Bible reading plan in the back of most study Bibles and you can buy a 'one year Bible'. Just ask for it at Lifeway or Family Christian books or you can go to this link http://tinyurl.com/ykd9tqo as one of several suggestions of One Year Bible's you can get from Amazon. You can even get a daily Bible reading app for your Blackberry or iphone.

Make this year different. Read your Bible. Pray. It will make 2010 better for you!


Genesis 1:1-31 (NIV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water."
7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.
8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so.
10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so.
12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
13 And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day.
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,
15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so.
16 God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth,
18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19 And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day.
20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."
21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth."
23 And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day.
24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so.
25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.

Lam 3:19-26, NIV: I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brian, We all need a little nudging from time to time, and I enjoyed this. I plan to get better at my time with the Word and God. Thanks for the nudges, Jim

Connie K. said...

Here are two great tools that I've used for journeying (and journaling) through the Bible:

If you are an "online" type, please visit youversion.com...it's an online Bible site hosted by lifechurch.tv. They have over 20 customizable Bible reading plans. You can tailor your reading plan to fit your schedule, and even have the readings show up in your RSS reader. With a youversion account you can also set up a journal that can be kept private, or shared with others. http://www.youversion.com/about/reading-plans/

PCC offers a really neat spiral bound journal (called "The Journal) which contains a reading plan and format for digging into God's Word to extract meaning and relevance for your life. Many folks at PCC have used this journal and have found it effective. Even if you don't follow the reading plan, you can still use it and gain much insight from journaling. Pick it up at the resource table for $5.