Pastor Kyle McIver
I want to commend this morning a simple commitment for the coming year: read the Bible. Read the Bible! There are no shortage of articles and other voices out there encouraging you to do this very same thing, but I want to exhort you this morning as someone who cares for and is responsible for your soul. There are very few things that the pastors want more for our church than to have a membership full of people who are Bible-readers. Alongside prayer, Bible reading is the most significant habit that will you ever develop.
And while “Bible reading” is a good phrase, I think “Bible intake” might be a better one. You don’t have to actually sit down and read your Bible. Listening to it is great too! Maybe rather than a reading plan that takes you through the Bible this year, you’d have a better time reading a Psalm every day and working on some extended memorization. See, the last thing I want to have happen to anyone is to get hung up and not engage with the Bible because they don’t feel like they have the perfect plan or best approach. The idea here is very simple - get in the Word! Read or listen to or meditation on or memorize God’s word! That’s the plan, that’s all you need!
Now that being said, I want to speak especially to the members of Redeemer right now. When you joined this church, part of the membership covenant that you made was to “maintain personal and family devotions”. If you are a member here, you’ve made a commitment to read your Bible. And because you made that commitment as a member of this church, you aren’t in it alone. We all have a stake in each other’s personal devotions.
So to that end, I want to commend one option for our church this coming year - you don’t have to go with this plan, but I would love to see many of our members, life groups, and community groups, do this together. We’re going to share a link in this week’s email with a few resources built around a Bible reading plan called the M’Cheyne One Year Plan, (or click here for the M'Cheyne One Year Plan with through the Bible App) which takes you through the Old Testament once and the Psalms and New Testament twice in a calendar year. Now if that sounds daunting to you, consider that if you have an average to slightly below average reading speed, this will take you between 15 to 18 minutes each day - that’s it! And regardless of your age, stage in life, number of kids, or amount of homework, you can find the 15 minutes.
Now practically speaking, I’d encourage you to make a plan for how you’re going to do this. What time will you read? And where? Or there are apps out there you’ll use to read this plan to you? The ESV Bible app and the Dwell app are two of the best, both of which have this plan built in. So when could you listen to God’s word every day? The link we’re going to send out also gives you the option to sign up for an email with devotional content, subscribe to a podcast that will match what you’re reading, and we’ve also got some copies of this plan printed out and available on the table in the lobby this morning.
And whether you read or listen, whether you go for the M’Cheyne plan or something else, our aim is to be in the Word this year. Think about it with me - what might the Lord do with a church full of people who take their Bible’s seriously this year? Who read through all of God’s revealed words? Who expose themselves to the whole counsel of God along with many of their brothers and sisters within this local church? What might the Lord do? I would love to find out together.
So church, I want to exhort you to take the Bible seriously this year. If you already have a healthy Bible intake habit, then by God’s grace, continue in it. And if this is something you’ve struggled with and never really been able to do, then this is it. This is the time. We’re going to do this together this year. By God’s grace, you can build a Bible intake habit and experience more joy in Jesus this year than you ever have before.