This past Sunday we finished our sermon series on 2 Samuel at Stanton Evangelical Free Church. So the question on at least some people's minds is "what's next?" I thought it'd be good to let you know where we are headed, to hopefully help you to look forward to where we will be in God's Word the next couple of months.
A few years ago I began to read in the Psalms everyday as a part of my daily Bible reading. I love the Psalms, but as with any book, there are certain Psalms that stand out to me. Like your favorite songs on a playlist, these are the songs I end up turning to more so than the others. Near the top of that list is Psalm 34.
In November, Lord willing, I will be preaching for three Sundays from Psalm 34. November 5, 12, and 26. My family and I will be on vacation in Iowa on November 19. I'm excited that if you are worshiping with us that Lord's Day, you will be able to hear Ron Gunsolley proclaim the Word of God. I also greatly look forward to spending the month of November meditating on such an encouraging and faith-building Psalm.
In December, of course, we will be in Advent on the church calendar. We will be preparing our hearts for the celebration of the Lord's first coming. On the morning of December 17, we are planning our Sunday School Christmas program. I'm sure you are looking forward to that. On the other Sundays prior to and then on Christmas eve, we will be focusing on three significant passages in the Old Testament that directly speak of God's plan to send His Son as the Savior-King. On Dec. 3 we will hear from Genesis 12:1-4 when the LORD announces His promise to Abraham. Then on Dec. 10 we will look at Psalm 2 when the LORD gives a warning to the "rulers of the earth" that they will all have to submit themselves to "the Son" who will rule over them all. On December 24 we will then focus on the prophecy in Micah 5:1-5 about the Shepherd King who will be (was) born in Bethlehem. I am looking forward to meditating on God's Word in the celebration of the first coming of God's Son into the world to save us from our sins.
In the two Sundays that surround New Year's Day, I always like to focus our attention on two of the most essential spiritual disciplines; prayer and reading the Bible. This new year we will be helped by two passages from the Gospels to direct our attention to prayer and the Word. On New Year's Eve we will focus on the Word by hearing from Mark 9:2-8. This is the passage of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain before the three disciples. You might wonder just what this passage has to do with encouraging us to read the Word of God? But not if you pay attention to the brief, three-word command that God the Father gives to the disciples and us towards the end of the passage. On the first Lord's Day of the new year, January 7, we will focus on prayer from Matthew 9:35-38. May the Lord use His Word in these two Sundays to shape us into depending upon Him much more faithfully through praying and reading and meditating on His Word in 2018.
After the New Year gets started we will then turn to our next sermon series focused on the book of Colossians. That is the plan at least at this time, but since we have a few months yet until that would begin, things might change. I'm open to the possibility of the Lord leading us to a different book, but at least at this time it seems like we will be in Colossians for the first months of 2018.
It is encouraging and faith-building for me as a pastor to observe how the Word of God is challenging and transforming people within our church. May He continue to be gracious and help us to grow and mature as disciples and as disciple-makers. Soli Deo Gloria. (to God alone be the glory).