The Word: Six Steps

One week ago I cast a message in a bottle out into the sea of social media. It was both a declaration and an invitation. I publicly pledged to kick off the new year by systematically reading Luke and Acts. With that pledge was an invitation to take this journey with me. No formal plan…no checklists, daily email reminders, or study questions. There’s no medal at the end and there are no tests. Simply: read through Luke at your own pace. Then read through Acts. Share what you want to share, but don’t feel obligated to do so. 

The pace I set for myself was six chapters of Luke per week. When I got to Acts, I’d move to seven chapters per week. At that rate, it would take 4 weeks per book. It’s a reasonable enough pace that it should be approachable by someone opening the Bible for the first time. It’s also possible to catch up if you fall behind but want to stay with the group. In my Bible, each chapter is only a page or two.

Something interesting happened… quite a few friends chimed in with “I’m in.” As people volunteered to go on this journey with me, my excitement grew. After the clock struck midnight, I stayed up until about 2:30 talking with my oldest son. Right before turning in for the evening, I thought, “hey…I could go ahead and read chapter one! It’s January first!” As much as I love reading Scripture, knowing so many others were going to be enthusiastically turning to Luke 1 in the morning brought new joy to it for me, too. One of the lessons I think scripture quite clearly gives us is that we are not meant to walk our spiritual journey alone. God brings people into our lives specifically so we can encourage and sharpen each other. Every “I’m in” has affirmed this in the past week. The questions, comments, and insights shared with me through Facebook, the blog, and in person have been delightful.

Some who messaged were reading the Bible for themselves for the first time. Some were adding this to their “though the Bible in a year” plan they had repeatedly done for years. All ages and all levels of people bravely jumped in. I got questions as wide-ranging as “where can I get a Bible” to “what was the meaning of the incense at the altar in chapter 1?” It was beautiful and good.

And we made it. We’re six chapters in. We’ve taken the first six steps through the book of Luke. We’ve seen the births of both John the Baptist. We met Simeon and Anna in the Temple. Jesus grew up and was baptized. Both John the Baptist and Jesus started their public ministries. Jesus shared the beatitudes in His famous Sermon on the Plain. And so much more…

On my agenda for this next week is chapter 7-12. We will move into the heart of the ministry of Jesus. We get to see the first parable of this Gospel. Parables are simply stories told to illustrate a point and were one of Jesus’ favorite ways to teach. There are a couple of parables that are unique to this Gospel, including my absolute favorite (although that one doesn’t come until chapter 15). This week we also will see quite a bit of healing and miracles as well as a few nuggets of truth coming from the lips of our savior. As you go through the week, remember that every word is important. I’d like to challenge you to contemplate both the transfiguration and the cost of following Jesus in chapter 9. Notice the attitude of Jesus toward the Father. Be on the lookout for the Holy Spirit. Notice how much time Jesus spends in prayer.

Above all else, don’t give up. If something challenges you, allow it to challenge you, but don’t let it stop you. Make a note, write down a question, but keep going. If you have trouble reading, then listen! That’s not cheating at all…that is how Christians have taken in scripture for thousands of years. The Youversion Bible app has a “play” button that reads the text to you in multiple interpretations and even multiple languages. Explore a little and find what’s right for you. The Bible.Is app has an audio option, too. Both apps are free. Even listening, you won’t understand every little thing the first time through and that’s okay. The important thing is to persist. God’s Word is designed to be read for a lifetime.

When traveling across the country, there are many options. You can fly from coast to coast. You could drive. If you’re Forrest Gump you could even run. A different perspective is provided with each. The view from an airplane gives a broad view from above. On foot you move a lot slower but get a lot more detail, experiencing sights, sounds, and smells not available from a plane. This chapter-a-day path through Luke and Acts is much more like looking out the window of an airplane than it is a road trip. We’ll see themes, events, and attitudes but might miss some of the more subtle points and people. That’s okay. Enjoy the ride and learn to long for a return trip through this same country.

Have you seen anything new or unexpected so far?

Once again, thanks stepping into this journey. One week from today we’ll be halfway through the Gospel of Luke!

5 thoughts on “The Word: Six Steps

  • January 8, 2018 at 5:57 am
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    I am so thankful you started this and hope that you will consider leading us through the remainder of the Bible a bit at a time. I have not read it in its entirety! Yes, I just confessed that. I know I am not alone.
    This has allowed me to reflect on God’s word through the day and I look forward (with great excitement) to reading before retiring for the evening (that’s my alone time with God as I am NOT a morning person). 😂 I find myself hungry for input and questions that challenge me!
    So, David, again I thank you! The impact this has had so far is astounding!

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    • January 13, 2018 at 10:35 pm
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      You’re definitely not alone! This has been an incredible experience for me on so many levels…I appreciate your faithfulness and encouragement. It should be exciting to see where this goes. I always seem to be able to provide questions that challenge people, but many days I’m trying allow the text to speak for itself. My post that will be published tomorrow has a bit of challenge to it…it’s all based on my own conviction and I don’t intend for it to be directed at anyone but myself, but maybe others will relate to it, too.

      Thanks again for going on this journey!

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  • January 8, 2018 at 5:52 pm
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    David – Thank you for the invite and challenge to travel through Luke and Acts. I just finished up Luke 7 here in my hotel room in Little Rock (yes, I am living the dream). Over the 10 years or so that I have been teaching adult Sunday School I have (probably? maybe?) read through (most of) the Bible. While I have attempted many times to start at Genesis 1 and read through to the end of Revelation, I have never quite completed the task. So, in response to Melissa’s comment above, “No, you are most definitely not alone.” Thanks again David and Gob bless you my brother! . . .

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    • January 8, 2018 at 5:56 pm
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      Gob?… Good grief! Where’s the “edit comment” button?

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      • January 13, 2018 at 10:38 pm
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        Lol… I knew what you meant. I only travel for business a few times every year, but I find that the most challenging time to stay in the Word. I love that you’re still diving in while you’re in Little Rock.

        Also, thank you for your faithfulness in teaching! I think it was you and Mark who were teaching when I first came to church. Something must have stuck for me to be where I am today! I appreciate what you have done for all these years.

        Reply

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