I thought I would write a quick note to wrap up our Life Journal journey through the Bible.
People have been asking me, “So… what was your takeaway?” (After reading through the entire Bible during the year 2018).
I had a few.
First, it wasn’t easy. Even for me as a Pastor and a full time employee. I tried to make it not a “task” or as part of my “job” (even though it was.) I tried to approach it just like anyone else. I tried to make it a priority and see it as an opportunity for me to grow closer to God, more than simply completing the readings and “learning” more about the Bible. I tried to give myself the same grace I would give to anyone else who had committed to the process… except for, the fact that it WAS my responsibility to lead the charge. I never got behind more than a few days, even then, I tried to make sure I posted the “skeleton” post with the links and daily readings, so as to not be a bottleneck for those who were following along online. Also, I tried to approach it as though it was not online for all the world to see. Obviously, if it were written in my private journal, I may have been even more transparent, but the fact that it was online meant for me that I needed to be aware and perhaps a little more careful in what I wrote. I also had to be more thorough, in that I knew there were many eyes looking on. If it were my private journal at my bedside, I could be more brief, knowing, “God knows” and He could fill in the blanks.
I tried to approach each posting as though it was only for me… between me and God. I worked really hard at not trying to “teach” onlookers, although I did some of that along the way… I attempted to be authentic and transparent. If I was struggling with a particular topic, I would state that. I tried to not take advantage of certain topics such as tithing, so as to benefit the church. As much as possible, I just tried to “keep it real.”
I know for many of you, this journey may have ended in discouragement. Many people just… kind of… gave up. I want you to know that I really do understand. Still, I hope that whatever amount you DID read, however little or sporadic your reading was, that you gained insight and wisdom from it. The goal was not to “learn more of the Bible,” but to grow our relationship with the Lord. To better understand God’s character and to know His love for us.
I also want to acknowledge a few individuals who encouraged me along the way. There were a few people who hung in there with me online that would comment regularly, post their SOAPs, even email me to ask how I was doing. Jan Little and Julie Walker in particular. They both hung in there with me pretty much every step along the way. THANK YOU! You both put wind in my sails!
Amber Watts wins the Life Journal Group award! She attended nearly every group, twice per month for the entire year!
Jeremiah Shockley, thanks for your friendship, encouragement and support!
Matthew and Jaime Reed, you guys are amazing! I appreciate your “loving tenacity,” perspective, insight and wisdom.
There were a handful of others who chimed in along the way… you all know who you are. (Michael Fischer and Gordon Saxon, to name just a couple…)
I also need to give a shoutout to our Sr. Pastor and friend, Doug Roe. This journey was his vision, I just offered to help facilitate it. He wrote a SOAP Note each week, sharing his insight from the readings over the previous week. Doug always gives hope… and sees the Bible not as a compilation of writings for our benefit, but as a love letter from God… to each one of us. Thanks Doug!
I would strongly encourage all of us to continue this journey… in some way. Perhaps take this year and review your journal from last year. Meditate on a verse each day and ask God for fresh revelation.
We are going to be starting a new message series January 12/13, “PAUSE” taking our church family through 40 days of prayer. Pausing to pray a few times each day, as Daniel did.
I am hosting a gathering for those who would like to process one more time about this journey… Our Life Journal gathering is Sunday January 13 at the church at 6 PM. We will enjoy a meal together (provided) and share our insights and takeaways. I need you to RSVP by clicking HERE.
Please let me know ASAP if you are able to attend.