PowerPoints from: https://www.envisionworship.com/
Music Licensing Information:
Wonderful Words of Life
By Philip Paul Bliss
CCLI License # 823932
Jesus Loves Me This I Know
CCLI Song # 4771887
Anna Bartlett Warner, Philip Percival, William Batchelder Bradbury
© Words: Public Domain
Music: 2004 Percival, Philip
CCLI License # 823932
I Love to Tell the Story
by Arabella Catherine Hawkey and William Gustavus Fischer
CCLI Song #29413
© Words: Public Domain
CCLI License #823932
Colossians 3: 12-17
12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord[f]has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ[g] dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.[h] 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
2nd Timothy 3:14-17
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to G-d
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him to his study and said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your bible a little and get your hair cut and we’ll talk about it.”
After about a month the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss use of the car. They again went to the father’s study where his father said, “Son, I’ve been real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your bible diligently, but you didn’t get your hair cut!”
The young man waited a moment and replied, “You know Dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair….”
To which his father replied….”Yes, and they WALKED everywhere they went!” http://jokes.christiansunite.com/Bible/The_Deal.shtml
Now that is obviously just a joke, because we don’t read the Bible to win arguments, we read the Bible to know G-d and to allow G-d to speak to us and transform us. There is a great quote that’s been floating around Facebook that reads; “Jesus doesn’t care how many Bible verses you have memorized. He cares about how you treat people.” And that’s true, but I think the more we read the Bible, and the whole Bible- not just bits and pieces to feel smart or win arguments, we will fall more and more in love with G-d, which in turn, (if we’re doing it right) will help us to love and treat people better.
We have just completed reading The Story as a congregation. Max Lucado’s Book is an abridge version of the Bible in novel form. And this allowed us to see the overarching themes of G-d and G-d’s people in the Bible. It also helps us put into context different people and their narratives. Timothy George, writes this is important in, “Big Picture Faith.” He writes;
“In Mystery on the Desert, Maria Reiche describes a series of strange lines made by the Nazea in the plains of Peru, some of them covering many square miles. For years, people assumed these lines were the remnants of ancient irrigation ditches.
Then in 1939, Dr. Paul Kosok of Long Island University discovered that their true meaning could only be seen from high in the air. When viewed from an airplane, these seemingly random lines are enormous drawings of birds, insects, and animals.
In a similar way, people often think of the Bible as a series of individual, unconnected stories. But if we survey the Scriptures as a whole, we discover that they form one great story of redemption- from the opening scenes of Genesis to the final chapter of Revelation. Weaving through all the diverse stands of the Bible is the overreaching story of what G-d has been up to in the rescue and restoration of fallen human beings, from the first nanosecond of creation through the final cry of victory at the end of time.” – Timothy George, “Big Picture Faith.” Christianity Today (October 23, 2000)
And I pray that our journey through The Story is only the beginning. That by, understanding the larger story of G-d, more people will be able to engage with Scripture. If you are still finding scripture to be overwhelming, I would recommend finding the right Bible, the right translation for you. The Presbyterian Church, recommends using the New Revised Standardized Version, known as the NRSV, and there are a lot of really great Study Bibles out there that have footnotes and explanations. And another one that I recommend is Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible entitled, The Message. And this is the Bible translated in it’s most contemporary form.
We are really blessed to have some many Bibles to choose from. For thousands of years people didn’t have Bibles available to them in their own language. They had to rely on royalty or clergy to translate it. And of course, those people sometimes had an agenda and would only lift up certain scripture or sort of warp what scripture said to push their own agenda…sometimes politicians or political movements still do this, which is why we all should read the Bible for ourselves. Then during the reformation, people started to translate the Bible out of Latin and into the common language of the people. And this was considered so radical and so dangerous to the status quo, that many people were executed for being Bible translators. And consequently, right around this time, the printing press was invented. So not only was the Bible being translated into common languages, it was also becoming accessible. Because prior to the printing press, every single word of the Bible had to be transcribed by hand. And so it would take years and years and years for a monk to translate a Bible, and so there weren’t very many out there.
One of the most famous translations of the Bible is known as the Gutenberg Bible. And it was one of the first Bibles that was mass produced because of the printing press. Only 49 copies are thought to still be in existence today, and they are among the world’s more valuable books. In fact, they are so rare and valuable and important in the history of the world and reformation that there is even a joke about these Bibles. It goes like this; A collector of rare books ran into an acquaintance who told him he had just thrown away an old Bible that he found in a dusty, old box. He happened to mention that Guten-somebody-or-other had printed it.
“Not Gutenberg?” gasped the collector.
“Yes, that was it!”
“You idiot! You’ve thrown away one of the first books ever printed. A copy recently sold at auction for half a million dollars!”
“Oh, I don’t think this book would have been worth anything close to that much,” replied the man. “It was scribbled all over in the margins by some guy named Martin Luther.”
The Gutenberg Bible was in Latin, and it was used by many people including Martin Luther to translate the Bible into the common people’s language. Martin Luther translated it into German, and inspired him to participate and be a leader in the Reformation. Our Church, the Presbyterian Church is within the reformed tradition. And he was persecuted because of it, but he survived the persecution. Others weren’t quite as lucky. William Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. Many Bible translators have given their lives so that we might know of G-d’s love for us, which is found in the story of G-d.
Until recently, some cultures still didn’t have the Bible. Ruth A. Tucker, records the following story in Stories of Faith;
“Marilyn Laslo’s work with Wycliffe Bible translators was among a remote tribe in Paua, New Guinea has been a ministry that is in many ways a showpiece of missionary outreach. Yet, it has been a ministry that has often been characterized by discouragements and difficulties—especially in the area of communicating cross-culturally.
The most frustrating aspects of ministry of Marilyn was the arduous task of breaking down the very difficult language. Indeed, the difficulty and variety of languages in this region had caused missionary James Chalmers a century earlier to lament that “this country must the be the authentic site for the Tower of Babel,” and Marilyn echoed this frustration.
Marilyn spent long days walking through the village pointing to objects that a villager would identify and copying down the phonetic sound of the words. Nouns were easy. Verbs were in a different category, altogether. “Take for instance, the verb to cut,” she wrote. “Cutting down a tree to build his house,…will use one word; if he’s cutting it down for firewood, he will use another and very different one. The vocabulary goes on endlessly. Cutting bananas off the stalk, or whiskers off his face, or sago palm leaves for his roof—whatever the action or its reason, he uses words that sound like no other.”
Marilyn quickly discovered that learning a language involved far more than simply learning words. As she began to communicate with the people, she realized that, “the center of life and seat of emotions was the throat.” Thus, in the tribal tongue one would never say, “I’ve asked Jesus to come into my heart,” but rather “into my throat.” The more words she wrote down on her notebook, the more ignorant she realized she was. In her discouragement she often needed to be reminded why she was in Papua, New Guinea.
One day an old man asked her why she was carving with a thorn on a banana leaf (translated: writing in her notebook). She explained that she was learning the language so she could write G-d’s Word on a banana leaf. Incredulous…the old man said, ‘’You mean to say…Marilyn, that G-d’s talk and our talk can be carved on the banana leaf for us to see and understand?” Hardly believing what he was hearing, she shook his head and said, “Marilyn, O Marilyn, why did it take you so long to come?” Ruth A. Tucker, Stories of Faith
We are so blessed to have access to the Bible. To be able to read it. A lot of us have been really enjoying engaging in Bible Study over Zoom on Wednesday evenings at 7pm. If you would like to join us please let me know by commenting on our Facebook or sending me an email at and I will give you the information. And there are people participating in our Wednesday Night Bible Study who have been studying the Bible for years and others who had never opened a Bible before. And we are all learning a lot and are moved by how the Bible is speaking to us. If you aren’t available to join us on Wednesday evenings, I hope you are able to find other ways to engage with scripture. You could get a Bible and set a goal to read it every day. There are aps you can use, there are some great audio Bibles, you can listen to. One of my favorites that use on audible is, “The Word of Promise Audio Bible,” which has readers that are professional actors like Gary Sinise, Michael W. Smith, Joan Allen, Jesse McCartney, Louie Gossett Jr. and the list goes on and on. There are also some daily emails you can sign up for…Because many of our schedules have changed, now is the perfect time to commit to reading your Bible and make that a daily spiritual practice.
There is an online resource of daily devotions, actually there are a lot of them, but I came across one from a website, that I typically find to conservative, but I really loved what they had to say, for January 26th. It reads, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (James 1:23-24 ESV)
The Bible is an amazing thing. It is at once accessible and understandable to small children, yet confounding and infinitely deep to the theologian. As earnestly as any man studies Scripture he will inevitably encounter the infinity of God, and will be unable to grasp every part of its instruction. God’s Word is a marvel and when we begin to look closely, we discover that it glistens and shines like a finely cut gem with facet upon facet of gleaming truth.
But, this “finely cut gem” is not like others that we would view through a glass case in a museum. It isn’t merely a thing of beauty to be looked at and temporarily appreciated. No, Scripture contains the very breath, the very life of God (2 Timothy 3:16). It is like a mirror that reveals to us two things: one, who we are presently, and two, whose image we are being conformed to (Romans 8:29). We would do well to gaze honestly into the mirror of Scripture and humbly submit to the image it reflects.
As you study the Bible and are convicted by the way you are living, don’t resist the truth, and don’t make excuses for yourself. Submit to God’s Word as the highest and final authority and he will continually conform you to the image of Christ. https://shortdailydevotions.com/james-123-24-mirror-mirror-on-the-wall/
Or if understanding how Scripture is like a mirror that transforms the viewer doesn’t really speak to you. How about viewing Scripture and the Bible as a pair of eyeglasses. In Seminary, in my intro to theology class, one of the things we had to do was read John Calvin’s big books entitled, “Calvin; Institutes of the Christian Religion.” And this book was so big that it was split into two large volumes and had print as small and pages as thin as the Bible. And I struggled to make it through it sometimes because it was so dense and at times dry. Please forgive me, Professor Marth Moore-Keish and George Stroup, if you are watching. But my favorite thing to come out of these books and the lectures on them, was John Calvin’s illustration as the Bible and Scripture as a pair of eyeglasses. The idea is that we are so warped and entrapped in sin that we can’t see ourselves and our world clearly without scripture, and without knowing the G-d who is introduced to us through Holy Scripture. But the writings of Scripture are like a pair of new, and clear eyeglasses, the help us to see correctly; our lives, our G-d, our world and our call. Thanks be to G-d.