Just a few months ago, on a warm July evening, Mary Ann and I stood looking out from the rim of Bryce Canyon in Utah, taking in the vista, seeing the amazing rock formations known as hoodoos.
It was mid afternoon on a Tuesday when we arrived in Bryce City. We checked into our hotel room, unpacked our car and headed into the National Park to get our first look at the amazing geological spires the fill the canyon for miles. For the next few hours, we drove from one edge of the canyon rim to the other edge, stopping every so often to get out and take another look. And with each stop, we found ourselves shaking our heads and saying “this is amazing.”
In fact, by the end of the drive, we found we had run out of awe. We simply couldn’t take any more.
The park was not particularly crowded late on a Tuesday in July. Still, from our perch on the rim, we could look down and see the hikers who had followed the winding trail down into the canyon. They were seeing these giant hoodoos from a different vantage point, and no doubt seeing things we were missing completely. We thought about trekking down the path, but the thought of having to trek back up again was enough to deter us.
Bryce Canyon was one of nine National Parks we visited on our summer sabbatical. Everywhere we stopped, we marveled at what we saw. And we wished we had more time in each location to take a longer, closer look.
Over the past three months, we have been trekking through the Book of Jude at Redeemer. Our pace has been slow and steady. Instead of viewing Jude’s letter from the rim of the canyon, we have camped out down below. As a result, we’ve seen things I think the casual reader of the letter has probably missed.
As I told you on Sunday, when we move into the book of Revelation in January, we will be moving and a different pace. Instead of spending a Sunday meditating on a half a verse of scripture, we’ll be looking over a chapter or two at a time, getting a vista view of the last book of the Bible.
I’m also hoping that in 2024, many of you will be joining me on a flyover journey of the Bible.
Some of you have read through the Bible more than once in your life. Others of you have started the journey a few times, only to drop out at some point along the trail.
Reading through the Bible in a year will give you a canyon rim view of God’s plan for His people and His creation. It will take you up above the edge and will provide you with a perspective that the trail hikers below aren’t getting.
I think both approaches to scripture are helpful and valuable. When we dig down deep into a passage like we’ve been doing in Jude, we find the canyon floor is covered with jewels. But when we soar overhead and see the landscape from above the canyon rim, the view is breathtaking.
Here’s my plan for reading through the Bible in 2024. I’ll be following a well known Bible reading program developed by the Scottish pastor Robert Murray M’Cheyne. His plan will have me reading from both the Old and New Testament each day. Usually about four chapters at a time. And to help tie it all together, I’ll be using a devotional guide written several years ago by D. A. Carson. His book is called For The Love Of God.
If you want to join me on the journey in 2024, you can order a copy of the book.
Or you can download the book as a free PDF here.
Or you can do it the way I’m doing it. I’m signing up here to receive an email each morning that will tell me what chapters to read each day, and will provide me with Carson’s devotional message for that day.
I’m also planning to make this the first thing I read each day. I mean first thing. Like before I check my other emails or text messages.
I’m looking forward to getting the view from the rim of the canyon in 2024. Are you up for the hike?
Don’t you wonder what might happen to us as a church if we all went on this journey together?
Just think. Three weeks from now it will be 2024.
Between now and then, there’s a lot happening!
Like the Ladies Christmas Tea this Saturday. Come spend time getting to know other women from Redeemer.
Click here if you’re not already signed up.
Meanwhile, the students have plans for this weekend as well.
And this Sunday in our worship service, our kids ages 3 through fifth grade will be singing a special Christmas song for us. Don’t forget, if you have children who are part of the Christmas Kid’s Choir, you’ll need to have them at church at 9:20 am on Sunday for a quick rehearsal.
A week from this Sunday, on Christmas Eve, we’ll have our regular Sunday morning worship service at 10:00 am and our annual Candlelight and Carols Christmas Eve service at 5:00 pm.
I know you’re busy thinking about the holidays, but let’s make sure we have a few things on your calendar for January.
Like the first First Tuesday of the new year on January 2! (I’m thinking Clam Chowder for dinner that night. We’ll see).
We’re also planning a Saturday morning Men’s Breakfast in January. Make sure you have the date locked in.
For students, the first Game Night of 2024 is right around the corner.
And our students also have a big event coming February 2-4.
D-Now is a weekend where students will spend time away from their homes and “unplugged” from their devices. The goal of the weekend is for students to see how God has called them out of their darkness and into His marvelous light.
D-Now 2024 will include worship and teaching, times of fellowship and a service project to help your student cultivate humility and an outward focus. Students can sign up now for what will be a spiritually impactful weekend!
And for those of you who have been attending Redeemer for a while and who are interested in joining with us as members of our church, we have our New Members Get Together happening in January.
Don’t be surprised if you hear from Pastor Matt Gurney inviting you to join us.
As I shared with you in church a few weeks ago, we are praying for God to provide for us exactly what we need financially as we begin 2024. For those of you who are praying about a year end gift to Redeemer, let me encourage you to use a personal check for your giving instead of making a credit card donation.
I love the fact that credit cards make it easy and quick to make an online gift. And if that’s what’s best for you, go for it.
But as you no doubt know, anytime we receive a credit card gift, the bank charges us a fee for processing the funds. It’s roughly 3% of the amount given.
So if you can give by check, more of your money goes to the church. And every little bit helps.
By the way, here’s the update on our finances, through the end of November.
November giving: $43,503
November expenses: $46,162
Jan-Nov giving: $452,233
Jan-Nov expenses: $514,067
Cash on hand: $78,059
Please continue to pray for our financial needs at year end!
Last Sunday, we saw the God has clearly promised that He will keep all who belong to Him from stumbling along the path and falling away from Him. But what exactly is He keeping us for? As we’ll see on Sunday, it’s better than you can imagine.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!