Apr 222017

After spending nearly five months of our “Bible Chapter a Day” (BCAD) project reflecting on the book of Psalms it’s just about time to move on. But let’s pause for a moment and reflect on what we have seen:

  • We’ve encountered wonderful words of praise as people rejoice in the greatness and majesty of God
  • We’ve seen people crying out to God from the depths of despair and asking for his blessing
  • We’ve seen expressions of sorrow and contrition as people recognised their failings and asked God for forgiveness
  • We’ve shared in appreciation for the word of God
  • We’ve entered into the reality of life – joy, despair, great civil occasions, recognition of death
  • and so much more

We’ve seen how people engage with God in many different ways depending on what is going on in their lives – and we have seen people prepared to be authentic and real with God and to express the depths of how they are feeling and what they are looking for God to do. Great examples to us in how we speak with, cry out to, praise our great God.

But, from Monday, we’re going to move on to look at two short letters in the New Testament and then two longer books in the Old Testament.

1 & 2 Thessalonians were written by Paul (with Silas and Timothy) to the church at Thessalonica some time after Paul had established a church there as recorded in Acts 17:1-4. Now he is writing to them again to encourage them, to answer some questions, to defend himself against accusations, to correct some misunderstandings about life after death and the return of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 414 [widescreen]

1 & 2 Samuel picks up the narrative of the people of God from where we left them at the end of the book of Judges and Ruth. We encounter three key players – Samuel the last judge, Saul the first king and David who replaced him as king over the people of Israel. We will see how their stories intertwine; encounter intrigue, plot and deception; see Saul losing his position, David being chosen in his place and Saul being resentful; David being established as king and reigning although not always happily or without problems.

2 Samuel 52 [widescreen]

Let’s be open to hear what God has to say to us through His word.


Nov 212016

For our “Bible Chapter a Day” project (BCaD) we are moving focus to the Book of Psalms.

Often recognised as the “hymnbook” of the people of Israel this collection of poetic writings has been a real source of encouragement and blessing to many through the centuries.

They contain powerful expressions of worship, statements of faith, heart-felt prayers for God to act, expressions of sincere thankfulness, descriptions of God’s character and so much more.

While many of them could be seen as songs of praise there are also many which are “songs of lament” as people cry out to God from their depth of suffering and ask God to act and to restore.

They are open, they are honest, they give real insights into the human experience and show how people can relate to God in a powerful and authentic way.

They are generally classified into five “books”:

  • Psalms 1-41
  • Psalms 42-72
  • Psalms 73-89
  • Psalms 90-106
  •  Psalms 107-150

and approximately half of them are attributed to King David.

This is what will occupy us for the next five months or so.



Oct 262016

In the BCaD project we’ve just finished the book of Judges.

And for those who are wondering what this project is about, it is reading a chapter of the Bible each day and posting a short summary / reflection from it on social media. And if you would like to get involved please feel free to do so.

So far we have worked through:

Old Testament:

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Job

New Testament:

  • Matthew
  • Luke
  • Acts
  • Galatians

And as we read through the book of Judges we saw – from relatively good beginnings – things getting worse and worse as the people turned away from following God and did what they each thought was right.

To give us a glimmer of hope we’re going to look briefly at the book of Ruth, a story of a few individuals that took place:

In the days when the judges ruled, (Ruth 1:1a)

And as we do so we will see that God is still at work and that His purposes for His people will still be carried out. It ends with a family tree giving the people hope that a king would come – and a king who was able to bring the people back into a better relationship with God.ruh-4v22


And after thinking about the story of Ruth we’ll turn our attention to another of the Gospels, to John, that tells the story of a greater king, a king recognised by some as the king of Israel


But whose reign actually extends over the whole earth.


Oct 052016

The book of Joshua draws to a close with the words:

Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel. (Joshua 24:31)

And there is a hint that after Joshua, and after these elders who had experienced so much of God’s goodness, the people may turn away from God and choose another way, follow other gods.

And to see how the story develops we’re going to go on and work through the book of Judges – where we will see that, unfortunately, the people got into a cycle of turning away from God, of God punishing them, the people calling on God, God sending someone to rescue them.

A difficult time in the life of the people of Israel and one which ends with some sad words:

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. (Judges 21:25)

How had a moment of such promise turned into such a fragmented society with no real purpose and direction? We’ll find out as we trace the story over the next few weeks.

But in the darkness we will also see rays of light as a few people commit to serving and praising God


Sep 112016

At the beginning of June we left the people of Israel at the edge of the land that God had promised to give them.

Moses, the man chosen by God to lead them out of Egypt and the one who had faithfully led them for 40 years, was dead and the people were on the brink of a new chapter in their story.

They had a new leader, Joshua, but the promise was an old one – they were to enter the land and to possess it.

And, from tomorrow (12th September 2016)  we’re going to pick up their story by working through the book of Joshua – and journey with them as they face the challenges of living in this new land. Many stories of success, but stories of failure and lack of obedience to God as well. Stories that encourage, stories that really challenge our thinking and understanding.

Deuteronomy leaves us with a note of confidence – in God and with the leader He has chosen:

Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses. Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, (Deuteronomy 34:9–10)

In the first chapter we see God’s promise to be with them.


Let’s see how it works out.

Jul 212016

Having just completed reading through Job we are now (starting tomorrow – 22nd July) turning our attention to two books in the Bible which tell the story of Jesus and the early church – both written by Luke (a doctor and sometime companion of Paul) to provide an accurate account of what happened while Jesus was alive and immediately after He returned to heaven.

Luke introduces his first book with these words:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye witnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1–4)

And he introduces his second book:

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. (Acts 1:1–2)

So the book of Acts is presented as the “sequel” to the Gospel and telling the story of what Jesus continued to do – after His return to heaven – through his apostles and the power of His Spirit.

We will see stories of the birth of Jesus, a very little of His early life, His public ministry culminating in His death and resurrection. And we will see how the work that He started continued on as the church was born and started to grow. It is all centred around the person who died and was powerfully brought back to eternal life.

lk 24v6-7

As we read let’s be prepared to be challenged as we are confronted (again or for the first time) with the person and work of Jesus.

Jun 042016

This is a quick update for those following – or interested in – the #BCaD project.

For those not familiar with it, it is the challenge of reading a chapter from the Bible each day (Bible Chapter a Day) and posting about it on social media – a summary, a thought it sparked, a key idea.

Dave introduced it in October 2015 and since then we have worked through the five books of Moses – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy – as well as Matthew’s Gospel.

We’re not going straight through the Bible from beginning to end but alternating between the two Testaments and different genre.

I was speaking with Dave earlier this week and he asked me to take over BCaD scheduling – something I am very happy to do.

Bible Backgrounds Galatians

Our next book is Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia. This is the first of Paul’s letters we will have done and my plan is to work through them in the order they were written. Recognising that there is some disagreement over the order of the letters (and which were actually written by Paul himself) I’m going to follow the chronology from the revised edition of the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (page 699) which has:

  1. Galatians
  2. 1 Thessalonians
  3. 2 Thessalonians
  4. 1 Corinthians
  5. Philippians (ISBE actually splits this into two but we’ll do it in all together!)
  6. 2 Corinthians
  7. Romans
  8. Colossians
  9. Philemon
  10. Ephesians
  11. Titus
  12. 1 Timothy
  13. 2 TimothyBible Backgrounds Job

After Galatians we’ll move on to the book of Job – which explores, among other things, the sovereignty of God and questions about suffering.

Follow on social media using the hashtag #BCaD or join in with writing your thoughts and reflections.