I have been impressed with the wide and deep participation of our church in Immerse: Messiah. Since September, well over half the church has read the New Testament and joined together for engaging and theo-logically challenging discussions on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. What a joy it is to read God’s word and allow the Spirit to form us individually and as a church body through the powerful truth of scripture.
Several years ago, the Leadership Team evaluated our church across 10 areas of mission and ministry, and we concluded that one point of strength at Broadway is our devotion to God’s word. We love to read and study scripture, and we make real efforts as a church to incorporate the Bible into many, if not all, aspects of our ministry. I am grateful for the many ways God’s word informs and shapes us.
Based on our strong participation in Immerse: Messiah, we have decided to continue the scripture read-ing journey this winter and spring. Immerse: Beginnings will lead us through the first five books of the Old Testament.
The discussion groups will continue meeting on Sunday mornings (9:00 a.m.), led by Colleen Felts and me, and on Wednesday evenings (6:30 p.m.), led by John Loven. The week of January 20, we will celebrate finishing the New Testament and introduce Immerse: Beginnings. If you have not yet joined a group, this will be a great opportunity to begin.
The first five books of the Old Testament, often referred to as the Pentateuch, set the stage for the rest of scripture and for God’s loving relationship with humanity. The Pentateuch was written by Moses 3,500 years ago, telling about events from his own lifetime as well as ancient stories passed down by oral tradition and through the inspiration of God’s Spirit.
We will read about God creating the world and everything in it. We will read about humanity’s Fall into sin, and how God promised, from the very beginning, to provide redemption for the people He loves.
We will also meet the courageous, faithful – yet flawed – men and women God called to build up the nation of Israel and the family line through which the Messiah would eventually come. We will see how God led His people through dangers, temptations and captivity. There are wars, miracles, scandals, heartbreak, loss and triumph.
And we will spend time reading the law God gave Israel through Moses. Some of these sections may be challenging and tedious reading, but I trust we will find truth and inspiration even in these words. God’s law reveals His character and points us toward His perfect will for how we should live, love others and honor Him.
Christians continue to read the Old Testament for several important reasons. First, it is God’s inspired word, which means its truth is timeless and enduring. Second, God’s character and purposes for humanity nev-er change, so the God we meet in the OT is the same God we love and worship today. Third, the OT was the Bible Jesus read and taught. Fourth, the OT points ahead to Jesus’ coming and helps us understand more fully why He died and rose again and how God’s plan of redemption through Jesus unfolded over the centuries. For these reasons and others, we cherish the Old Testament.
Immerse: Beginnings books are available in the adult classroom ($10 please), along with the reading schedule. Thank you to Colleen and John for helping lead the discussion groups and to everyone who has par-ticipated.