Dear Pastors and Other Clergy,
Tired of being entertained?
Want a challenge that is enjoyable AND goes beyond being entertained?
Back in September 2009 I asked that you consider a Challenge to the Clergy, starting with October 1st of that year. This challenge was simply to read or listen to the entire Bible in 90 days, straight through, no study notes, just hearing from the One who inspired this wondrous Book.
I don't know how many took me up on the challenge, but my wife and I did it! And it was fun! It was a blessing and a great joy to go entirely through the Bible in 90 days. In fact, we found an easier way to do this than reading--we listened. We bought some Scripture CDs to which we listened in our cars, as we drove to and from our work offices. It takes me about 30 minutes one-way, plus there were a few other times I listened when I was on my way to a LBH church service or a meeting.
The surprise was this--we did it in less than 90 days!
I listened to the entire Bible, starting in the Old Testament, in 70 days! My wife, who has a little longer drive to and from work, did it in 60 days! She started with the New Testament and then went through the Old Testament. That way we only needed one set of CDs. And it blessed us. We both thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Scriptures, even the genealogies. And we noticed things that we had never noticed before. For example, it struck me and reminded me of something I learned in seminary, but had since forgotten--the Bible was an oral instrument before it was a literary one. It was spoken before it was written, for the most part. And when you listen to it, you heard that very clearly.
So this is a doable thing for almost anyone. I did it again, starting with January the first of 2010. Since then, I have accomplished this two other times! It is not that hard, listening to the Bible in the car! Some have said it takes about 21 days to develop a new habit, and I miss it now. I want to listen to God again in this way.
If you plan to read rather than listen, take the number of pages in your Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and divided that number by 90. In most Bibles, a person will have to read about 14-15 pages a day. It is not that time consuming. I estimate the average reader would take about 30-40 minutes to read that amount of God's Word.
I have thought also that once we clergy have done this, we may want to give this challenge to our churches. How might God give them an overview of Himself and His Word, if they were to take this challenge? And after that 90 days, if we felt so led by God, what if we made that challenge to our cities and communities?
The Bible has literally (no pun intended) changed the world at various times in the past. It has changed us--has it not? Are we willing to let Him change us again, through His Word?
I first saw this idea in September in a catalog from Zondervan, the Bible publishers. It is connected to a product line they have, and you can read the testimonies on their website. I don't think we need to buy their products in order to do this, though. Let's just do it, and let God use it in whatever way He wants.
If you decide to take the challenge, please let me know. I'd like to pray for you as you do this with me. Have fun with hearing from God! And if you choose not to, I won't consider you any less a Christian minister! Thanks, and God bless you and your ministry.
Richard Graham, DOM/CPC
Long Beach Harbor Sou Bapt Association.