I Quit Going to Church

Dear Church,   I’m super excited about the adventure we’re beginning together next week – the Grace Community Summer Bible Experience! We’re planning to read all of the New Testament all together this summer – 6 pages a day, 5 days a week for 15 weeks.   We’ve ordered special Bibles called The Books of the Bible New Testament. They have the chapter and verse markings removed so they’ll read more like the original – more like a story and letters and less like a reference book. And the books are rearranged to read a little more chronologically (I.E. the letters of Paul are in chronological order, etc.). The Bibles are available for $5 each, but if you don’t have the $5, take one anyway.   We’ll also be providing a reading calendar, so we can all track together, and some simple discussion questions. We would STRONGLY recommend you use the discussion questions as a family, or with a friend, or with a small group. Although there is great value in being alone with the Scriptures, the Bible was/is intended to be read and applied in community. It has even more power in our lives when we wrestle with it together. Here are the simple questions:  
  1. What’s something you notices for the first time?
  2. What questions did you have?
  3. Was there anything that bothered you?
  4. What did you learn about loving God?
  5. What did you learn about loving others?
  The Bible is intended to be read for transformation, not information, and these are great questions that help draw out the applications we need to make to our lives.   Actually, the real purpose of the Bible is to make God known, specifically in the person of Jesus who is THE WORD OF GOD. And as we get to know Jesus (THE WORD OF GOD) through the Bible (the Word of God), our lives will indeed be transformed as we walk in humble submission to his loving leadership.   And, one more thing: our preaching each week during these summer months will be from somewhere within the reading for the week. So you’ll have a head start on the message each Sunday.   I hope you’ll join us on this adventure. The Scripture -- not just knowing it in our heads, but applying it in our lives -- is where we learn to not simply “go to church,” but to truly “be the church.”   Looking forward to the adventure with you,   Joel