Before we leave 2020, I’d like you to reflect, with help of some beautiful poetry, on the beauty of God being made flesh. But first, I want to tell you where we are going in the six weeks between Advent and Lent, beginning next week, Jan 3 — for I want you to consider how you will participate if you feel so led.
With the help of scholars I trust, we will do an overview of Revelation. I have learned that often the most important things are said when time is running out — so these are the last words of our LORD in His Word, and we are told we will be blessed if we take them to heart.
I think the increased interest in Revelation is due to the worldwide suffering we are experiencing. Believers who know the Word cannot help but wonder if God is shaking us to bring us to our senses. We are going to get the heart of the book of Revelation by looking at the beginning, middle, and triumphant close. God has closed His Word with a message to help us be overcomers.
There are two familiar ways to participate, and one new way, which I hope many of you will prayerfully consider. You can do any or a combination!
- Join in with us here, on this blog. If you are new, just make a comment and give us your name (and a middle name too if your name is not terribly unique) and your e-mail. Your e-mail will not show up. The first time I will need to approve you to make sure you are joining us for the right reason and not to sell us something or endeavor to lead us astray!
- Do this study silently on your own, recording your answers in a notebook.
- Facilitate a zoom or small live study with your friends. You can direct them to the right week to read the opening, where there are pictures and audio/video clips. Then, after the opening, I will provide a link to a word document that has all the homework so they can print it off before or after they fill in the answers. You don’t have to be on our timetable to do this — you just need to direct your group to the right study so they can read the opening. At the end of the six weeks, Lord willing, and technology cooperating, on Sunday, Feb 7th at 3:00 Central time, whoever wants to join me on zoom can click on the link given that morning (or paste it in) to join me to reflect on what we learned. I am praying some of you will do this and God will show you whom to invite!
Now, to close out 2020, I am excited for us to meditate together on some of the great poetry of the season. I was so moved by The Gospel Coalition’s Songs of Hope — and will be sharing two poems from that, as well as two of my traditional favorites.
Day 1. Getting Started
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- As you reflect on this Advent, share ways God shone a light in the darkness for you. It could have been through sweet fellowship, a moving sermon. a musical presentation, an answer to prayer, or a Scripture becoming radioactive.
Day 2: Christmas in Dark Places
3. Share your thoughts and comments and something that particularly stood out to you and why.
Day 3: Mary’s Song
4. Share your thoughts and comments and what particularly stood out to you and why.
Day 4. Made Flesh By Luci Shaw
This has long been my absolute favorite. Luci was my first editor, and I am still in awe of the talent God has given her.
5. Share your notes, comments, and what particularly stood out to you and why.
Day 5. The Journey of the Magi
It was pretty amazing to see the alignment of these two planets this Christmas. I could see a bright light alone in the dark sky with the naked eye, but this is from a telescope in Muncie. I found myself wondering what indeed the star over Bethlehem looked like! And how I love Elliot’s poem!
6. Share your notes, comments, and what particularly stood out to you and why.
7. What is your take-a-way this week and why?
8. Do you know if and how you’ll be joining us for the 6-week study in Revelation?
9. Some believers I know ask God for a phrase or a word to concentrate on in the new year. I remember my friend Twila chose a phrase from Brennan Manning: “The Risenness of Christ.” That’s what she wanted to experience in her life that year, and, by praying for that and focusing on that, she did. You might want to ask Him for a phrase for 2021! If He gives you one, share it here.