Momentum in a game is such a strange thing. You are watching your favorite football team play on Sunday afternoon. You are excited because they are playing well. In fact, they are winning. The scoreboard shows a 10 point lead at the half. You are optimistic that this is going to go down as a victory for your team. And then the dreaded occurs. Momentum shifts. Something happens and everything seems to turn on a dime. A fumble by your team. An interception by the other team. A 68-yard return to the five-yard line by the opponent after your team punted. You watch in dismay and can feel it: the momentum has changed. Nothing seems to be working now for your team. Everything is clicking for the other guys. Momentum.
Have you felt the momentum of E100? Sometimes it’s almost palpable! The momentum has been the positive, shared sense of forward movement; specifically, of reading through the Bible together. In January we launched on this adventure called “E100”—“E” for “essential” and “100” for the number of Scripture passages we read. We journeyed from Genesis to Revelation, getting the big picture of the Bible’s story. The way I describe that story line is like this: The Old Testament tells about Creator God preparing the way for a Savior for sinful humanity through the nation of Israel. The New Testament tells how the Savior came, completed His work, gathers His people, and will return to reign.
God has done some great things through E100! I don’t know that we have had another initiative in the past 5-10 years that has been so well received. There was clear indication that a large portion of our church family engaged in the reading plan. And we talked together about what we read! Family members read and talked together in their homes. Our church family took time in our Life Group meetings to share about the E100 readings of the preceding week. Having read the same passages enabled us to have great conversations about what God showed us in His Word! That was certainly my experience week by week in the Foundations Life Group.
I cannot overstate the value of that kind of interaction for believers, to be talking together about God’s Word. It produces substantive fellowship and spiritual growth. That is momentous momentum!
We don’t want to lose that momentum. So here is what we are going to do. With God’s help, I will start a new sermon series on June 5 from the New Testament book of Romans. It is a magisterial letter the Apostle Paul wrote to first century Christians in Rome. In it God reveals to us in rich detail His great work of salvation. Romans elevates the righteousness of God, exposes both our lack and desperate need of righteousness, and explains God’s gracious provision of righteousness through His Son, Jesus Christ.
How does that relate to the momentum of E100? I have designed a reading program to accompany our journey through Romans. My goal is to capture and build on the momentum of E100 while at the same time providing a reading plan that is a little less demanding.
Here’s what it looks like. Instead of five passages per week, the Romans reading plan has four. One of those four is the sermon passage from Romans that I will preach. The other three are passages selected from the Old and New Testaments which support that sermon passage. In other words, the four passages are all tied together by the ideas each conveys. So the Romans reading plan will be a thematic reading strategy which explores the great topics of Romans within the broader context of the Bible.
And not only are there fewer passages each week, the passages themselves are shorter. There are no four-chapter readings like we encountered in E100! Most of the readings in our new program will be less than one chapter. Hopefully you will find this more manageable.
You might even be able to participate in the Romans reading plan while continuing your normal reading plan.
I am excited to preach Romans! In my 30+ years of pastoral ministry I have never preached through this book! I am also excited about continuing a church family Bible reading program. My hope is that God will bring forth much good and that the momentous momentum begun with E100 will continue and even increase!