Hopewell Presbyterian Church of Franklin, Indiana

bwjolley@gmail.com Cell: 706-474-0266

Pastor's Letter........January 2018

My heart is truly full as I reflect on the last few weeks and our first Christmas together. A big thank you to Gail, Melinda and the Choir for all your efforts during the Advent season, as well as those of you who moved pews, set up tables, baked goodies and/or assisted with the various activities. And the snow!!! Adeline has dreamed of a white Christmas for 13 years. Even when we lived on the Georgia coast, she held out hope. As many of you ate Christmas Eve dinner, we were breaking in the sleds.

As we turn the Calendar to January and move from Advent and Christmas to Epiphany, we celebrate how Jesus made God’s glory known to the world. I love Mark’s account of the life of Jesus. Mark is a wonderful storyteller; his gospel is fast paced and focuses more on Jesus’ actions than his words. More than the other Gospels, Mark shows us the humanity of Jesus and the struggles of the disciples. Jesus’ actions and the authority with which he taught forced those he encountered to ask, “Who is this Man?” For the next 2 months, I’ll be preaching through Mark’s Gospel. As we work through Mark, we too are confronted with the same question. With Jesus, there is no room for middle ground. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “he is either, liar, lunatic, or Lord”.

In preparation of our study, I would encourage you to try to read through the book of Mark. You can read Mark in its entirety in about 45 minutes. Also, The Bible Project, has some helpful videos to aid you in understanding Mark’s structure and purpose. Those can be found at:

https://thebibleproject.com/explore/mark/

Several of you have asked about resources for reading through the Bible in the new year. A 2016 post from The Gospel Coalition has some excellent suggestions. Many people have found the chronological reading plan easier to stick with and useful for understanding the Bible as a unified whole. Below is a link to the post.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/reading-the-whole-bible-in-2016-an-faq/

Another approach is to worry less about the quantity you read and focus on depth and understanding. Monica shared this post with me earlier in the week and I found it particularly helpful.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-ways-plan-to-read-bible-less/

No matter what you do, I’d encourage you to spend a little time each day in God’s word. A good study Bible will help you work through some of the more difficult passages. The Bible should challenge you. When you come across something that is especially difficult or troubling, call or email me and we can work through it together.
I am excited for our future here at Hopewell and look forward to spending it with you.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Brandon