Feasting on the Whole Counsel of God

When I was living on my own in college my diet basically consisted of Hamburger Helper and spaghetti. That’s it! Nothing too complicated for a single college male: boil noodles, add ground beef, stir in seasoning packet or sauce, enjoy. It was easy, simple, and it kept me living, but few would consider it a well-rounded, much less sufficiently healthy diet. Somehow I survived those years, and then, by God’s grace alone, a beautiful young lady named Heather came into my life and everything changed. Slowly over the past 20 years my wife has expanded my pallet and added a healthy variety into my diet.

food pyramid

A healthy diet requires a variety of beneficial foods. OK, I’m not sure Hamburger Helper qualifies as “beneficial” food, perhaps that’s why I haven’t had it since college, but the few good foods that were part of my diet were added to by my wife and thus I began to eat more healthily over the years. As children in school we are taught the Food Pyramid, where we are told that our diets need to have good variety. Regardless of what you think about pyramid itself (and I know we have some readers that think it’s a big government/Monsanto conspiracy) everyone agrees that a good diet consists of good variety. The same is true of our spiritual diet.

Some at HCBC have wondered how we choose the books of the Bible that we preach through and why we’ve been jumping around to a variety of different books. Well, our reasoning is the same as my wife’s when she introduced me to vegetables (yes, I was 22 and had never eaten veggies), and that reasoning is simply this: the elders of Harbins desire that our church have a healthy and balanced diet of God’s Word.

shutterstock140876329We want to have the type of diet that the Word of God itself calls for us to have. The key to Timothy’s development into a man of God equipped for every good work was that his mother and grandmother believed and taught him that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). And the Apostle Paul, as he said his final farewell to the Ephesian elders charged them to be faithful elders by reminding them of his own preaching saying, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

So Demer and I have committed ourselves to preaching the whole counsel of God, knowing that the full breadth and beautiful variety of the Bible is inspired and useful to edify the people of HCBC. That means that we aim to vary our preaching by not only moving back and forth between the Old and New Testaments, but also by making sure the we are intaking all the different genres of Scripture. Those genres include in the Old Testament the Law, Histories, Poetry & Wisdom, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. In the New Testament the genres are the Gospels & Acts, Pauline Epistles, General Epistles, and Revelation. Our desire is for our preaching to develop a rhythm of bouncing back and forth between the different genres. For example, Demer and I prayerfully looked at what had been preached thus far at Harbins and we realized that we had not touched on much from the Old Testament Poetry & Wisdom, so we chose to preach Job last summer. Then we came back to the New Testament knowing a General Epistle had never been preached at our church so we launched into 1 John. We then bounced back to Esther which belongs to the Histories, a genre we only touched on a bit when Harbins first began. With Esther now concluded, and after our special Holy Week services, our plan is to bounce back over to the Gospels where we will continue our chronological exposition of all four gospels in a series we have called “Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.” After a season in the Gospels we will, Lord willing, bounce to another genre.

I hope this helps you understand the reasoning behind the preaching schedule at Harbins. It may seem haphazard to some, but in reality it is very much thought through and prayed over with the hope that we, as the undershepherds of HCBC, will provide the flock with the Biblical nutrition it needs to be vibrant and healthy. And by the way, there is no Biblical equivalent to Hamburger Helper because all the Bible is healthy all the time. So eat up Harbins, and taste and see how good our God is!