Category Archives: Kyle’s Korner

August Reading List

1 Job 13-15        Psalm 142
2 Job 16-18        Psalm 143
3 Job 19-21        Psalm 144
4 Job 22-24        Psalm 145
5 Job 25-27        Psalm 146
7 Job 28-30        Psalm 147
8 Job 31-33        Psalm 148
9 Job 34-36        Psalm 149
10 Job 37-39      Psalm 150
11 Job 40-42
12 Titus

July Reading Schedule

1 Ezra 5-7                           Psalm 119:129-144
3 Ezra 8-10                        Psalm 119:145-160
5 Nehemiah 1-3             Psalm 119:161-176
6 Nehemiah 4-7             Psalm 120
7 Nehemiah 8-10          Psalm 121
8 Nehemiah 11-13        Psalm 122
10 Revelation 1-2         Psalm 123
11 Revelation 3-4         Psalm 124
12 Revelation 5-6         Psalm 125
13 Revelation 7-8         Psalm 126
14 Revelation 9-10       Psalm 127
15 Revelation 11-12    Psalm 128
16 OFF
17 Revelation 13-14    Psalm 129
18 Revelation 15-16    Psalm 130
19 Revelation 17-18    Psalm 131
20 Revelation 19-20    Psalm 132
21 Revelation 21-22    Psalm 133
22 Daniel 1-3                  Psalm 134
23 OFF
24 Daniel 4-6                  Psalm 135
25 Daniel 7-9                  Psalm 136
26 Daniel 10-12             Psalm 137
27 Job 1-3                       Psalm 138
28 Job 4-6                       Psalm 139
29 Job 7-9                       Psalm 140
30 OFF
31 Job 10-12                  Psalm 141

June Reading Schedule

1 Esther 4-7                            Psalm 104:1-23
2 Esther 8-10                          Psalm 104:24-35
3 2 Kings 1-4                           Psalm 105
5 2 Kings 5-7                           Psalm 106:1-23
6 2 Kings 8-11                         Psalm 106:24-48
7 2 Kings 12-14                      Psalm 107
8 2 Kings 15-18                      Psalm 108
9 2 Kings 19-21                      Psalm 109
10 2 Kings 22-25                    Psalm 110
11 OFF
12 2 Corinthians 1-3            Psalm 111
13 2 Corinthians 4-6            Psalm 112
14 2 Corinthians 7-9            Psalm 113
15 2 Corinthians 10-13       Psalm 114
16 2 Timothy                          Psalm 115
17 2 Chronicles 1-4              Psalm 116
18 OFF
19 2 Chronicles 5-7              Psalm 117
20 2 Chronicles 8-11           Psalm 118:1-14
21 2 Chronicles 12-15         Psalm 118:15-29
22 2 Chronicles 16-18         Psalm 119:1-16
23 2 Chronicles 19-21         Psalm 119:17-32
24 2 Chronicles 22-24         Psalm 119:33-48
25 OFF
26 2 Chronicles 25-27         Psalm 119:49-64
27 2 Chronicles 28-30         Psalm 119:65-80
28 2 Chronicles 31-33         Psalm 119:81-96
29 2 Chronicles 34-36         Psalm 119:97-112
30 Ezra 1-4                              Psalm 119:113-128

May Reading Schedule

1 1 Chronicles 1-4          Proverbs 26:1-16
2 1 Chronicles 5-8          Proverbs 26:17-28
3 1 Chronicles 9-11       Proverbs 27:1-14
4 1 Chronicles 12-14     Proverbs 27:15-27
5 1 Chronicles 15-17     Proverbs 28:1-14
6 1 Chronicles 18-20     Proverbs 28:15-28
8 1 Chronicles 21-23     Proverbs 29:1-14
9 1 Chronicles 24-26     Proverbs 29:15-27
10 1 Chronicles 27-29   Proverbs 30
11 Hosea 1-4                    Proverbs 31
12 Hosea 5-8                    Song of Songs 1
13 Hosea 9-11                 Song of Songs 2
14 OFF
15 Hosea 12-14              Song of Songs 3
16 Ephesians 1-3          Song of Songs 4
17 Ephesians 4-6          Song of Songs 5
18` 1 Kings 1-3             Song of Songs 6
19 1 Kings 4-6                Song of Songs 7
20 1 Kings 7-9                Song of Songs 8
21 OFF
22 1 Kings 10-12           Psalm 95
23 1 Kings 13-15           Psalm 96
24 1 Kings 16-19           Psalm 97
25 1 Kings 20-22           Psalm 98
26 Jonah                         Psalm 99
27 Philemon                  Psalm 100
28 OFF
29 1 Timothy 1-3         Psalm 101
30 1 Timothy 4-6         Psalm 102
31 Esther 1-3                Psalm 103

Books of Samuel

It is no secret that 1 & 2 Samuel were, at one time, one book. The same is true for 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles. Yet, as we focus on Samuel, it is important to note that Bruce C. Birch sets the scene well when he wrote: “The books of 1 and 2 Samuel witness to one of the most crucial periods of transition and change in the story of ancient Israel. At the opening of 1 Samuel, Israel is a loose federation of tribes, experiencing both external threat from the militarily superior Philistines and internal crisis because of the corruption of the priestly house of Eli at Shiloh, where the ark was maintained and covenant traditions were preserved. At the conclusion of 2 Samuel, an emerging monarchy is firmly in place under David. He has weathered various threats to the integrity of the kingdom, and is preparing to establish a hereditary dynasty in Israel.” (New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume II, Introduction to 1 & 2 Samuel, p. 949.)

There are endless stories and examples of transition in Israel as they moved from the loose federation of tribes to a united monarchy. These transitions bring about a significant social transformation of Israel. According to Walter Brueggeman, there are three distinct factors at work to bring this social transformation: 1) the influence of political power, social pressure, and technological possibility, 2) the extraordinary personality of David, and 3) Yahweh, the God of Israel. (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, 1 & 2 Samuel, pp. 2-3)

The human factors leading to Israel’s transformation impacted Israel internally and externally. The pressures from the Philistines, the growing power among the different tribes, divisions and factions within the tribes, wealth, urbanization, and the struggles for land were all factors in the changing landscape of ancient Israel. The leadership of David and those who were compared to David radically shaped how Israel understood itself. Each of the transitions in leadership, situation in relationship, and new technological developments brought a new day for Israel. Yet, these transitions in and of themselves did not bring about radical transformation.

Yahweh, the God of Israel, was actively working to bring about radical transformation for Israel. Throughout the narrative of Samuel, Yahweh intervenes to move Israel from where they were to where they are to be. Yahweh’s intervention in 2 Samuel 7 may have been the most profound transition to bring about this radical transformation.

In 2 Samuel 7, the prophet Nathan brings a word of divine blessing on David’s house (explore the interplay of house – “palace”, “temple”, “dynasty”, and “family status” – for yourself to gain greater meaning of this text – it’s good stuff). Nathan’s oracle removes the conditional nature of God’s relationship with Israel to where God’s grace provides the bedrock for Israel’s hope for all things to come. To this point, all of Yahweh’s commitments with Israel have been based on some condition – circumcision, keeping the law, building an ark, etc. Now, God’s unconditional promise of an enduring line for David becomes the foundation for Israel to build its faith – unconditional grace, a messianic promise, and everlasting life. This is a huge theological shift for Israel and builds massive possibilities for Israel’s relationship with God and the transformation of its life.

Often it seems that transition is a four-letter word. It means change and change is unsettling and uncomfortable. The truth is we are always changing. Our day to day experiences change who we are and how we understand the world. There is transition in every moment of everyday. Added together, if we are paying attention, these transitions can truly transform the nature and understanding of our lives.

I think about my life that included the slow transitions from single adult to husband to dad of one, now dad of two have brought a major transformation to my life. No longer can I only think of myself when I make decisions and set priorities (even though in my most selfish moments I do). My existence on this planet is not about me – it’s about my family and my care for them (and ultimately, our care for each other).

• What transitions are happening in your life that might bring radical transformation for you? Who or what is driving these transitions? Is it internal or external?
• How is God speaking to you in these times? Is it subtle or blatant? Is it hidden or conspicuous?
• How do you understand God’s bedrock promise of unconditional love for you?
• How does this understanding motivate you to live differently, as one transformed by the grace of God?

Unfortunately, we don’t stay tuned into God’s grace for our lives. We get distracted with political, social, economic, and cultural forces/events/activities of our day. We get blinded by a charismatic leader. We believe that we are the most important thing in our lives. We miss the power of God speaking to us in the form of wise friends, awareness of circumstance, and/or a still small voice (coming up in Kings) that promises life abundant life on earth.

Book of Ruth

The Book of Ruth is a nice parable-like story about redemption – redemption of human relationships, redemption of our relationship with God and redemption of life through unexpected avenues. As the story opens, we are introduced to tragedy and sadness as Naomi’s husband and her two sons die. She is living is a foreign land and decides to return to her homeland where her extended family might care for her. She releases her daughters-in-law (Orpah and Ruth) to go back to their families. Orpah returns to her family. Ruth, however, chooses to stay with Naomi. Together they seek a new life in a new land.

As a parable, Naomi represents the people of God – Israel – and Ruth is the instrument of God through which Naomi is redeemed. This ultimate redemption, coming in 4:14 through a child in the womb of her daughter-in-law, restores Naomi’s full life and reverses the emptiness that defined her existence to that point. Kathleen A. Robertson Farmer in her Introduction to Ruth in the New Interpreter’s Bible, writes: “The parable-like form of the narrative encourages us to see not just that we ought to be like Ruth but that we are like Naomi. And when we see ourselves reflected in the story as we really are (rather than as we think we ought to be), the good news comes to us as a revelation rather than an application.”

Robertson Farmer continues: “Thus a redemptive reading of Ruth will assume that the story is primarily concerned with the faithfulness of God rather than with the faithfulness of the people of God. In Ruth, redemption is based on grace, not merit. …God chooses to use those who seem unqualified according to human standards of judgment to accomplish God’s purposes in the world. The admirability of the “other” in the story should serve primarily to convict us of our own repeated failures to recognize the despised ‘other’ as an agent of God’s redemptive activity in the world.”

A number of years ago, I attended a lecture at Lipscomb University by Fred Craddock. The theme of this lecture/sermon was “Othering” – the act of hanging out with people who look, think, act, and live differently than we do. In this narrative presentation, Dr. Craddock lifted examples of Jesus “othering” and some examples of what that look like today. As I reflect on Ruth and Craddock’s lecture, I can’t help but dwell on how deeply we miss what God’s redemptive activity is doing, if we only hang out with people who live in the same part of town we live, attend the same church we attend, have generally the same life experiences we have, have a similar outlook on the world we have, and who seem to think we are God’s gift to one another.

• If we are seeking validation from our friends and church-mates, how are we experiencing the redemptive power of God’s transforming love (not for us) for a world so empty and broken that any morsel of grace is an extraordinary event? Can that be done within the friendly confines of the church walls?
• While we are so concerned about our own comfort and safety, how might others who are simply seeking safety be redeemed by what we do?
• In allowing our own emptiness and need for redemption to drive us into places where the instruments of God’s redemptive activity are concerned with their own faithfulness, are we embracing and reveling in God’s faithfulness?
• Why is “it” always about us and not about God?
• If “it” were about God, what would be different in your daily routine of life?

God is faithful, all the time. God has proven to be faithful over and over and over, again. As people of God, we have been redeemed, restored, renewed, and the courses of our emptiness and brokenness have been reversed. As agents of God’s redemptive love, we are called out of our safety zones and into a life of “othering” – a life of hanging out with people who have radically different experiences than we have – to be instruments of God’s reconciling love for everyone, to reverse their emptiness and brokenness to live in the fullness of God here, now, today.

Gospel of Matthew

Of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry, Matthew is often called the “Jewish Gospel” not in its attempts to convert Jews or refute “outsiders” to Christianity. Matthew’s intent was help members of his own Christian community to understand and connect their past to their current and ongoing religious life. Judaism at the time Matthew was written, about 75-80 CE, was experiencing major disruption and change. The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed in 70 CE bringing political and social change to the region. Matthew’s community was finding itself more in line with the Gentiles of the day than the new direction Judaism was heading. Matthew’s gospel sought to help Jewish Christians adapt to this social change and remain faithful to scripture and tradition.

Not to be overly dramatic or to make anyone upset, I need to confess that I observe social change in our country today. With the most recent election cycle and the beginning of the Donald Trump presidency, Americans are sensing change in our political climate, which has implications for our social interactions. I’ve noticed the changes as I drive in my car. I’ve noticed the changes as I watch my children’s basketball and soccer games. I’ve noticed the changes in simple interactions with others in the grocery store.

As I listen to people talk, the atmosphere is ripe with anxiety and uncertainty. Change is inevitable as we live — nothing stays the same. Yet, in most cases, the change we experience is somewhat predictable. Except for big, life changing events, most of what changes in our experience is small, gradual change to which we can easily adapt.

I have a fear (and I’ve had it for about 20-25 years) that the Church in America, the expression of the Christian faith in the United States, is more consistent with an American Civil Religion than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What I mean is that the image of God and Jesus Christ is being more and more equated with the values of American society. As we develop a picture of God, we are more likely to develop the “Ideal American” over the “Creator of All.” Examples include purely patriotic expressions and songs in worship during national holidays like the 4th of July and Memorial Day and Veterans Day, churches openly expressing American patriotic and nationalistic pride as a way to live the Gospel, and more and more churches being active in political causes and issues.

Hear me clearly, there is nothing wrong with expressing pride in being American, being patriotic. My concern is purely about the blurring of the lines between worship of God and worship of country. I believe the church loses its ability to speak to the ills of our society when we are too actively participating in them. The Church has a clear and distinct voice. Instead of allowing it to blend with the other voices of our culture, we need to maintain its distinctiveness — often at the cost of acceptance.

The Gospel of Matthew contains the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). The Sermon is three consecutive chapters of only Jesus’ voice and teaching. Here is a link to an article that was recently published by the Baptist News Network. ( This article is talking about the experience of one preacher that stood in the pulpit one Sunday and read Jesus’ words as if it were her sermon. The feedback the preacher received on the content of “her” sermon was hostile, maybe grounds for being fired. (I am hyperbolizing a bit. But from personal experience, I believe the author of the article softens the exchanges she had with her congregants.) What does that say about the Church (Universal, not the congregation) when the words of Jesus are so offensive to some that the preacher should be fired? Have disciples of Jesus become so immersed and enmeshed in our culture that we don’t recognize our Leader’s own words? While author of the article talked about the countercultural nature of the Gospel is the point, I wonder if the Church (again, Universal, not congregational) no longer values being something different to the culture. After all, it’s easier to swim with the current than it is to swim against or across it.

Again, offering the Gospel of Matthew as a guide to living in turbulent times and the special role the Church plays today, I have included a link to an article about preaching in these days of rapid change and helping the Church to maintain a voice in our culture. Earlier this year, in the Season after Epiphany (January 7 – February 28), except for one Sunday, the Lectionary scriptures in the gospels followed Matthew. Had I not been following the schedule for reading through the Bible in a year, I would have spent more time in Matthew. Here’s the link to another Baptist News Network article: ( )

A common saying, attributed to Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, Reinhold Niebuhr, Billy Graham, DL Moody and others, ascribes that good Christian preachers must have a newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. This article walks us through events in 2017 politics as they coincided with Lectionary scripture texts. Most of these political events cut across common Christian understanding of human relationships and calls to serve our neighbor.

In these days of rapid change, the voice of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is a great help to keeping our faith grounded in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Matthew is not out to reinvent 1st Century Jewish thought and life for who believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Matthew was about offering a map of what had been known to them to a new life in Christ Jesus. I wonder if we can find the roots Matthew articulates helpful to keeping us faithful to following Jesus in these days.

April Reading Schedule

1 1 Samuel 10-12          Psalm 89:19-52
2 1 Samuel 13-15          Psalm 90
3 1 Samuel 16-19          Psalm 91
4 1 Samuel 20-22          Psalm 92
5 1 Samuel 23-25          Psalm 93
6 1 Samuel 26-28          Psalm 94
7 1 Samuel 29-31          Ecclesiastes 1
8 John 1-3                        Ecclesiastes 2
10 John 4-6                     Ecclesiastes 3
11 John 7-9                     Ecclesiastes 4
12 John 10-12                Ecclesiastes 5
13 John 13-15                Ecclesiastes 6
14 John 16-18                Ecclesiastes 7
15 John 19-21                Ecclesiastes 8
17 2 Samuel 1-3            Ecclesiastes 9
18 2 Samuel 4-7            Ecclesiastes 10
19 2 Samuel 8-10         Ecclesiastes 11
20 2 Samuel 11-13       Ecclesiastes 12
21 2 Samuel 14-17       Proverbs 18
22 2 Samuel 18-20       Proverbs 19
23 OFF
24 2 Samuel 21-24       Proverbs 20
25 Colossians                Proverbs 21
26 Philippians               Proverbs 22
27 Amos 1-3                   Proverbs 23
28 Amos 4-6                   Proverbs 24
29 Amos 7-9                   Proverbs 25
30 OFF

Book of Judges

Judges is filled with interesting, humorous and challenging stories about the politics and troubles of the Israelite people as part of the larger narrative found in Joshua through 2 Kings. Judges in the context of this book is not meant to be what we think of in the judicial system, but rather in the context of this story a judge was a leader chosen directly (or later in the book indirectly) by God to guide the people out of chaos. As a church that mostly follows the Lectionary, we spend very little time in Judges as only the story of Deborah is included in the 3 year cycle of texts.

The predominant theme running throughout the book of Judges that you will begin to notice as you read is the cycle of faithfulness of the Israelite people which is first laid out in 1:11-19. Each of the Judges will follow in this pattern, growing increasingly more ineffective, which is the author’s way of setting up a literary device that is easy for readers to follow while at the same time communicating a broader message about the efficacy of the judges and the Israelite people. It is interesting to see how the writer viewed faithfulness and the effectiveness of leadership as related, but all the while maintaining that faithfulness to God is always better than any judge. As First Christian sits in this time of transition, faithfully waiting for a new senior minister I wonder how these scriptures challenge or speak to our context?

One of the most comical stories in Judges is the story of Ehud and King Eglon. Ehud murders the evil king, who is so over-weight the sword disappears then Ehud escapes out the bathroom window, leaving the guards waiting outside. Another part of the humor of the text is lost in translation, as Eglon’s name means “fat calf” in Hebrew. Sometimes I think in our attempt to take scripture seriously we often forget that humor is one of the human emotions that is valuable to our faith and we can find that humor even in our sacred texts.

The story of Jephthah and his daughter found in Judges 11:1-33 offers an interesting look at the dynamics between commitment to God and faithlessness. The spirit of the Lord was already upon Jephthah, but out of fear of losing his battle he tries to make a deal with God—that he will sacrifice the first thing that walks out of his door upon returning home. This plan backfires when it is his own daughter comes out to greet him after battle. How often do we think that bartering with God is the right thing to do? In a desperate situation we may say, “God, if you help me with…I will never do…” But that is not what God requires of us, God is present even in the midst of chaos.

Speaking of chaos, the story of Samson (Judges 13-16) is one of the most familiar figures in Judges. Samson’s strength, wit, passion, and creativity are on full display. Yet, Samson has weaknesses too — not just if his hair gets cut. Samson was willing to trust others in way that left him open to being deceived. I wonder if we don’t relate to Samson’s weaknesses more than we might admire his strength. How many times have we trusted people close to us — people we thought were on our side — only to be let down by their deceptive actions (or maybe just their willingness to prioritize their self interests ahead of ours)? How many times have we immersed ourselves in a relationship only to find out they were willing to help us if it benefitted them too — employers/employees, friendships, colleagues, ministers, even family members?

In the midst of the chaos of the Samson story we find hope. Delilah finally convinced Samson to give up the secret of his strength — never cutting his hair. While he was sleeping, Delilah, with the help of the Philistines, shaved Samson’s head. Not possessing tremendous strength any longer, Samson was easily captured and tortured by the Philistines. Here’s the hope: Samson’s hair grew back. Samson’s hair was a symbol of God’s presence. Having it cut off, similarly, is a symbol of being cut off from God’s presence. Events in our lives cut us off from the reality of God’s active presence — by our choice or others’ actions. Yet, we maintain a thread of hope because hair grows and God continually seeks to be present with us. As we emerge from tragedies and downfalls that come our way, we discover glimpses of hope, openings to the future. These hints remind us that God is working in hidden ways to redeem and save and heal.

Throughout the Book of Judges, as true in Creation, God continues to create order out of chaos. May we be open to the ways God is doing the same today.

March Reading Schedule

1 Corinthians 3-5 Psalm 61 (Ash Wednesday)
2 1 Corinthians 6-8 Psalm 62
3 1 Corinthians 9-11 Psalm 63
4 1 Corinthians 12-14 Psalm 641
5 1 Corinthians 15-16 Psalm 65
6 Matthew 1-4 Psalm 66
7 Matthew 5-7 Psalm 67
8 Matthew 8-10 Psalm 68
9 Matthew 11-13 Psalm 69:1-18
10 Matthew 14-16 Psalm 69:19-36
11 Matthew 17-19 Psalm 70
12 Matthew 20-22 Psalm 71
13 Matthew 23-25 Psalm 72
14 Matthew 26-28 Psalm 73
15 Ruth Psalm 74
16 Judges 1-3 Psalm 75
17 Judges 4-6 Psalm 76
18 Judges 7-9 Psalm 77
19 Judges 10-12 Psalm 78:1-39
20 Judges 13-15 Psalm 78:40-72
21 Judges 16-18 Psalm 79
22 Judges 19-21 Psalm 80
23 Romans 1-3 Psalm 81
24 Romans 4-5 Psalm 82
25 Romans 6-8 Psalm 83
26 Romans 9-11 Psalm 84
27 Romans 12-13 Psalm 85
28 Romans 14-16 Psalm 86
29 1 Samuel 1-3 Psalm 87
30 1 Samuel 4-6 Psalm 88
31 1 Samuel 7-9 Psalm 89:1-18