Gatherings: January 13, March 10 and June 9, 2019
From the Pastor
Message from Jim
Message from Pastor Jim



From Pastor Jim

Recently Cathy and I have introduced Desert Palms to the Immerse Bible Reading Program. The program uses the Immerse (in The Living Translation)  six-volume Bible created with one goal in mind: to provide the best reading experience possible. The text is laid out in a beautiful single-column setting without chapter and verse numbers, section headings and footnotes removed and with the content of each book displayed according to its literary genre.

This unique reading Bible will serve as the basis for our church’s journey through the Scriptures. Our church family will use it to read through significant portions of the Bible--the New Testament or the Torah, for example--in eight weeks.

The Bible was originally shared in groups. As our church reads through this new Bible, we’re invited to talk about it in a new way. Once a week, small groups will engage in “book club-type” discussions, simply talking about what we’ve read in honest, unmediated conversations.

It’s intentionally uncomplicated. There are no DVD curricula and no workbooks. Instead, we will talk through questions like, “What stood out to you this week?” or “Was there anything confusing or troubling?”

This isn’t meant to be a one-time experience. Rather, Immerse encourages us to follow a regular communal Bible reading rhythm. By reading together twice a year, our church can read through all six volumes—the entire Bible—in three years . . . and then begin again. We can make regular immersion in the Scriptures a central piece of our church’s identity.

Immerse is built on three core ideas: reading an originally formatted Bible, reading at length and having discussions about it together. By simply reading and then gathering once per week in “book club” groups, our congregation will have a place to voice their questions, talk about their concerns and celebrate “aha!” moments together.

This Bible Reading Experience begins its three-year journey through the Bible with the volume entitled Messiah. Reading the entire Bible is a new challenge for most people, so it’s best to begin with the most familiar part, the New Testament. This also helps reinforce that Jesus is the center of the whole biblical narrative. After that, the other five volumes cover the Old Testament, getting the crucial backstory into which Jesus was born.

We hope many in the congregation will join us in this pursuit. Possessing a Bible to read is the first step. The time involved reading the Bible should be approximately:

  • 5 days a week
  • 20-30 minutes per day
  • 8 week2 times per year

We will ask that each person consider joining a small group to discuss what is read each week. The discussion should take 60-90 minutes and will revolve around four Conversation Starters:

  • What stood out to you this week?
  • Was there anything confusing or troubling?
  • Did anything make you think differently about God?
  • How might this change the way we live?

These gathering will include up to 12 participants. We are looking for those who are willing to host a group. And though we will have facilitators, actually everyone in the group will play the role of facilitator as each participates in the discussions.

It is our privilege to have Rev. Paul Caminiti from Tyndale to kick-off our Bible reading experience on Sunday, May 5. We will have a time after worship to meet with Paul and learn about hosting and facilitating and how to form groups. This is an exciting time in the life of Desert Palms and I hope everyone is praying about their participation.



Last Published: April 12, 2019 10:38 AM
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