By Ps Ng Zhiwen
We are nearing the end of our journey through the book of Zechariah (Z). I won’t ask you to rate how difficult (or ‘cheem’) this book is – we all know it is hard. But I’d ask you how much you’ve learned about the Lord (perhaps on a score of A to Z!), and what exactly it is that you’ve learned through this book.
Some days back (on 5th May), I sat down with a young man at Vivocity Kopitiam. His church had also recently studied Z. We could both relate to the bewilderment that Zechariah the prophet must have felt when he received those visions and oracles from the Lord. “What are these, my lord?” he would ask the angel. We’d wondered that many times before!
At the same time, we both could not hide our excitement about the message of Z. My friend’s church has a strong culture of anticipating our LORD’s return. I could sense it in the way he spoke of ‘that day’. I for my part have been drawing much encouragement from the book of Z – it’s a book full of good news.
But we had to work through the bewilderment. Let me share what has helped me discover God’s message better. The preaching team met for a retreat to read through the book and figure out its main message and structure. Every week we’d meet to review the sermons that have been preached, and briefly discuss the sermons that are yet to come. I listen to what my preaching team colleagues have to say; there’s much to gain from learning in community.
And then there’s the Get Through the Sermon series. This series has attempted to address a simple question: How can we get more from hearing God’s Word? Many of us struggle to retain much of what was preached after the service is over. But what if we had not just one but multiple ‘learning moments’ on the same portion of God’s Word?
There are 4 learning moments: First of course there is the sermon (and the immediate response to it). Then there’s individual homework to be done (think of it as a guided extended quiet time with the Lord). Then we’d gather in a small group to discuss one another’s responses to the homework, before receiving some teaching to help tie things together. With these learning (or should we say discipleship) moments, God-willing we get even deeper into His word and so know Him even more.
As I write this, a group of us had just completed the Z series, with a study of its last 2 chapters. I’m keen to hear from others what they have gained through this series. There’s enough conviction that there should be another series for when we preach through the book of Revelation (starting in August); The question is how to do it better.
For now, I’m grateful for the journey, and like my friend I’m longing more and more for Jesus to return, and be King of all the earth (Zech. 14:9).
Note: I’d love to hear what you have learned from Zechariah. Do share by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or WhatsApp (9092-6095).