What’s Next?

I was in a prayer meeting in Binghamton when the vision and idea for The River Walk was born. This was way back in September way back in 2012. I had moved back to Binghamton in large part to join a team planting Two Rivers Church. I and that church have gone our separate ways but we all had no idea how strong God’s blessing on that church (which I still consider my home or “sending” church) and on this devotional would be. Two Rivers Binghamton NY, although not yet born would grow to over five hundred people and give birth to more churches located in Cortland NY, Endicott NY, Corning NY, Amsterdam NY, and Gaziantep, Turkey.

The River Walk devotional, what you are reading right now, just a few days ago passed over 600,000 views. It has also recently reached 25,600 subscribers. Currently, there are 1,219 posts on file and this devotional has literally been read in virtually every country on the planet. My last two holdouts: Cuba and North Korea were finally hit this summer. The other 300+ countries that WordPress trackers recognize were all hit a good two years ago.

Most of the time I (and occasionally others) have been writing on here, there has been a very specific format: Each day a scripture is pulled from the One Year Bible’s daily reading. Then launching from that scripture you will find four segments: Read, Relate, React, Respond. Many of you might recognize these four portions as a variation of the popular devotional SOAP method (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer). Yes, this was intentional. The two major variations to this format have been the 25 songs of Christmas posts done each of the last three Decembers and also in 2014 we walked through the book of John rather than using the OYB.

This year has been an incredibly challenging year for me with regards to my life outside The River Walk. For privacy and security reasons I will not go into specifics but life here in Turkey as one of God’s Sent One’s (we don’t use the “M” word) has been far more time consuming than in the past. Many of you might have noticed that probably 70-80% of the posts made in ’18 were recycled from the previous two years with some editing or updating made when it called for it. This was not intentional, but I just did not have the time resources to invest here as much as I would like. By the summer time was drawing to a close, I was seriously considering closing the doors on The River Walk for good. From September until mid-December I took a “sabbatical”. Even though there were no posts created during that time, I was still getting nearly 100 views a day. That told me that even if nothing new is ever created here, just keeping the doors open will be a blessing through all that has already been written.

So what happens next? In 2019, I will keep using my 4 R format, but I will be pulling from a different source. If I were to use the One Year Bible, I would either end up skipping over a good chunk of the days or I would be recycling more posts. That’s already been done. Instead, I’ll be walking through the New Testament in the order the books were written. My goal will be to write three times a week rather than daily but this way nothing will be skipped. Also, there’s a good chance that what I am doing here will also parallel what I might be sharing in small groups (currently on Thursdays) or preaching on Sundays. If so, don’t be surprised when some of the devotionals tend to run a lot longer than the normal 500-700 words you have been used to.

Thank you for all who have subscribed and have been reading The River Walk faithfully over the years. It is humbling to know that God has taken my humble attempts at knowing and sharing Him more and flung them to the far corners of this earth. Thank you even more to those who have regularly (or occasionally) clicked the Paypal button on the right. A fragment of that has helped to pay the renewal fees on this site (and Kingdom’s Collide). Far more, your giving has helped to bless the local Syrian and Iranian refugee churches here in Gaziantep. On their behalf, I say a deep and heartfelt thank you. Even more, thank you to those who have kept me and the ministry here in Turkey and back in Binghamton in your prayers. What has been happening is not through our efforts or strategies, but the amazing, unearned blessing of God and that blessing is loosed through the prayers of His saints. So please, keep on reading. If God leads you to do so, keep on giving. But I beg and plead for you all, even if you never read a word or give a dime, to keep on praying. The gospel will continue to go out here in Gaziantep and through The River Walk to the far reaches of this earth. But that gospel needs to be bathed in prayer to continue to be effective. There are more and greater things in store. See you on the other side of ’19.

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14 thoughts on “What’s Next?

  1. This is the chronological order of the NT books I will be using along with the approximate years I believe they were written. Although this is my own list, I think it fits fairly well with what most serious NT scholars would say. Feel free to comment or nitpick but outside overwhelming evidence, I don’t think it will change.

    James 48
    1 Thessalonians 51
    Galatians 52
    2 Thessalonians 52
    1 Corinthians 55
    2 Corinthians 56
    Romans 57
    Mark 60
    Philemon 61
    Philippians 61
    Colossians 61
    Ephesians 62
    Matthew 62
    Luke 63
    1 Timothy 63
    Acts 63
    Titus 64
    1 Peter 64
    2 Timothy 65
    2 Peter 66
    Hebrews 67
    Jude 69
    John 86
    1 John 90
    3 John 91
    2 John 91
    Revelation 92

    • Hi, my name is Peter. I noticed on your site that you have no posts concerning the Gospel of Thomas (as far as I could see). I read your post, What’s Next on The River Walk. You mentioned what you will be doing in the new year. Before you begin with the New Testament writing, I would like you (for your sake and not mine) to read all my posts (Part 1 to Part 9). I believe they will save you a lot of grief in the future. John + Thomas refers to the Gospel according to John (the true/sealed words) which is not a Christian writing plus the Gospel according to Thomas (the secret words which formed the Sayings) which is not a gnostic writing. When you have read these posts and you find the information difficult to believe, you will find in one of my posts my research website address containing all my research material (approx. twenty-five years worth). As you will see, I have covered every word which is contained in both these Gospels. I also deal with the synoptic Gospels and the writings of the Old Testament. It’s time to see everything as One as it was meant to be from the Beginning to the End. Now you will see and know the true End according to an eyewitness. The Lord my God wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks Peter.

      • Thank you Peter for your thoughtful post. I do not write on Thomas simply because here on The River Walk, I am focusing on scripture. While TGoT makes for interesting reading (and yes, I have read it), it does not qualify as scripture.

        For a writing to be counted as scripture, as part of the canon of the Bible, it has to meet four criteria: 1) It has been preserved by God. Paul wrote at least one other letter to the Corinthian church and certainly more letters to other churches as well, but none of them would meet this point. 2) It is apostolic in origin. It was written by, or through the direct testimony of an apostle. 3) It was universally accepted by the early church. When Christians saw it in the first second or third century, they recognized it as scripture. 4) It is in doctrinal harmony with other scripture.

        The Gospel of Thomas fits #1 but certainly not #3 and #4 and arguably not #2 as well. Like I said, I do believe it makes for some interesting reading and if I do get a chance, I will check out what you have posted. But Thomas is not scripture. The River Walk concerns itself with scripture.

        • Thank you for your reply. Please take the time to read Parts 1 through 9. As you will see, my focus is on the Gospel according to John. The only reason I also work with the Gospel of Thomas is because the Gospel of John is the source from which the Gospel of Thomas was created. Read the posts and then you will know what recreating John + Thomas is all about. As you will see, I do deal with scripture. It’s all based on scripture. Let me know if there is anything contained in my posts that you might be able to challenge. But first read the posts otherwise you have judged a book by its cover. Peter

  2. Well BJ, the extent to which God has used your ministry is amazing and as I am sure that many others will attest to, the daily bread that you provide is indeed food that we thrive on. You and your ministry are daily in my prayers and as God leads me, I will assist you in the future as I did do in the past. I am so glad that you have decided to continue on with THE RIVER WALK and I really am looking forward to the 2019’s posts. May our Lord richly bless you and the work that you do in His name. Grace and blessings – Bruce

  3. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”-Rom 10:15

    Continue God’s work. Happy New Year 2019

  4. I look forward to what you will be writing in the new year, just as I have been blessed by that which you have written previously. Prayers are being raised to our Lord for blessing on you and the ministry, both physically and through the blog. Reaching countries around the globe for the Lord and His message is a miracle and a blessing for which i am truly grateful. Happy 2019!

  5. Thanks for the background of your posts and your journeys. I have been reading your blog for a year or two and praying for you. Now I know more specifically how to pray. May God bless your M. endeavors richly as you work in a difficult place!

  6. Riverwalk, you are an encouragement to me as I read your blogs I feel uplifted spiritually as well as in my writing. As a blogger it is encouraging to see your blog doing so well, especially as a Christian wanting to serve in an area that God has gifted me in. Thank you so much for continuing.

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