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Read the Bible in 2015

2015 is three days away! 

This is that time we tend to redo or accumulate plans for the new year: financial budgets, diets, exercise regimes, even plans to take a vacation later in the year.

Just about the only thing we don’t plan for is our spiritual life! But if there is anything more important to the Christian, it is the health of their inner being. The apostle Paul once said that “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come” (1 Tim 4:8, NLT).

The Bible speaks a lot about planning. By all means, get physically fit. Plan a good budget. And find time to rest with your family, or get away. But don’t forget the part of you that needs the most care.

Make a plan to feed your spirit!

One of the most basic and far-reaching ways to do this is to be in the Word of God daily. I give an extensive sermon about the value of God’s Word here. In fact, the prophet Jeremiah was so sustained by the Scriptures, that he compared them to food: “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer. 15:16). Jesus would take this even farther, saying that God’s Word was able to sustain us even more than bread (Matt 4:4).

We may find this agreeable. But if you’re like me, it doesn’t just happen automatically. There are too many other things in our lives that want to compete with our spiritual well being. That’s why we need to have a plan. And for some of you, it may help to have a little bit of structure for reading the Bible.

Here is the whole Bible broken up into quarters for readability:

January – March.

April – June.

July – September.

October – December.

Every day it will take you through portions of the Old Testament and portions of the New Testament. You don’t have to use this for your “spiritual plan,” but if it helps, by all means use it!

There will probably be times when you skip a day or two, or ten.

When that happens, it’s easy to feel guilty about missing chapter readings, and fall even farther behind trying to catch up. Inevitably, people stop reading all together because they are discouraged. Please don’t let this happen to you! It is not about reading every single word, or filling out a quota, or saying you read the whole Bible.

This Bible reading plan is about posturing yourself in the presence of God to receive from His words!

So if you skip a day here and there, or fall behind, it’s ok! Don’t try to catch up, just take it back up where you left off. The point of all this is not perfection, but consistently opening up the Scriptures. After a year of training yourself to hear and read God’s word, your life will be significantly transformed. But it’s hard to do that sometimes, isn’t it?

That’s why we need a plan for our spiritual lives going into 2015. If you need one, I hope this will bless you next year!

Again, click here for the first quarter of the Bible reading series.

Discovering Christ ~ part 1

Reality Santa Barbara is hosting a four-week class that I am teaching on studying and understanding the Bible. This video is the introduction. If you missed the first class, or are far away, but want to deepen your understanding of God’s Word, join in with us and watch the video! You can find the attached notes on our website.

Using hashtags to bring Scripture into community

I posted three reasons Christians should use Twitter, as well as a litany of resources and links for how to tweet better.

Today I want to talk about how we can use Twitter hashtags as a way of fulfilling Paul’s command to let the “word of Christ richly dwell within” us as a community.

Many of us are reading through the Bible together in one year (You can get all relevant information, including the one year pamphlet PDF here, and we’re excited about it! What may seem disconnected is the “together” aspect of reading through the Bible. Obviously, we’re in different parts of California, and, well…I’m not coming over to your living room every morning to go through a minor prophet.

But in an age where technology allows people all over the world to be unified on current events as diverse as the Occupy Wall Street movement to the downfall of a regime, why not use (redeem?) the same technology to unify each other in the living word of God? What if I didn’t have to come over to your living room for a Bible study, yet we had access to each others devotional insights and well as theological quandaries?

Twitter hashtags allow scattered people to converse with one another.

Try it for yourself. Do a Twitter search on a niche hashtag like #Millennials.

What popped up? An endless list of content regarding Millennials! People all over the world are pumping out blog posts, articles, and Retweets about 18-30 year olds, and they “brand” their content with the hashtag #Millennials. That means anyone who searches for that hashtag will pull up a stream of that content.

Imagine reading through the Bible together while creating a collaborative environment for it on Twitter.

This would mean that a continual stream of Scriptural content would be produced by THIS community of people for THIS community of people! (depending on how many people chose to give it a shot)

How do we start?

Very easy.

All of us begin to tweet questions, insights, or quotes about our daily readings, while include the hashtag #1YearBible” at the end of the tweet. Check out what it already looks like by clicking on the stream here.

What do you think? Want to experience the Word together? Absolutely I do.

1 Year Bible!

Our church is going through the Bible in a year starting in January. I don’t use exclamation points in my writing often, but last night at Adorn (college/young adults), I asked if anyone was going through the 1 Year Bible reading, and a couple hundred people responded! Gahhh, I can’t wait!!

There is something riveting about reading Scripture in community. I think Paul had this in mind when he exhorts to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another” (Col. 3:16). I can gladly imagine so many of us digging into the Word of God, mining the depth of his thoughts, and retrieving treasure beyond comparison to speak about to one another.

Of course, the Bible is a big book, and there are some difficult areas to navigate. I say this, because if you are unaware of how or what to navigate, this journey can quickly grow tedious. We will have to keep consistent, frequent conversation with one another about the readings, including questions, dialog, insights, prophetic, etc. I want to extend the invitation to read through Scripture to any of you who do not attend Adorn, to be bound together with us by the Word of Christ instead of proximity.

Let’s start the conversation now, shall we? Below is a short outline of the Bible, Old Testament first, followed by the New Testament. These are compartments of Scripture that will help us to digest the whole…

Old Testament

  • Pentateuch (1st five books of the Old Testament, aka O.T.)
  • History of Israel (1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Chronicles, 1&2 Kings, etc)
  • Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel)
  • Minor Prophets (The twelve short books at the end of the OT)
  • Poetry (Psalms, Songs, Lament)
  • Wisdom Literature (Proverbs, Eccless, etc)

New Testament

  • Gospels (The first five accounts of Jesus’ life in the New Testament)
  • History of the church (The book of Acts, chronicling the beginnings of a worldwide movement)
  • Letters to the church (epistles by Paul, Peter, James, and John)
  • Apocalypse (John’s vision, also known as Revelation)

When you see these soaring themes, what comes to mind? What do you think about? What do you struggle with? What are you excited about? What are you most looking forward to? What are you most apprehensive of? What do think about all of this? Are you excited? Just talk! I want to talk to people about the Word of God!

There are bad things that come in life, and there are good. This is one of the good things. Let’s soak it up together, and in it, encounter Jesus.

Your turn.

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