Several of us committed to read the Bible all the way through in 2015. If you are in that group, did you make it? If you are not in that group, is there someone you know who participated? We used the “Chronological Bible,” a reorganization of every verse of scripture according to the order of biblical events. It has been a fascinating journey through scripture, and now that it’s complete, I’d like to offer a couple of reflections on the process. Continue reading
Hypocrisy and “Thanksgetting”
Today’s Chronological Bible reading includes this verse, Romans 2:24, from the New Living Translation:
No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
There’s a problem among Christians, especially in North America, and that problem goes by a one-word name: hypocrisy. Echoing the words of Romans, it is no wonder that people outside Christianity have no room for God in their lives, especially when Christians are so adept at saying one thing but doing another. Continue reading
Letting Scripture Breathe
What are you reading in the Bible these days? What is your routine? Do you read a lot, or a little? We can get tied up in a lot of questions like these when we think about our spiritual lives.
Here’s a different sort of question to ask yourself: Where does scripture breathe into your life? Continue reading
Quit Making Excuses
“Let the dead bury their own dead!” – Jesus
We live in a culture of sound bites. Our attention spans are incredibly short, and if a story doesn’t catch our attention in the first couple of seconds, we move on. But sometimes we need to listen more carefully to what is being said. Continue reading
The End … and The Beginning
Today marks an important day in our reading of the Chronological Bible. After almost nine months of reading, we have come to the end of the Old Testament. What began on January 1 with the words “In the beginning” has now concluded with Joel’s final thought:
“I, the LORD, will make my home in Jerusalem with my people.” (Joel 3:21 NLT)
Let’s pause to consider the journey of the past nine months. Continue reading
Sheerah or She-Ra?
Do you remember She-Ra? She was a fictional cartoon character created in the 1980s to counterbalance another character called He-Man. (They are related very similarly to how Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa are related, if that helps.) She-Ra was known for her immense strength and for her incredible intelligence; often she defeated her enemies with quick wits rather than aggressive action. She-Ra was known as the “Princess of Power” and “The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe.” Not bad, right?
He had a daughter named Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah. (1 Chronicles 7:24 NLT)
Today’s Chronological Bible reading includes this one verse which, like many others, is easy to glance over and ignore. But perhaps we should pause to reflect on it! Continue reading
It Matters How You Read the Bible
A couple of Sundays ago, we watched the movie “Left Behind” (starring Kirk Cameron, from 2000) as part of our “Faith and Film” series. Our lively and interesting discussion after the film left me thinking about an important issue:
How do you go about reading the Bible? That is, what do you expect to find when you open the Bible’s pages?
Our expectations of scripture have a tremendous influence on our discoveries in it. Continue reading
On Racial and Religious Reconciliation
“But, God, they’re not like me! They come from a different place and worship differently than I do!”
Yet God says, “Take a look around yourself. Pay attention to the people you meet. Watch what I’m doing. And be ready to change your mind and your behavior when you see what I’m up to.” Continue reading
Hear and Forgive
When you pray, how do you expect God to respond to your prayer?
Once upon a time, when the Israelites completed the temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon offered a prayer of dedication. This prayer is recorded in two different Old Testament books (1 Kings 8:22-53 and 2 Chronicles 6:12-42). Solomon’s prayer reflects his desire for God to keep the nation strong for many years to come. Yet it contains clues about how the ancient Israelites thought about prayer – clues which can influence how we pray today. Continue reading
Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.
When I was a math teacher, one thing I taught frequently was the “order of operations” – the rules of the language of math. The mnemonic device to remember these rules is the word “PEMDAS,” which stands for “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” In math-speak, “PEMDAS” means “Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication & Division, Addition & Subtraction.” You always do parentheses before exponents, and so on. Continue reading