How do you read the Bible?

https://salemnet.vo.llnwd.net/media/cms/CW/faith/39891-HolyBible-Bible-read-ThinkstockPhotos-585291064.1200w.tn.jpgHow do you read the Bible?

Are you following a plan to read the whole thing in one year? That’s a real commitment and I applaud you for it. This kind of reading can be valuable in helping you see the overarching flow of scripture.

Do you follow a devotional guide of some kind, where someone chooses a few verses and applies it to your daily life? This, too, has merit. This is probably especially valuable if you are new to reading the Bible. Having someone guide you to certain passages and then asking you to think about them and what they mean can be very helpful.

Or maybe you dig deep into the text. You study it. You read commentaries to learn the historical context, search the original languages to pull out every nuance of every word. This is valuable and will help you really know the scriptures.

I don’t know, maybe you never open the book. Maybe you read it at church, off the screen, and that’s about it. I suppose that’s better than nothing.

There are many different ways to approach the Bible, and almost all have something to offer.

Sometimes, though, I’m afraid we forget one important thing about the Bible. There is something that makes it truly unique. It really is different from any other book you will ever read.

It is not primarily a history book, although it contains some important historical information.

It is not primarily a science book, although it tells us of a reasonable world where scientific inquiry is possible.

It’s not primarily a book of comfort, advice and wisdom, although men and women throughout the ages have found and continue to find all three within its pages.

What it is, is God’s story. You read it to get to know God. I don’t mean to get to know things about Him. You read it to get to know Him. He is a person who desires a relationship with you.

You read it to hear God speak.

“…the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” –Hebrews 4:12

Because he is God, and not just some guy, he has authority. He’s not just teaching you information you need to know. What he says to you is intended to change you. To challenge you. To mold you.

You don’t come to his word just to learn facts. You come to submit to his lordship.

This is the idea behind “God Questions.”

I invite you to join me in my daily (Monday through Friday) readings. I’ve recently taken a couple months away from the blog but I’ve been doing these for a couple years now, and I plan to start posting them again on Monday, October 2. I’d love it if you would then post what God is asking you in the comments. If you’re more of a night person, I actually post here on the blog the night before and share them on social media early the next morning.

Whatever works.

Lloyd

 

 

Weekend Picks ~ 9-29-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Review of a book that many should read who probably won’t…

How to Think in a Post-Truth WorldAndrew Wilson

Timely, because we’re currently swimming in a sea of punditry, post-truth, partisanship, and perpetual news, which seems to be making engaged thoughtfulness harder and harder. Encouraging, because in spite of all this, Jacobs is optimistic about the possibility of thinking

 

(Click here to read more about this book or to order from Amazon.)


Noteworthy…

Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite Era
Kate Shellnutt
Matt Chandler’s Village Church Ends Multisite EraThe Village Church, the multisite Texas megachurch led by Matt Chandler, will transition from several campuses across the Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex to individual autonomous churches within the next five years, leaving behind a multisite model for a deeper commitment to local ministry and church planting.


On Hugh Hefner’s legacy…

One Man’s Dream Destroyed MillionsJon Bloom
This is precisely what we humans are so prone to do: to view others, and the world, as a projection of our own fantasies. Even we Christians can lose sight of the world as a battlefield of horrific cosmic warfare, with people caught in its crossfire needing to be rescued, and see it as the place where we want our dreams — self-centered, self-serving, self-exalting, self-indulgent dreams — to come true. The more we indulge such fantasies, the more inoculated and numb we become to reality and the less urgent we feel about the real needs of other real souls…

…on the occasion of Hugh Hefner’s death, let us resolve all the more to abstain from fantasy passions of the flesh, which wage war against our souls — and not just ours but others’ souls as well (1 Peter 2:11). When we look at a woman, whether she’s Marilyn Monroe, the girl from Ipanema, a co-worker, classmate, fellow church member, another man’s wife, or our own wife, let us say to ourselves and, when needed, each other: “she is not your playmate!”


2 Lessons from a Bygone ChurchRob Tims
What we can do with our family ancestry we must do with our spiritual heritage. Our faith is not new. We come from a long line of spiritual generations, and we stand much to gain by considering their wins and losses … what they did well and where they failed … if we are to serve the Lord at least as faithfully as they did…

I see two things the church today must emulate from the first church … things that we may be ignoring today.

First, we see a church that embraced diversity, and diversity at the leadership level….

Second, we see a church that gives itself to worship and mission (not one or the other)…


Normal teenage behavior?
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Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Thursday Picks ~ 9-28-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Take some time to read what these soldiers and veterans think…

With Liberty and Justice for AllMarybeth Glenn
https://collisionofchurchandstate.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/flag.jpg?w=1280&h=416&crop=1Instead of listening to the opposition and constructing an argument of substance they, once again, used our heroes like pawns in a game, and when they post a picture of a grieving family they think they’ve earned the right to yell “CHECKMATE!” Disliking the protests is one thing, declaring that all those who disagree with you are unpatriotic lemmings who don’t respect our military is another – and it’s shameful…

The pressure to stay silent in the face of possibly having a loved one disagree with you or feel betrayed can be overwhelming, but despite what the angry and often hypocritical masses suggest, supporting the protesters and respecting the military are not opposing ideals…

Turns out plenty of our heroes and their enemies are on the same side… Plenty of veterans made their stance clear…


Boy, have I lived this!

Rejecting the Weekly VerdictJamie Brown
1It’s a dangerous situation for worship leaders. Every day of their week leads up and builds up to Sunday, the day of all days, the day when they stand before their congregations and, in the course of a few hours, either succeed at their job (in which case they feel like a success) or fail at their job (in which case they feel like a failure), or do OK at our job (in which case they feel just OK). It’s what I call the weekly verdict.


Always Looking, Never Wanting to FindMark Loughridge
http://rediscover.archspm.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/11/lake.jpg
What they want isn’t God, but a magic genie, an Aladdin’s lamp to rub in a crisis, who will genially disappear when he isn’t needed. Or a sense of connectedness to something greater which bigs up our own sense of self-importance without ever challenging us with our smallness and wrongness.

It’s cool to search, but the last thing many want is to find the living God, or be found by him.


Renaissance artist, or coffee? Take the quiz…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/renaissance-artist-or-coffee1.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 9-26-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Worship Is My Life, Not My RoleBob Kauflin
Leading worship starts and ends with the way I live my life, not what I do on a public platform. Encouraging others to glory in Jesus Christ is an activity that extends far beyond the twenty to thirty minutes I give to it on Sunday mornings.

But how do we realign our hearts and thoughts to that reality?


The Dying Art of DisagreementBret Stephens
Socrates quarrels with Homer. Aristotle quarrels with Plato. Locke quarrels with Hobbes and Rousseau quarrels with them both. Nietzsche quarrels with everyone. Wittgenstein quarrels with himself.

These quarrels are never personal. Nor are they particularly political, at least in the ordinary sense of politics. Sometimes they take place over the distance of decades, even centuries.

Most importantly, they are never based on a misunderstanding. On the contrary, the disagreements arise from perfect comprehension; from having chewed over the ideas of your intellectual opponent so thoroughly that you can properly spit them out.

In other words, to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.


Seven Deadly Statements By Church MembersThom Rainer
To be clear, most church members do not make these statements nor do they reflect these attitudes. But healthier church members should and must speak up when they hear other members making such destructive statements.

Otherwise, the naysayers, cartels, critics, and bullies will have their way in the church. And the church will soon cease being the church.


Just left of Centaur…
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Bizarro