Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One Year Bible, Week 2

This week, the blueletterbible.org chronological reading plan had me reading in Job. So far, I've read thru chapter 31, and looking back, I've found one thing for sure: Job's friends are jerks.

In Christian apologetics, we are taught to always give a reason for the hope that we have, and to do so with gentleness and respect, and that the ultimate goal is to win the person. Unfortunately, well-meaning Christians often will strive to win the argument at all cost, including at the expense of the person who they are trying to win. And this is the script that Job's friends followed.

Often people will jump straight to the end conclusion that Job's friends are jerks and have no sympathy for Job. But I don't think they intended to end up in the conversation they had. After Job lost everything- his wealth, his children, his health- his friends showed an amazing level of compassion towards Job by sitting on the ground with him for SEVEN days and nights in silence! I can't even imagine sitting still with some one for a single day, let alone 7 days!

The text doesn't tell us, but its possible that they were fasting during this time for their tragedy-strucken friend, who they apparently cared for deeply. But somewhere along the way, they forgot their love for Job, and felt like it was their duty to play God in Job's life and tell Job to repent of his many sins. After all, (in their mind) only the rebellious sinner suffers in this life, not the righteous....

There's a lot for us to be learned here. Probably the biggest thing I came away with is that when people are hurting or grieving, they don't need to hear your words as much as they need to feel that you care. Often a friends mere presence in our time of grief speaks volumes about how much they love us.

There is a time to talk through the questions and emotions, and when that time comes, don't follow the lead of Job's friends. If it is more important for you to be right than to grieve with your friend, then you will inevitably accomplish your goal to win the argument, and not the person.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Authentic Christian community requires faith

Acts 4:32-35
"All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.  There were no needy persons among them.  For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."

I read this passage this morning and couldn't help thinking how awesome it would be to live amongst believers who lived like this. A spoken faith backed up by action. I guess that's the true measure of faith any way. Praying that God would open the eyes of my heart so that I can see where he's calling me, moving me, burdening me for His Church, His Name, and His purposes. Praying also that God would do the same for you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

O.Y.B. - Week 1: Ham, Creation, and Snipes

I've finished the first 4 days of my chronological reading plan, which covered Genesis chapters 1-11, and has me reading Job chapters 1-5 today (haven't finished yet...). A lot of ground is covered in these first 11 chapters: the creation account, the fall of man (enter: sin), growth of the human population, Noah and the ark, and the Tower of Babylon. There is also a mess of genealogies in these chapters, filled with names, most of which i cannot pronounce, and have a little difficulty keeping track of who beget who, which lineage is blessed, and which one is cursed-- i'm sure Ham really appreciated his Dad Noah for that, even though it was Noah's fault that he got drunk and decided to strip down and pass out in his tent...

One thing that I need to wrestle with is the 7 day creation account. In college, I had read most of John MacArthur's "Battle for the Beginning", which makes a strong case for a literal 7 day creation. This was my view,  though recently, I am considering other options that I was unaware of before, as offered by Hank Hannegraff with the Christian Research Institute (Bible Answer Man, equip.org). From my listening to his radio program, I gather that there is evidence to believe that the writer did not intend for the 7 day account to be literal, but figurative. Not sure where i stand on this, but hope to dig into this at some point and see where the evidence leads.

Random thought: Noah was on the ark for 150 days with his family and all the animals. I'm curious what everyone had to eat during that time... Don't remember seeing the answer to that question, but have to wonder if there were a few species that didn't make it off the boat because a gator or a lion got the munchies... maybe that's what happened to snipes? anyways, i guess that's just some food for thought... man that's bad :)

FINALLY! One Year Bible Plan has begun!

I've been meaning to post about my goal of reading through the Bible in a year, and haven't been able to carve out some time until now. So, here we go! I've read through the new testament letters many times, and most of the Gospels. I've also read from Genesis through 1 Chronicles, Proverbs, and all the Minor Prophets. But, I've never read ALL of the Bible, let alone in one year. So I've decided to do so for 2010.

I have found a great resource for mapping out a plan to read through the Bible in a year - http://www.youversion.com/. It has numerous different reading plan options, tracks your progress, and can also be set up to email you or someone else to provide you accountability - pretty slick! What's even better is that now they have synchronized the online version with the mobile version, so you can update your progress from your phone!

So anyways, I plan to use this blog during my reading to update my progress, to keep me accountable to my goal, and more importantly note anything i found to be significant to me at the time, questions i had, or whatever else that may relate to my reading for the day. I've set my start date to January 7th, and will finish on December 31, 2010 and am reading through based on a chronological reading plan by blueletterbible.org (http://www.blueletterbible.org/reader/daily/#plan4).

Hope you'll join me and read along, or read another plan at another pace that suits your needs. At the end of the day, the point is not to merely to just read the Bible, but to be transformed by it, so that we put into practice what it says.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"All of life comes down to just one thing..."

"...and that's to know You, oh Jesus, and to make you known." - Charlie Hall, "One Thing"

It's not about your job, your title, your success, or how much you make.
It's not about your wife, your kids, your family, or the memories you've made.
It's not about the size of your home, your car, your toys, or where you live.
It's not about the places you've been, or the things you've done, the things you can do, the things you've seen, or what you've accomplished.

IT... is about knowing Jesus and to make Him known

It's not about the size of your church, how "good" your pastor is, the books you read, or the sermons you've heard.
It's not about how much you know about God, the Bible, Christianity, or other faiths.
It's not about the faith of your mom, your dad, your pastor, your friend.
It's not about your faith either.

IT... is about knowing Jesus and to make Him known

These many things are not bad things, but chasing after many things will keep you from the one thing we all need: Jesus. 
3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.  (1 John 1:3-6, NIV)
We will never know true contentment, true peace, and true joy until our life's end purpose is to know Him and to make Him known.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
To have the One Thing, you must abandon pursuit of the many things. The many things will keep you from the One Thing.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.  (Matt. 13:44-46, NIV)
"All of life comes down to just one thing, and that's to know You oh Jesus, and to make you known."