Category Archives: Spirituality

6 Ways to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth

Read the Bible
Read the Bible

A few weeks ago I shared with you a practical way to engage the word of God on a regular basis. Today, I’d like to give you 6 ways to read the Bible for all it’s worth. These steps aren’t everything you can do, but they will be helpful to you living a life of being impacted by God’s Word. Let’s begin!

  1. Get a plan – You need some type of Bible reading plan. The good news is that there are a million plans and they are easily available. You can get some here. Get a plan, and follow it. I recommend downloading the YouVersion app for both Apple and Android phones or tablets.
  2. Read regularly – Reading the Word of God daily is a pattern of life that we need. Man does not live by bread alone verse. You need regular food everyday. Your soul needs spiritual food every day.
  3. Journal what God speaks to you – This is what I mentioned a few weeks ago. Reading is good, but writing about what you have read is better! It improves memory retention and gives you a written record of what God is speaking to you. It leads me to the next step.
  4. Return and review your journal – From time to time, it’s a good idea to go back and review what God has spoken to you. For this reason, I love the program Evernote. I copy and paste what I read directly into Evernote and add in my thoughts during the journaling portion. I can easily search my notes by date, keyword, or tag. It’s good to be reminded of God’s words to us!
  5. Get a focus – I have read through the Bible around twenty times in my life. I will continue to do more. A couple of those times I have read through it with a particular focus. I don’t do this all the time, but every once in a while it can be extremely helpful. One year I read the Bible while focusing on the word/concept grace. My eyes were opened to God’s incredible love as I read the Bible that year through that filter.
  6. Change it up – From time to time, change your Bible reading plan. Reading the Bible a variety of different ways will keep your interest, maintain your focus, energize your comprehension, and much more.

These are just six ways! There are many more. Got some to add?

Feel free to add them in the comments!

Why You Should Watch “Noah”, the Movie

I must start by saying that I still have yet to see the movie.

You might be wondering, “How can you tell me to go see a movie that you haven’t seen?”

First, I do plan on seeing it. Second, I have read articles, blogs, and even Facebook posts by people who have seen it. I’ve talked to people who saw the movie. Third, my perspective today is NOT a review of the movie. Rather, it is a perspective about what the movie means for us as believers who are on mission.

Let me make one thing clear: If you are a follower of Jesus, this post is geared towards you.

I have heard many Christians lament the fact that Noah does not represent the bible accurately. They talk about how there are many extra-biblical or unbiblical elements in the movie.

There is an important distinction to be made. “Extra-biblical” is different than “unbiblical”. There is much tradition to including elements not found in the Bible in order to bring color and perspective to the stories in the Bible. This is what I call “extra-biblical”. This has the potential to be powerful and effective. Something that is unbiblical, however, would go directly against the content and the purpose of the story in the Bible.

Now, I’m sure that you, my reader, could debate your point of view about the movie, especially if you have seen it. That is not the goal of this post (but your comments are welcome)!

Here is why I encourage you to see the movie: because the world is watching it. It earned over $40 million in its first weekend. This most likely includes friends and family members of yours. And it quite possibly will include people you know who do not yet know Jesus.

There are many movies that have good morals. Others that do not. But it is not every day that we get a movie seen by millions of people that ALSO claims some type of connection to the Bible. Whether that connection is good or bad, it is still a connection.

We, as believers, are called to be on mission, bringing the light and life of Jesus to the world around us. By seeing this movie, you have the perfect opportunity to engage those who don’t know Jesus in conversation about the real story of Noah.

You might think, “Well, sure, but I don’t have to see the movie to talk about the Noah story from the Bible with those who don’t believe”. True, but you would be missing something important: truth is found in the conversation, not just the presentation. Would you rather engage in a conversation with a person, or simply present what you believe to be truth, hoping that they might agree with you?

Watch the movie, then use it as a tool to engage others about the amazing, loving, grace-filled God that you and I believe in. That’s what I plan to do.

6 Reasons Why You Should Fast

A few days ago, I began a 40 day fast along with my church family. I’m so proud of my two older kids who have also joined in the fast!

I wanted to give a few reasons why I believe fasting is helpful for those who do it. Fasting helps us to…

1. Create healthy habits. Over time, it is easy to fall into habits that are unhealthy in multiple areas of our lives. Emerging into a fast causes us to reevaluate those very habits and gives us the opportunity to bring order where disorder has existed.

2. Deepen our dependency on God. A true fast removes things from our lives that are impossible to live (at least for long) without. This is why fasting food is so important. When we fast something that we not only desire, but need, our only choice is to depend on God for strength.

3. Reorder our priorities. On occasion, we lose sight of the things that are truly important. When we spend time to fast and pray, we get a renewed understanding of those things that are important in our lives.

4. Create sensitivity to God. When we are stressed, tired, lonely, or angry, we tend to be more sensitive. While many times this sensitivity leads us to do negative things, the opposite can be said about fasting. When we fast and go without, we are definitely sensitive. But, this sensitivity leads us to Jesus, rather than further away.

5. Transform our hearts. When we are sensitive to God and depend more on him, we create space in our lives for God to work inside of us. Have you been dealing with major hurts or pain? Addictions? Negative thoughts? Doubts or fears? Fasting is a powerful way to let God transform us from the inside out.

6. Disconnect from distractions. In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with things that compete for our attention. There is not enough time each day to pay attention to all the information and stimuli that is available to us. When we fast, we have the opportunity to disconnect from those distractions and to connect to that which is most important.

Do you have other reasons why you believe it’s good to fast? Feel free to share!

Talent or Trust?

There are lots of talented people in the world.

Then, there are others who are not as talented.

I don’t know in which category you consider yourself to be in.

Some people believe that those who are talented don’t need much from God, since God has apparently given them enough already. Some people who are extremely talented even believe that!

The rest of humanity who is not as talented believes they have to trust God to help them. After all, what other choice do they have?

I came across an interesting story found in the Bible. It’s about three tribes of Israel who went to war.

1 Chronicles 5:18-20

18 There were 44,760 capable warriors in the armies of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. They were all skilled in combat and armed with shields, swords, and bows. 19 They waged war against the Hagrites, the Jeturites, the Naphishites, and the Nodabites. 20 They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him. So the Hagrites and all their allies were defeated.

I love what this short story tells us. It is completely possible to be immensely talented, yet still put our full trust in God.

The truth is that God will take us where our talents cannot. It is good to be skilled. It is better to trust in God.

Let’s choose today to use our talents and to trust in God.

That is what leads to success. That makes all the difference.