In survivor training I often hear the phrase a person can only survive seconds without hope, minutes without oxygen, hours without shelter, days without water, weeks without food. Hope is essential. It is also the critical aspect of the Rapture. Paul tells in First Thessalonians … Continue reading You can survive seconds without hope
In a conversation with a friend about deconstructionism, he brought up Jude’s comments that we should have mercy on the skeptic. Deconstructionism does not want to be defined, which is why it is hard to define, like playing with mercury. Skepticism is more clearly known … Continue reading Skeptic vs Deconstructionist
“Be careful criticizing the bride that Jesus died for,” said my mentor in response to a student’s criticism of a particular large church. In the not new but currently trendy challenge of deconstructionism, my mentor’s wisdom is even more profound. The intended nebulousness of defining … Continue reading Abusing Jesus and His bride
My last article dealing with the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” had interesting responses. There are some who loathed the article because of what the phrase specifically refers too. Others said they felt heard by a pastor for the first time. We should not discount pushback … Continue reading Living by faith and let’s go Brandon
Should I take a stand on public matters that are political when I am a church? This is a question, in various forms, asked of me in the last month. In my prior article on this topic, found here, I address areas where repentance is … Continue reading Engage: Solutions to getting involved
Should I take a stand on public matters that are political when I am a church? This is a question, in various forms, asked of me in the last month. Many pastors are challenged by the issues of our day. Should stances be made in … Continue reading Engage: Repent from apathy or neglect
We are forgetting that the Gospel is the solution. We too often treat the Gospel as a side issue, even though the current buzz states the Gospel is central. The questions we are asking right now is how do we live justly? The cycle of … Continue reading Lost, stuck, and the way out
A phrase I use often in conversations is: That doesn’t pass the 1 Corinthians 13 test. Love wants, compels, and requires us to work. What we want with the concept of love is a Hallmark moment. Love does not work that way. If we want … Continue reading Love wants work, we want flowers.
In a first world nation, particularly our own, we have not often faced our mortality up front and personally. When that happens it significantly disrupts how we process things. Our prosperity, overly busy lifestyles, and brushing aside all things pointing to death leave us Ill-equipped … Continue reading Why faith is needed
On occasion the Holy Spirit, whose operations are mysterious no doubt, taps you on the shoulder. The tap is often a kind way of saying you need to do something different or correctly. This occurred when on a spiritual retreat. I wanted to try something different by reading through the whole Bible in one week. Right up from I got a tap on the shoulder that I was reading it wrong. Here are some things that stood out when going through the whole book.
You’re likely not the hero
We like to identify with the protagonist in the story, and not the mob. Chances are very good that we’d be like the mob. Reading through the Bible will break you and it will challenge whatever perspective of the Bible you hold. Rather than asking how people in the Bible could make the mistakes they make, ask yourself how you could make those same mistakes. Why? Because we do. The Bible was written to people like you in me. Different time and culture, but many of the same challenges.
Scope and Sequence
In reading through the Bible in a week, aim to see the big picture of what is going on. Speed read it. The win isn’t details, it’s the big picture. If something catches your attention, flag it to study later. In hitting the New Testament I suggest this order: Matthew, Hebrews, Galatians, Revelation, and then the rest in order. Coming fresh off the Old Testament, those books in the New Testament will make a TON more sense. But first, pray and tell God that you’re going to listen and keep you mouth shut. Bible reading is ultimately about listening to God. For me, the process took about 6-8 hours of 216ish pages a day.
Reading from beginning to end is interesting. Genesis carries a lot more weight than we realize, as do the first five books. God’s standard is perfection in every sense of that term. This is massive when suddenly in the New Testament Jesus touches people who were forbidden in the temple. The prophets will depress you. Even heroic moments ultimately become let downs. But before that lets you down, there are the writings. Those books show how things can be done. Psalms is a pain to read. Great content, but repetition of various phrases make it challenging reading. The Gospels are a breath of fresh air! The New Testament carries common themes from the Old, but Jesus gives TONS of up. Things move ahead.
Reading through the Gospel makes you VERY thankful for the Gospel. Without the Gospel we are very stuck. What is also amazing is how gracious and merciful God is throughout the entire Bible. The mean curmudgeon feeling we associate with God in the Old Testament isn’t there. God is truly the loving father who doesn’t give up on his family, even when his family abuses or takes advantage of him.
The key message from God nearly always been an old story of hundreds if not thousands of years old. We ask the question of why we should listen to a book that is 2,000 years old. But that comment could easily be made in Noah’s day, Abraham’s, Moses’, Davids, and Jesus’ day. But given this span of time, God’s Word became more and more fulfilled…literally.
You are loved
A repeated phrase throughout the Bible is God’s love endures forever. It is a major theme in the Bible. If God chose to orient himself with humanity through the lens of justice, we would not exist. Instead God chose the lens of grace and mercy. A BIG reason for the chaos we live in now is God wants you to be a part of his family. God willingly endures what he hates to get what he most loves, and that is you. God doesn’t give up on those he loves.
The bottom line:
Take the time to read through the whole Bible as fast as you can. It may seem intimidating, but it is very refreshing. While it will break you, scare you, it will also leave you feeling incredibly loved. Ultimately the Bible is about God revealing himself and being available to us all. Even when we try to run from him.