Kickoff #34

Football season has started!

This past weekend as part of our 33rd wedding anniversary, we went to two football games, a high school game and a college game. The games were both competitive and our teams won both so that made them competitive and enjoyable. We both love football. Sharin probably loves it more than I do. Continue reading Kickoff #34

Do You Like the Bible?

Do you like the Bible?

I didn’t ask if you read the Bible or if you believe what the Bible says. I asked if you like the Bible. Think about that for a few seconds.

I recently discovered an author and speaker, Keith Ferrin, who suggests that many of us don’t really like the Bible. We read it out of an obligation or habit but we don’t really like it, not really. If that doesn’t apply to you or if you are completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus Christ through his love letter to you, the Bible, then there is no reason for you to read any further.

However, if you would like to see maybe a different perspective on this subject that might revolutionize your regular reading of God’s Word and your relationship with Jesus then you might just want to read a little further. It will only take a few minutes and it might just change your life.

I think I know what you are thinking, “Not another book about how to read or study the Bible!” I was skeptical myself as I do believe God’s Word will teach you what you need to know if you will spend time with it. If you were thinking that, just stay with me a few minutes and hear me out. By reading this far you did say you are not completely satisfied with your relationship with Jesus and your study of His word, the Bible.

10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believing It’s True Is Not Enough)  was the original name of the book when this post was published in 2013.

Since I wrote this post the book title has changes but the content is still the same. It is now called How To Enjoy Reading Your Bible. It is a short book. I read it in one evening. However don’t let the length fool you. There are ideas – tips – in this book that make a lot of sense to me and I plan on trying some of them myself.

I fall into that second category I described above. I do regularly read the Bible. This year I have been following a plan from YouVersion Bible App and it has helped me to regularly read the Bible. I know I have benefitted from this. However, I don’t believe I am where I should be in really liking the Bible as Keith describes in this book and in my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. I definitely do think there is room for improvement.

I have often thought about memorizing scripture but have used any number of excuses to not really act on that thought. What translation do I use being one of the questions/excuses I use. The Watch The Whole Movie chapter will help me with this. In this chapter, he says,

 He suggests reading whole books of the Bible instead of one chapter as many of us do. Once you have read the whole book a number of times you will understand what the book is about, the big picture, then you can go back and dive deeper on a chapter or verse or passage. You will also have memorized some scripture by following this tip.

I am not going to go through all of the tips here but will list them to give you an idea of what you will see in the book. I will show you a couple of ways you can get your own copy below.

Here are the chapter titles:

1 Remember Why You Are Doing This

2 Set Your Expectations Really High

3 Have a Strategy

4 Watch the Whole Movie

5 Learn from Your Shampoo Bottle

6 Raise Your Voice

7 Read Alone

8 Don’t Read Alone

9 Go on a 60-Day Adventure

10 Take Two 4-Month Challenges

I do want to highlight one more chapter here. In Chapter 1 Keith builds his case for the purpose of and hope for this book. Here is an excerpt quoted in blue.

If our time in God’s Word was primarily relational, instead of informational, then it would have a significantly higher probability of being transformational!

Is there information in Bible? Yes. Do we learn some things about God in His Word? Yes. Does spending time in the Bible lead to a better understanding of God, His will, and His ways? Yes, yes, and yes. 

But the context of that information is the relationship. The umbrella under which all that information sits is the relationship.

So…how do we keep the focus on that relationship?

And so begins the journey.

Let’s review. If you have read this far then you have admitted to yourself that your reading and study of God’s Word is not what it should be or what you want it to be and there is room for improvement. So is it worth an evening reading to see if there is a tip contained in this book to see if there is something here that will help you? I cannot answer that for you but can and do suggest it is worth a couple of hours to find out.

I would love to see your comments either now or after you have had a chance to read How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 11/09/2013

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Speak Life

Maybe I Did Learn Something In Literature Class

If your experience in school is anything like mine was, there were some classes you were required to take because they were part of your core curriculum that you thought or maybe even said, “I will never use this again after I get out of this class.” Does that ring any bells?

Well, the literature classes I was required to take in college such as English Literature and American Literature and maybe a Mythology class or two fit into that category for me. At least I thought they did at the time. You know the ones where you had to read something you didn’t want to read and then interpret it to try to match whatever the instructor thought it meant. I tended to agree with Mr. or Mrs., not sure which, Cliff since I used their notes when available.

Lately though I have been thinking maybe I learned more than I thought I did. I think songwriters today are comparable to the classical literary poets and authors of old studied in school. Maybe I learned to recognize and appreciate artistry when I see or hear it.

If you listen to music on the radio or by other means do you listen to the words of the songs?

I am old-fashioned in that when I get a new release I like to open the CD case and read the lyrics as I listen to the music the first or second time through. As a side note, even if you don’t buy music and get the CD most lyrics can be found online somewhere so you don’t have to buy the CD to be able to read the lyrics.

This ensures I am not mis-hearing any words and helps me to really understand the music. I know the melody and beat of the music is important but the lyrics are just as important, probably more important to me. I am of the old school that believes that what you put into your mind has a lot to do with your mood and outlook on everything you do. If you are listening to negative, degrading words over and over to a beat you will hear them and they will be ingrained in your sub-conscious mind and that will affect your mood and possibly your behavior. You might not even think you are listening to the words, you just like the music, but whether consciously or not your mind is hearing them.

Positive, upbeat is better than negative, explicit

So, whenever possible, I listen to positive, upbeat, encouraging songs. If any music has to have an “Explicit” label on it you will not find it in my catalog of music. I have a similar standard for comedians as well. If you can’t be funny without the vulgar, explicit language then you are just not funny. I wrote about this a while back in Adult? Language.

Because of the way I listen to music a song will often come to mind as I travel through life that speaks to me, encourages me, and makes the journey more enjoyable, or, depending on the situation, bearable.

I will be sharing some of these lyrics from time to time and hope by doing so that someone else might discover the poetry and artistry contained in many of today’s songs in ways you might not have before. It might even introduce you to some new artists that might be an encouragement to you too.

For your consideration, this song was written by Toby McKeehan, Jamie Moore, and Ryan Stevenson.

Speak Life

Some days life feels perfect, other days it just ain’t workin’ / The good, the bad, the right, the wrong, and everything in between/ It’s crazy, amazing, we can turn a heart through the words we say/ Mountains crumble with every syllable, hope can live or die

So speak life, speak life / To the darkest night / Speak life, speak life / When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why / Look into the eyes of the broken hearted / Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love / You speak life

Some days the tongue gets twisted, other days my thoughts just fall apart / I do, I don’t, I will, I won’t / It’s like I’m drowning in the deep / Well, it’s crazy to imagine words from our lips as the arms of compassion / Mountains crumble with every syllable, hope can live or die

Lift your head a little higher / Spread the love like fire / Hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say / Raise your thoughts a little higher / Use your words to inspire / Joy will fall like rain when you speak life with the things you say / Lift your head a little higher / Spread the love like fire / Hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say.

Words like that encourage me and I think they would encourage you too. It is also how I try to use my words. I am not always successful but it is a goal I strive for. This one is not too hard to interpret.

You may or may not have recognized the first author’s name.

He is more popularly known as Toby Mac

Toby Mac - Six Flags - St. Louis - July 24, 2009
Toby Mac – Six Flags – St. Louis – July 24, 2009

and this song comes from his latest release called Eye On It. I am not generally a fan of the hip-hop music genre which is one category his music usually fits into. He started out as a rapper with DC Talk. I was fortunate enough to see him in concert at Six Flags in St. Louis a little over four years ago. I was impressed by the professionalism and artistry of their live show

Toby Mac and DiverseCity – Six Flags – July 24, 2009

as well as the message in the music. There were a few of his earlier songs I did like but I was not really a Toby Mac fan until after this show. My kids were fans and now I was too. I think they were more DC Talk fans though and I am more of a Toby Mac fan.

I became an even bigger fan when I learned he was a father of five and only about 3 years younger than me. I am a father or four. I don’t know about you but when there are things I share in common with others that helps me identify with them more. He is a Christian, husband and father and I am too. We both enjoy good music but that is where the similarities end. I cannot sing, cannot dance or perform in front of thousands of people. However I might one day write a song or two. We’ll see.

This is only one of the songs I really like on this CD. There are many more such as Steal My Show, Eye On It, Unstoppable, Forgiveness and Favorite Song to name a few. If you have never listened to Toby Mac here is your chance. You can go hear and listen to Speak Life now. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe you will find a new artist, author or poet you like too.

Until next time…Speak Life!

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