Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Helpful Bible Reading Resource

I've been using the Horner Bible reading plan for a couple months now and am very much enjoying this method of reading the Bible. A PDF of the plan is available free online: http://www.wbfva.org/files/professor_grant_horners_

The method was devised by Grant Horner, who serves as a professor at The Master's College. It involves reading 10 chapters from throughout the Bible every day. The beauty of the system is that you read just ONE chapter from a book of the Bible, so you get a chance to read different styles of writing (e.g. historical record, personal letters, poetry, and more). Most beneficial, you can see the connectedness of the books of the Bible, as one big story that has a overseeing Author.

With this plan, every day you will read from:
  • the Gospels
  • the Pentateuch (Torah)
  • the Epistles (you'll usually read two chapters, one from two different Epistles)

Monday, January 23, 2012

"I Believe: What Every Kid Needs to Know About the Christian Faith"

The curriculum I wrote, "I Believe: What Every Kid Needs to Know About the Christian Faith," is now available on BuildingChurchLeaders.com. It answers the question, "What do Christians believe?" using concepts from the Apostles' Creed. It includes 10 lessons along with a Leader's Guide with teaching ideas and activities. Some of the specific topics addressed include:
  • What does it mean to believe in God?
  • Why do Christians call God their “Father”?
  • Is there anything God can't do? 
  • Why did Jesus have to die?
  • Did Jesus really come back to life?
  • Does Jesus have authority over me?
  • Why will I be judged? What have I done?
  • Why didn’t Jesus stay on earth?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • Why do Christians call each other “brother” and “sister”?
  • What do I need to do to be forgiven?
  • Could I really live forever?
  • How do I know if I’ll go to heaven?  
If you have kids, work with youth, or would just like a quick refresher in how to explain Christian beliefs, check out this PDF download. It's selling for $19.95 and you can make up to 1,000 copies for your church or organization.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Encouraging Words from God's Word: 1 Cor. 15:58

"Be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." --1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT

I'd imagine that most Christians go through a season of discouragement, wondering, Why am I doing this? Does my work for God even matter? Does it make any difference?  

I've asked these questions a lot. My blog is the perfect example of the downward spiral that can occur when I question the value of my work. I began blogging in 2006 and was consistent at posting weekly for three years. Then grad school kept me from writing regularly for a couple years. After graduation, my time seemed to fill up with a variety of other projects. Really, it was other excuses, driven by the question, Why should I keep writing about God and faith on a blog that nobody reads?

Monday, January 16, 2012

REVIEW: Take a Pass on "The Daniel Fast"

Review of The Daniel Fast, Susan Gregory (Tyndale, 2010)
I requested The Daniel Fast because I’d been interested in the topic of fasting. The concept of a partial fast was intriguing, particularly since author Susan Gregory offered a “how to” that seemed more in-depth and extensive than anything I’d previously come across. (In hindsight, I realize this is probably because very little instruction is required for a “no food” plan, which is typically how fasting is discussed, while Susan’s book is largely about food preparation.)

But The Daniel Fast plan is not a Scripturally-based model for fasting. Rather, it’s a nutritional plan with the potential to have a spiritual component—I will further explain why that potential isn’t reached—catering to those who would like to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet.