Looking Forward to Reading the Bible

Bible store I have been bragging on the ESV Bible for a number of years, but my working philosophy is that to understand the message of scripture as fully as possible one needs to read a variety of translations. I grew up in churches that were “King James only.” Sometime around 2002 or 2003 I read through the Bible in the New Revised Standard Version. I was considering which version to read next – possibly even the NIV, if you can imagine such a thing – when I was introduced to the ESV. Mike Jones, the pastor at my ministry ordination, gave me a thinline ESV (after asking which translation I would prefer) and Michael Spencer later gave me an ESV Study Bible when that was released. Continue reading

Can Your Bible Walk on Water?

ESV, waterproofOkay, this Bible doesn’t literally walk. But the cover and every page is water proof.

When I was introduced to the ESV in 2003 it was pretty new to the market. There were few options and no other ESV products available. A few years later the ESV Study Bible was introduced; I have one of those really big ones from the first print run. Today you can get large print or compact Study Bible, Thinlines, New Testaments, Student Bibles, plus some rather unique editions. The waterproof ESV pictured above (available here) has a camo style cover. It also come in a pink for girls and a gender neutral style. You can submerge the entire book and the pages are impervious to damage from water.

My comment was that coffee stains would wipe right off it, and another customer on the same aisle laughed and said he was thinking the same thing!

30 Days of Thanksgiving

NaBloPoMoNovember is National Blog Posting Month – NaBloPoMo – when bloggers commit to posting at least once each day for 30 days. I accepted the challenge in the form of 30 Days of Thanksgiving. While I haven’t posted much on this blog lately, I am up to day #13 on My Other Blog. The most recent post is about the annual Pastor Appreciation event in Atlanta hosted by Faith Talk 970/ 104.7 The Fish. Several SBC state conventions had their annual meeting this week and I will be writing about the Georgia meeting soon.

There is a My Other Blog RSS feed in the left-hand column of this page or click here to check out the latest posts. 30 Days of Thanksgiving because God is good all the time! 

Before Abraham Was, I AM

jesus_teachingIt’s quite a few verses but to get the full context we need read John 8:31-59. 

In an oft quoted verse of scripture Jesus tells his followers “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Many of us are familiar with these words even those who have not read the Gospels. But the audience that day asks how they can be set free, claiming they have never been enslaved to anyone. Let’s think about that claim. The defining moment of Jewish history is the Exodus from Egypt and the way they encountered God at Mount Sinai. They had served as slaves for hundreds of years in Egypt. The nation of Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity and later by the Assyrians. In Jesus’ day their land was a province of the Roman Empire. To claim they had never been enslaved to anyone was an exaggeration at best, but what Jesus really meant was that anyone who sins is a slave to sin. He really riles them up by telling them their father is not Abraham but the devil, and they do what their father does which is try to kill him. They will then claim they have only one father and that is God! Jesus says if that were so they would love him for he came from God, but instead they are the offspring of murdering Satan who is a liar and the father of lies. They accuse him of being a Samaritan and possessed by a demon, and it all comes to a head when Jesus tells them Abraham rejoiced to see them in his day. Continue reading

All Saints Day

all saints Today is All Saints Day, which might not mean much if you are not either Catholic or Episcopalian. The November 1st date of All Saints is why Halloween was last night, and the reason Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the church at Wittenberg on October 31st – he knew that practically every person would see it the next day as they attended mass to celebrate All Saints.

Whatever you may have heard about Halloween being the celebration of Satan’s birthday (a created being that was not born) the origins are uniquely Christian, whereas the celebrations of Easter and Christmas are actually pagan but that’s another story. Richard Donohue, vicar of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Birmingham, offers the clearest explanation of Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day I have ever read, including bits on the Book of the Dead and the Latin American tradition of “day of the dead” as well.

“All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are related, but they are two separate celebrations,” Donohoe said. “On All Saints’ Day there’s a call to live as saints, to remind us how we’re supposed to live. On All Souls’ Day, we’re talking about all souls and asking God’s mercy for them. We’re talking about those people who have died before us, and their process of getting to heaven, through Christ.”

This article was written by Greg Garrison for AL.com based on his interview with the Rev. Richard Donohue. I highly recommend clicking the link and reading it in full.

The Temptation of Jesus

Jesus tempted by SatanI have written on this subject before but certainly not recently. This post from 2009 focuses on the nature of sin as the easy way out. Stealing is easier than hard work, one night stands are easier than putting time and effort into a relationship, etc. Just about every example of sin that can be listed involves an easier or quicker way of getting something that would take time, effort, patience or involve suffering to obtain otherwise. Is also involves settling for less than what God has in mind for us were we to to do it his way instead.

I want to focus here on Jesus’ responses to each of Satan’s suggestions. Read the story in Matthew 4:1-11 and notice some things with me. Continue reading