Monday, March 13, 2017

The Cornerstone Reading Plan

My mentor Chuck Wood introduced me to the Cornerstone Reading Plan over a year ago, and I have been using it ever since. In fact, I can't believe I haven't posted about it sooner. It is actually an action step in my forthcoming book. Check it out.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, (Ephesians 2:19-20)

A cornerstone is the first stone laid in a building project and determines the angles and direction for the rest of the building. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone and a great place to start a reading plan.

1. The Gospels
You can start by reading one chapter per day in the book of Matthew.
After you feel comfortable reading one chapter per day and have success, you can start adding the New Testament writings of the Apostles, starting with the book of Acts.

2. The New Testament
Now you are reading two chapters per day, one in the Gospels and one in the rest of the New Testament. After you are comfortable with that and are having success, you can add the Old Testament books, written by the prophets, starting with Genesis.

3. The Old Testament
After success with that, you can add a chapter in the Old Testament, starting with the book of Psalms. This results in reading four chapters per day. After you finish the Book of John in the Gospels, you can cycle back to Matthew, and after you finish the book of Revelation in the New Testament, you can cycle back to the book of Acts.

If you follow this plan for fifteen months you will read through the Old Testament once, the New Testament two and a half times and the Gospels five times. This is a good place to start in saturating yourself with God’s word. Remember to listen and obey as you read.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Three Movement Leaders and the Word of God

I was helping my friend Daniel train laborers heading to Indonesia last week, and I was struck my a story he told about a movement leader in Southeast Asia.

Mike Shipman (author of Any-3) came to a crisis point in ministry. He responded by memorizing the Book of Acts.

This story is stunning because of the example of discipline, but also because it reminded me of two other movement leaders and their stories. Jeff Sundell is one of the leaders in T4T movements in Asia. He came to a crisis point and stopped reading any books, scrapped all his plans and started reading the Gospels and Acts 30 times per year. David Watson is one of the movement pioneers in DMM movements around the world. He came to a crisis point and told God that he wouldn't read or watch anything for a year--He would only read the Bible.

You can hear these stories in their own words on The Sent Life Podcast here.

You can subscribe to the podcast here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ugly Memorization Progress 1 John 1-2:20

I'm trying to do more things in public, so I'm not at home.  My mentor like to read his Bible and pray in coffee shops. He gets to share his story with many people and finds that people often start conversations with him. I'm trying to do the same thing. But I'm  still trying to keep my memorization going. Sorry for the hideous quality. There is one mistake. See if you can catch it.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Studies

Well a Discovery Bible Study with a Muslim friend was canceled today, so I decided to take the time to do some study of my own. Since it's Valentine's day and I'm feeling romantic, I thought I might look into some of what the Bible says about gender.

There's a Discovery Bible Study on Husband and Wife a friend made.

Ben Witherington's explanation of what the New Testament teaches us about Women's roles in the home:

And his explanation of what the New Testament teaches us about women in ministry:

Some new research on 1 Timothy 2:11 and prayer for God's help. I want to be like Jesus in my

Conclusions . . . well, it's too early for that. I will say Ephesians 5 is more beautiful than ever.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Memorizing First John Again (Here's How)

One of my goals for 2016 was to memorize 1 John. I failed, but I made significant progress and am resetting it as a goal for 2017. The biggest problem as usual was discipline. I never had firm enough habit of memorization. Memorizing Scripture is hard work.

The good news is that I am already off to a good start this year. I've memorized twenty verses so far.

I'm still using the methods I talked about in this post, but I'm applying them with the five by five method described in the video below. I'm not sharp enough to do ten verses per week, but I'm going to try to stay consistent with five verses per week.

The beautiful thing about the five by five method, is that it gives you a doable review structure. It's still hard work. You will have to push yourself. It may not be easy. But this can be done, and you can tailor the amount to work for you.

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to Access Other Languages on YouVersion

I frequently do Bible studies with friends who do not speak English as their first language. It is often difficult for them to discuss and understand abstract texts in English. They feel much more at home with their mother tongue. I can do Bible studies with them in English, but it is limiting. Access to Bibles in their languages can sometimes be difficult or expensive. It can also be threatening for them to read in public places. One of the best solutions I've found for sharing the Bible across language barriers is the YouVersion Bible app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for free and contains a massive number of translations of the Bible, not only in English, but in many different languages.

Here's how to access them:

Open your YouVersion App

When it loads you find yourself on the homepage. Hit "Read."

The app should open the last translation you used at the last passage you read. I was reading Genesis with a friend and my app opens to Genesis Chapter one. In the top right near the center you should have a button showing the translation. Mine shows the NKJV translation. Hit that.

That will open a list of translations you have recently used and languages you have chosen. As you can see, mine is a bit mixed up because I use English, Bangla, and Arabic. Find your selected Language which should be at the center or middle of the page. Yours should say English. Mine says Bangla (in Bangla characters). Hit change.

This will open a very large list of languages. From here you are a little bit on your own. You need to be able to recognize what language you need, and you may need to recognize it in its own characters. In other words, you can't just hit "Arabic" you have to be able to identify Arabic script and hit it to open the translations available in Arabic. Start scrolling down the list. We have to get past the letter "Z" in order to find languages in their own script.

Keep scrolling.

Keep scrolling.

We found different scripts. Now we have to find the one we need. I'm going to pick Bangla.

I found Bangla. It says Bengali on the right, but I know enough of the Bangla alphabet to sound it out the first time I found it. You may need to be able to do so to find the language you need. Or get your friend to find it on the list. Just ask, "I want to show you something. Which one is your language?"

My YouVersion has three different translations in Bangla. One uses neutral terms. One uses Hindu terms, and One uses Muslim terms. I know one of the translators who created the translation that uses the Muslim terms. He and several others assured me that while it uses some Muslim terms, it retains familial language and is theologically faithful to the text. You may need to do the same kind of research to choose the right translation for your friend.

The app now goes back the text that was pulled up and it is in Bangla! I can have my friend read it from here.

To go back to English I just hit the translation button again and NKJV is in my recently used translation lists as is the Bangla version. I can navigate to a passage in English and with two buttons change the text to Bangla and show my friend. Questions or comments? Share them below.