Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My 2018 Bible Reading Plan

I have already started my 2018 reading plan.

The Cornerstone Plan

I'm building on habits I formed previously by continuing to follow the Cornerstone Reading Plan. I'm starting in John and reading portions of chapters of the Gospels each day rather than whole chapters, so I can take more extensive notes. I'm starting the Apostles section in Romans and the Prophets section in Ezekiel before cycling back around to Genesis. I'm starting in Ezekiel because of an extensive study of Isaiah and the Minor Prophets this year.

Gospels: One section (10-20 verses) starting in John 1
Apostles (Epistles): One chapter starting in Romans
Prophets (OT): Two chapters starting in Ezekiel

The Edition

Last year I received an Interleaved ESV Journaling Bible in leather for Christmas. I was stunned by how nice it is. Almost too nice to write in. Almost.

I am taking notes on the blank pages in this edition during my reading through the Gospels.

My notes have a simple structure: Date, Reference, notes. I'm left with plenty of space to add notes later and see what I learn over the years.

The Notebook

I'm taking notes on the rest of my reading in my notebook. I have similar format:
At least one note on what I read (even if it's obvious).
A summary of simple applications from all of my readings in a What is God Saying? section.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

I Memorized First John this Year

I finished my 2017 memorization goal! I used the 5 x 5 method to memorize First John. I wouldn't be able to rattle off the whole thing in order right now, but I could probably do chapters 4 and 5. My goal for 2018 will be to review each chapter and make sure I have them rock solid for the rest of my life. 

I will follow a 5 x 5 schedule of review.

Monday: 1 John 1
Tuesday: 1 John 2
Wednesday: 1 John 3
Thursday: 1 John 4
Friday: 1 John 5

1 John 1 and 2

1 John 3

1 John 4

1 John 5

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Back on Pace!

Got back on pace for memorization. I hope to get through the book by the end of the year. I'm using the 5 x 5 Method to memorize 1 John. I will be reviewing these ten verses 5 times per day for the next week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Commentary Sale!

My favorite commentary set right now is the Expositor's Bible Commentary. While, I can't vouch for all the content I own the New Testament volumes and some of the Prophets as well. I consistently find it clear and readable with important information on history, background, and textual issues but an emphasis on exegesis and the meaning and interpretation of Scripture. These commentaries contain the full text of Scripture as well as the notes and are written in a more popular style. This makes them great for reading as well as reference.

Right now a number of volumes of the Expositor's Bible Commentary are on sale for $4.99 on Kindle, including my favorite commentary on Jeremiah by Dr. Michael Brown. I highly recommend the commentary and purchased a second copy on Kindle (I already own a hardcover). I also grabbed the Isaiah commentary.

You can check out what volumes are on sale at Amazon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Abiding in Christ - Character Studies

Two church planters in Houston, Texas Andrew and Carlee Coker shared some studies they made on Abiding in Christ, and they are awesome!

You can check get the study here.

But here's a preview:

Abiding in Christ - Character Studies

Who is this passage about?
What were some of their character traits?
How did they abide in God?
Daniel 6.3-4,10
     Extraordinary Spirit
     Attention to details
     Prayed 3x daily
     Steadfast in the face of persecution
     Godly example

Jonah 2.1-33
     Humble before God
     Persistent in the face of death
     Remembering the Lord
     Yields to God
     Self absorbed
     Obeyed God
     Gave thanks
1 Samuel 3.1-10; 7.10-17
     Humble Servant
     Quick to Serve
     Remembering the Lord
     Dependant on the Lord
     Faithful to the Lord
     Strong work ethic
     Not attentive to details
     Remembered the Lord
     Listened to the Lord
     Ministered before the Lord
     Quick to Obey
     Finishes well
Nehemiah 1
     In touch w reality
     Works hard
     Knows God and His Word
     Trust the promises of God
     Acted out compassion
     Trusts God
Luke 10.38-42
     Being with Jesus
     Jesus First!
Matthew 4.1-2; Luke 5.15-16; 6.12-13
     Seeks Solitude
     Pace Setter
     Spiritually Strong
     Level Headed
     Led by the Spirit
     Spent lots of time w the Father
     Fed and Led the Flock
     Loved the people
     Persistent in doing the right thing

Friday, May 5, 2017

Back to my Notebook

This year I moved from taking notes in my margins back to my taking notes in a notebook. This week, I finished the notebook I started in January. I'm following The Cornerstone Reading Plan: 2 Chapters in the Old Testament starting in Genesis 1 Chapter in the Old Testament starting in Psalms. 1 Chapter in the Epistles and 1 Chapter in The Gospels/Acts (although I'm mixing that up with a Gospel Harmony study).

My notebook entries include the date, the chapters I'm reading and notes on each chapter. I follow a general rule that I have to write something down about each chapter even if it's obvious. I don't always do a good job with this, but it helps me slow down.

I usually do a verse by verse or topical study along with this and am memorizing First John. It's a lot, but I'm full time and need to give myself to the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4)

I have four months of notes in one notebook. I'm excited to start another. I'm not done taking notes in my Bible, but I will save that for another post.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

From Sorrow to Hope Project

One of my goals for 2017 was to read a commentary on Jeremiah. I recently finished Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope by Philip Graham Ryken.

It was very clear and readable with an emphasis on God's glory and application to current events. It read like a series of sermons rather than an academic text, but drew from scholarship.
If I were to recommend a commentary on Jeremiah, it would be Michael Brown's from the Expositor's Bible Commentary series, but Ryken's was a very good read, and by far the most accessible commentary on Jeremiah I've seen.

I was looking for a commentary I could read daily in small sections, and Ryken's is formatted in ten page chapters for each section of verses tackled. It worked well as a daily devotional reading. It may be a little more academic than what most people want for daily reading, but I would like to see more folks try this. Not all commentaries are reference works. Some are meant to be read cover to cover and this is one of them.

One of the things that has helped me read through larger academic volumes is Goodreads lets me track my progress with update bars. After reading, I enter in the page number and watch the percentage and progress bar advance. It may not work for everyone, but I find small mental rewards like this motivating and rewarding. I hope you find a readable commentary, maybe the Preaching the Word series, a shot.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday Readings

This morning we went through a series of Palm Sunday readings. This is the first time I've read through these passages back to back and was powerfully moved by the experience. We read up to John and then prayed together after each passage. I was choking back tears at the end as we rejoiced together and looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ our King and His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.

2 Kings 9:13

Zechariah 9:9

Psalm 11:25-26

John 12:12-19


Mark 1:1-11


Matthew 21:1-11


Luke 19:11-40


Revelation 19:11-21
Revelation 21:1-7


Monday, April 3, 2017

Updated Giving Options

There are new electronic giving options available on my website, Including Stripe and recurring giving options. Thank you! :) Check them out here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I'm Getting Married!

I am so excited to tell you about my relationship with Tatiana Cortes, the most wonderful woman of God I’ve ever met. This month I asked her to marry me. She said, “Yes.”

As I have grown to know Tatiana over the last year, first as friends, I have grown in my admiration of her passionate faithfulness to God and His glory, her deep desire to abide in Christ, and her sacrificial love for our immigrant friends and neighbors. I am more impressed with her character every day. I spent a lot of time in prayer and asking for advice before pursuing a relationship with her. I remember describing her to my mentor Chuck Wood. He listened carefully, and then said, “If I were you, I would ask that girl on a date today!” She has been everything I have asked God for and more.

Tatiana moved to Hamtramck two years ago because of God’s call on her life to work with Bangladeshi people and demonstrates the love and Spirit of Jesus as a High School writing teacher in Hamtramck. She shines the light of Christ among immigrant high school students, co-teachers, and friends every day. There are so many miraculous stories I want to share from Tatiana’s life, but I will let her share in a special letter to all of you.

I have grown in Christ, been encouraged, challenged, and been deeply loved because God put Tatiana in my life. I am in love with her. I want to spend the rest of my life with her, partnering as family and in ministry. Beyond that, I know that this is God’s good, perfect, and pleasing plan for us.
There are so many ministry stories to tell from this month: Bible studies with young Bangladeshi men, loving fun with Syrian refugee families and children, trainings for upcoming events in Detroit. At one training, we even got to see a family of eight people surrender to Christ and be baptized the same day. A team from the training baptized the parents and then led the parents in baptizing their children! I’m rejoicing with the angels over more stories of decisions for Christ from this month. 

For me, none of these stories compares with the joy and triumph of knowing I have found the woman I will spend the rest of my life with. There is no doubt in my mind that together Tatiana and I will be more fruitful for the Kingdom, and God will receive the most glory from our lives. I’ve never been so convinced that the best is yet to come! 

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.