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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Open Bible - New King James Version

Read and Discover the Bible for yourself.  This Bible is for those that want background and timelines for the books in the Bible, and includes study guides, book introductions and outlines, and reference and translation notes.  It is made for serious study.  One of the most unique features is a 300 page Biblical Cyclopedic Index that not only gives references, but page numbers also of over 8,000 names, places, and phrases found in this edition, along with a traditional concordance.  Some of the other features are red letter edition, archaeological discoveries, and a guide to Christian workers.  At over 1400 pages total, it can be a bit overwhelming, but the format makes sense and can be helpful to any student of the Bible regardless of level.
One of the ways to determine the readability of a translation is to look at familiar verses, and how they are translated, such as Psalm 23, John 3:16, and the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20.  This translation removes the "thees" and "thous", but still maintains the original intent in the translation.
The section on how to use this Bible is helpful in understanding all the features, such as the underlined verses that outline the Christian's guide to the new life.  This is "a point-by-point study of basic Bible doctrines that covers the material of an advanced course in systematic theology." This tool in particular seems to be very useful in studying how the Bible is inter-related.  It is great to have so many reference materials in one volume, and explanations on how to use them.
I would recommend The Open Bible to any student of the Bible at any level who wants to learn more about God's Word from a historical perspective and dig deeper into the meanings and applications in life. I can see using it for reference and study for a long time to come.
The Open Bible is published by Thomas Nelson.  There is also a free download at www.nelsonfree.com/openbible.  I have received this Bible at no charge from Thomas Nelson.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Insignificant - Chris Travis

Why you matter in the surprising way God is changing the word.  This book tells the story of how the author left the church he was teaching in to work for two years as a teacher in one of the most dangerous schools New York City.  The author states "The real story is about significance, so this book is for everybody."
Everyone wants to matter, whether you are teaching in a school in Harlem,  working in an office, or raising children at home,  what you do everyday may seem insignificant,  but the small things really do matter.
  I was encouraged to know that this book has more substance than simply Chicken Soup for the Inner City Teacher's Soul.  The author was a former atheist who found God's love through reading Scripture.
The situation forced him to rely on God like never before.
This book tells of his ups and downs, stories of his interactions with students and other teachers, some gritty, some very personal, but all tell of others searching, and sometimes finding a ray of hope.  A lot of people would not choose to work in this type of environment, but Chris felt that he should work here first before doing any other type of ministry.
With chapters such as, What Does He want from us, This is Personal,  What Only God can do, and Welcome Forever, he describes his struggle to use his gifts for God's kingdom. 
This thought may sum up the book. He states
 "There is one thing we can do with our lives that is so significant, everything else is insignificant. That is to love God with all your heart."
The About the Author section is Chapter one, which is unusual, but does give background to the story.
There are also discussion questions for each chapter, and an index for references.
Whether you have gone through a struggle such as Chris's, have yet to, this book will bring significance to your life by showing how dependence on God can get you through.
The author blogs at christravis.wordpress.com and the church website is everyday.cc.com.
I have been provided this book at no cost from Bethany House Publishers.  www.bethanyhouse.com

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mondays With My Old Pastor - Jose Luis Navajo

Sometimes, all we need is a reminder from someone who has walked before us.  I enjoyed reading this book, even though I was expecting something similar to Tuesdays with Morrie.  This book has much more substance and depth.  The author does not state whether this is a true encounter, but perhaps a compilation of advice from others who have gone before.  Burned out and discouraged, his wife suggests going to visit his old pastor.  "Old" not used as a description of age, but of maturity and lessons learned.   Jose describes the weekly visits with vivid detail, including his arrival and departure which are just as important.  Through stories and personal experience the pastor helps Jose work through disappointment, bitterness, and insecurity.
 Through 15 chapters the theme is Everything is By Grace.  We would be good to remember that daily.
Perhaps the most moving section is where the pastor is speaking about the modern church:
"What happens at times is that what should be a service of worship to God becomes a service to worship emotions.   They transform the simple and powerful act of worship into a spectacle to show off abilities and stir up feelings."
I would recommend this book to anyone feeling the same way that Jose did.  Those that have gone before us have much to teach us.
This made me want to look up some of my "old pastors" for they may have something to teach us all.
I would encourage you to do the same.