12/19/14

Take Note of the NKJV Note-Takers Bible


I love to take notes in my Bible.  Sadly, deciphering my notes is like studyingy heiroglyphics.  I have scribbled notes with arrows pointing in different directions, tried to squeeze words and thoughts between lines and gone down the side of very thin edges.

What I needed was a Note-Takers Bible.  I was excited to get this Bible and start taking new notes.  I put it to use right away by transcribing notes from my other Bible into this one.  I love the wider columns along the side and bottom of this Bible.  It is wide enough to allow me the freedom to put down thoughts in a clear manner without squeezing my writings in, around and on top of the text.

This is a minimalit Bible in many ways. It features:
  • Deluxe wide margins for note takers
  • Complete NKJV text
  • Double column text for easy reading
  • Words of Christ in red letter
That's pretty much it.  However, it works for the purpose of this Bible.

In actuality, the only problem I have is that there is only room to take notes on one side of the column.  Despite that minor issue, this is a Bible I will use for many years to come.  If you are a note-taker, this is the Bible for you!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLookBloggers.com review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

12/17/14

A Charlie Brown Christmas



I love Christmas specials.  My family and I will gather together and watch Christmas classics of days past and it has become somewhat of a tradition in our house.  One of my favorites is called "A Charlie Brown Christmas."  You are probably familiar with this special.

They key scene for me is when Charlie Brown goes out to pick a tree and brings back a sad, little tree that earns him instant mockery from all of his friends.  In the midst of this, Charlie Brown wonders what Christmas is all about. Linus, standing alone on the stage, states that he can tell him, and recites Luke 2:8-14.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.”

He then says, "...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

As we celebrate Christmas this year, let's look beyond the tinsel, the trees, the presents and the parties and look to the real reason we should celebrate.  God gave us the best gift of all, a Savior, Christ the Lord.

In the words of Linus, “that’s what Christmas is all about!”

12/7/14

Dancing Without a Care!

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." (1 John 3:1)

Today I went out to eat.  A local hotel has hosted an annual breakfast for the community for the last 15 years.  The event is geared towards families and includes hay rides through the snow, Santa and other characters and music provided by local fiddlers and musical groups.  All you need for entry is a can of food for the food bank.  The community was extremely generous and many, many boxes of food were provided that will help the food bank continue to reach out to those less fortunate.  Many of those receiving the food will be under the age of 13.  

I sat at a table watching another group of kids dance in circles to the music on the stage, holding hands and falling down.  They jumped up and down and laughed without a care.  Some would climb into their parent's laps and snuggle before darting back to play.  One fell down and cried before his parent came to comfort him.  All was better after that.

It was beautiful imagery of how our Heavenly Father cares for us. I believe He delights in seeing us, His children, dance and play with joy.  He loves to see us laugh without a care, snuggle in His lap and dart off again to enjoy the life He has given us.  Occasionaly we get hurt and need His comfort and care.

He also loves those children in need of speacial care.  Those who have no joy, no food, no home and no chance to dance without a care. 

Just as the community came together today to provide food for the local food bank, I believe God calls each of us, as His children, to come together as a community to share that love with kids around the world. 

There are so many ways we can get involved. We can volunteer at a local Salvation Army, at a food bank, church, school or other community programs that reaches out to kids in need. We can also help kids around the world who are in immense need via wonderful organizations like Compassion International

As children of God, we should love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves.  Children of God should reach out to all of God's children, wherever they may be.  Every child should have the chance to dance without a care!

11/18/14

A Good Question

“What does that teach you about God, Daddy?”

This is the question my son has been asking lately.  He likes to sing praise and worship songs.  He also likes to make up new songs about God. Invariably he will end the song and ask what that song has taught me about God. It is a good question and will often cause me to think, what IS the meaning of the song and what DOES it teach me about God?  It is a great exercise.

I also realized, it is something I never used to ask.  I love to sing and will belt out a song anywhere and at any time.  Yes, I am that guy walking down the street singing to himself.  I will sing at work, in the car and yes, in the shower.  Until my son started asking his question, I never put much thought into what the song was teaching me about God.  Now I can’t stop.

I have also begun applying the question to my reading as well.  When I dig into God’s Word, I have asked myself, “What does this passage of Scripture teach me about God?”    According to God’s Word, the Scriptures are a light for my path (Psalm 119:105) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. (2 Timothy 3:16)

It is all that and so much more.  As I read the Old Testament, I see a God who is long-suffering and filled with patience and loving kindness.  Moving into the New Testament, we see a God who loved us enough to send His Son to earth, to die on a cross for you and me! 

God’s love, mercy and grace are all things that I have been taught through the reading of His Word. 
My son has challenged me to go deeper in worship and in reading the Bible.  Hopefully you will be asking yourself this same question he asked me.  “What does that teach you about God?”

11/15/14

Confessions of a Kid at Heart

I am a kid at heart.  Growing up I loved to read comic books, play with toys and collect baseball cards.  I have a confession to make.  I still collect baseball cards...and read comic books...but you won't catch me playing with toys...when anyone is around!

I look back on my childhood with fond memories.  Sure, like any family we had our problems, but I always had a warm meal, a loving family and plenty of friends and things to play with.  We were not rich by any means.  My dad lost his job when I was a teen and we went through some very hard times, eventually ending up homeless.

Having experienced life on both sides of the economic coin, my heart breaks for those caught in a life of poverty, hunger and need.

Which is why being a Compassion sponsor is so important to me.  My wife and I have sponsored children with compassion since  2001.  After our first child graduated the program and our second moved to a new region, we are now sponsoring our third child.  A little boy from  Brazil a little older than my son CJ, who is 4. 

We love getting the letters from our sponsored child and reading not only of his growing knowledge of the Lord but how much he loves the things a kid should love.  Through his letters we have found that he loves soccer and playing with cars. A typical child in an economically depressed area of Brazil.

I know that being a Compassion sponsor helps the child and his family.  However, I have also found it helps our family as well.  It reminds us that we are called to show Christ's love to the nations.  We can't all travel overseas but we can make a difference in our own communities and via organizations like Compassion, communities and families around the world.

I invite you to remember what it means to be a child at heart and to sponsor a child today: Compassion Sponsorship.

Feel free to share your own Confessions of a Kid at heart in the comment section.

11/7/14

A Near Death Experience

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000698067/Killed-by-the-Church-Resurrected-by-Christ.aspx

I once had a near death experience.

After years of attending churches around the world, I struggled under a heavy burden.  I had lost the joy I once felt when gathering with the body of Christ. I know I am not the only one.  For years I have met people whom no longer want to actively participate in church.

Most of those who have abandoned the church share stories of hypocrisy and church abuse. Long-time believers are ready to walk away out of boredom and frustration. Killed by the Church, Resurrected by Christ seeks to equip people with the principles they need in order to fall in love with the church again in a much healthier way.

I once sucumbed to "death by church". Then I found my identity.  It wasn't in anything the world had to offer.  It was only found in Jesus Christ!

In this book, you will find stories from around the world and right next door. Stories of all the good the church has to offer and sadly, some of the worst as well. You will discover Biblical principles that relate not only to church, but to our relationship with the body of Christ at large. You will hopefully develop a deeper understanding of your identity in Christ.

I invite you to pick up a copy of my new book, Killed by the Church, Resurrected by Christ.  

You can order it through your local bookstore (ISBN 9781490853789) or by clicking the image above.  (It is also available for download as an e-book on Amazon.)

You can also stop by the book's Facebook Page: Killed By The Church

Or Find Me on Twitter:   Killed By The Church

11/1/14

Vanishing Grace

 
Philip Yancey has written another book on grace.  

Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey is a sequel of sorts to his classic book What's So Amazing About Grace? 

In this newest book, Yancey asks why Christians continue to be ridiculed while losing respect and influence in our modern culture.  Vanishing Grace is actually four books in one. A World Athirst (1), Grace Dispensers (2), Is It Really Good News? (3), and Faith and Culture (4).

In part one Yancey shows the current view of Christians by society at large.  Insetead of judgement, Yancey calls believers to listen and love with grace and humility.  I enjoyed this chapter immensely. People are thirsty for more in life and we have the chance to show them the true Thirst Quencher. However, in order for people to truly listen, we need to judge less and love more.

Part two calls for believers to approach those we meet as pilgrims, activists and artists. I appreciate his call for believers to use the arts to call people to a relationship with Jesus Christ. Seeing ourselves as pilgrims, we can take the journey together in humility instead of placing ourselves in a position where we can often look down on others in self righteous indignation.

Part three looks at why faith matters. Why are we here? Is there anyone else? How should we live?  These are the burning questions of life that Yancey seeks to address in this section.

In the final section of the book, Yancey returns to the theme of artist, activists and pilgrims and shows how we can and should be involved in the culture around us today.  All of these sections call us to be active grace giviers to those around us, calling people to a filling and fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ.

I will admit, I am a fan of Philip Yancey's writings.  Even with that bias, I think this book is timely for the world we find ourselves in today.  Do yourself a favor and add this book to your shelf.

This book was provided for through the Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for writing a review on the book.  I was not obligated to post a positive review; the opinions expressed are mine.