Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year for Reading

Hey All -

One of the best decisions I ever made in my life was establishing the discipline of reading the Bible every day. I'd list it in the top 5 choices of my life. Bible reading is something that is normally encouraged in church but often given half-hearted effort or ignored all together. One of the reasons people struggle with Bible reading is because they do not follow a plan. People tend to read the Bible with a shotgun approach, randomly selecting what they'll read each day. This is a really difficult and confusing way to approach the Bible.

When I started reading the Bible systematically through a Bible reading plan, my whole perspective on scripture, God and all of Christianity changed. At first I felt a little "unspiritual" or mechanical because I felt I wasn't necessarily reading exactly what God wanted me to for that day. I felt it might not as spirit-led. What I didn't realize was that as Christian that professes to believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and absolutely true, I am responsible to know everything that is in the book. I believed the whole book...but hadn't even read the whole book. And the reason I hadn't read the whole Bible was because I was a shotgun Bible reader.

The other thing I learned as I grew up in Christ was this -

Hebrews 4:12 - "The Word of God is living and active"

God's Word is alive. Every word of it. I used to think I needed to read a specific part of the scripture in order to hear what God wanted to speak to me. I now understand that God can use literally any part of the Bible to speak to me and adjust my thinking and my life. He is able to breathe on any scripture and bring revelation that is unexpected and exciting. This makes reading the Bible an adventure worth taking every single day - in a systematic way.

Bible reading plans have been around for 100's of years - they're nothing new or notable. But what keeps changing with technology is how easy it is to follow them. I'm not sure how you feel about digital Bible reading, but I'm down with it. Some people really like to turn their gold leaf pages and all, but I believe it's the words that are powerful, not the leather or the special feeling pages. I do still read my bible out of a leather bound book a lot of the time. But I'm also a fan of reading it on my laptop and most recently on my cell phone from a mobile website.

I found a tool this morning that I thought would be worth sharing with you. It's a pretty awesome list of Bible reading plans from the English Standard Version of the Bible. But the coolest part is that it gives them to you in several different formats - Web, RSS, Email, iCal, Mobile and Print. Meaning you can get your bible reading plan in whatever format your most likely to use it - on a website, in your RSS reading (I highly recommend google reader by the way), in your email, on your calendar, on your cell phone or even on good old fashioned paper. It even offers an audio version for you to listen to that you can podcast to your itunes and ipod. There's something for everybody.

Check it out here.

Why don't you make a resolution to read more of God's Word this year? It's easier than ever.

Happy New Year!!

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