Study Helps

 —  October 27, 2014 — Leave a comment


I led a workshop and Half-Track on technology in ministry at KidMin last month. I shared a little about Bible software and message prep, attendees had some great suggestions for free study resources. Check this out, maybe you will find something new, and if you know of a useful online study resource share it in the comments.

The Gospel Coalition
Blue Letter Bible

I am excited for a former student of mine, Adam Greene. Adam is the man behind Bibliotheca the third most popular Kickstarter project on the planet, out of 161,281 projects. Adam’s project is an amazing and beautiful Bible set. His kickstarter has been featured on blogs like and The Verge and is curently dollars away from hitting half a million dollars.

Way to go Adam! As excited as I am for Adam’s success, I am excited to get my hands on the set I bought. I was one of the first supporters (getting a killer deal of the set). Check out the video and click over to his page…if you want a set you better hurry, it’s over on Sunday, June 27.

Bibliotheca Kickstarter from Good. Honest. on Vimeo.

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post called, “Pivot of Perspective On Bible Study” where I talked about a few different ways I’ve been talking to people about how they view the Bible. Here I would like to throw out a few Bible_Coffeethoughts I’ve been thinking a bit through about how we refer to it in our speech. We refer to the Bible in a number of ways. We call it things like:

  1. Scripture
  2. The Bible
  3. The Word
  4. God’s Word
  5. The Holy Bible
  6. Word of God

All of these are certainly good and well-meaning names and I am not saying we need to change how we refer to it. But, I am asking whether or not it would change things. How could that impact how we think of the Bible and could that in some way change the way it impacts our lives? I have found the most common way we refer to it is, “The Word of God.” We have time in the Word. We study the Word.

But the more I study it, I’m starting to think maybe a more accurate and fresh description of it would be the “Acts of God” versus the “Word of God.” Now, I know that would be a bit awkward to refer to it by that name in the contexts we typically use the phrase “The Word of God.” But, just think about it for a second. We are not just talking about words here. We are, in fact, talking about actions God has taken.

Maybe referring to it (or thinking about it) as “Acts of God” would cause us to see how our actions should change? Maybe it would be a refreshing reminder that God took action toward and for us? Maybe understanding it as actions would help us move beyond feeling spiritually mature simply because we studied it a lot? And, maybe understanding it as Acts of God would reach much deeper into our affections/desires/feelings in ways that literally transform our motivations for obeying it?

After all, we do say things like, “Actions speak louder than words.”

The Best Bible Ever!

 —  May 31, 2014 — 1 Comment


your Bible has your name gold-stamped into the cover?


Well, MY Bible…”


This video has made its rounds on the web since 2011. It is still a great conversation starter even though our students have no idea about Schoolhouse Rock.

When it comes to Bible translations, I’ve typically been an NIV 84 guy. I won’t be using their new version, though – from my vantage point, one too many liberties were taken in the update. I’d like to hear your thoughts on some suggestions on what to transfer over to in the future.

It’s why I like Adam Ford’s clever post on this blog about the different ways you can understand Bible translations:

So while we’re on the topic, which tends to be your personal favorite translation:

  1. For your own study?
  2. For giving to students?

Thanks for your thoughts!

P.S. Like the NIV 84, too? I found a website where you can still use it online:

God is not…

 —  December 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 10.26.49 AMAs Christians we go to God for a lot of things and rely on Him for a ton … as we should.

But, if we are honest with ourselves, I think we would admit that we have a hard time depending on Him when things are going well. He’s more like a fire extinguisher in our lives. When we have an emergency we go over to the wall, break the glass, pull out the fire extinguisher, point it at the problem and then spray … trying to put out the fire.

This is not God. This is not how a true relationship with God works.

In fact, this idea of God is not focused on God at all. It’s actually focused on ourselves. Rather than our purpose being serving Him, we view it as His role to serve us. This is a massive problem – both theologically and practically.

So, here are 2 really quick reminders to keep this straight:

1. Everything starts with God. Yes, He is Creator, but I’m thinking about more of a relational emphasis here. A relationship with God starts with Him, revolves around His strengths and will ultimately always point back to God. Religion revolves around us, our strengths (or weaknesses) and ultimately points back to us.

 2. He, Himself, defines blessing. Blessing is not about avoiding pain or obtaining material comfort. Blessing is the fact that God, Himself, is with us through it all. Having God with us, personally, is what blessing is.




There are all sorts of ‘hot topics’ in our culture.Screen shot 2013-10-22 at 9.01.42 AM

In my opinion, as leaders, we need to be proactive in addressing these issues.  Unfortunately, many times we tend to just let them come to us rather than proactively leading our people and equipping them to navigate conversations like:

  • same-sex attraction/partnership
  • gay marriage
  • legalization of marijuana

Then there are some other topics that we tend to just let go unaddressed in the church context like:

  • the role of women in the church
  • specific (defers from context to context) spiritual gifts
  • navigating the church and state boundaries

These are all issues that are too often left unaddressed, and therefore, they become “unspoken truths” that leave people to drown in their own assumptions.  This creates confusion.  We tend to think that people will be able to navigate these issues on their own and clearly understand our position as a local church.  Both assumptions are wrong.  And, it’s my firm belief that we must proactively shepherd people in areas such as these.

So, here are 3 general guidelines for being a proactive leader in these areas:

  1. Provide Clarity.  Clearly state your position AND the underlying convictions that drive your conclusions.  Articulating the underlying convictions you have (such as scripture being our standard) are critical for these conversations.  
  2. Provide Framework.  Clearly lay out the expectations you have for people as they dialogue about these types of things.  I recently did a forum for our church on the LGBT conversation. One of the things I set up as a framework is the following statement: “Humility and love, not shame, is our mutual aspiration.”  These types of things set a tone for dialogue and are necessary to “posture” our people to be able to handle these conversations in God-honoring ways.
  3. Provide Freedom.  People need to be given freedom to discuss topics like this in our churches.  Everyone gets super tense when these types of topics come up in conversation and much of this is due to our lack of articulating the freedom they have to do so.

I pray we can all be proactive leaders.