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study bible review

The Chronological Study Bible (Bible Nkjv)
i recently received a copy of the chronological study bible and thought i'd offer up my review of it here:
  • it's defintely not the bible you want to take with you on sunday to church, because the layout of it is so different from that of standard bibles. navigating to various passages in a bible study or sermon would make it difficult to keep up.
  • it's laid out in chronological fashion (of course some areas are up for debate on the exact sequence of events) - here's an example: in skimming along 1 chronicles one goes from chapter 25 to chapter 26:19 to psalm 15, then psalm 24, 42-49, psalm 84, 85, 87 then back to 1 chronicles 26:20
  • this is a GREAT study bible to understand the historical context of many of the events.
  • there are numerous (almost too numerous!) short articles relating to things such as: customs, people, plants, culture, laws, etc - typically, there are 3-5 short articles per "spread" (two pages open, laying flat) - the problem is that it's almost an overload of information - for me it was a bit of a distraction, BUT, knowing that it's a study bible (and not one i'd use for regular daily reading), will keep me coming back to it
  • one more issue regarding the articles is that some of them refer to (or cite) a passage of scripture on a previous or following page - rather than appear on the SAME page as the passage cited - felt like a bit more work in layout could've prevented that.
  • this will surely be a bible i keep nearby for study and reference work - chronological bibles are nothing new (see here) - but this one offers some great contextual pieces that supplement the text
  • you can read about the details of what this study bible offers here

how to know if you're a leader

continuing in my thoughts about leadership...

my last post dealt with the fact that perhaps the biggest crises facing us is not energy, going green or even abortion - it's the fact that there is an continental sized deficit in leadership!

when the leadership crises is resolved, others issues are resolved!

think about it:
  • balancing the nation's budget - needs leadership!
  • overturning radical judicial zealots - needs leadership!
  • raising a family - needs leadership!
  • reaching and changing a community - needs leadership!
  • making an impact into drug-blanketed neighborhoods - needs leadership!
  • rescuing women from sex slavery/trade - needs leadership!
  • leading a church - needs leadership!
  • leading a small group - needs leadership!
  • coaching a child's team - needs leadership!
  • making significant changes in one's own life - needs leadership!
all of the above situations are very real areas where their is an obvious and apparent leadership crises because there is a leadership deficit.

so, how do you know if you're a leader?

take a look around!

leadership is NEVER alone...
  • who are you leading?
  • at work?
  • at church?
  • as a coach?
  • in the school pto?
  • in your neighborhood?
leadership is never alone!

if you're alone, you're not a leader - you're a follower...that's ok, just don't try to act like a leader - be the BEST follower you can until you lead again...

thoughts...?

perhaps the greatest crises facing us...

this year has brought tremendous challenge and change to all who live in the US as well as around the globe. we have seen the crises of energy and oil dependence rob our checking accounts on a more frequent basis as the price of oil sky-rocketed. we have seen the affects of greed on the part of not just the CEO-elite, but also on those who really had no business purchasing homes that were way beyond their budgets. whether poor or rich, we have witnessed the effect of "instantaneous gratification" become the modus operandi for men and women.

we have seen the shift of thinking from "work hard, save, save, buy" to "i'll work when i want, do what i want, finance what i want and get what i want." what used to take families 20+ years to obtain, is now sought after with only a couple of years of marriage or career pursuit. our selfishness to have, do, and buy has rendered the final verdict that we are a nation and a people that are greedy.

we have abdicated responsibility. instead of assuming personal resonsibility, we shift blame to the government...and then look to them for a handout to bail us out of the mess our greed has put us in. (responsibility is another post for another day).

but perhaps the greatest crises facing us is...
leadership

over the next few days i'll elaborate more on this theme, but for today, i challenge you with this one key thought...

how can i lead MYSELF better?

think about the following:
  • i've heard it said, (code for i don't remember who said it) "your gifting may get you to the platform, but it's your character that will keep you there"
  • before you can lead others, your relationship with God MUST be solid, pure and devoted - see ps 51:10-12...then look at how david realizes this point in vs. 13.
  • we've all done it...watched a leader, and as that leader lead, begun to evaluate how we would do it differently...then we somehow assign a "grade" or "evaluation" of that person's leadership - forget that for a moment
  • evaluate yourself and begin to formulate the "grade" you would assign to yourself as a leader of yourself
  • how'd you do?

ways to pray for obama

lee grady has written an article identifying 10 ways to pray for obama - read it here - i'm going to summarize below.

But when I got up this morning, I turned all my attention to the fact that Jesus Christ is still on the throne. His government is what is most important. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, the Bible says “the nations are like a drop from a bucket” to God (Is. 40:15, NASB). That includes the United States. We may boast about being “the greatest nation on earth,” but He who sits in heaven has a different perspective. Let’s take a big sigh of relief now and remember that God is sovereign.

Obama has been elected president of this country, and that means I have a biblical responsibility to support him in prayer—even if I challenge his policies.
Whether you voted for Obama or not, you need to pray for him. Here are 10 ways I plan to intercede for him regularly:
1. Pray for Obama’s protection.
2. Cover his wife and daughters in prayer. Pray for Obama’s wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Natasha, as they face invasive cameras, nosy reporters, maniacal fans and dangerous enemies. Obama is not only a politician but also a husband and a father.
3. Pray that Obama will govern with God’s wisdom.
4. Ask God to keep our president humble.
5. Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him.
6. Ask for the spirit of reconciliation.
7. Pray that Obama will adopt pro-life convictions. Many politicians have changed their views on key issues while in office. In the 1800s some leaders who favored slavery later denounced it. In the 1950s some who opposed racial integration later became champions of it.
8. Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our president.
9. Pray that Obama’s door will remain open to the church. Pray that Obama, who claims to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ, will unapologetically welcome Christian leaders into his company and seek their counsel.
10. Pray that our nation will enjoy God’s peace and blessing during the Obama administration.


i encourage you to read the entire article here.

things we must do after the election

on election day +1 these thought are going through my head:
  1. find peace - my peace is found in the relationship that i have with Christ and His Lordship in my life. my life is absent of fear or worry because God is sovereign and His plan is being unfolded
  2. pray for our president-elect - i have prayed for our president-elect and his family. the gravity and intensity of the leadership chair he is assuming is enormous - he needs our prayers!
  3. set the example - i will model calmness and take the high-road in the spirit of patriotism before my children. fact is, i'm proud to be an america (where at least i know...ok, never mind). i'm proud of our nation and the model that our founding fathers established for fairness in the election process. i want my children to know that its ok to not have your candidate win, its ok to disagree, but that after all is said and done, i'm and we will move forward
  4. pray some more - we will pray and ask God's blessing on the obama family - and we will not do so based on agenda or fear, but becaue truly i want him to have God's leadership in all things
  5. move on - that's right, it's over - it can't be done - it's in the past. now, it's time to move on. get involved. put your money where your mouth is. and your time and your energy and your resources. we should be a part of the process, but our hope and confidence should always be in God
next couple of days, i'm going to cut and paste some thoughts from others that resonate with me...

my thoughts about today...a day history is made

i'm writing this shortly before lunch on november 4 (election day 2009) - but waiting until later in the day for it to post...

...i've spent time this morning helping prepare my children for another day of school, preparing my wife's first cup of coffee, watching a bit of news, mowing the back yard, praying, reading and thinking. in other words, its another day in my life...routine, yet every moment cherished because of those that are a part of my life - just like tomorrow will be.

i've chosen to wait to post this until its definite as to who the winner of the election is. at this point (11:10am) i truly think it'll be obama that wins - will i be dissappointed? sure. is it the end of the world and am i going to tuck my head in the sand for fear of impending government growth and higher taxes? absolutely not!

as i was praying (and cutting grass this morning) these are the thoughts that i pondered:
  • Rom 13:1 indicates that God establishes government - simply put, human government is better than NO government. now, the problem is that it is human - not divine. when we begin to think of government in terms of one party more "favored by God" than another, we lose sight of the fact that ultimately it is God that is in control. does this mean that God is pleased with all human government? no way. in fact i would venture to say that more than likely there's a lot that God is NOT pleased with in regard to government
  • because i'm writing this pre-results, but i essentially believe the post-results will indicate an obama presidency...i began to wonder...what God are you telling the church to do? ...how do we respond to a man that is so blatantly pro-abortion (yes, it IS a big issue to me...in fact, it's enough of an issue to sway me one way or the other for a candidate)? ...whats next for the Church of Jesus Chirst? our hope is never to be in a political system of any sort - have we sinned by doing so? ...finally, and this is really the ultimate absolute of the mattter...what am i PERSONALLY responsible for?
if you're a frequent reader of my blog, you know that i consider mark batterson's writing a must read. mark pastors a thriving a-political (there's a thought!) church IN DC...i appreciate the candor and tact with which he approaches matters such as these - but i particularly appreciate his latest sermon - the political elephant - you can listen to it in it's entirety here...below i've hit a few points that really captured my feelings. these thoughts give us a framework to move forward with - they are a challege for the church to return to what Christ mandated Her with - they are simple, but powerful. what follows are mark's remarks (except the last paragraph).

  • we need to think critically and biblically and tactfully about every issue facing our country. I think every political issue has spiritual overtones or undertones. I think we need to be engaged in the political “process.”
  • I also believe that the church exists to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. And all too often, our politics actually gets in the way of that. Our political positions can be obstacles that keep people from getting to the cross. And Jesus didn’t come to set up an earthly Kingdom. He came to redeem us from our sin and setup a spiritual kingdom that would transcend every earthly kingdom.
  • Blood is Thicker than Water

  • our allegiance to Christ comes first. Our allegiance to each other, as a spiritual family, comes second. And our allegiance to whatever political party we are part of comes third.
  • Our Kingdom is Spiritual

    Philippians 3:20-21 says:

    20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
  • We are first and foremost, citizens of heaven. We are part of a spiritual kingdom. And our prayer is this: Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done!
  • If you don’t vote don’t complain.

  • I think we need to quit complaining and quit grumbling. We need to stop pointing out what’s wrong and become part of the solution. Otherwise, we’ll continue to be known for what we’re against instead of what we’re for.
  • Respect Those in Authority

  • What is more important than how we vote on Nov. 4 is how we live on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5. We vote everyday with our lives. We vote every day with our feet, our hands, our lips, and our wallets….ultimate change does not just happen one day every four years. —Shane Claiborne

finally, it's simply incredible to see that in America, there IS opportunity for everyone - i think it's wonderful that we do have our first black president. is he my choice? no! but apparently he is God's choice for this season and i will do all that i can to pray for him and believe that God will use him to govern the affairs of men rightly and justly - may God bless America and may God bless Barak Obama!
will you believe with me that God is not only in control,
but that His will is being done and will be done?

why things stay the same

recently received my latest issue of fast company...a secular business magazine...and found this quote in the opening editorial - hope it'll challenge you to think for a moment...

"Emory University professor Gregory Berns writes...
our brains are biologically engineered to engage in repetitive thinking"

please understand that there is no acknowledgment of God in this statement...having realized that...
  • perhaps this is why many pastor's sermons sound the same...uh oh, might get in trouble for that one - except that i too preach and have noticed this can happen in my own speaking
  • perhaps this is why many leaders face crises moments in leadership with the same set of lenses - rather than seeing each crises as a stand-alone event allowed by God to forge character, tenacity and faith in us
  • perhaps this is why sin "so easily entangles us" - because repetitive thinking is rote and doesn't really really require much thinking at all
  • perhaps this is why the maintenance mindset is an easy trap to fall into
  • perhaps...
the article goes on to quote a dutch designer who says, "assaulting sensibilities can build creative capital" - let me springboard off of that statement and say that i think it's imperative for leaders in any organization to find new sources of input (of course, prayer, bible, etc are the FIRST source of input) - but what about other input into our lives - such as: relationships, building friendships with others in other areas of expertise (just this past weekend we had supper with some friends of our...the dad/father is brilliant - a pilot, an IT security analyst expert and wants to be a medical doctor...i was fascinated as he and i talked about flying...thinking all along about what he is telling my and how it can crossover into other areas of life), other sources of input can be: podcasts, magazines, life-experiences, travel, documentaries, etc.

this is why i'm a big believer in exposure - exposing others to new situations, methods, etc so that thinking is shocked out of the repetitive nature and into a creative nature...

i was recently exchanging ideas with a pastor who is motivated to see his new church move beyond the 100 barrier...my counsel to him was this, "you've got to shock the system" - in other words, what you've done up to this point has worked...it's taken you from 0-75 attendees and you are solid in worship, teaching and fellowship. however, in order to go to the next level, something has to change - for him, specifically, one thing that needed to change was that he needed to lay down some responsibilities that he's carried since day 1, hand them over to some one else (i.e., pass along ministry) and carry only the things that he could as sr. pastor.