In This For Good

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They agreed they were in this for good, completely together in prayer, the women included. Also Jesus’ mother, Mary, and his brothers. (‭Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭14‬ MSG)

Commitment is crazy scarce in our culture these days. When things get rocky people run for the hills. If that sounds like you then you’re in good company.

When Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26) his disciples scattered. They just flat split. Even Peter, his best friend, sold him out, denying him when the going got tough.

If you have ever split, quit, or cut your losses—which narrows it down to just about everyone that breathes oxygen and falls under the description “human being”—then you and the disciples have a lot in common. They were quitters. But they didn’t stay quitters.

In the Book of Acts the early church historian Luke paints a vivid picture of a dedicated body of brothers whose undying devotion to the Gospel flipped the world upside down. But it’s the same guys that left Jesus high and dry in the Garden. What changed?!

They experienced the resurrected Jesus. They had quit on Jesus, but Jesus wouldn’t quit on them. He walked right into the room, declared his identity, deity, and design for their lives, and charged them all with a Holy Mandate, a Great Commission.

Each of them made an about face. They went 180. They flipped the script, settled their heart’s compass on true north, and went ALL IN.

They agreed. They were in it for good. Hell or high water. Pain, persecution, and martyrdom would follow all of them. Every last one. But they agreed. They were in it for good. Because Jesus makes quitters into world changers.

If you struggle with commitment, you don’t need more guilt. You don’t need better reasons to stay in the mix. You need an encounter with the risen Jesus. Ask. He’ll help. He hasn’t quit. He’s in this for good.

I Love My Bible: Blueprints & Buzzer Beaters

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The Bible is full of a lot of cool stuff. A LOT of it can be pretty tough to wrap your mind and heart around sometimes. But it’s worth the effort to try. Why? Because the Bible is our single greatest source of information about God, and it’s His single greatest method for speaking to us.

When you need to know tax code, you get a book on tax law; when you need to learn how to potty train a puppy, you read up on dog training tips; and, when you need (which is always) to both know more about and more of God you read the Bible. But it is way more than just a book. It’s a bullseye from Heaven’s throne. It’s a guaranteed three point basket. It’s an instruction manual.

Like all instruction manuals it was written in a variety of languages. So you will have to discover the one that you best understand if you hope to put its instruction to a good use. However, if you are willing to put in the effort to figure it out you will live a life full of the timely instruction of God.

God speaks to us through His Word. The words on the pages paint a picture of an eternal drama that is forever unfolding around us. It is remarkable. And like all good instruction manuals it unfolds a blue print for the way to make things work. And the biggest truth it has to deliver is that the only way things ever truly work is when they work through God.

The Word of God, full of timeless truth, is also full of truth that sometimes arrives just on time. Sometimes we forget what the blueprints say and we, or someone else, messes up the plans for our lives. Well, God’s Word generally has something to say about that too. I often find that when I’m at my wits end is when his Word is the most personal. His Word is a blueprint for me to live and love by, but sometimes it’s also a buzzer beater that comes just when I need it most.

I Love My Bible: Why I Don’t App

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The Bible is awesome. It is insightful, inspired, and many other things—including sometimes confusing, scary, and sad. However, above all it is a collection of stories, poetry, prophecy, and correspondence that paints a picture of a singular narrative…

God’s redemptive love.

I love it. And can’t stop diving into it on a regular basis. But lately my bible reading has taken a new turn. I don’t read on any of my bible Apps anymore.

It’s not that I don’t like them. They are absolutely amazing tools. In fact, we live in an age when access to the Word of God is more abundant than ever before. Digital resources are off the charts amazing. These days I have access to more information on my iPhone than my pastor had in his entire library when I was growing up in the 90s.

But that was not always the case. There was a time when the bible didn’t exist in English. There was a time when incredibly courageous men of faith gave their very lives to ensure the bible was translated, copied, printed, and distributed. They were martyred for the Word of God.

It is an entirely personal choice that is in no way whatsoever theologically driven. I have no compulsion to push my preferences on anyone else. But I have stopped doing my daily reading through an app. I’m not knocking them. I still suggest my favorites to people. I still even use them at church or on the go.

But for my personal time with God I have elected to hold the actual book in my hands. To feel it’s leather covering and crisp pages. To write in the margins. To make notes. Outline sermons. And appreciate the effort it took a great many people, inventors, and heroes to make it available to me.

Apps are awesome, and INSANELY useful, but for me there is just something almost degrading and impersonal about reading God’s Word on the same device I use to make my grocery list or read last night’s boxing highlights.

You see, I really Love My Bible. And that’s why I don’t app anymore.

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Attitude Matters

I Love My Bible: Attitude Matters

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I am 34. I have been reading the Bible pretty much every day for over 22 years. But I didn’t always read it the way that I read it now.

My dad is a high school art teacher—so growing up he, myself, and my kid brother all rode to and from school together every day. It was a cherished routine chocked full of memories. One of the constants from that season of life was a nearly daily stop at an automotive parts store managed by my uncle.

My brother and I would grab a stool and settle in for what was sure to be a long stop, my dad loves to talk. And my wonderful aunt who often helped around the store would inevitably strike up conversation with my brother and I. The talk almost always turned quickly to the Word of God.

“Nathan, you been reading your bible?” She would ask in her dearest friendly voice.

“Yes ma’am!” I would fire right back. But I hadn’t been. At least not like she meant. She wanted to know if I had actually been trying to read and understand it on a regular basis.

True enough I had a bible. It was an old school style King James Bible complete with all of the thee’s, thou’s, shouldests, and such. It also had a handy zipper and nifty little portrait of some Caucasian guy (presumably Christ) holding a sheep on the cover.

I would unzip it and thumb through its pages on occasion, but not with any real desire or intentionality. But my aunt kept asking, and I kept pretty much lying about it.

…until…

I started feeling bad about it. I mean even an 11 year old knows you shouldn’t lie about reading the Bible. So I stopped lying about it. My answer didn’t change. I still told my aunt that I had been reading, but from that point on it was the truth.

What began as an attempt to assuage my guilt and dodge a difficult question transformed into a daily habit which has since directed the course of my entire adult life.

The Bible is more than book (actually it’s a library.) It is bigger than the sum of our collective moral posturing. It is more powerful than the poets, prophets, statesmen, and martyrs who penned its many truths. It is not to be worshipped, though it is meant to be a spotlight that shines on the recipient of all our adoration.

And you will get out of it in direct proportion to the attitude accompanying your heart when at last you arrive at the border of its pages and paragraphs.

Because it is full of information but it also full of so much more.


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Why I Don’t App