Are You Lost and Out of Step?

Can I share something with you?  Something you can keep to yourself?  Well I’m considering radically changing our house church, and restarting, or rebooting if you will. I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So it’s time to make changes.  Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve accelerated my deconstruction and I think it’s been hard on those that were/are with me.  But there is no turning back for me I’m convinced that what I’ve been taught is incorrect and not reflective of Jesus Christ.

I’m committed to truly knowing Jesus even if it cost me everything.  Part of this journey is letting go of ways that have been ingrained in me as to how church should be, how often, what days. In some ways I feel lost, but in my lostness, in my wilderness, it’s there that I always seem to hear God’s voice. It’s there that I find my way back home.  So embrace the feeling of being lost it’s a good place to be.

Since leaving my Charismatic group I’ve rejected the following:

  • a retributive god
  • all hierarchy (within the body of Christ that views one as higher, better, greater than another)
  • all forms of control
  • all forms of power
  • all forms of manipulation
  • all forms of sin management
  • all forms of legalism
  • all forms of ignorance
  • all forms of success
  • all forms of exclusion

I firmly believe that in the body of Christ we are all equal, and the only great one is Jesus (and he defined greatness by becoming human, powerless, and a servant).  Yes I still believe that those that claim to follow Christ should gather together at the Table of the Lord where every one is equal and to bare each others burdens.  That is what I think church is and should be.

I don’t know where you are at in your journey but know this, where ever you are I’ll always be your friend. For the record Yes I believe that God heals, and that the Holy Spirit moves in our presence, and brings about restoration in our lives. Yes I still believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I have no intentions to abandon my Charismatic roots (although I’ve never been anything like the crazies or extreme, that doesn’t mean that I don’t hold those views).
Please keep me in your prayers as I truly value you and those that dare to come along with me on this Path that I have set.  You are here because you are a seeker, like the wise men looking for the God that will bring peace on earth. We’ve been lead to him, so now lets live like him and continue his work of bringing peace on earth.

May Christ be with you and your family,
Robert

Books of the Bible on the iPad

One of the main purposes that I got the iPad was to read books, PDF’s and of course the Bible.   This year I have made it a goal to get back to serious devotional reading, which in recent times always led to research and study.   Which is not bad but it is very distracting, and keeps me from doing any sort of meaningful thought provoking devotional reading.   I have been working really hard every morning to read the Psalms and the Gospels which is working out pretty good.

The other day I came across the “The Books of the Bible” by Zondervan on iBooks which if you are not familiar with gives you a unique way of reading the bible without any distractions.   I read through the book of Epheisans this morning straight through and it was just wonderful.   I now plan to use this as my main method of doing my daily devotional reading.

Here is their brief description:

The Books of The Bible differs from the format of most current Bibles in significant ways:

  • literary forms of the Bible’s books
  • chapter and verse numbers are removed from the text (a chapter-and-verse range is at the bottom of each page)
  • individual books are presented with the literary divisions that their authors have indicated
  • footnotes, section headings and other supplementary materials have been removed from the text (translators’ notes are available at the back of each book)
  • the books of the Bible have been placed in an order that provides more help in understanding, based on literary genre, historical circumstance and theological tradition
  • single books that later translations or tradition divided into two or more books are made whole again (example: Luke-Acts)
  • single-column setting that clearly and naturally presents the
  • You can purchase these from iBooks for .99 cents each and the whole New Testament is broken down into 4 volumes so for $4.00 you can buy the whole New Testament.   I have not found the Old Testament, but that’s ok I still open up my fine leather HCSB bible now and then to read the Psalms.  Anyhow if you happen to own an iPad I highly recommend you give this a try.  You only have to invest .99 cents to give it a try.  Also if you don’t own an iPad you can still purchase the printed version as well.

    New ESV Bible on-line

    If you haven’t already check out the new ESV bible on line. It has some nice features, like highlighting, notes, and bookmarks.

    ESV Bible on-line

    Wheaton, IL (May 13, 2010)—-Crossway is pleased to announce the new ESV Online. A key part of Crossway’s ESV Digital initiative, the ESV Online is a powerful and convenient tool giving access to the ESV Bible and other resources for understanding and applying God’s Word.

    Free access to the ESV Online is now available by signing up at http://www.esvonline.org. Users are able to customize their own interface, highlight and mark verse numbers, add bookmark ribbons, search the ESV text, and manage personal notes. The free version also includes a variety of daily reading plans and devotional calendars.

    Want to try the highly acclaimed ESV Study Bible free? For a limited time, everyone who signs up for an ESV Online account will receive a free 30 day trial access to the ESV Study Bible. Current Online ESV Study Bible users will be contacted via email over the coming weeks and will have their accounts migrated to the ESV Online site with access to all the study notes and resources. The Study Bible module is also available to purchase within the ESV Online platform or for free with the purchase of any print edition of the ESV Study Bible.

    In addition to the above, Crossway is developing many more ESV Online modules to enhance the study of God’s Word. Stay tuned for the release of Greek tools, MacArthur study notes, commentaries, Bible Audio recordings in numerous languages, and much more!

    Coming this summer, ESV Online users will be able to sync their account with mobile ESV Bible apps so personal highlights and notes can be accessed and updated anywhere.

    New believers courses started today

    Today I started our new believers class at our church. I had done this course about 3 years back but due to schedule conflicts we had not done them again. We finally decided to offer them on Sunday morning during our second service instead of doing them on a week night.

    We had a great response about 14 new members showed up. The course is 5 weeks long where we go over basic doctrines. Our church keeps growing and it is more and more difficult to know everyone at our church, so this gives us (pastors) an opportunity to meet them and spend sometime with them.

    I also started teaching on the Doctrine of God on Tuesday night we had about 8 folks show up. I hope that these efforts in teaching Gods word bear much fruit. My prayer is that I instill in them a passion for God and an understanding that it’s not just the head knowledge that matters but it should lead us into a deeper relationship with Christ.

    Ramblings…is there more to God than just head knowledge

    I have to admit that I am a emotional person, I cry at movies, I love to laugh, I had a bad temper once, now I just have this controlled boring anger.  I also love to experience God on a emotional level.  I feel close to God when I experience different emotions during my prayers, and worship.  I often wonder if this was taken from me would I still feel the strong relationship that I have with God?  I wonder if I only understood God or knew him by just having a mental comprehension would I still want to be a Christian?

    One thing I am sure of if you take that away, that personal sense of really knowing God on an intimate transforming level you don’t have much left.  I say have both, know God on an intellectual level, and experience his transforming power in your life.

    Ramblings of a Mad Man – losing my connection in pursuit of knowledge

    Sometimes when studying about the bible (i.e. it’s history, formation, etc) I find myself desperately yearning for a connection with the living God.  At times I find myself feeling empty and dry within my spirit.   I wished I could just ignore this subject all together, but I must deal with it if I am to understand the process and the historical development of biblical interpretation.  But  most importantly I need to submit my paper in hopes of getting a good grade!

    In my studies the one thing that I have confirmed, and totally respect those that do, is that I have no desire to be a Textual Critic.   God bless those of you that have gone into this most needed field.  I would go insane if that is what I spent the rest of my life doing.  It is the most driest field I have ever read, and I will be glad when I no longer have to study this in school.   After studying this subject for a bit I wonder about all of those quacks who are not qualified to make judgement on bible translations.   I’ll think twice the next time I comment on a bible translation, and maybe show more respect and appreciation for those that spend their life in this most demanding field.   It has been a real eye opener for me, sorry ESV, HCSB, TNIV, NLT, NET, etc translators for any rude remarks I may have made in the past. Thank you for taking the time and attempting to bring us God’s word in our language.  I understand more clearly today how difficult it is for translators and the choices they have to make.  As the saying goes “Translators are traitors”, because of the difficulty of translating from one language to another.

    Top 3 Bible Movies Meme

    I was tagged by Jason in his meme to name my Top 3 Bible Movies.

    My top three would be:

    1. Prince of Egypt
      1. Since I did work for DreamWorks Animation it must be number one.  No screen credit – darn but I do have a very cool jacket that says Prince of Egypt logo on the front.
    2. The Miracle Maker
      1. Yet another animation, this one is stop motion.  But I think it is one of the best movies made about Jesus.  But the again I am a big time animation fan.
    3. The Ten Commandments
      1. How could this not make my top three list.

    The Story – Book Review

    Book & Bible Cover Size: Medium
    Page Count: 464
    Paper Edge Description: Plain
    Type Point Size: 11
    Size: 5.9 wide x 8.8 high x 1.5 deep in. | 150 wide x 223 high x deep 38 mm
    Weight: 1.445 lb | 654 gms
    Available: February 2005
    World excluding the United Kingdom and Europe
    Strategic Alliance: Livingstone
    Publisher: Zondervan

    I came across this book while browsing at Borders book store.  I was intrigued by it because of it’s unique layout of the bible.  The whole purpose of this bible is to get you to “read the bible as one incredible story from beginning to end”  The text being used is the Today’s New International Bible (TNIV).  What they have done is place the books of the bible in chronological order, and have also trimmed it down.  Now by chronological order I don’t just mean that they placed the books in order, no they actually insert different sections of different books in the order that they belong.  For example you are done reading the story of Noah and the flood, suddenly you find yourself reading about Job, that’s just one example.  image You won’t find the traditional names of the books of the bible in the table of contents either, they have all been renamed and re-chaptered.  The other thing missing in this bible is all of the chapter and verses, and not all of the books of the bible are included, nor are any of the books complete.

    The texts were chosen to retain the overall flow of the narrative, so that when you read this story, you will get a sense of the “big picture” of the Bible.

    Why read this you ask?  Because it is a great why to read the bible to better understand it as a complete story.  They have worked really hard and making it feel like a novel.  I think it is very useful for those of us who really struggle reading through the Old Testament, and for those of you that don’t I would still recommend you get one and read through it.

    They have inserted transitional paragraphs that summarize sections that have been removed to help keep the story in sync.

    image

    They have also retained some of the footnotes from the TNIV, but they have also added other footnotes to add help clarify the meaning of certain words of phrases.  For Example: Consecrate: To dedicate a person or thing to God’s service

    Our goal was to make the Bible read smoothly and easily, so that you can read it just like you’d read a novel.

    What I like about it?  I really like the fact that there are no number verses to found, and the traditional chapters and headers have all been removed.  When you start to read it, it really does feel like I am reading a really great book with great stories, but in fact I am reading God’s word.  It has been very rewarding, and at times I can’t even put it down.  I cannot stress how much more reading I do with out all of the typical bible distractions (i.e. chapters, verses, references, footnotes, study notes, etc) that we have.  Sometimes I do wonder what chapter I am on, or verse, but then I just keep reading and not worry about it.  It comes in a hard back and I would not mind seeing it published on a better binding as it appears to be glued.

    For those you (us) that do wonder what sections of the bible you are reading they have provided a Chart of References that tells you what chapters of the bible you are reading.  It also includes at the back of the book Discussion Questions, Characters (describes various people of the bible), & the Chart of References.

    Why did God create man?

    There are many reasons why God created man but what I want us to do is put our heads together and examine the main scriptures you would believe to have the answer. Let us take the time to share and reflect on the scriptures that mold our theology. As we blog and encounter the doctrine of free will I ask we all share our view honestly for the main purpose to express our interpretation. Let us come together in this forum to teach each other our current interpretations of why God created man.

    Let us answer this question.

    Job 7:17-18

    “What is man that you magnify him, and that you are concerened about him, that you examine him every moment and try him every moment?”

    -Rob Santiago