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Sunday Night Unfiltered

September 26, 2010 — Leave a comment

It was a great day today! Here’s some reflections on Sunday and other thoughts from this past week (in no particular order):

  • One of my daily highlights is Bible Heroes Story time with the family. It’s a cool book that comes with songs for each story. Emory LOVES to dance to every song. I’m gonna miss these times later in life (and it will come WAY TOO SOON).
  • Played guitar in worship for the first time at BridgeWay. I forgot how much of an awesome thing it is to watch people worship.
  • Speaking of worship, I don’t really miss my old guitar that got stolen any more. My new one sounds really, really good.
  • Tried out YouVersion Live again for sermon notes and bible verses in worship today. I only tweeted/facebooked about it. Didn’t mention it during the service. Did you try it?
  • Got linked to by ChurchCrunch yesterday. Thanks John!
  • Started working on a site of what I think is going to be one of the coolest things I’ll ever create. More on that on a later date.
  • I wonder how many Cowboys fans still want to get rid of Roy Williams and David Buehler?
  • Had a great Connection Group again tonight. Love those guys and gals!
  • The weather was so nice today!
  • Next Sunday I’m preaching about the New Heaven & New Earth. Probably going to focus most of my time on Revelation 21. Got any ideas for me?

That’s it for this week!

This is the second post in my series on my favorite iPhone apps. See my other review on Angry Birds.

Since you’re probably going to be feeling guilty about playing Angry Birds on your iPhone WAY TOO MUCH, you might be looking for some spiritual encouragement. The cool thing is that there are two Bible apps that will blow you away: YouVersion and Logos Bible Software.

YouVersion

YouVersion is the product of one of the most innovative churches in the world, LifeChurch.tv based out of Edmond, OK. It is one of the most convenient ways I have ever found to read the Bible. It has 16 different English translations available to read (along with a number of other languages). You can share inspirational verses with your friends through Facebook/Twitter/Email/SMS. You can follow one of many reading plans they have available that will help you stay consistent in your daily Bible reading and set it at the pace you want. And the greatest thing about this app is that it is FREE!!!

Really, if you’re a Christ-follower and you have an iPhone this app is a no-brainer. You need to get it. I’ve been using it for well over a year (started with it on my iPod Touch) and it’s my go to app for reading the Bible every day.

Logos

If you’re wanting to go a little deeper than just reading the Bible and jump into deeper studying then you need to check out Logos. I’ve been using Logos Bible Software on my computers for about 15 years. It’s the best Bibly Study Software available, but you’re going to need to slap down some cash to get started with it. I think I’ve invested close to $2,000 in my digital library.

This past fall, in tandem with their release of version 4 of their software, Logos released their free app for the iPhone. If you haven’t bought the software for your computer you’ll still be able to use it with some Bibles and other resources for free. But if you have purchased Logos, or if you’re planning on buying it soon, then you should get the iPhone app.

One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to do quick studies of Greek/Hebrew words or general topics right from my phone. It only takes a few seconds to do what used to take me a few hours. Seriously. If you’re a student of the Bible it’s awesome how deep you can go without getting bogged down flipping through the pages of a concordance or dictionary.

I love being able to tap and hold on an English word to quickly see the Greek/Hebrew word that it came from. I use this many Sundays when I’m curious about the text our preacher is going through that day (I promise, I’m NOT playing Angry Birds in church). I also like being able to quickly check out a few different commentaries whenever a thought comes to me. I really don’t have any excuses to not getting into the word.

If you’d like to see a more in-depth tutorial on what Logos Bible Software on the iPhone can do check out the video below:

YouVersion and Logos are both available for free in the App Store.
Bible

Those are my two favorite Bible apps for the iPhone. Do you have any other Bible apps you’ve found useful??? Share in the comments.

Let’s face it. Most of us are not as disciplined in our Bible reading as we should be. We’ve heard over and over to “Read your Bible and pray every day” since as long as we’ve given our lives to Christ, but we still struggle to read God’s Word as often as we should. We know that the Bible is a major part of our spiritual nourishment, but it’s all too common that we realize one day that we can’t remember the last time that we actually read the Bible for ourselves.

I know that feeling all to well. As a minister, you would think that I’ve been a super-human, high-powered, professional holy man since the day I jumped out of my mother’s womb. But the reality is that I’ve struggled to be consistent in this area most of my adult life. I get distracted way too easy. Life makes me tired. And I’ve struggled much more than I’ve done well.

That’s changed a lot over the past couple years. I can honestly say that this year and last I’ve been the most consistent in my daily reading than ever before. In fact, I’ve read the Bible every single day so far in 2010. I’ve learned a few things that have really helped me become consistent, so I thought I’d share those here. Here are a few things that have worked for me and I think they could help you, too.

Find a rhythm that works for you.

There are a few people that I know who get up extremely early in the morning (when Jesus might still be asleep) to spend time in prayer and Bible study. When I hear people talk about this my first reaction is to feel guilty. That seems like the thing that all of us should do if we really love Jesus. But the reality is that early mornings don’t work best for everyone. It may be that you need to start doing that, but what’s most important is to find a rhythm of Bible reading that works best for you.

The majority of the time that I read the Bible is at night right before I go to bed. There are days that I’ll find time in the middle of the morning or afternoon to get in the word, but I tend to read before bed most of the time. If you’re a night owl like me, maybe reading the Bible then is the best time for you.

Make it a priority.

This may be the most important thing I’ve done. It’s easy to come up with a litany of excuses about why we’re not being consistent in our reading, but the most likely reason is that we haven’t seen it as being all that important of a thing to do. Excuses like, “We’ve heard most of the important stories before.” “The Bible hasn’t been available to read for everyone for most of history, so why bother today?” “Life’s so stressful with work and the kids that the last thing I need to do is add another thing to my to do list.”

Whatever the excuse is the reality is that we’re not making it a high priority in our everyday lives. Until that happens any excuse will seem like a good one.

Follow a plan to read the whole Bible.

From what I can tell, there are two ways that are really popular for reading the Bible but aren’t really the best if you’re struggling in being consistent. One is to just open up the Bible randomly to a page and start reading. All of Scripture is inspired, so I’m bound to find something valuable no matter where I start, right? Well, that is true, but if you don’t have a plan in place to read through the whole Bible you’ll probably just skip over some less than fun sections (Leviticus/Numbers for example).

The other way that I hear of people doing is reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation. I’ve never done this and it’s likely that I never will. My wife, Brea, is doing this now and I really admire her for it, but there are a number of other ways to read the Bible that I have found to be easier to to follow than this plan.

The best source for reading plans I have found is from YouVersion. They have over twenty plans to choose from. Not only that, YouVersion can be accessed from your browser or you mobile device (they even have an iPhone app, too). On top of that, you can choose how short or how long you want it take to make it through the plan. Oh, and they also have an option to add accountability partner to help keep you on track! Those are some great options!

If you prefer to read your print bible you can check out some printable plans over at the Blue Letter Bible website.

Give yourself some grace.

Even if you follow my previous tips, you’re likely to miss a day or two (or more) over the course of your reading. If this happens to you realize that this just confirms your need for grace and forgiveness from Christ and learn to give yourself some grace. Satan loves to make people feel guilty, and if you feel guilty about not reading your Bible you’ll be less likely to read your Bible, which is what is making you feel guilty in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.

Those are just a few tips that I’ve got. Do you have any success stories or struggles to share in your Bible reading? Share in the comments!

[image via eye2eye]