Every year I have some sort of plan for reading through the Bible. Last year I took it slow and digested particular books of the Bible through inductive study and meditation (Philippians, John, Psalms). A few years ago I read through the entire Bible accompanied with a reading plan for Jim Hamilton's God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment (highly recommend) and really enjoyed it.
This year I am reading through the entire Bible accompanied by Tom Schreiner's The King in His Beauty. Schreiner is one of my favorite theologians for the reason being that he does Biblical Theology so well in all of his writings (E.g. His book on covenants). The King in His Beauty is a beautiful culmination of deep theological reflection coupled with a cohesive thread Schreiner masterfully weaves through each book of the Bible.
The book is broken into nine parts:
Each "part" groups books of the Bible together to give the reader a well-rounded, cohesive view of the entire canon. Schreiner's goal is that the reader would leave the book with a greater understanding of the "major themes in the narrative" (p. xii, TKIHB). I believe that a careful reading of Schreiner's book, accompanied with focused Bible reading, will help you see the broader story line of the Bible in each book of the Old and New Testament.
I commend you to read through the Bible this year with TKIHB as an aid for helping you grow in your knowledge and love of God. You can find one-year and two-year reading plans here. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you read His Word this year!
I love the annual THINK conference at College Park Church. So much in fact that my wife and I have weaved it into our anniversary celebrations over the years--romantic, I know. It's safe to say that I love THINK. But why? Three reasons stick out:
1. The emphasis on theological development.
A.W. Tozer is known for stating that the most important thing about you is what you think about when you think about God. I love that. By definition, everyone is a theologian because everyone has a view of God. The question is not—am I a theologian? The question is—am I a good one? Yet in my experience churchmen tend to gravitate towards other things: Christian practice, spiritual disciplines, social justice, and practical theology. While all of these things are good and right, they must be surrounded by an accurate biblical-theological framework in order to function the way God intended. THINK has served as a theological pulse check for me every year—reminding me of what is important. Namely, my view of God.
2. No matter who you are—you learn.
Bruce Ware. Jim Hamilton. Erwin Lutzer. D.A. Carson. John Piper. Ravi Zacharias. Every year the featured THINK speakers never fail to deliver robust theological truths in engaging ways. From the book of Jeremiah to an overview of the life of Martin Luther, each presentation I've ever listened to has left me captivated and inspired to learn more. So whether you are a new believer or a seasoned minister, you are guaranteed to walk away from THINK wishing it lasted longer.
3. Lots of (cheap) books.
One of the biggest perks of attending the THINK conference is the huge selection of solid books on sale for 40-75% off their original price.
I have friends that literally wait to buy books all year until the THINK conference because they can save hundreds of dollars. This is a great service to the church and a huge incentive to attend THINK.
THINK|18 is coming up March 2-3, 2018. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries will be speaking on apologetics and defending the faith. I encourage you to sign-up and attend. Soli Deo Gloria!
My friend Don Whitney (who also endorsed my book, Mentoring Like Jesus) wrote up ten questions to ask yourself at the beginning of 2018. My favorite of the questions is the first one.
Here are my top 10 posts from 2017:
Silence is hard. It's an art form, a discipline, a science of sorts. Most importantly, silence is needed.
What's odd, however, is how our culture caters to noise. It's all around us. Cell phones. Music. Movies. Podcasts. And that is just audible noise. There is noise all around us that we can't even hear, yet it crowds our minds and causes our hearts to feel like a neglected junk drawer. Noise like social media, the internet, magazines, and advertisements. While none of this "noise" is terrible in and of itself, it does cause what I call soul clutter.
Soul clutter is the absorption of noise to the neglect of silence. When we take in so much noise at the neglect of silence, our souls begin to feel like a messy desk—unorganized and scattered. I'm no stranger to this illustration. I find that when my desk is clear and in order, I'm able to concentrate on the tasks in front of me with higher intensity and focus. However, when my desk is messy, I have a hard time thinking, working and even concentrating. The same is true for our souls. When our souls fill up with noise and distraction, we feel hurried, anxious, and frantic. In other words, we experience soul clutter.
How are we to clean out the junk drawer of our hearts? How can we organize our messy souls? Through silence.
Silence slays soul clutter as nothing else can. Silence is a meeting between you and your own heart before God. As we embrace this meeting, God works wondrously to clear away the noise from our bombarded souls and instead fills our souls with His joy and peace as we gaze into His glory. Adele Calhoun sees the need for this silence before God when she writes,
"We need to realize that the world can go on without us for an hour or a day or even longer. We don't need to respond to every word and request that comes our way. The discipline of silence invites us to leave behind the competing demands of our outer world for time alone with Jesus. Silence offers a way of paying attention to the Spirit of God and what he brings to the surface of our souls."
Therefore, I am planning to take the whole month of December and purposefully shut down the noise of social media. While I love social media and don't feel dominated by it, I have a renewed desire to embrace the gift of silence to declutter my soul. I plan on continuing to write on this site which will automatically post new blog posts on all my social media outlets (so don't worry, I won't be cheating!). I will also still be sending out an email every week with my most recent posts.
Silence is a gift God gives us to see our hearts before Him—will you accept it?