My regular Wednesday Why We Web Blog post is now available.
This week I explore which note taking and editing apps you should consider using to help you prepare for preaching.
The WWW article recommends four specific iPad note apps that I have found helpful when preparing sermons. Check it out… and be sure to leave a comment!
At this time of year many people make new year’s resolutions or set goals to achieve. One goal that is certainly worthy of our limited time is the reading of the entire Bible from cover to cover.
This may seem like a daunting task; However, it is certainly an attainable goal for most people. While some read faster than others, the average amount of time it takes to read the English Bible is 75 hours. If you do the math this works out to be about 12½ minutes a day. So, if you can dedicate just 15 minutes a day you should have no problem reading the Bible from cover to cover in one year.
To keep you on track here are two methods to aid you along the way:
A Printed Bible Reading Plan
There are many excellent paper based reading plans available. My suggestion is to use a plan that is printed on a single page that can be folded and kept in your Bible… As you read simply check off each portion completed. What could possibly be easier than that?
Here are some free options to consider:
- One Year Daily Bible Reading Program from the Blue Letter Bible
- Bible Reading Plan from Denny Burk
- Dailing Reading Bible from esv.org
- For a slower pace: Two Year Daily Bible Reading Program from the Blue Letter Bible
- For a more intense plan: 84 Day Bible Reading Plan from Rey Reynoso
A Digital Bible Reading Plan
There are numerous advantages in using modern technology to aid you in your Bible reading endeavors. For example there are several free tools available that will track your reading progress, email you a reminder if you fall behind, and even read the Bible to you!
In this category my favorite choice is YouVersion. YouVersion is available online through their webpage… but they also offer native apps for both popular and not-so-popular mobile devices. No matter how many devices you use your reading progress is immediately updated through ‘the cloud’ to all of your devices.
I have personally used YouVersion for my systematic reading over the last two years on my Android phone, iPad, and desktop. There service has always performed flawlessly.
Did I mention their service is completely free? Check out their whole Bible reading plans here.
As a second choice I would recommend eBible. Their resources are accessed through the web or through a mobile app on an Android or iOS device. Unfortunately eBible does not offer nearly as many reading plans as YouVersion does. Also, where YouVersion is completely free; eBible follows a ‘freemium’ pricing model. This means that their basic features are free, but their more advanced features require a paid subscription.
Well, there you are. My two suggestions for how to go about reading the Bible in 2013. So, are you up to the challenge?
There are several worthwhile daily devotionals, but some are better known than others. In this review I consider some tools that are excellent for encouraging one’s time with the Lord, but may be less familiar to some readers.
For organizational purposes I separate two categories: daily devotional calendars and daily devotional books.
Daily Devotional Calendars
- Choice Gleanings by various contributors (Gospel Folio Press): Brief, paragraph long meditations that include Scripture and sacred poetry. A variety of Christians write different types of devotionals – some are gospel oriented, while others exhort believers. Others succinctly teach a point of doctrine, while many others warm the heart. One valuable feature is that there is a daily Scripture reading plan included on every page, which enables one to systematically read through the Bible in a year. It is available in different formats, including a wall calendar, desk calendar, daily journal, and daily planner.
- The Lord Is Near (Bible Truth Publishers; available here): This offers one page long meditations – some by contemporary authors and others by departed gifts like J.N. Darby, C.H. Mackintosh, and William Kelly. Longer than Choice Gleanings pages, these well-written articles likewise offer some gospel-oriented and some believer-oriented thoughts.
- The Continual Burnt Offering by H.A. Ironside (Walterick/Loizeaux; available here): Henry Allen Ironside is well known for his excellent commentaries on the Scriptures, as well as classics like Unless You Repent. This devotional offers short one-page devotionals for every day of the year. Many theological gems are contained within its pages.
- One Day At A Time by William MacDonald (Gospel Folio Press; available here): As with his outstanding Believer’s Bible Commentary, brother MacDonald offers well-written, Christocentric meditations in his customary understandable prose.
- The Day By Day series (Precious Seed Publications; available in Europe here and in North America here): From the publishers of the well-regarded Precious Seed magazine. In page-length meditations these books guide one through a Scriptural theme during the course of a year. Contributors are drawn from seasoned Bible teachers in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. Volumes in the series include:
- Day By Day In Prayer
- Day By Day: Christ Foreshadowed
- Day By Day With Bible Characters
- Day By Day In The Old Testament
- Day By Day In the New Testament
- Day By Day: Bible Commands
- Day By Day: Moments With The Master
- Day By Day: Bible Promises
- Day By Day: Paradise To The Promised Land
The newest one in the series is the recently published Day By Day: Christ And His Apostles. If you use the Logos Bible Software, some of these titles are available electronically: Link: Logos Day By Day Collection.
Daily Devotional Books
…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, Ephesians 5:18-19 ESV
In the New Testament we are encouraged to incorporate hymns and spiritual songs into our regular, daily life. While there is no lack of access to “Christian music” today, I believe Paul had something much deeper in mind than simply listening passively to someone else singing. It seems Paul is suggesting that psalms, hymns and spiritual songs should be so deeply embedded in our hearts that we would actual speak to one another in the ‘language’ of spiritual songs.
Paul also indicates that the Spirit filled believer will sing and make melody to the Lord directly from their own heart. Of course, there is nothing wrong in listening to others sing God’s praises… but the Lord desires something far more intimate from His children. He desires each of us to sing and make melody to Him directly from our own hearts… with no middleman! Amazing!
Over the weekend I became aware of two free hymn book apps for Android based mobile devices that you might find helpful:
The Believers Hymn Book
The Believers Hymn Book is a collection of over 450 spiritual hymns and songs loved and enjoyed by many believers around the world. The app is simple and easy to use with lyrics and tunes for 465 hymns. There are a number of different options for finding specific hymns (such as by first line, author, category, or meter).
Unfortunately I found searching by hymn number a bit tricky to use. I’m not sure if this is a device specific problem (Droid DNA) or a larger issue. 2013-01-29 Update: This issue was fixed in a recent update.
Other helpful features include difference screen settings for night and day viewing, and the ability to choose between different text size settings.
The Little Flock Hymn Book (1881)
Although the “HYMNS for The Little Flock” hymn book was first published way back in the 1800s the spiritual depth of this collection of hymns is still difficult to match today. The app’s author, KaiserGuy, has done an excellent job in creating an app that is lightening fast, is truly easy to use and offers some great features.
The app includes hymn lyrics and meters that can be accessed by hymn number, author’s name, and first line. The search feature quickly identities all songs with a particular word.
Some of the more innovative features include the ability to view word definitions, swipe left and right to browse hymns numerically, and several different social sharing options.
One of the wonderful aspects of blogging is meeting other bloggers who share the same interests. Since launching Digital Sojourner some 14 months ago I’ve met several dedicated Christians who love to share with the world their faith in Christ through the medium of blogging.
One of those bloggers is Jessica Morris who writes about her two greatest passions in life– her faith and her family. Her blog is called making the home a haven & nurturing those that live there. But make no mistake, Jessica is not another “mommy blogger” writing about another runny nose. She writes insightful articles about raising a Christian family in our modern environment. This, combined with her original photography makes for a truly engaging blog.
As a lead-up to Christmas for her family she has selected 25 personalities from our Lord’s genealogy to learn about. Through her blog Jessica is also sharing those lessons with a much larger audience. I highly recommend checking out her series of posts.
My regular Wednesday Post on the Why We Web Blog is now available.
There are numerous digital options for reading the Bible. Recently I have found myself returning over and over again to a relatively new offering that brings to the table some very interesting features. Checkout my Wednesday Why We Web blog post for all the details.
A friend asked me to write about my experiences reading through Collected Writings of John Nelson Darby. What was it like? What did I learn from it? Are there any tips and hints for someone else wanting to read the whole set?
I read Collected Writings over the course of 15 years. There were some volumes I read in a week or two, others took months. Sometimes I’d go months, or even a whole year between finishing one volume and starting the next. And of course I read some other things in the meantime, which might have helped me understand JND a little better.
To answer the most important question, yes it was tough reading, but it was definitely worth the effort. I would absolutely encourage anyone else to read Darby. Whether reading through Collected Writings is worth the effort depends largely on who you are and what you’re looking for. If you want a verse-by-verse commentary, you’ll be disappointed. Darby wasn’t really an expositor. If you want a study of types and shadows in the Old Testament, you might want to read C H Mackintosh (CHM) instead: that isn’t really what Darby writes about.
Darby’s writing is all about bringing the Word of God to bear on every question, of bringing every thought into captivity to Christ. It’s about seeing everything in the light of the whole counsel of God. It’s about gazing out at the vast ocean of God’s love.
It might just change the way you interact with your Android phone and greatly increase your productivity.Read More
If you have been following this blog you will know that one of my favorite websites is Voices For Christ.
If you are not familiar with the VFC site, you can think of it as an online repository of sermons. The present collection consists of 55,316 full length messages in mp3 format. All of the messages are available free of charge. Messages can be listened to immediately with one click via ‘streaming’ or downloaded to your computer or other mp3 compatible device to be saved and used at a later time. While the collection of sermons is the main feature of the site, other excellent resources are available including written ministry, and hymns.
If you are familiar with Voices For Christ you will immediately notice many of changes to the site. The site’s layout been greatly improved with a ‘clean’, minimalist feel. The site is also much easier to navigate. The homepage features a tag cloud to help users quickly located messages by subject matter and a search bar for more specific queries. I am great impressed with the functionality and speed of the search bar, as you type in words results automatically begin to appear in a drop down box. If you press enter a listing of matching sermons quickly appears. When I entered “missionary acts” I was quickly given a listing of 24 messages, mostly dealing with Paul’s missionary journeys.
Hopefully I will post a full review of the redesigned VFC website soon… in the mean time head over to VFC and checkout the new site for yourself.Read More
Brother Wilson first left for the mission field at the age of 21. He went on to serve the Lord in the nation of Angola for 40 years. After leaving Africa in 1961 he spent the next 35 years preaching God’s Word throughout the world.
Personally, I have many fond memories of brother Wilson. When I was growing up in the 1970s & 1980s brother Wilson would regularly preach at my assembly. I clearly remember his humble and soft spoken voice. It made a considerable impression on my young mind. It was so evident that he knew and loved God’s Word. His preaching was powerful and had a profound impact me… but the power didn’t come from a loud voice or eloquent oratory techniques, the power came from God’s Word. In the mid 1990s circumstances were such that I happened to be in fellowship at the same assembly as brother Wilson. Though he was elderly and frail his attendance at the meetings was regular and consistent. Brother Wilson was called home to be with his Lord in 1996.
Thankfully a good portion of brother Wilson’s ministry has been preserved and is freely available on the Internet. The www.ternestwilson.com website has been established by the Wilson family to “preserve, protect, and perpetuate the work of T. Ernest Wilson”
On the website you will find a treasure trove of material including: a listing of the books brother Wilson authored (most are available for purchase at Gospel Folio Press), a collection of his published articles, and a collection of his recorded ministry in mp3 format.
In my opinion the most interesting feature of the website is an online archive of many of brother Wilson’s letters from the mission filed. Two handwritten letters (available as scanned graphic files) provide a unique insight to his passion for, and dedication to the Lord’s work.
The T. Ernest Wilson Ministry website is a reliable resource for both the student of God’s Word and for anyone who has an interest in the history of African missions.Read More