2017 Bible Reading Plan

This little post is something that is more for me than others, treat but if it is helpful for you that is great.  Here I am going to plot out my Bible reading plan for the coming year.

 

But first…..

A word about 2016 and my reading through the Bible plan.  This was a plan that read through the entire Bible throughout the year.  I have done it a few times throughout the years, and always have the same feeling when I finish the plan.

These feelings are that I am glad that I have finished and accomplished the goal, but I also wonder if it is merely a goal to accomplish.  The bottom-line might be that it is good to meet this goal, but after a year with it I am ready to move on to something different.  Perhaps I will get the bug again in 2018 or 2019 to do this again, but not in 2017.

If you have never read through the Bible in a year or at all here is the plan that I used.

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/60-the-one-year-bible

**note all the links to bible reading plans are from the great youversion app that can be accessed on your android, apple or web connected device. **

This year’s plan

In 2017 I wanted to slow the pace down a little bit to be able to dive into the readings a little bit more.  I have a solid habit of getting into scripture daily for things that are not work related (sermon prep and the like don’t count for devotional time in my mind).

Rather than choosing one plan to do for the year, many of which are just iterations of the Bible in a year plan.  I am going to begin with a 100 day plan that gives a big picture of the totality of scripture.  It is divided into 100 readings that are only a chapter to 2 long.  Half are from the Hebrew Bible while the other half are from the New Testament.  My hope is that I am going to be able to journal and reflect more on the readings rather than just slogging through.

Here is the 100 days reading plan: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/25-the-essential-100

After this plan I am planning on piecing together some smaller plans that will alternate between diving deeper into a particular book and then into a practice.

An example of a plan focused on a spiritual discipline is this 2 week long one from Tim Keller’s book “Prayer” https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1240-prayer-a-14-day-devotional-by-tim-keller

While this plan on the Book of Acts gives a 28 day focus on the birth of the early church https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/644-deeper-into-scripture-acts

 

The bottom line…

I have a solid plan for the first 100 days of 2017.  In there I am trusting I will be able to come up with some ideas and direction where I want to go with the rest of the year.  The plans on practices are usually shorter while the scripture focus is longer.

Not being hemmed in by a yearlong plan also allows me a little more freedom to shift midway through it one plan is just not working for me.

 

You should plot your own course, there are hundreds of plans to choose from at bible.com or through their Bible App.

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans

 

A different approch

So a while ago I made my last post.

It was, of course, another post about hoping to be more active in the blog.  There has been little movement on that front.

In conversation with one of Eden’s teachers the other day we were talking about putting things out to meet our goals.  As part of that it is important to look of the low hanging fruit to build up the momentum. So, in that spirit I know that  I know that i am much more of a spoken word communicator rather than then the written word.  I have the needed recording equipment and I am going to try and ream up some audio posts that will come out in the future and may turn into a podcast based out of this blog.

We will see if it goes anywhere….. Here’s to experimenting.

Don’t just LIKE, Be Social

“Don’t just LIKE, Be Social”

The long and short of this post is:

What if we didn’t favorite a tweet, like a post or +1 an image without also commenting?  

I have been looking at the way we use social media and studies that go alone with life satisfaction and what gains traction and what doesn’t. A number of studies have shown the effects of facebook on our mental health.  One of the most notable comes for the University of Michigan which found support for the hypothesis that the more you use facebook the worse you feel.  Check it out here

A little while ago a study was conducted using twitter to show the life-cycle of happy vs unhappy tweets.  Interestingly even happy tweets would at times gain steam because of negative feedback.  Sorry I couldn’t find the source for this one.  You can see another study that attempted to quantify happiness or sadness via tweets.  Though the source and research techniques may be a little more suspect but may uncover a trend.  Check it out here

It shouldn’t be a real surprise that the things that keep coming up seem to be negative or of no real value.  Case and point, this week being all of the talk of the newest Kim Karshshidan pic (mehh) overshadowing the fact that a drone was landed on a comet (super cool).  We see the trend to the negative in television news stories too because they are the ones that get the ratings rather than stories filled with rainbows and unicorns.

So what is social good for?

Being social, of course.

Our social interactions have the potential to make some really powerful connections, but they often lack real interaction.  We like, retweet and plus one things rather than engaging and adding to the conversation.  This may be illustrated when a friend posts that they have just suffered a tragic event or lost someone close to them and there are always a handful of people who respond the the information by pressing the little thumbs up.

Sure there is a kind of social contact that is happening, but there i little fellowship that is happening.  I am reminded of Howard Thurman’s comments as a precursor voice to the civil rights movement who recalled the understanding of contact without fellowship.  Thurman’s reminder of calling us back to true connection and conversation may have application in breaking down a different kind of barrier today.  When we only have the perception of someone else’s story without knowing their story we quickly paint an unfair picture of this person or group.  Or as one pastor puts it:

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.Steve Furtick

As we look to the holiday season, we have to realize this is a tough time for many people.  In every church I have served on staff of or volunteered at people mention the pain of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.   I think that there may be a way for all of us to leverage social media for what it was made for, turning a profit through selling our personal information,  making meaningful connections with other people.

The Experiment:

So here is the proposal.  What if we didn’t like, favorite or +1 any social post without adding something to the conversation? 

I think this would do a number of positive things

  1. This may remind us that we are interacting with real people who are living real lives, just like we are.  Often we are comfortable with the anonymity of the web and forget that there is someone on the other end of the interactions
  2. It may foster some real and meaningful interactions that you cannot have through just a click of the mouse or a tap of your finger.
  3. At least in the case of Facebook it may make your social experience more pleasant because the more you interact in a positive way the more Facebook’s algorithm will serve you up a stream of meaningful posts rather than noise and junk.
  4. If we know we are going to interact more thoughtfully we may be more intentional about when and how often we get on our social sites.  Therefore we will get some of our day back.

I may be totally off point, but these are some anecdotal things that I have seen as I have tried to regulate my social media use.  It may be worth a try for you.  I know it has been positive for me.

The Other 6 days

When someone finds out that I am a pastor, I will often be asked “So what do you do the other 6 days of the week?”

Besides the obvious, 16 hours of daily prayer, bible study and fasting, there are a ton of exciting things to do.

My church is currently doing a teaching series on the balance of family life, and so I have been more aware of doing some fun and different things with my girls so that they will ask questions or have fun. The goal is to take a little bit of the frantic-ness out of our lives.

After some conversation with our 7 year old about the dishwasher, we made a hypothesis about what happens to get the dishes clean.  One guess was that little guys come out from a trap door and scrub the dishes with little brushes (mine). The other guess involved a lot of bubbles (Eden’s).

So yesterday Bethany and I took some video of what happens in the dish washer.  We set up a light in a Tupperware food bin so that we could see the the little guys come out and scrub our dishes what happens inside the dishwasher.

Bethany’s input to the project was to make sure her Elmo plate was washed, so he was given a staring role.

The footage proved to be less dramatic than either hypothesis, but fun none the less.  It also is a good opportunity for some good creative thinking and conversation.

Back to the question at hand, “What do I do the other 6 days that are not Sunday?” My week is filled with planning worship, youth group, pastoral care, cross country practice, meetings, paperwork, juggling and putting out the occasional fire just to name a few things.  While all of the work stuff chips away at my time I try and fight for the family time and make that a priority.  I don’t always do great at it, but when I do it is super fun and that is the encouragement to do it more.

Next stop… The dryer

reboot

Summer Blog Reboot

This summer I have a goal that I will reboot the focus of this blog in hopes of collecting some data for some little experiments I’ve been working on. In the process of doing so I may even bring value and encouragement to those who read it as well.  This shift comes due to a couple of projects converging at points of web development, troche a personal desire to write a little bit more and an odd form of accountability throughout the summer of my personal faith growth. Plus, troche who doesn’t need another thing to do over the hot parts of the year?   Some of the goals of the reboot:

  • The geek: There are a couple of projects that I am working on that have required me to know how to do better SEO (search engine optimization) for some of the sites that I am an admin for.  Thus, pharmacy I’m going to use my personal blog as a bit of a playground to see if the efforts that I am getting to know are bearing fruit.  The books that I have read and videos I have watched say that the amount of time to see a difference in traffic is a number of weeks.  So I thought that the summer would be a great amount of time for the experiment.
  • The Personal: During the season of lent I challenged my church to do a “Spiritual fitness challenge” and commit to daily time in the christian disciplines, setting aside things that they don’t need in their lives, and taking on something that will do good.  Each week I would send an email to the group participating in the challenge to check in about their spiritual health (this was similar to a virtual covenant group for those coming out of the wesleyan traditions). This was a great practice for me in knowing others were counting on my update and would hold me accountable.  In posting the practices I am engaging in and how I did each week I think I will get the same kind of accountability from this space.  This exercise may also encourage some good conversation.
  • The Call: A final reason that I am going to give this “reboot” a shot is that a major call in my life is to connect with those who have been hurt by the church and invite them into giving God/Church another shot.  My hope is that this blog would be a place where I can write/reflect on the practical ways I see God at work throughout the everyday (read, non pastor-ish) interactions and ups and downs of being someone who follows Jesus.

During the reboot I hope to be more faithful in the blogging, build an audience and clarify my voice (whatever that means). I am not sure what the next little while will bring, but I know that this summer is going to be jam packed with awesome opportunity to encounter and share about what God has been up to. The family is going to be going on a family mission trip, spending a week at summer camp, participating in a number of community activities and by and large just having some great time getting sunburn. So with this let the reboot begin.