I met Lee Corning several years ago when he lived in Jacksonville Beach for a while. A native of suburban Chicago, Lee now lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Chelsy. Lee, 28, works in technology and trading. In January Lee decided to embark on a challenge: to read the entire Bible within 7 days. Having been raised in a devout Christian home (his mother is the author of Entrusted With a Child’s Heart and his father was chair of the elder board at Harvest Bible Chapel of Rolling Meadows, IL for twenty-three years), Lee grew up surrounded by a deep love and respect for God’s Word. Here at pastorbrett.com we post fairly frequently on the importance of Bible reading. I asked Lee if he would be willing to answer some questions about his experience of reading the Bible intensely over a short period of time. He graciously agreed.
PB: Thanks, Lee for being willing to do this interview. Where and when did you get the idea to try to the read the Bible in six days?  Why six days?
LC: I generally wake up around 3 or 4 a.m. to watch overseas markets for a little before the work day starts and get a little reading done or something in the educational realm. I had been reading lots of business books and biographies of industrialists and technology innovators. I was about halfway through the Steve Jobs biography and thought to myself, this guy is really just an excellent manipulator… and kind of a charlatan. I put that book down and thought, people really put this guy on a pedestal and he’s not even a good guy. I don’t want to be like this guy at all, which raises the obvious question of, “Whose life do you want to imitate/learn from?”
The answer to that is pretty simple to me: 1.Jesus 2.My dad. 3. My brother. Since my number one option on this list wrote a Book which happens to be the all time best-seller, the idea to read the Bible was obvious. Feeling a little energized because the idea made perfect sense to me, I decided to read the Bible in way that I have never read it before: cover-to-cover in a sprint format. I did this to try to understand the context of the larger picture of what was written instead of tiny spoon feedings everyday, as I have done before. The reason I chose to do this in week is because I had read other books that were only a few hundred pages shorter then the bible in about 2 weeks before and that gave me the idea that it was possible to read the Bible in a week, given a little effort.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas is unfair.


We’ve spent a lot of energy shopping for the perfect gifts for our children.

Our kids spent a lot of energy thinking about the perfect gifts for themselves.


We spent hundreds of dollars on gifts for our children.

Our kids are about to spend money that they got for Christmas.


For our kids, Christmas has been a wonderful, thrilling time.

For us, Christmas has been a stressful, tiring time.


But we did it joyfully…because we love them.


Yes, I am convinced that Christmas is unfair.


And that’s not so bad, because…


Our Heavenly Father spent a lot of time thinking about us.

We spent a lot of time thinking about ourselves.


Our Heavenly Father offered the perfect gift, His Son, for us.

We offered Him nothing but sin, shame, and brokenness.


Our Heavenly Father ordained His Son’s atoning death for us,

While we pridefully maintained our own innocence.


But He did it joyfully…because He loves us.


(c) Brett A. Maragni, 2013

Testimony: Kirsten Powers

I don’t watch news on television, so I didn’t know Kirsten Powers prior to coming across her testimony, “Fox News’ Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower,” published in Christianity Today. Powers writes, “Of all people surprised that I became an evangelical Christian, I’m the most surprised.” It is powerful. Check it out…HERE.


When it comes to the many thousands of manuscripts upon which our English Bibles are based, there are basically two major “families” of manuscripts: the Byzantine family and the Alexandrian family.


The predominant view among conservative Bible scholars today is to prefer the ALEXANDRIAN family of manuscripts…

…hence most modern English translations either footnote or bracket certain words, phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs (John 7:53-8:11; Mark 16:9-20)… words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs which were accepted as God’s Word in Bibles prior to the 20th Century.

But I want to give you five reasons, among many, that I prefer the BYZANTINE family of manuscripts:

1. While we have no 2nd Century manuscripts from this family, we see 2nd Century Church Fathers quoting Byzantine readings.

2. The Alexandrian family was discovered only in one region of Egypt; the Byzantine family was found in all parts of the Mediterranean world.

3. A massive majority suggests early Christians thought these renderings were superior and chose to copy from this family rather than the other. (The Alexandrian family was located in a remote part of the known world and probably had less manuscripts to compare).

4. The Byzantine family seems complete; the Alexandrian does not (see Mark 16).

5. God has kept the Byzantine family preserved and known through the entire history of the Church; the Alexandrian family was lost and unknown for over 1,500 years.

The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times. 

You shall keep them, O Lord,
You shall
preserve them from this generation forever. - Psalm 12.6-7

Probably most of the readers of this blog are using English Bibles that are based more upon the Alexandrian family than the Byzantine family. Should you burn them and go back to the tried and true KJV?  No. Here’s the thing, it’s not a major deal.

* Less than 5% difference between the two families of texts, the main difference being the Alexandrian family is smaller (Mark 16:9-20 omitted, other verses and words omitted).

* No major Christian doctrine impacted or changed (the most significant doctrinal issue is that the importance of fasting is weakened in the Alexandrian texts).

* As proof that I do not believe it is a major concern, I continue to preach and teach from an Alexandrian-based translation (ESV) even though I have preferred the Byzantine family for some time now. When I get to a verse or passage in the ESV that is impacted, such as Matthew 6:13, I point out how the verse(s) is bracketed or in footnotes, explain why, and then preach it as God’s Word.

Whichever textual family is actually correct, the Christian faith is not compromised.


How did I spend Veterans Day 2013? Aside from sleeping in, my daily Bible reading, installing a shelf in the garage, riding bikes with the family, taking the mower in to be fixed, taking Bryce on a Daddy date to the batting cages and Sonic, and eating three meals? I spent it reading Happy, Happy, Happy in its entirety.

It’s nearly a miracle that I waited this long to get my hands on this book. Ever since I first heard of Phil Robertson, I became enamored with his story and his lifestyle. A couple of years later, so did the rest of America, with the launch of the wildly popular reality TV show, Duck Dynasty.

Because I have been such a fan of the Robertson family, I was already familiar with much of his story. Yet reading the book was nothing close to a letdown. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it met my expectations. I was intrigued, inspired, encouraged, and even found myself laughing out loud a few times. Up next? Uncle Si’s Si-Cology!  *****5 of 5 stars

I believe in education.*  I truly desire for all children to have the opportunity and privilege of a good education. But let’s face it, the United States of America is not exactly knocking the ball out of the park when it comes to educating the masses.

What’s the problem? Is it curriculum? Is it funding? Is it standards? Is it lack of testing? No, none of these are the main problem.

Julington Creek Elementary School

St. Johns, Florida

Although we live in one of the best public school districts in the nation (it’s true, year in and year out, Newseek, Forbes, and others say so), we choose to homeschool. We do this for a very strategic reason: we believe that no one cares more about our children’s development than us, their parents.

This is the problem with education in America: parents.

Continue Reading »

A Praying Life

It is not too often that I give a hearty recommendation of a book that I have not finished yet. But I am almost finished with this one and have been recommending it with zeal already at church. Get it. Read it. Live it.

praying life


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