St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (aka “Waino”) is inviting people to join him in reading through the Bible in 2020. He is using a chronological Bible reading plan and the plan begins tomorrow, January 12th.
To join Wainwright on this journey through God’s Word, sign up HERE. If our family wasn’t already 12 days into the Tabletalk plan, we would be joining Waino as well.
*For some tips on reading through the Bible, click HERE.
Several years ago I established the habit of reading through the Bible in a year. It is one of the greatest habits I’ve ever acquired. In 2018, my 16-year-old son and I read through the Bible together. In 2019, the other four family members joined in and we all read through the whole Bible together.
Have you read the whole Bible?
Why not commit to read the Bible in 2020?
In this post, I’d like to share some tips on reading the Bible more in 2020, especially for those of you who are interested in reading the whole Bible in a year’s time.
First, choose a plan. There are several plans out there which are good. We really like the Tabletalk magazine plan. It is calendar-based and takes you through an Old Testament reading and a New Testament reading, six days a week. This allows you a day for catch up, which is very helpful because even the most disciplined of us will have a few days each year where we just cannot make it work.
For those who are reading this after January 1st and need something with a slightly later start in the new year, join Major League Baseball pitcher Adam Wainwright in reading through the Bible chronologically in 2020, starting on January 12th. You can join him on his Bible reading journey HERE.
Second, pick a time and a place to do your daily Bible reading. For our family it is right after breakfast (time) in our living room (place). For a friend of mine it is at lunchtime (time) at his office desk (place). Few people succeed if they just “wing it” each day. Determine where and when you will do your Bible reading each day. As far as time required, you will need to set aside a twenty minute time block, although most days it will only take you about fifteen minutes.
Third, track your reading. One of the reasons why we like the Tabletalk reading plan is because you can print out a handy half-sheet list of all the readings with little check boxes beside each day (see photos below), applying the wisdom of what some are now calling the Jerry Seinfeld method of success, also known as “Don’t Break the Chain!” The bottom line is that the more consecutive days you check off, the more it motivates you to stay with it. Each morning when our family would complete the assigned reading, it felt great to check off the appropriate box.
Fourth, pray before and after you read. Start with a simple prayer like this, from the Psalmist… Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. (Psalm 119.18)
After your readings are complete, pray about what you just read.
I’ve picked up a new hobby: writing food reviews. Strange, I know. But I am enjoying it. Recently I’ve been reviewing chicken sandwiches. Currently, I have tried twenty different chicken sandwiches and have posted eighteen reviews, with the remaining two reviews coming soon.
My biggest takeaway so far? Stay in your lane!
What I mean by that is this… for the most part, if you want a really good chicken sandwich, you should go to a chicken restaurant, as opposed to a burger joint. While I am not going to reveal my chicken sandwich rankings just yet, I will say that of my top five, only one burger restaurant is among them.
What does this have to do with anything spiritual? Here’s some ways that wisdom applies to the Christian life:
If your primary spiritual gift is teaching, but you don’t have the gift of evangelism, while you should still seek to be a faithful witness for Christ, focus your energies in developing and deploying your teaching gift. And vice versa. Gifted evangelists should spend most of their time honing and exercising their gift.
If you are not an expert in a given area, think twice before correcting or criticizing someone who is an expert in that area.
For example, several years ago an aspiring young photographer approached my Dad (an accomplished photojournalist), asking him to take a look at her professional portfolio. He was glad to help, and prefaced his comments by telling her he would be honest with her, in order to best help her develop and improve her craft. As he was making recommendations, instead of gratefully making note of his counsel, she chose to argue with him about his critiques. She never made it as a photographer.
God has designed you and wired you in a magnificent way (see Psalm 139.13-16). He has a wonderful plan to use you for His glory. Don’t try to be somebody you are not. Discover your divine design. Once you discover how He has designed you and wired you and gifted you, be the best YOU God has created you to be. Stay in YOUR lane!
Lately I’ve been noticing how easy it is for people to be negative and critical about others behind the safety of a keyboard (aka “the internet”). It’s a whole lot easier to say bad things about people you have never met, people who are only an image on a screen. Things are a lot different when you are face-to-face with them.
A few years ago, Jimmy Fallon and All-Star baseball player Robinson Cano set up a humorous prank that illustrates this reality. Please take four minutes to watch this…
What’s really sad is that there are a lot of Christians who are guilty of negatively judging others who they have never met. And far too often they don’t even have enough evidence before going public with their judgments, via blogs, Facebook, twitter, and other social media outlets.
For example, I recently came across a so-called “discernment ministry” website which had a long list of “false teachers.” While perhaps some of them are indeed false teachers, there were some pastors and evangelists listed that I would need to see some credible evidence to back up the charge. So I utilized the search feature on their website and found that these “discernment” bloggers provided no evidence to back up their charges against some of these men.
While falling short of the legal definition of slander, this kind of thing is definitely malice, and is sinful behavior.
So, here’s a challenge to all of us. Before we say something unkind to someone or about someone, let’s make sure we aren’t hiding behind the keyboard. Then, let’s make sure we have plenty of credible evidence to back up our charge. Finally, let’s only speak of them as if we were standing there in front of them, and the people who love them.
Back in 2008 I penned a blog post that has been, by far, the most popular one I’ve ever written (approaching 200,000 views). That blog post, “Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?, presents 21 reasons why I think it is wise to refrain from drinking alcohol.
A couple of years later I added, somewhat humorously, a 22nd reason.
Today I add a 23rd: You should avoid drinking alcohol in order to avoid increased mosquito attraction. Yes, you read that correctly. Mosquitoes are more likely to be attracted to you after you have consumed alcohol.
A team of researchers in Japan warn that “persons drinking alcohol should be careful about their increased risk to mosquito bites and therefore exposure to mosquito-borne diseases.”
So there’s that, too. 🙂