Showing posts from November, 2023

You Probably Shouldn't Read Through the Bible Next Year

Many Christians make it their goal to read through the Bible in a year. They start with a plan or a new bible and they jump in. I regularly hear pastors say that everyone should read through the Bible in a year. I think Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that pastors should do this every year.  I wonder if there is a risk of legalism whether you fail or succeed. Those who  can't keep it up feel guilty they didn't get it done. I don't believe that shame and guilt should be the motivator in the Christian life. Feeling guilty that you failed at a goal the Bible didn't command is legalism. Those who succeed might have just checked something off their box. We aren't made righteous by what we do so reading through the Bible doesn't add to righteousness.  I do think that every Christian should read through the Bible at least once and probably many times in his or her life. I just don't think it has to be done in one calendar year. More ideas on that at the end. Who shouldn

What if I don't remember everything I read?

Someone recently told me that he struggles to move forward reading a book if he can't remember what he's already read. He didn't ask my advice, but his situation made me think about the value of reading if you don't remember everything? Should you remember everything you read? First, if you really can't remember anything, then you should reevaluate reading the book at all. If you don't like the book enough to engage your brain with the book, then maybe this isn't the time. Don't read a book just because everyone says you should. It could be that the problem is with the book and not with you. Second, part of the value of reading a book is that it forms your brain. They way a good author thinks, sees, and argues gives you a new way to think. That is part of the value of reading. Not just learning what the author thinks, but why and how. For example, part of the value of reading John Piper is that you can learn how he thinks about the Bible, theology, and t

Pastor, Prepare for Slander

“I’m concerned about her faith!” I said. “What if she walks away from the Lord because of what she has heard about me. I have to correct this!” I burned with anger, sitting in the parking lot outside my office. I told my mentor I was concerned because people from my church were leaving after being told lies about what I had said and done. One woman who had heard the lies had left and was sharing them with others. I’d just been told about it. My mentor said, “I think you should not say anything right now. I don’t think you can do anything about it. Her learning in ten years about how you handled this will have more effect on her faith than anything you can say right now.” I fought it in my heart but followed his advice. He was right. I saw no result from it. I left and the stories remained. Wisdom from Peter for Pastors Facing Slander My experience wasn't unique. Pastors face slander. People face slander. Something we said is taken the wrong way. Something we did is lied about. We n

Remembering Fred Hempel

We just had our first frost, so I was cleaning up my tomato plants this weekend. We grew four varieties of Artisan Seeds tomatoes, and I wanted to let Fred Hempel, the breeder, know how the two new varieties did. When I got online, I saw a post that he had died. I'm so sad. He was the tomato breeder that I trusted above all others. He did excellent work and told the truth about his tomatoes without hype. When I ordered, Pink Cherrywine for this year, Fred included an extra package of Golden Cherrywine as a surprise. We planted those Golden Cherrywine at the local library garden club. They were incredibly productive, tasty, and stored well. I love his Sunrise and Pink Bumblebee and have grown them for several years now. They are like old friends we see and enjoy every summer. Lord-willing I live to be 80, I'll probably still be growing his OP varieties and telling my grandkids stories of the breeder who created these. Regular gardeners like me can carry on the OP varieties, bu