Blog Posts

READING THE NEW TESTAMENT: MARK

The New Testament is a collection of twenty-seven books. All of the books come from the first followers of Jesus. Some of the books take only a few minutes to read. But before you read the books in the New Testament, it helps to know what each book is about.   When you see a…

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READING THE NEW TESTAMENT: MATTHEW

The New Testament is a collection of twenty-seven books. All of the books come from the first followers of Jesus. Some of the books take only a few minutes to read. But before you read the books in the New Testament, it helps to know what each book is about.   When you see a…

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READING THE BIBLE: NEW TESTAMENT

The Bible is filled with the teaching of many of the wisest people who have ever lived. Not only is that true, but the Bible is the word of God. When we want to know how to live, we can read the Bible. When we have questions about how to please God, we can read…

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Reading the Bible One Prayer at a Time

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE One way to read the Bible is to start at the beginning and read to the end. But there are other ways to read it as well. The Bible is filled with true stories about real people. Many of the stories include God’s words to his people. And many of them…

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Reading the Bible One Parable at a Time

Reading the Parables of Jesus The Bible is a book. The best way to read a book is to start at the beginning and read to the end. But there are many other ways to read a book as well.   Read a Parable Every Day One way to read the Bible is by reading…

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Reading the Bible One Subject at a Time

The Bible is not just a book of stories. It is filled with the teaching of many of the wisest people who have ever lived. In fact, the Bible is the word of God. When we want to know how to live, we can read the Bible. When we have questions about how to please…

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Reading the Bible One Person at a Time

The Bible is a book that is filled with good stories. Those stories are about people. Some were sailors. Some were prophets. Some were wise men. And some were not so wise. One way to read the Bible is to start at the beginning and read to the end. But you may also read from…

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Reading the Bible One Story at a Time: The New Testament*

A man builds a big boat. God speaks from a burning bush. A boy kills a giant with a stone. God makes the sun stand still. A fish swallows a prophet. There are certainly some great stories in the Old Testament. But there are great stories in the New Testament too. One way to read…

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Reading the Bible One Story at a Time: The Old Testament*

The Bible is a book. The best way to read a book is to start at the beginning and read to the end. But there are many other ways to read a book as well. The Bible is one book. But it also a group of books. Each book tells good stories. They speak of…

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Grace Grows Best in Winter

I first wrote this piece five years ago during a time when life had thrown us a few curves. I offer it again here to those who may be going through a rough patch of their own. Unless you have been walking about with eyes and ears closed all of your life, you are familiar…

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Why Does It Take So Long?

In mid-August 2021, we were able to announce that the Arabic translation of our book, Travel Guide to the Bible, had finally been shipped to our partners. From the project’s inception to its completion, with accurately translated and professionally designed books in shipping, this project had taken a full 18 months. With the common use…

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Why Simple English? Simple Answer.

It is not unusual, after a presentation, for us to get questions about what we do and why we do it? Why English? Why simple English? Here is part of the answer. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau released an interactive, online map pinpointing the vast array of languages spoken in homes across the nation….

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God’s Theatre

The post below is from a journal entry of sorts which I wrote during our first months living in Vietnam in 2013/2014. The context has changed for us, but the truths the piece touches on have not. Are you are sorting through some things you find confusing? Perhaps this will help. “God has a larger…

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Death by Squiggle

Today, I killed 6 metaphors, 3 allusions, 9 five-syllable words, 15 adjectives or adverbs, 3 gerunds, and 2 verbal nouns. They now lay smudged in scarlet ink on the pale page. I recall imagining that being a writer would be a mysterious and almost magical occupation. Making up stories. Playing with words. Putting pen to…

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Get Out of Your Bubble

When I taught at Gordon College, the students would complain at times about “the Gordon bubble.” When I first heard the term, I asked what they meant. They explained that living 30 miles north of Boston in a beautiful but sometimes isolated setting, with people who were all supposedly Christian, left them feeling like they…

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When Simple Is Complicated

Write in simple English. Sounds easy enough. But doing it well is harder than it sounds. Here’s an example. What is the most complex word in the English language? By complex, I mean, what one English word has more varied meanings than any other? And if your guess has more than three letters, guess again….

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The Impact of One Little Book

On May 18, 2016, I was staying at a mission guest house in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. As in many such places, there was a library. This one was like many others in such guesthouses. It showed signs of a collection that simply “happened” over the years. Missionaries on their way home or on their way to somewhere…

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Pain is Part of the Plan

Dave Ripper and I are very excited about the upcoming Inter Varsity Press release of Fellowship of the Suffering: How Hardship Shapes Us for Ministry and Mission.   To give you an idea of the kind of things we discuss in the book, this blog features the powerful and challenging testimony of Dr. Evans Burns, missionary…

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21 (of 50) Preachers to Revive Your Soul

Although I have seminary training, I still find it immensely helpful to hear someone exposit God’s word to me each morning. In addition to my wonderful pastor’s sermons on Sunday, I take time each morning to listen to one of my favorite preachers before I delve into God’s word on my own. With the current…

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More helpful hints for writing in Simple English

While I have written before on the artsy science of writing in Simple English, I did not give a specific set of guidelines that a writer would find helpful. Here is my attempt to correct that oversight. Thirteen Helpful Hints (read GUIDELINES) for Writing with Simplicity and Clarity Write sentences that are brief and concise….

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10 Ways for Avoiding “Shriveled Soul Syndrome”

10 Ways for Avoiding “Shriveled Soul Syndrome” When a younger man, I heard someone say that life is the accumulation of one’s choices.  Now I believe it.  I see in myself good things and bad that is the result of repeated choices over the days, weeks, months, and years of my life.  I am indeed…

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How to Live as a Global Citizen Without Leaving the Country

As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that we’re supposed to be interested in the world beyond ourselves.  But the world is vast (well over 7 billion souls), and the needs are immense.  How can we stay current with the world we live in and God’s work in it? How about a global prayer plan? …

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Six Steps for Preaching to the Next Generation

I have had the privilege of preaching to high-school and college-aged students for a decade. I find it both challenging and rewarding, and perhaps, to some, overly mystical. Young people need to hear the Bible. I’ve found myself gradually leaning on the Bible more – not less – as I’ve breached the college campus. One…

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Why use a catechism?

For the past 10 years, our most widely used publication has been the little catechism, Simple Truths. As of this writing, the book has been translated into 37 languages and more than 400,000 are in print distribution in over 30 countries. Few evangelicals use a catechism today. But some Christian leaders are hoping to fuel a…

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What are your best daily practices?

This week I’m answering something of a practical nature: “What are your best daily practices?” I’m not sure if this question refers to spiritual disciplines, but I’m going to take it broadly. Here are 7 things I’ve picked up over the years. I find them almost universally in people I admire, Christian and non: 1….

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