Tag Archives: read

My Top Ten List

I have not put out my top list in awhile, since I have read a few more books since last time! LOL That goes without saying! Ha.

So Here Goes-

  1. From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola
  2. Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
  3. Love Wins by Rob Bell
  4. Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N.T. Wright
  5. Kingdom through Covenant by Peter J. Gentry/Stephen J Wellum
  6. Paul and Palestinian Judaism by E.P. Sanders
  7. The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle by Albert Schweitzer
  8. Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet/Frank Viola
  9. Galatians(Commentary) by N.T. Wright
  10. A Larger Hope? by Ilaria L E Ramelli

So, What do you think? Have you read any of these? What is your Top Ten Christian List?

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Do we have a biblical knowledge problem?

Let me just answer this upfront. Yes We do.

I am not one to come to if you need me to ‘quote’ you something from the bible from memory, but because I have read it multiple times over my life, I know somewhat the message is or can direct someone to where it speaks to this question. I can tell you if I have read something on this subject. My memory doesn’t allow me to remember things as much I would like. But I try.

Either people are really dumb, playing dumb, or only know things that people have fed them over the years, We have a really bad problem.

Does this need to get fixed? Yes

How do we do it then? My solution is, We need to clear our lives of the trivial stuff that we think is important to do or just to have fun in life, and get serious about our God!

But the dominant factor of this is the Acknowledgement that God is God and He is creator of the World and we are His image in it!

Until then, it will be a crazy,mixed up world as today.

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How does one discern God?

For me it is a couple of things, Studying the word, and Studying other people or groups that are discerning God.

Now, when I am studying for myself I am eclectic in my ways, I do not have(yet) a proven methodology of just doing one thing at a time. I am doing probably 10 things at a time, which I seem to like, because I haven’t changed much over the years. I have curiosities of different subjects on my mind at all times it seems so I am trying to tackle all of them at the same time. I am curious. This should be every christian in their walk with God. Never going without that everlasting water to feed us God.

Those that do not feel that they only need to spoon fed a drop of water on a certain day, seems to be just asking for it. How can one be ‘satisfied’ all week long, with just a spoonful? As was Paul when He was a pharisee was a zealous pharisee. He was a 100% pharisee. It was also the case when He became a disciple of Christ, He was fully enveloped into being one with Christ. Paul says so in multiple verses in his letters to this fact. He knew the scrolls, but he more importantly knew what they meant when God and Jesus were orchestrating things on earth and his people to know.

As in the beginning of the 1st century, there was multiple understandings of what God or Jesus was all about. The first issue that had to be worked out was, who Jesus was. Was he a man, was he a prophet, was he imposter,was he devil, was he a god, or was he all of the above? There is time where there is indecision for man to work out the paradigm that was just starting with Jesus on the scene. What did it mean. For the gentiles it was plethora of answers, for their world was wide open to anything. It is for the Jews that it was in their back of their heads, “Was this the ‘Messiah’ that we had been promised?”, How can we tell? People were giving all kinds of answers to these questions. It wasn’t until Jesus started to ask his own disciples(seems weird asking these men that had been following you around for months,who do you think I am?) who do you think I am? It was Peter that said “You are the Messiah”.

Some people believe that it is detrimental to get your hands dirty in ‘knowing’ other peoples mindset to a question or a belief, or a religion, but the significance of this is very important in my mind is that how does one minister to someone without ‘knowing’ them and their viewpoints. I am a believer in knowledge of the other christian beliefs to be able to ‘know’ what is out there to see what you are contending with.

I read. I don’t read just the things that I like. I have multiple books on things I need clarification on,new things, subject matters, people of the bible, history, prophecy,spiritual realm, authors,reference material, outside materials such as apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha , and some other inter-testimonial books. I watch sermons,talks,lectures, debates, and bible studies. It is cool just to listen to things outside the box of my beliefs that it strengthens my standing in my faith, but it also challenges it too. I have to ask myself, why do I believe this or that.

One thing that I have been coming across with people that I talk to in various discussions is the ‘concreteness’ of their stand that it is solidified in stone that this stand is and was the final statement that mankind was to believe in. My question to them is ‘if this was so, then it would of been seen as the ‘way’ for “everyone” in a instance. I believe that ‘we’ are getting close to that point but not yet.

I challenge people to do not sit on your tufit, waiting for you to be spoon fed that teaspoon of water, but to dig into it with a fork and a knife, to not only get the juice but the thick meat and vegetables of that hearty stew of God.

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It’s all about the “Word”

I am astounded on how much I learn on a daily basis of the bible. Although I am retired for the last year, I have continued my thirst for the word. My thirst before retirement was as just as thirsty when I was a working man in the world.

It is that thirst that drives me each day that I wake up to drink all I can. But is there anyone else out there the same way as I, that cannot sleep because they are thinking why did God do this to the people of Israel, or why Paul confronted Peter in Antioch? It’s that desire to ‘know’ God. Period. Either God doesn’t want me to sleep or I have a serious problem of thinking to much! Or it could be both?

God and or God’s word should be on our minds constantly as it says in the scriptures with the “pray without ceasing”, meaning that we should be talking to God all thru the day with our creator and author. It is this mindset that will get christianity on its way of ‘seeing’ and ‘knowing’ Him as He really is. God’s desire is one that started from the beginning of his desire of his creation and that mankind would be walking in His Garden again with Him. Walking and talking, living with your creator, what more could anyone ask for?

I was once asked how long should it take to ‘read’ the bible? I was referencing the aspect of most church’s that push the infamous one year or two year plan of reading the bible, when I suggest that I believe that it would probably take 50 years to actually ‘read’ it in the way that it should be understood. It is that proverbial saying that we do when we read a verse and say “I didn’t see that before”! It is that reading and re-reading things that build upon itself to see the ‘real’ understanding of God’s wisdom.

Another insight that I would suggest to the very newcomer of literature of the bible, is to start at the beginning, just as you would with any novel. The bible is a narrative by God thru man to tell His story of his creation and the journey that they take together. It is the journey of God that starts us with the eternal purpose of His. It is LIFE and filled with abundance.

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My mind is Racing

I am always reading and listening to things around me,analyzing and taking in things that I hear people say or do. My mind is racing.

But I love it. It probably keeps me out of trouble! LOL

I have said it before but I believe that I could do what I like doing 24/7 if I was capable of doing it. I love learning I guess. To bad it didn’t start in those early years of school! LOL

I love christian books,Theology books and all other books connected to the first two. I have always loved the pictures that you see in the magazines of these huge 2 or 3 story library’s of just books, or the pictures of someones library that all the walls are full of books. I also love pictures of some writer or theologian’s desk with all the books he is reading or using for references on a subject. I strive to have one of those desks with books, sticky’s,pens,notepads, and coffee cups on it! It’s only a dream, tho. I am getting there, so says my wife! It’s a mess! she says, I say no, it’s organized!

I am beginning to have more than one project at a time in the works it seems now. It can be worrisome or it can be found exhilarating all day long. My problem is I don’t have enough time! Can maybe we have 36/7 so I will have enough time? It is my drive when I get up to the end of day when I fall asleep, and sometimes I can’t go to sleep because I am trying to work something out in my mind that stops me from sleeping!

I have been doing this for over 15 yrs now,off and on, just not consistent as I have been the last two years. And it came to me one day that, that while I was doing something else around the house, I was thinking of an subject that I wanted to research more on to write about. I decided that it was then I really had found my ‘passion’ of life. I have more books to read in a year than one needs to have but at least I will be chugging along to finish reading them.

I recommend that you find your ‘Passion’ in life and just go for it. Life is so much easier when you do. More importantly I recommend that you find one that is useful to God, and your fellow man. This always, at least it should, make you feel good helping God’s neighbor. Let me know what you are doing for your ‘Passion’, we then can share our stories of good and bad days.

Is your mind racing?

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Standing Up, or not.

I believe in conversation, or maybe even a stronger word, discussion or even debate on christianity and all that it details it in our current moment. I love the descriptive words, the references, the interpretations of the said discussion. It widens the mind of anything that anyone talks about a particular subject. It challenges us to think outside ‘our’ box. I love reading comments on discussion blogs about something that I am interested in, the 60 degrees of answers that I read that tell me alot of things. One thing, that is obviously we are not yet in the state of ‘one mind’ as God wants us to be such as in Phil. 1.27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one [fn]mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

With this being said, I find things perplexing when I present things in blogs or discussions on topics of various things that I write or bring up in discussion, and I find no rebuttal of background of their beliefs or of their ‘proof’ of their belief. Now, I am not sure on how to take this ‘blankness’ of rebuttal’ on their face’s, but I have a few ideas as why.

There is one idea is that it is a heritage of belief that has dragged on for generation after generation of the same thoughts and understanding of God,faith, and the bible. It is one that is taking for granted that is one that is discerning because of our lack of knowing for ourselves as truth of God ,faith,and the bible is mute for us, we believe what our previous generation does. But it is also because our ‘beliefs’ are set that we are not being tested by ‘fact checked’ beliefs by not having a need to check the scriptures for ourselves.

Continuing on the last reason of the lack of bible scriptures being attested to the same beliefs, it is in the ‘church’ paradigm that it is prevalent in the structure of embodiment of the body of Christ. There seems to be a very low in our comprehension of the bible. Although there is a few standouts of theology minded people who are earnest in the bible studies and research and loving the word. There seems to be not all of the ‘body’ that is fitting into this ‘knowledge’ of the scriptures.

I am one of those very studious people that love to dig into various questions that have been presented to me and I will search and dig until I find the answer. My joy is staying in the realm of God and his ways to be in the mind of God, and Spirit of understanding. This should be the attitude of every christian who is follow God and his eternal purpose for his ‘image’.

We must push ourselves to be loved by God, and for us to Love Him even more to do everything that is ‘of’ Him. Including the reading and understanding the ultimate goal of God to have a ‘people,a world, and be their God’ for eternal eons.

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God filled people

I am serious.

about almost everything.

But mostly about God,Jesus,Holy Spirit and God’s word.

What I have noticed with alot of people who are said christians, is their lack of understanding that there are other people around them or around the world that are very deep and digging christians for the truth. The dismissing of anyone that only quote or read other references of authors or what I especially respect the ones that are in academia, that it is their ‘LIFE’ to continue to search the word for the answers.

I am one of those people that can search and study a principle, a question, a baffling statement, a theme, or anything else thrown at me all day long. I will also follow a blogger with multiple blogs with a theory or statement, and just read all the ‘for’ and ‘against’ rebuttals to the said problem and just see the angles that everyone comes from and check out their views. All day long, if I don’t catch myself.

What I am saying is that there are alot of God believing people out there that know things, with the knowledge of God and the bible. Just ‘Listen’, or read what the say and learn. The truth will show itself, or the opposite will be heard or read and you will know it.

Just as the Jewish community was doing in their daily lives is reading the torah. But remember it is not just reading it but ‘know’ what it means thru God’s mind and wisdom.

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Let’s get past ‘face value’

Studying any book or subject takes more than just reading the item. It is opening our eyes and looking at the similar or contrasting word pictures that are being shown throughout the book or the bible. We have to look diligently and keenly into everything that is being presented to us.

God is mysterious in all his ways. He is spiritual in all His directions. The scriptures are a narrative storyline of God, His Kingdom and His people. If only it could be so simple. But it wasn’t, or isn’t. This is why our interest should guide us to want to dig deep into God’s word. This journey is not just a quick remedy of doing one thing to say that you have accomplished it. It is a long and tedious journey to get even close to say your even started on the journey.

I believe that in my journey, that I can say that I have learned alot in my own personal study and research,reading books, listening to authors,speakers,new information, old information,things I agree on and things I disagree with, but I have always ‘looked’ outside the box of my usual understanding or what you could say was my traditional belief. My view is now wide and open to all of God’s influence with people and things.

*I was going to expand on this subject in another blog, but I have decided to add it here*

I believe that we have a christian problem of staying in a box, once we say we are a believer. We are caught up in ‘denominational’ thinking or at least a ‘concrete’ and can’t be influenced by anything I hear or see that we hurt ourselves by not being open to anything, and I mean anything that we deem out of another box. It is this kind of constitutionalism that can kill christianity in a heartbeat. I can see that this is what did happen in the time of Luther and his revolt from Catholicism. It started with a thing that was different from another and just expanded from there.

What we need to know and understand that ‘Christianity’ has not yet been perfected in it’s perfect state, no matter what we ‘americans’ think! It has been a work in motion! It will not be in the Holy and Perfect state until God says His bride is ready. I have come to realize these last few months that this constitutionalism of any particular religion has created alot of damage to christianity. We have been put ourselves in this little box of an ‘identity’ and refuse to been seen as anything else.

One aspect that I have noticed that we have done is to do the ‘church hopping game’ where we go and just hop to another ‘building’ to see if it satisfies our ‘needs’,for now. But it is much worse than this, we are set in our ways of ‘believing’ in ‘something’, whether it be the stance of believing in God’s plan for salvation, His way of doing worship, or something that is an immovable concept in your mind and you will not move on it.

I do believe that some where down the road we will be all in agreement on What God’s eternal purpose is for all of us will be. But it will take some groundbreaking moves on our part to change, our understanding, our ‘seeing’ God on who He really is.

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Curiosity, doesn’t kill the cat.

My experience on being curious, especially curiosity about religion,bible, or theology is very rare, once you are stuck in your belief.

This I have decided is mainly because of tradition, or ritual or heritage. It is a mindset that has gotten for the most part the generation of the older believers. This I believe, is because of even more things that I believe are the cause of this stance, as I said in the previous statement. There are things that are actually are enabling this to continue in the lives of believers.

I will try to stay on topic, but I will have to put in some things that are close to me on why still, some things are hampering the daily christian is struggling with this issue. This is problem with the ‘curiosity’ of the believer, is that it is the ‘sound bite’ that he/she receives once a week, that seems to satisfy the ‘customer’ for a week, but just enough curiosity to come back next week to hear another juicy morsel of satisfaction. What is even more horrifying, is that over a life time of this media snippets, I am pretty sure they have heard the same ones 5-10 times. This is so wrong in so many ways. This is not how a christian learns ‘wisdom’ of God, from sound bites every weekend! It is from either from a true christian experience of having that hunger for God, that you ‘search’ for God in everyway possible to know Him.

Now back to the story. If and when we are journeying thru our christian life we must somehow listen to what the Spirit of the Lord is telling us, in what ever way He does. God can speak to anyone thru any means possible. God’s word is one that has led me to many of questions, that I had to go searching for understanding in others. It is very helpful in looking to other avenues of knowledge, that will lead us to the true ‘wisdom’ of God.

There seems to be a very strong reluctance of peeping outside the box of tradition. It is what I believe and that is it. period. This is so damaging to us and to others. If our tradition is right, then the others must be wrong. This is a damaging scenario that we don’t even want to tackle now. But just remember this in your beliefs going forward. We will eventually be made of the Same mind, and will of God. So something ‘will’ change, you or them, or all of us. lol

I have a pet peeve with a few scenario’s that I have had with discussions with people. I have been around the block a few times in the arena of religious institutions, I have been on both sides of the fence of these institutions, I am also a Preacher’s Kid(also known as PK) Please don’t hold that against me!lol I know the inner workings of it. But I may not know the inner workings of some far out different institution, but If I don’t I will usually quickly do some research and reading on said such religion or whatever. My issue is when someone will refuse to do the same for me and my stance or theology. I have been very aggressive on learning as much as I can from whoever I can to ‘know’ or ‘see’ where someone is coming from in their discussions with me. Using anything I can learn from, either bible,authors of the theology, Youtube, websites,video’s, what ever to know the belief’s of that person. This is my curiosity in me by nature that I am curious just to know. You never know when you will use this little piece of information, or even algebra!

When you have discussions with someone in theology or biblical themes of the bible your words will ‘tell on you’, If you talking about something, the words will, tell anyone what your knowledge is of the subject. Most people that I talk to are very minimalist in there wisdom of their insight. When I don’t know something about the topic of their discussion I will always ask questions about it. Learning insight in the conversation in the moment is key to knowing the other side of it.

My personal choice for knowledge it seems is the over 400 books that I have by various authors, commentaries, bibles, and just topical books to give me insight to something. I am a avid user of youtube videos of various preaching, instructional, historical, biblical learning that I can. I am also a very religious believer in reading other peoples blogs on church, religion, theology, and life. This is also why I have alot emails in my box!(takes time to read all of them) I also try to blog on the things that I believe that important to me, in the storyline of God in his scriptures.

I have been on a journey for over 60 yrs and I have made some twists and turns that have changed my coarse of my life. There has been some tough times, and there will be more, but also there have been some mind blowing things that I have come across that I think everyone should be apart of. It is well with my soul, in my very winding road of adventure with God, but I believe that God has me right where He wants me.

Get out of your rut,tradition, same old – same old, sound bit, or snippet and dig deep, real deep and look out from the box and see if there is more to the story of God. Read some theology books, read different authors from different thinking, watch some religious programming from a different view, read christian history, listen to music-do you believe the words in the song, God is out there, you will find a plethora of things about him that may just make you say “I hadn’t thought of that before, or I didn’t know that”, but most importantly ‘I need to dig into that more’ is a journey into God’s Wisdom that He has for You and everyone around you.

So no, Curiosity does not kill the cat, It makes him like Christ!

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An Epistle of Christ

I am always reading books. I have alot of books. I don’t read them to just say that I’ve read them but I read them so that I understand what the author is trying to tell me. After all, this is what every author is trying to do, no matter what the genre you read.

My current book is the “Israel’s law and the Church’s faith” Paul and his recent interpreters. Like most books that I read they are not your average read a book in a day thing. No, they are ones that you have to read, then think and ponder, then reread it again, and to check the notes on the said paragraph and check the references in the bible for clarity. This is a very painstaking way to just read a book but it is the way one should make sure you understand what you are reading. What is really funny to think about is this is the way that Christians should read the bible, in a very systematic way with using the references and notes as guides to ‘see’ what the ‘author’ is really saying.

I say this by the fact that in this latest book I’m reading it mentions 2 Corinthians 3. 4-18 as a verse which backs up the author’s point. It is in this scripture that I see that it includes verses 2-3 which I will write.

2 Corinthians 3.2 Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts know and read of all men: 3. being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written no with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God’ not in tables of stone, but in tables that hearts of flesh.

verse v also And such confidence have we through Christ to God-war: 5 not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God.

Now this is a very important ideal that we must ‘see’ in today’s paradigm of the christianity that we live in. For it is a very subtle but important thing to know it the setting of God. You see, Paul was talking to the corinthians thru letters, when in his building them up in to continuing what they were doing in their community, He tells them that they have been an a ‘epistle’ to him as a influence of their love of God.

It was because Paul seen and felt the Love of God in them as He himself had that the Spirit of God was with them in the same way. He tells them they are of the same mold because their are both filled with the Spirit of God, making them equal in God.

This insight that I had to stop and look it to it as I was reading, is the reason it takes me awhile to go thru my theology books. I am always stopping to ‘see’ something that is a ‘aha’ moment in my studying. But with no regrets I am always chalking it up to increasing my knowledge of Christ in my life.

To take this a even further in the scheme of things, knowing that we are one in the spirit of God with our spirit of Christ in us, we must ‘see’ that it is and should be Christ leading us,all of us into Christ’s presence of His Kingdom(Heaven). If you didn’t understand the former sentence(I am always hoping that people understand what I am trying to say, in a indirect way,sometimes this is futile, but I try anyway) This should tell us that ALL OF US(no titles included) are the community of God, we will someday be joined with other communities of God to be considered the BODY OF CHRIST!

It is mission to understand this and then to act upon it by being an ‘epistle’ of all of man!

P.S. Still not finished with the book!

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