10 Trends Gleaned from Christian Books on My Floor

I receive a new book to review almost every day; usually three or four. I am glad I am loved, but it can be overwhelming. There is no way I have space to include reviews of all these titles in Bible Study Magazine, so I have to choose which ones will make the cut. I also have to choose which ones get to stay in my office at the end of the year. And then I have to apologize to the rest of the books that get moved to a lonely shelf somewhere else. (Sorry my friends. Just because you are exiled doesn’t mean I don’t love you.)

This year, spring came early in “the city of subdued excitement,” Bellingham, Washington. This meant it was time for some old friends (my books) to get the boot. Time to let Recyclops, Dwight Schrute, move them to the lonely, nomad shelf. (I really moved them with the help of my buddy Phil Gons, who is a Marketing Manager at Logos Bible Software where we both work.)

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Digital vs. Print: John Barry on The Radio Show "Business is Crazy"

Digital vs. print? An age-old question. Answer: Both.

I recently discussed this and much more on "Business is Crazy" in Kansas City. The "more" I discussed includes: throwing out a "crazy" magazine-industry business model for the sake of the editor-reader relationship, how my company Logos Bible Software is revolutionizing the way people approach the Bible, and what it is like to create Christian media.

My interview begins around 26 minutes into the show (26:11 to be exact). Listen to it (or download it) on the "Business is Crazy" site here. The show aired on February 25, 2010.

If you have time, definitely listen to the fellow interviewed before me as well: Dan Entwistle, Managing Executive Director for Programs and Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. Dan discusses how the church can utilize technology to reach the world.

Shout out to the host of the show, Kyle Holt, and his fascinating paraphrase of the Bible, The Bible in Rhyme. For more on the magazine I run, edit and write for -- Bible Study Magazine -- check out BibleStudyMagazine.com.

The mp3 is copyrighted by "Business is Crazy" and its affiliates, 2010. I have used it by permission. I received a free copy of The Bible in Rhyme in the hopes that I would promote it, but nonetheless, I only promote books I personally recommend.

Worry is Like a Dancing Bear

We may love the monkeys at the circus, but the dancing bear is what everyone wants to see. Admit it, a beast doing things it should not be capable of is enthralling. When I let worry run the show, everything else becomes a side act. Worry becomes the dancing bear.

Worry controls us, confines us, and consumes us. It can stop us in our tracks. Worry is not a friend. It is an enemy of free thinkers and entrepreneurs. It can even take down those gifted by God. It can destroy anyone who wishes to live freely. From the very beginning of the church we see worry putting a stop to God’s work.

Why does Peter deny Jesus? Worry and (no doubt) fear. Like the trainer—who is likely scared out of his mind when trying to keep the dancing bear at bay—fear is a bi-product.

A Resurrected Servant in Isaiah?

The servant in Isaiah 52 and 53 is one of the most intriguing figures in the prophetic Scriptures. The questions about this passage are many, the interpretations are diverse, and the answers always seem to be different.

Some have looked to Isaiah 52 and 53 in search of Jesus, others to reclaim Israel’s role in the world, and some to find a historical explanation for this prophetic text that seems to have no precedence.


Here's my translation of part of Isaiah 53:10–11:

If she places his life a guilt offering, he will see offspring, he will prolong days ... From the trouble of his life, he will see light. He will be satisfied. In his knowledge, my righteous servant shall make many righteous and he will bear their iniquities.

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When God Doesn't Answer

It’s easy to lose sight of an Infinite God. When God is everywhere, how can you find Him? If He already knows where you have been, what is there to tell Him?

In the midst of great tragedy, like the Haiti earthquake, it is easy to feel like God has abandoned us. It is easy to say, “Any prayer to God would be a waste of time.”

Our conversations with God can get lame— fast. “That thing you already know about, but have chosen not to fix, can you please fix it?” Lame, boring—I am not interested in that dialogue.

But what if our dialogue with God could be more? What if it meant more?

In the Psalms there is record after record of people screaming at God. That’s right, I said screaming. It’s in the Bible. And here’s the kicker, it’s not called “wrong.” Instead, it’s embraced and enforced—yelling at God was part of being an ancient Israelite.

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God is Moving, Are You?

Over the past year or so, we have been discussing what it means to see the Infinite God in Everything. We have hung out with William Blake, Moses, Thoreau, Jason Mraz, Isaiah, and Paul -- just to name a few perceptive people. In the words of Larry from Veggie Tales, these guys, "Made me laugh, made me cry -- [they] moved me Bob."

But where are we going? This question reveals the most interesting thing about theology I have discovered in the last four years of my life: "We don't know where we are going." Scared yet?

If you have rarely thought about theology, you should be scared. If you think about theology all the time, you should be scared. We should all be. Because ultimately what we believe about God determines the way we act here and now.

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Aliens and Nephilim: Review of The Facade

“Most people don’t want the truth … they’re looking for answers to confirm their prejudices,” reads the cover of Michael S. Heiser’s thriller novel, The Façade.

I joke that I read most of this book in the bathroom because it scared the “you know what” out of me. There is no doubt that Mike Heiser, who edits Bible Study Magazine with me and is the Academic Editor of Logos Bible Software, knows how to weave a plot and write dialogue. The pages of this chilling book are riddled with examples of his skill:

“The creature quietly removed the papers from his hand.
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Jesus Would Reject Charter for Compassion

When asked by Joan Ball over at Belief Net to respond to Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion, I said:

"I don't think [Jesus] would sign [the Charter for Compassion]. I think he would be aware of how easily it could lead to condoning the actions of other faiths that are unjust. Jesus was not compassionate towards those who had no compassion. Instead, he was ruthless with his words of rebuke of whatever injustices they were committing."

This generated a heated debate, as you can imagine. To see my justification for my conclusion and read the discussion, head on over to Joan's blog.

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James Bond and Bible Software (004)

As the Editor-in-Chief of Bible Study Magazine, people regularly ask me, “How should I study the Bible?” I answer this question differently nearly every time. Why? Because there is no simple answer. There are hundreds of ways to study the Bible. (You can listen to my answer on the Debbie Chavez Show here.) Nonetheless, I always come back to two points: Ask questions of the biblical text and get good resources. Let’s talk about the second point.

Me, Myself and I (oh yeah, and the Spirit) Bible study is one of the great assassins of biblical interpretation. We need the community of God and good resources. If you have been a long time reader of my blog, you know I regularly try to bring context to the passages we discuss.

What if Jesus was on Twitter?

Shifting pace stinks. I have been shifting gears far too much recently. And I bet you have too. That is why I think it is crucial that we find a new gear for discussing spirituality. So today, on Twitter’s Follow #Friday (for you Twitter virgins, the # sign is Twitter lingo), I am wondering who we should follow. Who should we look to for hope when gears change, the economy is rearranged, and life is certainly not the same? (Yep, I can rhyme.)

And what if Jesus was on Twitter? Would we Follow #Friday him?
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The Infinite God is everywhere, are you looking? I am dedicated to finding God in all aspects of life – the Bible, the news, and the arts. Because I find that the most fulfilling journey of all is searching for heaven here on earth.