The Things I’m Reading This Week (January 8th, 2020)

Every Wednesday, I’m going to be sharing a list of the things I’m reading and find beneficial. This week includes some insight into the research I did before starting this blog, three helpful articles on reading through Scripture, and a link to some timelines to help us all feel old. (You can access the links by clicking the titles!)

This particular blog was helpful as I was thinking about pursuing this opportunity to write. Tim Challies has been blogging for years, and his encouragement to share our thoughts and make it available to others spurred me on to make this website. We live in an unprecedented time where we can publish and access more writing than ever. So is there a place for blogging? Most definitely.

The new year has begun, which means it’s time for a fresh start. For a lot of believers, January 1st means it’s time to start a new Bible reading plan. Maybe you’ve been reading for years and need a reminder as you approach the Scriptures, or maybe you’ve decided this is the year to finally make it through from Genesis to Revelation. David Mathis gives six principles to help us read the Word better.

I love to know the context of the books of the Bible as I read through them. For me, the I like to dig deep to find out what was going on at the time the different books of the Bible were written. The Village Church recently published this helpful timeline of when the books of the Bible take place in history. This can be beneficial for you as you read, or maybe even spark conversations with your kids during family devotions. It’s a great reminder that the Bible isn’t detached from history.

Continuing with resources to help as you read through the Bible, here’s my favorite Bible app right now. This app is called “Read Scripture” and breaks the Bible down into daily manageable readings, while preserving the grand narrative of Scripture. Many days feature videos to help set the context and clarify the main themes of the text planned for the day. I’ve found this app particularly helpful as I’m reading through Leviticus right now.

Here’s a fun one. Ready to have your mind blown? This post features a series of timelines showing just how far 2020 is from, say, 1990. And yes, it hurts to see some of these.

Why I Encourage Others to Journal

I rested my pen down beside my notebook. Another year had just come to a close and I finished my last entry for the year. As I went to put the strap around the cover, I found myself looking back over the year’s events. If it wasn’t for my journal, I would have missed daily reminders of God’s faithfulness, recordings of what He was doing in my heart to teach me more about Himself, and so much more.

Journaling has been essential to helping me grow in my walk with Christ. While I understand that journaling isn’t for everyone, I love to encourage my students and those who are seeking to grow in their walk with Christ to record their journey as they go. I’ve found some great benefits to journaling:

1. Journaling gives us an opportunity to see how God has been faithful.

This particular journal covered all of 2019. In the first entry, there was no way I could predict what was going to happen over the course of the year. I had no idea how God would work to create opportunities for me to minister to others and that my family would be growing. I had no idea that God, in his infinite grace, would give me a front-row seat while a student responded to Christ in saving faith.

This journal also included high and low points in my walk with Him. Some days, it felt like the words of Scripture jumped off of the page, ripe with sweet revelation about the Father. Other days, I struggled to connect a passage to Christ or even comprehend what was happening. Still other days, I didn’t journal at all. My entries reflected life and all of its ups and downs. Looking back, my life may have ebbed and flowed, but God’s faithfulness remained. He stayed as an Anchor and constant Truth regardless of what else was happening around me.

2. Journaling helps us to meditate on Scripture.

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Verses 1 and 2 describe the importance of meditating on the Word of God instead of the counsel of the wicked. The Psalmist says that this man mediates on the law “day and night”. This meditation leads the blessed man to delight in God’s law.

Journaling helps me carefully think about the things I’ve read in Scripture as I seek to stir my affections for the Lord. I can see what God wants to reveal to me each day by working through my thoughts and writing them down immediately after I read a passage. If I didn’t journal, I would be tempted to read the Bible and never think of it again. Journaling forces me to slow down and meditate on God’s Word, often times helping me keep the gospel and God’s promises on my mind throughout the day.

3. Journaling shows us God’s work of sanctification in our lives.

As Believers in Jesus, the Spirit reveals sin and helps us as we seek to be holy as our Father is holy. This process of becoming more like Christ is called sanctification.

I’ve found that it can be easy to get discouraged as I fight my sin. Some days, I’ll look back at old journals and see how God has led me on this battle against my sins to have more consistent victories over them. The Holy Spirit has worked in my life and led me to a place where I have overcome some sins which used to leave me paralyzed. Reading these journals reminds me that God will continue to be faithful and continue to conform me to the image of Christ as Paul describes in Romans 8:29, just as He so patiently has in my life to this point.

Journaling has had a profound impact on my life, and I believe that through this discipline, it can lead us to rejoice in rest in the God who saves us and gave His Son up for us. So I encourage you: take up a pen and a notebook. You’ll be amazed at how clearly you begin to see things when you begin to write them down.

An Introduction

I recently came across a few blogs that I had written during my Freshman and Sophomore years of college. I had honestly forgotten I had written the posts, so as I reread the words from a few years ago, I was reminded of what God was doing in my heart during that time. Suddenly, I was reminded of my journey of discovering the Scriptures in a way in which I understood the words as truly living and active for the first time.

For me, there aren’t many mediums of communication which can so clearly capture the thoughts of my mind as well as writing does. It seems like a cliché, but for some time, I’ve needed an outlet. I’ve needed a way to place the thoughts of my mind somewhere to be remembered and organized. It wasn’t until recently that I had a way to describe what I was feeling.

Through my recent job transition, I’ve had more time to read some of the books I’ve had sitting on my shelf. One of those was The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler. In this book, he gives 25 principles for leaders. As I looked over the table of contents, I noticed that one of the principles was “The Leader as Writer”. The argument he makes in this principle is simple: even in the digital age, there is no way to avoid writing. A good leader is a good writer. 

Writing clarifies the thought processes we have. It gives an opportunity to take individual thoughts and create formative ideas. Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed. It comes as a natural passion to me and I believe now is the time to do something about it.

My hope for this page is simple: I want to impart the knowledge given to me to others. This doesn’t mean that I know everything. Instead, I want this site to be an opportunity to record the journey as I go. Every Monday, I’ll publish an article relevant to student ministry. On Wednesdays, I’ll share some of the articles I’ve been reading, particularly about culture and the Christian life. Finally, on Friday, I’ll share my thoughts on theology and doctrine.

This site is a way for me to exhale the information I’ve been inhaling for so long as formative (and hopefully coherent) ideas. I want to record the journey as I go and invite anyone who wants to join me to participate. I hope to create conversations with the parents of teenagers, friends in the ministry, and others about the issues we face today from a Christ-centered perspective. If you want to join me for the journey, feel free to subscribe by entering your email in the space provided on the sidebar or on the homepage. I’ll see you again on Friday for more!