Children’s Bible Study Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Jason Henry, a missionary in Mongolia, has very kindly collated and produced the second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament

May God bless you and your children as you study the Word of life.

My biggest blogging mistake: “Holy Hip Hop”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole subject of “Holy Hip Hop” or “Christian Rap” since I wrote three blog posts on the subject a couple of years ago. The upshot of it all is that I’ve taken down the blog posts and I want to apologize to my African American brothers and sisters in Christ for four wrongs:

1. It was the wrong time: The Reformed movement among African Americans is still in its infancy, taking baby steps, as it were. It was not the right time to come along with such a strong critique of some of those trying extremely hard to influence the African American community towards a more biblical theology.

2. I was the wrong person: I did not fully appreciate how delicate and volatile race relations were in the USA. For a white Brit to critique African Americans is something like a German criticizing the Jews. Due to painful historical circumstances, for any legitimate critique to get a hearing on issues like this, it really has to come from African American voices. I hope I wasn’t being racist, but I was definitely being racially insensitive.

3. It was the wrong forum: I should not have gone so public with my concerns without first reaching out privately to African American Christians in order to understand the historical and cultural context of this genre of music. As one African American pastor told me recently, when he read my articles, he said, “Just another white guy who doesn’t understand where we’ve come from.” The one huge blessing that has come from my posts is the numerous wonderful African American Christians who have made contact with me and even built friendships with me. It’s been one of the richest experiences of my life to get to know these dear brothers and sisters in the Lord.

4. It was the wrong balance: I had never really written or spoken about African American Christians before. Therefore I had no “credit” in the bank to draw on when I made these critical comments. That was simply stupid. Also, while I did concede the good motives behind the work of many Christian rappers, and I did try to distinguish between the styles of different rappers, I really only highlighted negatives in my articles.

This may seem silly, coming as it does 2-3 years later, when most people have probably forgotten all about it. However, the Lord has been convicting me about this, and I want to follow through by apologizing and by asking my African American brothers and sisters for forgiveness.

One huge positive that’s come out of this for me is that the Lord has given me a heart passion for His beautiful plan of racially integrated churches. I hope and pray that God will yet graciously use me to realize this world-transforming vision.

I’ve turned off the comments on this post as I do not want to start the debate up all over again.

Podcast: Ezekiel & Daniel

Download here.

Having been unable to record a podcast last week, you get a double dose today, as we look at some of the questions raised in R.C. Sproul’s lectures on Ezekiel and Daniel.  A number of the questions center around how to interpret the highly symbolic language in these books. Spoiler alert: no Tim Challies this week! Please don’t hate me.

An alternative to “Meh”

God praises people. Far-from-perfect people. Sinful people. Amazing isn’t it? There may be bad things in their past, their present or their future, and yet God praises them and inspired the biblical authors to record that praise.

  • Noah: “You are righteous before me in this generation.”
  • Job: “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
  • Roman Centurion: “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
  • Nathaniel: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
  • Canaanite woman: “O woman, great is your faith!”

Part of being perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, is imitating Him in praising and affirming others, especially when they share good news with us. The popular writers in the Positive Psychology movement have identified four different kinds of response to someone who shares good news with us:

  • Active Constructive: We feel the joy of the person sharing the news and respond enthusiastically by asking for more details and by helping them savor the news. Example: “That’s wonderful news. I’m so happy for you! Tell me more about it”
  • Passive Constructive: The response is supportive but quiet and understated rather than excited and interested: Example: “That’s nice dear.”
  • Active Destructive: Here the responder demeans the person or quashes the news by making critical, negative, or pessimistic remarks about the information that was shared.” Example: “That’s never going to work out. It’ll probably add a lot of stress in your life.”
  • Passive Destructive: Ignores the news and fails to acknowledge the feelings of the person. Example: “So anyway…Guess what happened to me at work today.”

God is an active constructive responder! And so should we be. And not only because it helps us imitate and represent God to others, but because it will do us good too.

Research shows that people who rate their partners as active and constructive responders feel more intimacy and trust, are more satisfied with the relationship, report fewer conflicts, and engage in more fun and relaxing activities together This is because active constructive responding makes people feel validated, understood, and cared for (Jessica Colman, Optimal Functioning)

So next time you’re tempted to “Meh” someone, or worse, remember: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).