Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Jephthah and his Tragic Vow

Today's Reading: Judges 11-12 and Luke 6:1-26

Let's be honest, today's passage is one of the most emotionally disturbing in the entire Bible. How do we make sense of Jephthah's tragic vow? Here are two articles (the second one is a response to the first) which might help:

Here is the first article by Miles Van Pelt, who teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.

Here is the second article by Tamie Davis who writes from Tanzania. She gives a different perspective on the passage.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Crying Out, Abimelech

Today's Reading: Judges 9-10 and Luke 5:17-39

This year I'm posting art that has been inspired by the Bible. And I'm mixing it up, not every day is the same. So today I'm going out on a limb and posting something that probably has a niche audience... opera!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Deep Calls out to Deep

Today's Reading: Judges 7-8 and Luke 5:1-16

The reason I'm doing this year-long Artists Bible Reading Plan is because I saw a dance at an Urbana Conference that has stuck with me ever since. The dance was related to John 1:1 and I will be sharing it later this year. But for today I have another dance by the same worship team. This piece is called "The Deep":

The Deep from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Also, I'd love to share this powerful example of narrative preaching, which is when a sermon is delivered in a very engaging, story-based form. Pastor Eugene Lowry is one of the best at this form:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Gideon, an Unexpected Hero

Today's Reading: Judges 4-6 and Luke 4:31-44

Gideon was an unexpected hero. When God first called upon him, he was hiding out in a wine press. He tried to remind God that he was a weak man from a weak tribe. When has that ever stopped God?
The moral of the story is that God is our strength.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Throw Jesus Off a Cliff. And who are Shamgar and Ehud?

Today's Reading: Judges 1-3 and Luke 4:1-30

Today's post is a big one because we're starting Judges, one of my favorite books of the Bible. But first, here's a fantastic video for our Luke passage:

Today from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

And here are pictures of the actual cliff this scene took place:

Notice the farmland down below. It's crazy to think of these biblical events taking place in what are 'common' places. God is not distant. The entire story of the Bible is about God wanting to be near us.


Here's a great, albeit slightly older, talk by a guy named Lorne Sanny. In it Lorne uses the single verse on Shamgar to talk about intentional discipleship. I first stumbled on this talk in college and it has stuck with me ever since.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baptism of Jesus

Today's Reading: Joshua 22-24 and Luke 1


The Bible miniseries has a scene of Jesus getting baptized -- you can watch it here.

During the Wednesday morning Bible Study, Pastor Steve had the idea that John was baptizing people to see who was the foretold Messiah. It's similar to Cinderella's Prince asking women to try on the glass slipper.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Young Jesus in the Temple

Today's Reading: Joshua 19-21 and Luke 2:25-52

Occasionally this year I'll be going back to the Mormon's youtube channel because, quite honestly, they've done a great job at recreating some of these Bible passages (with videos that are high production and scripted from the Bible itself). Why are mainline Protestant denominations largely absent from youtube? Shouldn't every denomination be creating quality videos that reflect their beliefs?


Here is more sand art for the Luke passage

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Son of God is Born

Today's Reading: Joshua 16-18 and Luke 2:1-24

This first share was sent to me by Chris Brown and wow, I'm blown away. This is one of the most impressively designed websites I have ever seen. I don't even know what is technically involved to make paintings move with the scroll of a mouse like that. You don't want to miss out on this one --
Here's the link to the site at http://killingjesus.nationalgeographic.com/ and it promotes the television show which premiers this Sunday

Can you imagine what it must have been like in Bethlehem that night? It's incredible to think of God sending His Son to live among us.


Another ApologetiX parody, this one for the manger scene, called Hotel Can't Afford Ya.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Hobbit Bible

Today's Reading: Joshua 13-15 and Luke 1:57-80

For your enjoyment -- Zechariah & Elizabeth in a Hobbit trailer. We need more churches thinking of clever/fun ideas like this.


Sand art of the Luke passage: here on youtube

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jesus is a (Facebook) Friend of Mine

Today's Reading: Joshua 10-12 and Luke 1:39-56

We're doing back-to-back videos from Ignitermedia (because their content is just that good). I encourage you to check out more of their videos on youtube. Yesterday's post was about the foretold baby Jesus, and today's post is that same story but through social media. This idea has popped up in other places which is not a surprise -- it's a fun concept and really well done. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A baby is on its way!

Today's Reading: Joshua 7-9 and Luke 1:21-38

Hindsight is 20/20. Perhaps that's why God filled the Old Testament with so many prophecies of the coming Messiah -- because it's harder to see something coming than it is after the fact. Prophecies are further evidence of God's love; He wanted us to see and understand when events unfolded.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Battle of Jericho

Today's Reading: Joshua 4-6 and Luke 1:1-20

I've said it before, I'll say it again -- I am a big fan of the resources that LifeChurch.tv puts out. Above is a video from their youth program.


People seemed to like the musical parodies by ApologetiX so here's one for Jericho called Kick in the Wall.

If you want/need an overview of Luke then here's one by the team at Bibledex.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rahab, an Unexpected Hero

Today's Reading: Joshua 1-3 and Mark 16

Rahab is a fascinating hero of the Scriptures. She is included in the 'hall of fame' in Hebrews 11, her son Boaz marries Ruth (we'll get to that later this year), and Jesus is her descendent. Pretty cool.
The moral of the story is that God wanted to include Rahab in His master plan and she was faithful to follow.


A cool poster of Joshua can be found on deviantart here.

If you want an overview of Joshua then the Bibledex can be found here.

Here's a song for Mark 16:15 by Jeremy Camp, Speaking Louder Than Before.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Old and New Covenants

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 32-34 and Mark 15:26-47

The painting above is by Salvador Dali.

The video below shows Dr. Craig sharing on whether Mark's account of resurrection contains legendary embellishments. If you are interested in religion debates, go to youtube and look up more videos of Dr. Craig. His debates are fantastic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Easter Story by Kids

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 30-31 and Mark 15:1-25

This group clearly had fun putting this video together! They reimagine the story a bit but the truth is they've done a great job understanding the deeper dynamics of the passage. As the season of Lent continues, and Easter nears, do you feel focused on the true meaning of the upcoming celebration?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Deuteronomy 28 Feasts

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 28-29 and Mark 14:54-72

The drawing above was done by an amateur artist. On her blog she shares about how she got her professional artist sister to do a different version: https://practicalpages.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/scripture-illustrations-blessings/

Sunday, March 15, 2015

60 Seconds for Today's Reading

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 25-27 and Mark 14:27-53
The following video is a really entertaining overview from this section of the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament). And it's only 60 seconds long! :-D

Apparently this section of the Hebrew Bible is called Ki Tavo, which means 'when you enter.' Why? Because the Israelites are entering into the land. Enjoy.

This youtuber has a whole series of these kinds of videos (the series is called Parsha in 60 seconds) so definitely check them out.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

To the enGrave

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 22-24 and Mark 14:1-26

One of the great engravers in the 1500's was a guy by the name of Jerome Nadal. Here's his image for The Last Supper and the Washing of the Feet:

Friday, March 13, 2015

God of Place and Time

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 19-21 and Mark 13:21-37

Our Old Testament passage today talks about cities of refuge. Have you ever thought about the ways that cities are meant to be involved in ministry? Consider this sermon (it's the full thing so I'm not offended if you skip it for the sake of keeping on the reading plan) by Tim Keller:

Tim Keller Feb'09: The City from Newfrontiers on Vimeo.

Our New Testament passage contains a really tricky verse, Mark 13:30. Arguably this is one of the most difficult verses in the Bible to understand. In it, Jesus shares, "Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."

C.S. Lewis (who wrote the Narnia series) said of this verse, "It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement 'But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.'"

The following quote is from N.T. Wright: "Our interpretation of this section depends entirely upon the arguments advanced in chapter 10 of NTPG. Summarizing the results reached there, we can say: the ‘coming of the son of man’ does not refer to the ‘parousia’ in the modern scholarly, and popular, sense of a human figure travelling downwards towards the earth on actual clouds. Nor does the phrase ‘son of man’ of itself refer to a ‘superhuman’ figure. Nothing in Daniel, in the rereadings of Daniel in the first century, or in the teaching of Jesus as we have studied it, pushes the reading of Mark 13:26 in that direction. We have already commented on the meaning of the darkening of sun, moon and stars. It is crass literalism, in view of the many prophetic passages in which this language denotes socio-political and military catastrophe, to insist that this time the words must refer to the physical collapse of the space-time world. This is simply the way regular Jewish imagery is able to refer to major sociopolitical events and bring out their full significance."

Basically N.T. Wright thinks that the events Jesus is talking about actually did come to pass in the lifetimes of his hearers, in the form of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Other theologians have different thoughts on this verse, but what do you think? What is your understanding of what Jesus is saying here?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Not one stone will be left on top of another!"

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 16-18 and Mark 13:1-20

Emperor Titus laid a siege on Jerusalem in 70 AD during the First Jewish-Roman War. During that battle, the Second Temple was destroyed. Here is a painting of the event by German painter Wilhelm von Kaulbach:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Widow's Mi(gh)te

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 13-15 and Mark 12:28-44

I found this video to be really powerful, I hope you enjoy it too. It's from a drama ministry called Cross Waves Ministry:


Below is a time lapse video of artist Brenda Mangalore drawing Mark 12:30

Time Lapse: Drawing bible verse Mark 12:30 from Brenda Mangalore on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Parable of the Vine Growers

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 10-12 and Mark 12:1-27

I realize this post may not appeal to most people BUT I've been looking for a good day to post Scripture in Sign Language. Videos of our Mark passage in Sign can be found on www.bible.is/deaf


If you're not in the mood to read/watch today then how about listening to our Mark passage with this video

Monday, March 9, 2015

Batten down the hatches!

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 7-9 and Mark 11:19-33

"Hey, isn't that the guy from the tv show Lost who was stuck down in the hatch?"

Yes, you're correct, and here he is playing Jesus, and running the money counters out of the Temple, yeah-ah.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What did the Law actually say?

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 4-6 and Mark 11:1-18

For our Old Testament passage today we continue to reflect on the importance of God's law. God's law is life-giving. The more we treasure it, the more we understand God's plan for healthy living. Below is one of those videos where the Scripture is placed over song and image. Enjoy.

Then in our New Testament passage we read about Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people embrace Jesus at this point because they expect Him to be a certain kind of rescuer (a political and military rescuer).

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 from abraham borje on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Beginning Deuteronomy

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 1-3 and Mark 10:32-52

Welcome to the start of Deuteronomy! You are making great progress in this reading plan, keep at it and never forget to give yourself grace (because God certainly does).

Here's an overview video of Deuteronomy from the faithful (and very entertaining) team over at Bibledex:


Secular artist The Mountain Goats play a song in a chapel that is loosely based on Deuteronomy 2:10 here

Friday, March 6, 2015

Rich Young Ruler

Today's Reading: Numbers 35-36 and Mark 10:1-31

Jesus knows our hearts. While on the surface this rich young ruler had done everything correctly, Jesus knew that he was unwilling to truly follow Jesus' lead. Is there an area of your heart that you are unwilling to give up to God?

We have all known people who sidelined their relationship with God because they didn't want to give something up. One person stays away from church because they don't want to give up smoking cigarettes, and another one gives up on prayer because they would rather go camping by the lake.

Jesus will show us what it means to truly live if we say yes to Him being our Savior and Lord.

Material from the 'Skit Guys' is copyrighted and for sale. I encourage you to check their other videos out on Youtube and their website.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bible Study that Doesn't Suck

Today's Reading: Numbers 32-34 and Mark 9:30-50

Our video for today comes from a great series called "Bible Study That Doesn't Suck." The author, Pastor Megan Rohrer, is on the liberal side of theology (she is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) but she does a fantastic job of inspiring people to discover God's grace.

She also has these interesting videos where she combines religious images/Scripture with pop songs. I love this concept. Take a look at this video, which is the song 1234 by Feist combined with the Woman at the Well in John 4.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sand Trek: The Next Generation

Today's Reading: Numbers 26-28 and Mark 8

Every Moses should have a Joshua. Their friendship is a great model for all the rest of us, how a mentor can pass on their legacy by equipping their student for a lifetime of faithfulness.

I try to avoid sermon clips but in this video, Jason Ostrander shares about generation shifts. Especially starting at 2:54, he talks about Moses and Joshua.


If you're looking for a straight-forward video clip of this passage in Numbers then here is the scene on youtube.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Corban and the Unclean (would make a good punk band name)

Today's Reading: Numbers 23-25 and Mark 7:14-37

Back in August I did a series of posts on the humor of Christ. Today I'm re-sharing one of those posts, which explains Mark 7:

The words "funny" and "Bible" don't usually appear in the same sentence. But really they should! Check out some of the images Jesus shared:

     Building house upon the sand instead of the rock
     Mustard seed growing into a big tree
     Parents giving their child a stone instead of bread
     Putting a lamp under a basket
     A camel through the eye of a needle
     Straining a gnat out of soup and then swallowing a camel
     Washing the outside of a cup but leaving the inside dirty
     Pointing out a splinter in another's eye when you have a plank in yours

We've been trained to think of these in very serious ways. But try to suspend your training for just a second and consider how absurd these would have been to the first audiences.

These images teach us about deeper truths, sure, but they also elicit a smile when we actually picture what Jesus is describing.

Still not convinced that Jesus told jokes? Well let's look at what Jesus said about the Pharisees. These guys were the very definition of humorless. Their goal was to create enough rules that they would be guaranteed "good," and guarantee all non-Pharisees as being not good enough.

Jesus had a great time poking fun of these guys. He made fun of the way the Pharisees prayed; we get this image of the Pharisees scrunching their faces and clenching really hard to squeeze out their prayer. Jesus made fun of the way they tithed; it is crazy to think of someone tithing out of their spice rack.

Probably my favorite little exchange, though, comes from Mark 7. And to fully appreciate this joke, you have to understand the concept of corban. Corban is when some money or resources were set aside to later give to God. This tradition was just fine for most Jewish believers but the Pharisees had taken corban to a strange new extreme. Basically, picture going to your friend and asking for $10 and the friend says, "Oh, eeps, well I would, but the thing is that I plan on giving God $10 in about 5 years. So I can't loan you money to buy a sandwich right now."  That's basically what the Pharisees were doing.

Jesus teases the Pharisees by explaining to them that food is great for everyone when it comes from the outside. But if you keep it to yourself, what comes from the inside is no longer good. Oh, snap! Now if you're like me, or like the 12 disciples, then we missed the joke. But the Pharisees sure got it. They were enraged.

The disciples, a little later, pulled Jesus aside to ask why the Pharisees got so upset. Jesus explains the joke and in Mark 7:19 even spells out that he was talking about feces. Haha, basically, Jesus was saying, "Those Pharisees are obsessed with staying ritually clean but they are full of crap." That's funny.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tales of the Strange

Today's Reading: Numbers 20-22 and Mark 7:1-13

Today we read two of the strangest and most fascinating stories in the Bible. You may not remember covering these in your Sunday School class BUT they're great stories about the power of faith.

Numbers 21:

Numbers 22: