how far we’ve come

Category : bible, choice, faith, living a life of faith, reader comments, taking action

It’s hard to believe that R3 is entering its 4th year!  (well technically “calendar year,” R3’s anniversary is in a few months).  I never dreamed that I had enough to say to generate three posts a week.  I find it amazing that I can do that.  But that’s not the only thing that makes this 4th year so remarkable.  It wasn’t that long ago that blogging didn’t exist.

Think about that one for a while!

The internet has been a great technology for growing people’s relationships with God.  There is no other technology that allows someone to write in their spare time in Kansas but influence Christians in Australia, Indonesia, or even China.  Or someone from Africa to influence people in Europe or America.  The internet has had a profound impact on living a life of faith.

While religion blogging is dominated by several “big name” bloggers there has been more than enough room for smaller writers to develop a community.  There are so many talented writers that I could spend an entire day simply surfing the internet reading.  Now if only someone would pay me to do that…

But blogging isn’t the only change.

How we study the Bible has also changed.  I can easily pull up Bible verses and do keyword searches online.  If you own an iPhone you can download Bible apps and get the same thing.  Never before has the Bible been so easy to access.  While I still read a paper version of the Bible every day, I rarely use it for quick searches or to look things up.  It just takes too long.  Digital is the way to go.

And still there is more change.

Even the way we do Bible studies is different.  There are online studies on hundreds of topics.  Churches are giving away much of their own materials away for free.  And now there are “social sites” popping up like EXAMEN.me.  All dedicated to providing high quality Bible studies and devotionals.

There has never been a better time to learn about living out a life of faith.  There has never been a time where so much has been available to so many.  And I, for one, can’t wait to see what the future holds.

As we go into the New Year, here is my challenge to you: find a new way to study the Bible and follow it for the next 30 days.  As you go through it, come back here and let us know how it’s going (I’m opening up the comments).  Did it work?  Was it a disaster?  Did it revolutionize your life?

do something! note taking

Category : sharing faith, taking action

  

It’s hard work to maintain a relationship with anyone.  And it’s not any easier to maintain a relationship with God.  Fortunately there are a few things you can do to keep that relationship healthy.  A few weeks ago I talked about the ups and downs of faith.  In that post I mentioned some of the questions I ask myself when I’m feeling distant from God.  (Am I working on being connected to God?  Am I still praying?  Do I read my Bible regularly?  Am I writing down my thoughts as I pray or read?  Am I following through on what I sense God is telling me?)

All of those are important questions, but today I want to take a closer look at some specific actions I take to develop that relationship.  Namely, whether I’m writing down my thoughts as I pray or read.  I’ve found keeping a book filled with random thoughts and notes has been really helpful.  Sometimes those initial thoughts turn into a more fully developed post on R3.  Other times what I wrote influenced my own behaviors or thoughts. But my favorite moments are when I asked God to do something – and he did!

There’s something powerful about writing down a prayer, and seeing (in black and white) that it came true. This is especially true when you’re feeling distant from God.  It’s all too easy to convince ourselves that God has somehow not lived up to his end of the bargain.  Or to forget all those times God miraculously came to our rescue.  We tend to ignore the good things he’s done, and focus on the bad things in our lives.

Not everything I write down is useful, or even relevant.  Some of the stuff doesn’t make any sense.  And I have to wonder what I was thinking.  But that’s not really the point.  My goal is to have a way that God and I can communicate.  Not to have a perfectly written paper!  I figure, if God is telling me something important, it’s probably a good idea to write it down.  Even if that means sometimes I just write down my own cluttered thoughts.

Faith is about maintaining a relationship with God, that keeps you focused and centered on Kingdom goals.  You can’t do that if you’re not willing to carry on a conversation with God.  Plus, in my experience, it’s never God who leaves the conversation.  

Keeping track of my thoughts just makes sure I remember all the awesome things God does for me on a daily basis.