How to Unwrap the Bible’s Surprising Gifts in 4 Steps

It's the best way to benefit from your Bible.

Did you unwrap all your Christmas gifts? Silly question, I know. If we left a gift unopened, we might hurt the feelings of the giver. Plus, we wouldn’t get our gift! Still, we do have surprising gifts to open. 

How to Unwrap the Bible's Gifts in 4 Steps

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

The Bible is a book of gifts, often unwrapped, because we simply don’t realize its tremendous value to our lives.

I want to share with you 4 steps that can help you unwrap the Bible’s blessings in your life.

Click to continue reading »

How to Live the Impossible Christian Life

Jesus' words by the Sea of Galilee reveal God has a source of supply for you.

The Christian life is not hard. It’s impossible. We can no more live the impossible Christian life on our own than we can get to heaven on our own. Jesus’ words by the Sea of Galilee prove it true.

How to Live the Impossible Christian Life

(Photo: The Plain of Bethsaida, where Jesus fed the 5000. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In fact, your own experience proves it true, doesn’t it?

  • Success in marriage is always beyond your ability.
  • Your walk with Christ is more than you can accomplish.
  • Daily responsibilities overwhelm you.

Every method and strategy you rely on seems to fail. But God never designed the impossible Christian life to frustrate you. He has intended life to work a certain way—and when we choose a different path, frustration kicks in.

In three rapid-fire events by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus teaches His disciples (and us) how to live the impossible Christian life.

Click to continue reading »

Mount Sinai—Why You Absolutely Need God’s Word First

God’s will for our lives comes from pondering God’s Word

What gets your attention first each day? You have a todo list that begins to yell at you—yesterday’s list to finish first. But before the rush of productivity, God urges us to race to the foot of Mount Sinai —and pause. 

Mount Sinai—Why You Need God’s Word First of All

(Photo: The Mountains of Sinai from Jebel Musa. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

That’s what God did with His people. Instead of taking them straight to Canaan from Egypt, He led them southeast for three months to Mount Sinai. There God entered into a covenant with Israel and gave them His commandments.

True, God could have led them straight to Canaan. After all, what better place to receive the Holy Bible than in the Holy Land?

But the Lord wanted them to have His Word before they walked in His plans for their future.

This principle hasn’t changed for us.

Click to continue reading »

How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard

The will of God also includes the presence of God, and thus, His comfort.

Sometimes it seems the Lord leads us into a life that can’t possibly be His will. What started with such promise has become such a challenge. It’s tough to know what to do next.

How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard

(Photo by Photodune)

What do you do when the life God has promised you looks nothing like the life God has given you?

God had promised a son to Sarai and her husband, Abram. Yet at the same time, God prevented conception. This is the will of God? 

What God said is a lesson we need to hear.

Click to continue reading »

3 Sites Where the Habits of Jesus Can Help You Crush Compromise

How to Follow the Lord’s routines at Nazareth, the Wilderness, and the Mount of Olives

Bad habits are hard to break. But here’s the good news: so are good habits. Once installed, a good routine serves as a powerful ally in your walk with God. Three habits of Jesus show us how.

3 Sites Where the Habits of Jesus Can Help You Crush Compromise

(Photo: Olive trees on the Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The Gospel of Luke highlights several places in the life of our Lord that give us a window into the habits of Jesus. His commitment to these habits revealed His character in moments of opposition, weariness, and even danger.

Three places. Three lessons. Three habits essential to your life.

Click to continue reading »

Rest is not something that the world gives us. It’s never been a gift. It’s never been something you do when you’ve finished everything else. If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (Basic Books, 2016), Kindle Locations 179-181

Come see the Wonderful Lands of the Bible with Me this Fall!

A special tour to Israel and Jordan from October 18-29, 2018

No other place on earth can compare. The Holy Land is where God’s biblical story took place. You have to experience the lands of the Bible yourself to understand how life-transforming it truly is. Now you can. 

Come see the Lands of the Bible with Me this Fall

(Photo: The Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

This special tour of the lands of the Bible is designed to take you beyond the places most tours to Israel see. We’ll even experience the biblical sites of Jordan!

Perfect for someone returning to Israel to see brand new places—or for the first-timer who wants to experience the Holy Land in a unique and fulfilling way. This exclusive, one-bus tour promises a more personal, curated experience. We’ll explore sites that large groups just can’t see—sites that most tours sidestep.

You’ll see places like: 

  • Petra, Mount Nebo, and Machaerus in Jordan
  • Beersheba, the Negev, and the places of Israel’s wilderness wandering 
  • Sites around the Sea of Galilee, such as Gamla, Hippos, Chorazin, and Magdala
  • And then there’s Jerusalem! 

This tour is designed with you in mind. My goal is to transform the foreign places into familiar friends.

Petra—the Lost and Found City of Wonder

(Photo: The Treasury facade at Petra, Jordan)

Reserve Your Place Now

You will learn the Word of God right where it happened—with Bible in hand. After seeing where the biblical events occurred, you will never read your Bible the same way again!

I have put together a complete page to show you the wonderful itinerary this tour offers. 

Click to see all the details (including the early-bird special rate).

I would love to have you join me! 

4 Reasons You Should Try Listening to the Bible for a Change

Experience the Word of God in a brand new way.

Do you want God to speak to you audibly? That’s easy. Just read the Bible out loud. When was the last time you tried listening to the Bible instead of simply reading it? I recently listened to the whole Bible in a year. In years past, I had only read the Bible through. But listening was a different experience.

4 Reasons You Should Try Listening to the Bible for a Change

(Photo by Photodune)

It took longer to listen to it, of course, but the experience helped me connect with the Word of God in a way much closer to the way the original recipients interacted with Scripture.

The Bible tells us, for example:

At the end of every seven years . . . you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. —Deuteronomy 31:10–11

When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea. —Colossians 4:16

Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture. —1 Timothy 4:13

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for reading the Bible. But the biblical authors originally wrote the Scriptures primarily to be heard—not read.

Here are 4 reasons why you should try listening to the Bible for a change.

Click to continue reading »

How to Follow God by Pondering Amazing Bird Migrations in Israel

Instinct can only take you so far in your relationship with God.

Every winter, God’s design works without flaw. Thousands of birds take wing and head south. But in our lives, unlike the bird migrations in Israel, the chilly winds don’t always cause us to head the right direction.

Grey heron in Israel

(Photo: Grey heron in Israel. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Unlike birds, which instinctively know the way to go, we can wander away from God’s design for us. Birds have a lot to teach us about how to follow God.

Once learned, our relationship with God can take off.

Click to continue reading »

What Happens When God Shows Up in a Special Way

The presence of God now brings hope for the presence of God for eternity.

Do you remember the last time God showed up unannounced in your life? Even though the Lord is everywhere always, occasionally He’ll show up in a unique way. This happened to me just a few days ago.

What Happens When God Shows Up in a Special Way

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

I headed to the mall to pick up some last-minute gifts. The traffic crawled along in the wet winter weather. Stuck at a stoplight behind a line of cars, I remembered that a few years ago I had purchased some songs from Celine Dion’s Christmas album.

“Hey, Siri,” I said, “play Celine Dion.”

The familiar melody of my favorite Christmas carol began. With traffic going nowhere, I had a forced moment of complete solitude, and I listened to an angelic voice singing words that resonated with the core of my being.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.

Then it happened. 

Click to continue reading »