A great way for me to learn more about a topic dear to my heart is through “podcasts.” These are series of audio or video programs put up on the internet and usually available free to download or stream using almost any device which can connect to the internet. This includes smart phones, tablets, Windows and Mac computers, Chromebook computers, and even devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home internet connected speakers; they are also available through the Spotify music program installed in many new automobile stereo systems. Rather than saying more about podcasts, you can go read this well-done article on www.howtogeek.com. Continue Reading
About Richard Cravy
Posts by Richard Cravy:
During the first quarter of 2008, I had the opportunity to teach this series of twelve lessons on Sunday evenings at the Tanglewood Church of Christ in Odessa, Texas. This was a challenge since normally I teach this in the classroom instead of in a sermon format. Entitled “How to Understand the Bible,” my goal was to introduce our church to the actual work involved in studying the Bible, rather than just assuming everyone already knew how to study and understand. Click here to access the entire series.
For some time now, preachers and teachers have joined the education and business communities in using visual presentations with their teaching. This usually means the use of either Microsoft PowerPoint (for both Windows and Mac OS) or Apple Keynote (Mac OS). And these are the two software packages I have used for years as well.
But recently I decided to be adventurous and try an online slide creation and presentation software available free from Google. I had tried Google Slides several years ago but found it too awkward, unintuitive and lacking in features to continue using. Many changes for the better have come to Slides since then. The cost of admission is simply a Gmail email account login, which is itself free. Continue Reading
- My own experience:
- By the time I went to college, I had been in church 3 times a week since age 6.
- But I had almost no answer to why I believed the Bible was true, nor did I know how to interpret the Scriptures beyond the simple Bible stories I had learned in Sunday school.
- While in college I began attending a small, new congregation on the outskirts of Houston.
- A mentor and teacher:
- The preacher for this small congregation almost immediately started taking me home for lunch each Sunday afternoon – the sure way to a single college student’s heart.
- The brother, James Wilson, then began to teach me Christian apologetics, and also modeled how to study the Bible using the method I will briefly present here. Essentially, he challenged me to become a detective discovering “the rest of the story.”
- I have always viewed that time as God specifically at work redirecting my life!
On September 8, I had the opportunity to help the Hermosa Church of Christ in Artesia, NM launch their Small Groups study on the “Spiritual Disciplines.” The spiritual disciplines is a term used to describe those consistent habits every believer should have in their life in order to grow to maturity and fulfill God’s desire for us to be Christlike.
Since this was a new subject for many in the class, I created the following handout as part of my introductory presentation. Continue Reading
I know that every teacher, preacher and serious student of Scripture has their own “comfort zone” method of studying and preparing their lessons.
For me, that method involves a great notepad or notebook for taking notes and organizing my thoughts. (More details on what else I use and do in a later post.) So I have been especially excited at the approaching release of a well-crafted bound notebook from Mike Rohde of Sketchnote fame. Mike and the team from Airship Notebooks have a Kickstarter Project going on right now in anticipation of the October (?) release of this specific notebook, called the Sketchnote Ideabook. Continue Reading
The Privilege of Prayer
- Part of the unique nature of humankind, God’s highest creation, is language
- Language allows both the expressing and transferring of knowledge, feelings, thoughts, dreams, and history
- It also allows – through similes, metaphors, parables, and other forms of symbolic expression – the describing of otherwise unknowable things using comparisons to those things that are known
- The Bible has many descriptions of spiritual realities by means of this symbolic imagery. Examples: Jesus’ parables and the amazing “pictures” in the Book of Revelation
- This imagery is also used to reveal spiritual realities involving prayer
- Here we will look at just two aspects of prayer through these images:
- Prayer: The Awesome Privilege
- Prayer: The Intimate Privilege
- Another key character in our story is Goliath, typically referred to as a “giant.”
- It is interesting to me that the term “giant” is not actually used in Scripture of Goliath, even though his size clearly would satisfy our modern definition.
- Modern skeptics question the whole concept of giants in biblical times.
- So, as part of our background research for the story of David and Goliath, we want to look at some of what we find in the text of the Old Testament.
My favorite Bible software program has just had a significant update to v. 12.0.1 for the Windows version. I believe I first discovered e-Sword, this FREE Windows Bible program, back at V. 5 in about 2001. At the time I was giving about equal time to two other packages, Quickverse and PC Study Bible. I soon abandoned those programs altogether in favor of e-Sword because it just seemed so much more intuitive and easy to use.
With this new version by Rick Meyers and his team, some of the features I noticed right way include:
- App Themes for changing the color of the basic interface window borders. Before, only gray was available.
- The ability to choose low light (soft off-white) and night light (black) backgrounds in addition to the standard white.
- A revised Resources Window making access to books in that windows easier to manage and use.
- The return of Jesus and the end of the world is a topic as controversial and misunderstood today as it was in the First Century.
- Non-believers then and now mostly reject the whole idea of a “doom’s day” – especially one brought about by a Jewish preacher who lived 2,000 years ago.
- But even in the Christian community there is a wide diversity of beliefs about His coming… from disbelief (liberal views) to fanatical fascination about end-time signs and predictions.
- Paul is addressing this subject and trying to clear up misconceptions and ignorance in his two letters to the Thessalonians.
The Bible Project (www.thebibleproject.com) is a unique and valuable internet resource I greatly enjoy and regularly use for personal study. The project began in 2014 when Timothy Mackie and Jonathan Collins wanted to present the overall story, themes, and beauty of the Bible in a way that would connect with our modern media-centric culture.
Eventually they assembled an entire animation studio which is funded by freewill donations. They describe their misson on their website homepage this way: “We believe the Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus and our mission is to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere.” Continue Reading
The foundation for effective Bible study (in addition to the Scriptures) is a good library of resources, mostly in the form of books. As a result, most of us who preach or teach have invested heavily over the years in printed books – Bible translations, dictionaries, commentaries, atlases, word studies, original language reference works, etc. My own personal library is comprised of several thousand such books. And my library would be even larger except occasional moves and space constraints have forced me over the years to weed out and give away less-used books to keep the overall quantity down.
Being bi-vocational and working in technology along with teaching and preaching, I have longed for a way to digitally access my most needed resources. This dream first started being fulfilled with the introduction of Bible software packages. I believe I purchased my first such software around 1990, when the interface was still DOS based (black and white text only with no graphics) before the days of Microsoft Windows. And I still own and actively update and expand some 5 different major Bible software packages even today. Continue Reading