Thompson Chain Reference Bible – Revisited

My older sister gave me my first Thompson Chain Reference Bible in 1979, or early 80s.  I literally wore it out.  Then the youth group I was serving gave me my second Thompson Chain in 1988.  I saw those Bibles as what I would call “glorified concordances”.  There is this amazing system (chains) of references and topics. I did not wear out the second one, I simply moved on to other study Bibles.

Just a few weeks ago I attended a workshop put on by my good friend, Chuck Ballard on how to use the Thompson Bible.  Chuck was the first pastor to welcome me to Flagstaff 25 years ago next month. We’ve remained good friends ever since. He has since moved on and is now leading a ministry called African Pastoral Training Ministries in which he trains African pastors how to study and prepare sermons using only the Thompson Chain Bible.  This is an amazing ministry because most of these pastors will have no other resources.  Through the conference they receive a new Bible and three days of training.

I was amazed both by the use of the Thompson Bible and specifically how Chuck teaches the students to study the Bible using ONLY the Bible!  Dr. Frank Charles Thompson did the world a great service in 1908 when he put together this massive system of studying scripture with scripture using over 4200 chain topics and 100,000 topical references.  It’s actually pretty simple to use once you understand the system.

Chuck did a great job leading this four-hour workshop.  I plan to invite him to our church to do the same in the near future.  The Bibles are available most anywhere. You may want to check out the dedicated website for Kirkbride or do what I did and find your favorite version on Amazon.

Though I have no plans to abandon my Logos Bible software or get rid of any of my favorite study Bibles, I am enjoying getting familiar again with my new ESV Thompson Chain.

I highly recommend Chuck and his ministry.

Book Review – Everyday Greatness

My Take on Everyday Greatness – Inspiration for a Meaningful Life; a Readers Digest book, compiled by David K. Hatch with insights and commentary by Stephen R. Covey, published by Rutledge Hill Press

Only after reading the book, did I see how the Title nails it!  Upon picking out the book I wasn’t aware of the format. The title grabbed me because I like Covey’s stuff and I wanted his take on a “meaningful life”.

The words ‘Reader’s Digest’ should have given it away. Everyday Greatness is a compilation of a many authors on a wide variety of topics all dealing with personal character.  Though it wasn’t what I expected, I grew to appreciate the inspiring short stories in true RD form.

As an avid Twitter-user, I especially enjoyed the “Further Insights” at the end of each section. After reading two or three short stories on a topic, like Integrity, there follows two to four pages of very short, almost one-liners (they could be tweets!) that come from a wide variety of mostly well known authors, actors, proverbs and presidents and your general ‘larger than life’ kind of people.

Covey’s part was clearly the weakest.  Oftentimes he gives a paragraph or two after the stories and before the Insights. The compilation of stories and Insights was enough.

Now it becomes a reference in my library. I won’t be giving the book away and I’m sure I’ll refer to it often in preparing my sermons.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

A Book Review: PLAN B by Pete Wilson

Plan B, by Pete Wilson

“What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought he would?”  That’s a question each one of us will face.  We all have an idea of how life should go, our marriage, job, church, relationships, our financial standing, all of it.  But, when we get that phone call, or someone drops the big news, or we find that pink slip awaiting us, we suddenly find ourselves facing Plan B.  Now what?

I can tell Pete is a preacher, and probably a real good one. He keeps me in the book by intertwining principles with personal stories and anecdotes. He shares some of his fatherhood stuff and his pastoral responsibilities in the face of difficult junk, all to help me realize how to navigate to and through my personal Plan B. So much of the Bible, including the cross, comes down to Plan B.

I love the honesty at the end of the book about the missing bow.  Followers of Christ need to read this and know that just because we love Jesus, we don’t get our way. We are all about His way, and the path often looks like a Plan B.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: The Noticer

As part of a program through Thomas Nelson Publishers, I get to review books.  Here’s my first installment:

The Noticer, by Andy Andrews

Engaging, entertaining, and especially…encouraging. The definition for encouraging is “to inspire with courage”.  In his book, The Noticer, Andy Andrews tells his personal story in such a way as to inspire with courage.  The fun part of the book is determining where his personal story leaves off and a good dose of fiction kicks in.  The old man that found Andrews under the pier that day was named “Jones, not Mr. Jones”.  Jones pops in and out of town throughout the story each time bringing hope to hopeless situations.  The beauty of the book is not that he brings anything new, he simply brings perspective.

What an enjoyable ‘summer-time’ read.  As Jones offers practical insight and perspective to the young wanderer, the reader feels as though his own questions might be answered. Secretly we all would love to have Jones come and offer insight that we have missed.  In life, we need others to help us see what we can no longer see.  Like many characters in the storyline, we find ourselves in situations that we never planned and without any hints that change is even possible.  Perspective is wisdom with eyes.  It’s good to have another set of eyes looking on our story. Get the book, read the stories. Find some perspective.