Posts Tagged With: ESV

Entire ESV Dramatized Audio New Testament Free

You can download the entire audio ESV New Testament (mp3 version) free at Amazon! 

Enjoy!  And listen!

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Fast Day 12 of 21: “Fasting and Praying for the Will of God”

Friday, January 21, 2011

“This is the will of God—your sanctification” (The Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 4:13).

One of the many reasons Christians come before the Lord in prayer and fasting is to find His will.  This subject captured my thinking and meditating about 15 years ago.  I had many difficult decisions before me, and I wasn’t sure which way to go.  In 1997-1998 as I was about to graduate seminary, I talked to three churches about becoming their minister of music: one in Roanoke, VA; one in West Columbia, SC; and one in Clewiston, FL.  What was God’s will?  Which church should I take? 

The traditional view of understanding God’s will is that, basically, it’s hidden and we must pray (plead?), sit, and wait and He will reveal it to you.  If you make the wrong decision, then you will be sent on a path outside of His will, hopefully to return.  I was caught in this mindset, and thus I grew fearful over making the wrong decision about this and a number of other decisions in my life.

Our REACH groups are covering what Scripture says about Finding the Will of God, and the study of this is quite liberating, to be sure.  Garry Freisen is his marvelous book Decision Making and the Will of God, distills understanding the will of God down to four biblical principles:

  1. Where God commands, we must obey.
  2. Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose.
  3. Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose.
  4. When we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust the sovereign God to work all the details together for good.

I found this liberating to the traditional view—and freeing.  Very few times in Scripture do we see the putting out of fleeces (Judges 6) and other types of ways of divining God’s will.  Usually, folks prayed, sought counsel from God and others, then moved.  We must be obedient to what is clear, so we can walk in Christ when things are unclear. 

Alana McBarnett sings a song off the wonderful “The Gathering: Trinidad and Tobago” album sings a song entitled “My Purpose:”

My purpose is on the way (I can feel it)
It gets closer to me every day (I can see it)
My God won’t let me go astray (I believe it)
Created for this reason.

We may not know our purpose right now, but we do know His will: our sanctification.  Be obedient to what you do know from Scripture, trust that He is working all things for you, dear Christian, for His glory and your good, seek good counsel from strong Christians—and then press on in Jesus!  He’ll handle the particulars—just trust Him!

Read John 12.

Pray for yourself and the three people who need to know Christ.

Fast to disconnect from the distractions of the world.

Journal your journey.

Worth a look:

  • Read a previous post called The Different “Wills” of God Found in Scripture (click the title).  There you will find some helpful books on the subject that are worth a look. 
  • The English Standard Version (the version from which I preach) has a great online Bible site at  You can read it, listen to it (it even has categories for listening to different Bible reading plans), and write notes on it—and more.  You’ll have to sign up for an account in order to save your notes (don’t worry, it’s free).  I have found it very handy.

Twelve days down, nine to go!  Can’t wait to hear what God did in and through you on Sunday evening, January 30.

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    What Leaders are Saying About the ESV Translation

    The ESV is trusted by many leaders in our churches. Take a look.

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    My Impression of the ESV Study Bible

    It was no secret to those close to me that I was eagerly awaiting the new ESV Study Bible. Some rolled their eyes, others cordially listened, still others shared my enthusiasm. Having been excited about such items beforehand, especially with all the hype that has surrounded this work, I still felt a catch in my spirit which said, “Don’t get your hopes up too high–not everything lives up to the hype.”

    So on October 18, it arrived.

    Snazzy design on the box.  I open it up, and am thankful I obtained a Black Classic TruTone rather than the genuine leather which tends to bend and keep the creases the first time you open it up.  The TruTone has a nice feel that has proven to maintain even if it gets caught in weather.  (Yes, I have a compact TruTone Bible that I took to Trinidad in 2004.  And, yes, I foolishly left it out in the rain.  And yes, it held together great.)

    Classic Black TruTone

    Classic Black TruTone

    And my first impression was, “Wow …

    Surprised by the size!

    This is a big Bible!!

    And big it was. 2700+ pages. For some perspective, here’s it up against my Coke Zero and my coffee pot (which I never use, thanks to the Coke Zero!).

    While the look on my face may convey distress and surprise, this does not mean I was unhappy.  You see, when I opened it up and began to see the great resources in it in regards to maps, tables, charts, book introductions, notes that do not get in the way–I realized I had a very special resources in my hands.

    Here’s the five-minute video.

    I heartily recommend this majestic work.

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    Extended Video on the ESV Study Bible

    Check out this 13 minute video covering the particulars of the ESV Study Bible.

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    Online Version of the ESV Study Bible

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    Countdown to the ESV Study Bible Release

    Evidently, numerous requests were made to the ESV publishers to put out a widget giving us a countdown. I’m thankful so many people are so excited about the Word of God.

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    ESV Study Bible Excerpts — This Looks Impressive

    Some of you at my church have inquired about the new ESV Study Bible that is coming out. I must say, this study Bible looks impressive! To be honest, I had begun veering away from study Bibles in resisting the temptation to look at the study notes with the same solemnity as the Holy Scriptures.

    Yet, this looks like a wonderful resource to help my people and me understand the Word better. The notes, the maps, the layout are all crisp and detailed. My only concern is the size. This is an almost 2,800 page Bible — a beast to carry around, I would assume. Aside from this, I eagerly await its release on October 15.

    ESV has released some excerpts in pdf format:

    Introduction to the Psalms, along with the notes for Psalm 1

    Introduction to the book of Isaiah, along with the notes for the first two chapters

    The entire book of Jonah

    Introduction to Ezekiel, along with the first two chapters

    Introduction to the Gospel according to Luke

    Introduction and notes for chapter 1 of Colossians

    Introduction to Revelation

    A Reconstruction of Golgotha, the hill upon which Jesus died

    Solomon’s Temple

    Where Was Jesus Buried?

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    Introducing the new ESV Study Bible

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    When Journaling Helps Your Preaching

    I have found that one of the best developments in the area of sermon preparation for me is journaling. In fact, I have begun to use a Moleskine journal in order to write out my sermon notes before I even touch a computer. Here’s how one looks:

    My Large Ruled Moleskine Notebook

    My Large Ruled Moleskine Notebook

    My sermon notes on Psalm 23

    My sermon notes on Psalm 23

    Notes in my moleskine for a recent Deacon's Meeting

    Notes in my moleskine for a recent Deacon

    Since March 28 (when I began using this type of journal), I have written just over 130 pages in my 240-page Moleskine. How has this helped my walk with Christ in general and my sermon preparation specifically?

    1. I begin reading the text from which I shall preach devotionally. Journaling helps me to read the passage personally so the Word can soak into the fabric of my being. If I expect my people to come before God in his house and soak in the Word being preached, I must put myself before God beforehand so his Word will soak into me. This practice of journaling has really transformed this. I am not merely reading the Bible so I can get ‘stuff’ for my sermon. I’m seeing what Howard Hendricks notes in his book Living By the Book that Bible study is for life-change. With this, I am fully engaged in the “so-what factor” — I always leave room in my entries to seek God in apply His Word, i.e., application, i.e., the ‘so-what factor.’ “This is what the Bible says? Great! So what?” I am able to prayerfully brainstorm some implications.
    2. I think better with pen and paper than I do in front of a computer. In a post at another blog I run, I noted: “Speaking of Moleskine: I am hooked, and I have Joe Thorn to blame for it. I was a Mead Composition Notebook guy, but found that the paper, the wide ruled nature of the layout, and the ease with which it falls apart made me begin to look for other options. So, I tried a Moleskine, and now I love it and am hooked on journaling, especially when it comes to sermon preparation. I find that if I write out my research in this journal rather than type it out on a computer, I absorb the content a bit more and the sermon becomes more personal to me as well.”
    3. It’s portable. I do laptops, but dude are they a burden to carry, especially around an airport. But, if I need to travel and do some sermon preparation, I take my ESV Personal Size Bible, my Large Ruled Moleskine Notebook, my Large 18-Month Moleskine Planner, my Zebra F-301 0.7 mm fine point pen, photocopies of sections of commentaries from which I will be preaching, stick them in a manila envelope, and I am set. Then, when I get to a computer, I can just start typing.
    4. It actually helps my penmanship. Computers not only hinder my thinking, but also kill my penmanship. I am just stunned at how sloppy my writing became.
    5. It leaves a legacy. For more on this, I would recommend reading through Don Whitney’s Simplify Your Spiritual Life. He notes that in 100 years, your relatives may not know about you at all — except if you journal.

    Do any of you journal as part of your sermon preparation? If so, what are some methods you use? We can always learn from each other.

    Breaking in a new moleskine!

    Breaking in a new moleskine!

    Categories: preaching, Scriptures | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments