“The leather-bound Bible owned by local man Kurt Ryder for over ten years reported Sunday that it was “super pumped” to participate in Ryder’s resolution to read his Bible every day, until he inevitably shelves it in the latter half of the first week of January, sources confirmed.”
Don’t be Kurt Ryder. Read your Bible this year. As I said on Christmas, I have not been as consistent as I want with this. Let’s work on this together.
We went back up to Naperville over the weekend, after moving down to St. Louis a couple weeks ago. Of course that meant returning to Harvest Naperville to hear a guest preacher preach one of the most relevant messages I’ve heard in a while on a passage I had somehow skimmed over before.
And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.
That stood out to me. How many of us have been told recently that we are out of our mind? It’s why I love the quote from Orwell:
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
The truth is revolutionary. Many will say that we are out of our mind, but we are the ones speaking true and rational words.
Life is fleeting, if one thing can be a guarantee. We all go out. Some in a blaze of glory and others as a low whisper. One way or the other, our candle gets snuffed out. And once it does, do you know for sure where you’ll stand?
In a blink, you could be gone. You may have told yourself that you had time to think about this later, but life doesn’t work that way. All it takes is a blink.
Do you know what comes next? Do you know for sure?
We all know we’re not perfect. It’s like a meter is built into us. Something tells us that we make mistakes. This conscience is real and is a gift from God. You are not perfect, but perfection is what God expects.
You may think that faith is for the old, but death does not discriminate on age. You may think religion just a list of do’s and don’ts, but that’s not the way it was supposed to be. The law is to protect us from sin. The things God considers wrong can hurt us. Disobeying these laws is sin. Disobeying God is sin. This isn’t petty, but protective.
A perfect God judges perfectly. What crimes have you committed? Have you committed adultery? Jesus said that if you look on a woman with lust, that you have committed adultery in your heart. Have you ever looked at a woman lustfully? If so, you are an adulterer. Have you ever lied? If so, you are liar. Have you ever committed murder? Jesus said that if you call you brother stupid, you’ve committed murder in your heart.
If you were judged today, what would be the verdict? You might think that your good deeds might count for something, but imagine sitting for a judge in your hometown. You murdered your brother. The evidence is stacked against you. And so you plea with the judge, “Look at my bank account, sir. I have given so much money to charity! Look at my calendar: I have given so much time to help others!” But the judge is to judge you for your crime. You killed a man. You killed your brother. What should a just judge do?
The good news, though, is that your sin can be covered. The law came with a sacrificial system. Pay your due for your sins. Count up all the sins that you have committed and pay the fine.
Is the number too large, the task to hard? You’d be right to think so, because the law was to point people to the hopelessness of our sin. It binds us, holds us down. Even if we provided sacrifice after sacrifice, we would never be free from our sin.
But your sin can be covered. A sacrifice was made. Jesus, the Son of God, came down not to extend a sword, but a hand. This is why a Christian cannot believe that multiple ways to God exist. Our sin is the problem and the only way for it to be forgive is by a sacrifice. Jesus was that sacrifice, he was that pure lamb, the first of creation. His life was without sin, he lived by the law. But the purpose of his life was to take our sin away, so at the prime of his life, the government took him before a judge, accused him of things he wasn’t guilt of, and gave him the ultimate punishment: death.
You might not believe this story. You likely have heard it before. You might think that Jesus was just a good man, but that good man said he was God, man. He claimed to be messiah, the chosen one, the Son of God and God himself. You can do the research. I have. You can read it in the Bible or you can read what historians say. No historian disagrees with Jesus’ existence. No historian disagrees with what is recorded in the Bible about him. Some question whether he was right.
But would you take the chance that he was wrong? His followers didn’t. They followed his words until their deaths, often at the hands of oppressors and aggressors. Stoned to death for disagreeing with the establishment, crucified for teaching a different message, thrown in prison on a remote island to grow old. But in the face of death, their faith seemed to grow stronger and bolder. A sane man following a lie would not die to not look like a liar. At least one would break rank. But none did. Historical accounts show that the early Christians, those that saw Jesus after he rose from the dead, lived life at the edge, never fearing death and always preaching life everlasting.
Life is fleeting.
The story is not a lie. It is no fabrication. You will die. You will face judgment. You know what the verdict is because it is written on your heart. You know that you haven’t done enough good to outweigh your crimes. Blink and life is gone.
The good news is a single choice is all it takes. Make the choice to follow Jesus today. Not later today. Right now. The Bible says all you must do is turn from your sins, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. You are not expected to come to him clean. You’ll be cleaned by him. You are not expected to have things in order. He’s got you covered.
A blink can make the difference. Don’t blink and let your life be taken away. Make the choice right now. Follow Jesus. Assurance is given to those that follow him. Your sin will be covered. The judge will look at you and see his son. He’ll see what his son did. You don’t want the alternative.
Years ago, I had one of the first 500 apps on the iPad, named Holiwrit. My goal was simple: create a beautiful and easy-to-use Bible for iPad. I was frustrated that no one in the space was making such a thing. Now, yes, Holiwrit was skeuomorphic, but all apps at the time were. Wood and paper matched with a columned layout and easy navigation. Beyond that, no features. Just reading.
The problem I found is one that I’m sure many have in trying to enter that space. The most popular translations had licensing that is above anything the independent developer could afford. For me to make any money at all from my endevour, I’d be forced to sell it for a high price or use free, “open-source” translations. The app didn’t go far, unfortunately because of this.
That pursuit of "beautiful utility," as designers like to say, stands in contrast to their less design-minded competitors. Papyrus scrolls, blazing crosses, clouds lit by divine beams of light—the App Store is chock-full of Bible apps with enough skeuomorphic, Christian-kitsch to give Jony Ive permanent nightmares. Even worse, many are riddled with design flaws, from feature-overload to poor navigation. But NeuBible stands apart, with a pared-down structure that puts the text front and center. The font choices are modern—no Italicized cursive, here—and the left-side navigation disappears from view while reading. Apart from verse numbers and chapter headings, the content is unadorned.
Today, a new Bible app was released that gives me hope once more. Focused 100% on usability and the text before features, NeuBible built an absolutely beautiful app. Download it on the App Store for $1.99 today!