hearts refreshed by your actions

… the hearts of God’s people are refreshed by your actions, my brother. (Philemon 7 CEB)

Are there people you know who seem to have a habitual way about them of bringing you encouragement? Where did that way come from?

As people think of you, do they think of you this way? How might you be transformed into a person whose life consistently makes others smile deep down with joy in the Lord?

Who will you encounter today who will need a tank full of encouragement? Will you recognize their need and your placement by God in their life as a crucial moment where the good things of God can flow freely through who you are and what you do?

From whom do you regularly receive freshness in spirit and in what ways do they facilitate this arrival of freshness from you? Have you ever told them how thankful you are for them and their ways that reflect the Lord?

In Christ’s name, Holy Father, make me what is pure refreshment to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Work with me in the shaping of all of my actions so that they become true blessing to all who witness them. May you work so in my life that my life is not superficial, but powerfully influential on the hearts of others for you. Have mercy on me when my ways weigh hearts down and work against freshness in spirit. Remember the good you see come from me and may I remember you are the reason for its being. Amen.

that’s right, I’m unique

I’ve always known I was unique. Hey, my name is “David Smith,” hardly original, but I am an only child. Still, across the years I’ve felt the hankering for more evidence of my “uniqueness.” And then this morning dawned with the proof embedded in the results of a survey by the Christian Chronicle.

Not long ago, the Chronicle randomly surveyed 1,100 people with this question: “What Bible translation do you prefer to read?” I was one of those surveyed. Note those figures: one thousand, one hundred people … and me.

Now those of you who know me know my answer to just such a question would depend on what hour of the day you asked me. I routinely read, consult, compare, and study from quite a number of English translations. While, most of my preaching the past several years has been from the  TNIV and NRSV, that’s not been the case of late. With the advent of the CEB and the 90 day New Testament reading project my church family is involved with the first three months of this year, I decided to utilize the Common English Bible in most of my reading, writing, and preaching during the project. Which also happened to be the period of time in which I received the Chronicle‘s query.

Scan the survey results to your left and do the math. Notice the next to the last result in the survey, the percentage of those who responded as preferring to read the Common English Bible. If you surveyed 1,100 people and 0.1% responded a certain way, how many people would that 0.1% represent?

That’s right, just for the record, go ahead and scratch out “0.1%” and scribble my name in its place. And to the 1,099 of you who helped confirm my suspicion, thank you very much. And to all, check out the CEB. I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised and will find it to be one of the easiest-to-understand renderings out there today.