13 ways to get the most out of my site

1. Know that I post with discipleship and ministry in view. That is, I have fellow preachers, teachers, and Christ-followers in mind as my primary audience. Most of my weekday posts (Sept.-May) are either devotional thoughts that grow out of my Bible reading or come from class or sermon matters. The single big exception to this is the Civil War postings on most Tuesdays. Those posts are the result of a hobby of mine in years past and will continue throughout the 150 year anniversary of the American Civil War (2011-2015). If you’re looking for personal things dealing with me, you’ll rarely find them here; see my Facebook page instead.

2. Understand, I post daily. It’s a rare day I don’t. There are two reasons for that: it disciplines me in terms of thinking and writing and it keeps something fresh here for you all of the time. Period.

3. My first post each day goes up early. By “early” I mean”before dawn.” I do most of my reading early and late in the day. I post early because if you too are an early reader, you can know something will always be here waiting for you. If I post more than once in a day, the first post is early and the second post is random.

4. I post with the hope of offering you tools you can use. Wednesdays you’ll usually see something I’ll write in terms of a follow-up to what I preached the preceding Sunday. It’s not unusual for me to post something in Friday with a view ahead toward Bible class on Sunday mornings. LIFE groups are a part of my congregation’s life and so, LIFE group discussion questions get posted most Saturdays. Preachers and teachers especially are always looking for quotes they can use and a word about books. If classes, sermons, or small groups are of interest to you, you’ll find tools here.

5. Reading, like breathing and eating, is in my life routine. In order to maximize what I get out of my reading, I frequently share quotes or excerpts from my reading here. Daily so during the summer months (June-August).

6. I post briefly. Very rarely will you see an essay here. My posts are rarely more than 800 words in length and are often in the 300 range. My Sunday Picture Bible Commentary is simply a photo (taken by myself or a family member) and Scripture quotation. This particular post is at the outer limits: 800 words.

7. Instead of bookmarking this site and going to it daily, consider using Google Reader or subscribing by e-mail. Look in the right hand column and you’ll see a drop-dead simple way to subscribe via e-mail. If you go the Google Reader route, check out this simple, step-by-step how-to by Michael Hyatt. Google Reader will revolutionize your digital reading, streamlining and speeding up the process immensely.

8. Note the posting schedule. Weekday posts during the summer are exclusively quotes and excerpts from books I’ve been reading. Weekdays during the fall, winter, and spring are times I write in a devotional way.

9. I categorize and tag obsessively. Scroll down to the last item in the right-hand column. You’ll notice a word cloud of categories. Just above the word cloud are two icons: a file folder and a tag. The word cloud and the tag are the same. Click on the file folder icon and you’ll be presented with a drop-down list of the categories I’ve used thus far. This is a real plus for those of you who, for example, are teaching through 1 Peter and want to see what I’ve got here on this site connected with 1 Peter.

10. Watch My Recent Bookmarks. Look over in the right hand column and you’ll find that section. This is a running list of articles and posts I’ve recently read elsewhere that I deemed worthy enough to bookmark in my Delicious account. I bookmark most weekdays. If you’re looking for good stuff to read, you’ll never be disappointed looking at these links.

11. Speaking of links, watch for my This Went Thru My Mind post on Saturdays. Those posts connect to things I’ve seen the preceding week that stirred my thinking. Some of these links you will have seen in My Recent Bookmarks, but some will be new.

12. Leave a comment. Hey, I might even reply!

13. Read with prayer. It is a rare post that does not connect in some way with something I’ve been praying about recently. Let posts prompt prayer within you. “Let’s pray.”

the Roman Empire & the NT (4)

The New Testament writings … [engage an] everyday matter that involved negotiation of the empire, namely food. One schlar has shown that that every chapter of Luke’s Gospel contains references to food. The three synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke) feature Jesus’ meals, including his last supper. Two of the seven “signs” that Jesus performs in John’s Gospel involve providing wine (John 2:1-12) and feeding a crowd with bread and fish (John 6:1-14). Paul and Peter have a major confrontation and falling out over eating companions (Gal. 2:11-14). Paul rebukes the believers in Corinth for their divisive and humiliating meals (1 Cor. 11:17-34). James 3:1-15 and 1 John 3:16 urge providing for the hungry and needy. Rome’s all-consuming trade that siphons off products from the provinces includes food (Rev. 18:13-14).

It is important to understand this concern with food within the context of the Roman imperial system. Food was about power. … Food … displayed the injustice of the empire on a daily basis. The irony of this situation was that Roman propaganda claimed that one of the gifts of the Roman Empire to its inhabitants was fertility and abundance!

The Roman Empire and the New Testament: An Essential Guide by Warren Carter (Abingdon Press, 2006), pp.109-110