the Christ House project: Jan. & Feb. reading schedule


The-Christ-HouseAll MoSt Church members are urged to reading the New Testament completely through this coming year at the rate of one chapter per day. Along with our reading, we’re all encouraged to memorize one verse that focuses on Jesus as the Christ from each book of the NT. A listing of the year’s “Christ verses” appeared in a post here yesterday.

Each day of The Christ House (TCH) reading project you’ll find a link to each day’s reading here on my site; however, for your convenience of preview, the reading schedule for January and February follows. Our reading during these two months will focus on the writings of Luke, both his Gospel and the book of Acts.

May the Christ bless the reading of, and reflection on the words of the Spirit. Amen.

The Gospel according to Luke

Jan. 1 – Luke 1
Jan. 2 – Luke 2
Jan. 3 – Luke 3
Jan. 4 – Luke 4
Jan. 5 – Luke 5
Jan. 6 – Luke 6
Jan. 7 – Luke 7
Jan. 8 – Luke 8
Jan. 9 – Luke 9
Jan. 10 – Luke 10
Jan. 11 – Luke 11
Jan. 12 – Luke 12
Jan. 13 – Luke 13
Jan. 14 – Luke 14
Jan. 15 – Luke 15
Jan. 16 – Luke 16
Jan. 17 – Luke 17
Jan. 18 – Luke 18
Jan. 19 – Luke 19
Jan. 20 – Luke 20
Jan. 21 – Luke 21
Jan. 22 – Luke 22
Jan. 23 – Luke 23
Jan. 24 – Luke 24
Jan. 25-31 – days of reflection

The Book of Acts

Feb. 1 – Acts 1
Feb. 2 – Acts 2
Feb. 3 – Acts 3
Feb. 4 – Acts 4
Feb. 5 – Acts 5
Feb. 6 – Acts 6
Feb. 7 – Acts 7
Feb. 8 – Acts 8
Feb. 9 – Acts 9
Feb. 10 – Acts 10
Feb. 11 – Acts 11
Feb. 12 – Acts 12
Feb. 13 – Acts 13
Feb. 14 – Acts 14
Feb. 15 – Acts 15
Feb. 16 – Acts 16
Feb. 17 – Acts 17
Feb. 18 – Acts 18
Feb. 19 – Acts 19
Feb. 20 – Acts 20
Feb. 21 – Acts 21
Feb. 22 – Acts 22
Feb. 23 – Acts 23
Feb. 24 – Acts 24
Feb. 25 – Acts 25
Feb. 26 – Acts 26
Feb. 27 – Acts 27
Feb. 28 – Acts 28

Do remember, a copy (.pdf) of the year’s reading schedule and Christ verses (memory verses) is always available from the “downloads” section of MoSt Church‘s site.

the Christ House reading project 2013: the Christ verses


The-Christ-HouseAs we read the New Testament through completely in 2013, every MoSt Church member is encouraged to memorize a single verse of Scripture from each book of the NT. A listing of all the Christ verses for this year’s reading follows as they appear in the Common English Bible. May these verses serve you well as we consider Jesus Christ.

Jan. 1-24 – “Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2.11)

Feb. 1-28 – “… let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2.36)

March 1-16 – “I assure you that whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly be rewarded.” (Mark 9.41)

April 1-5 – “You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2.5)

April 6-8 – “… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him belongs glory now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3.18)

April 9-13 – “My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you don’t sin. But if you do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” (1 John 2.1)

April 14 – “Grace, mercy, and peace from … Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, will be ours who live in truth and love.” (2 John 3)

April 15 – “… for the sake of Jesus Christ …” (3 John 7)

April 16 – “… keep each other in the love of God, wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will give you eternal life.” (Jude 21)

May 1-28 – “He said, ‘And what about you? Who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'” (Matt. 16.15-16)

June 1-13 – “We are partners with Christ, but only if we hold on to the confidence we had in the beginning until the end.” (Heb. 3.14)

June 14-18 – “My brothers and sisters, when you show favoritism you deny the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been resurrected in glory.” (James 2.1)

July 1-16 – “The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6.23)

Aug. 1-16 – “You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.” (1 Cor. 12.27)

Aug. 17-29 – “We all must appear before Christ in court so that each person can be paid back for the things that were done while in the body, whether they were good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5.10)

Sept. 1-21 – “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” (John 17.3)

Oct. 1-22 – “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will rule forever and always.” (Rev. 11.15)

Nov. 1-6 – “… a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 2.16)

Nov. 7-12 – “This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth.” (Eph. 1.10)

Nov. 13-16 – “God has generously granted you the privilege, not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering for Christ’s sake.” (Phil. 1.29)

Nov. 17-20 – “All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body.” (Col. 2.9)

Dec. 1-5 – “Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5.18)

Dec. 6-8 – “May the Lord lead your hearts to express God’s love and Christ’s endurance.” (2 Thes. 3.5)

Dec. 9-14 – “This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I’m the biggest sinner of all.” (1 Tim. 1.15)

Dec. 15-18 – “… anyone who wants to live a holy life in Christ Jesus will be harassed.” (2 Tim. 3.12)

Dec. 19-21 – “… we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2.13)

Dec. 22 – “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Philemon 25)

the Christ House (TCH): reading project 2013


The-Christ-HouseHaving recently completed our church-wide Bible reading project for 2012 (Uncommon Truth for Common People) at MoSt Church, we’ll start our reading project for 2013 – The Christ House (TCH) – this coming Tues., Jan. 1. Let me introduce this new reading plan in the form of questions and answers.

Q. What’s the objective of TCH? What’s our focus?

A. The objective is to fix our attention on Jesus Christ as we journey through the New Testament (NT).

Q. Will we read the NT though in the order it appears in our Bible or in some other order?

A. While we’ll all read the NT through in 2013, we won’t follow the order in which the books appear in the NT. The order we’ll follow is based on commonality of the books’ authorship. For example, in January and February we’ll read the writings of Luke (Luke and Acts). In this way, we’ll not only get a better feel for each particular author’s style, but we’ll be able to spread out the reading of the Gospels across the course of the year (January, March, May, and September).

Q. What will we read each day and how much?

A. The pace is simple and steady, reading a single chapter each day while incorporating a number of days at the end of most months for catch-up, reflection, review, and/or independent study. That means, on average, your reading time each day will total about five minutes.

Q. Will there be Scripture to memorize?

A. Every person involved in the project is encouraged to memorize one, selected verse of Scripture that specifically mentions Jesus Christ from every book of the New Testament. We’ll refer to such verses as “Christ verses.”

Q. When will the The Christ House project begin?

A. This coming Tues., Jan. 1.

Q. When and where can I see a copy of the whole year’s schedule and acquire a copy of all of the Christ verses?

A. A copy of the year’s reading schedule and all of the Christ verses is currently available for download from MoSt‘s site (and will remain available there throughout the coming year). Tomorrow’s post (Sun., Dec. 30) here on my site will list all of the Christ verses while Monday’s post (Dec. 31) will give the reading schedule for January and February. Starting on Tues., Jan. 1, a link to each day’s reading will appear as a post here on my site.

Q. Will we use a specific translation of the New Testament?

A. You can use any quality rendering of the NT you please with this schedule. The links in the daily posts here on my site will be to the Common English Bible (CEB).

imagine you, on food stamps (9)


Now I know you’re curious as to what exactly I plan to eat in January so, let me just go ahead and tell you while explaining some of the rationale behind my purchasing choices. I refuse to bore you with a daily “journal” of what I ate, so do let me bore you here in a single post with the details of the lion’s share of my eating plan.

CerealFirst, I’m a breakfast person. If I could eat only one meal a day, it would be breakfast. And so for the sake of that meal, I’m willing to make some sacrifices elsewhere through the course of the day’s menu. What that means in practical terms is that I’ll stick with my normal diet for breakfast in January. What is that? Nothing exciting, to be sure – and quite likely to be viewed as “boring” or just plain “nasty” to some of you reading this – but here it is: (1) a bowl of Kashi GoLean cereal (50 cents) with (2) a splash of Silk Pure Almond “milk” (40 cents) and (3) either a banana (25 cents) or a single Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax granola bar (25 cents). This is what I eat for breakfast probably 360 days out of the year and have done so for the past two or three years. Such has served me well, providing me with a healthy start to the day that gives me energy without weighing me down. By the way, if I go the granola bar route instead of the banana, that works out to 255 calories with 16 1/2 grams of protein and virtually zero grams of saturated fat. Healthy.

Second, if I eat nothing else, I eat some vegetables every day and commonly avoid fried foods almost completely. While I realize fresh vegetables are the healthiest way to go, I elected long ago to go the microwave route. I’ve found that the Green Giant “Healthy Weight” offering (sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, black beans, and edamame) appeals to me and I was able to catch these on sale for $1.00 per package early this week at Target and so, I stocked up the freezer. Throw in a little bit of tuna, grilled chicken breast, or whatever and a person has all that’s necessary for a simple, low fat lunch or supper. This meal, along with breakfast, should provide the vast majority of the protein and fiber necessary for each day.

Third, while the preceding will be the foundation for my nutrition in January, the groceries that made up the sack of groceries I received from our church pantry – along with misc. food items I procure along the way over the course of the month – will round out the makings of my month’s meals. This is where the real variety in my eating will happen. If I slightly exceed my $4.00 budget one day, I’ll make up for it by cutting back in some slight fashion the day before and/or the day following.

And having said all of that, let me say one last thing: while you might see a post or two in this series during the month of January, don’t expect for me to break radio silence on this subject until Feb. 1.

Until then … anyone care to join me in this project?

imagine you, on food stamps (8)


Now let it be noted from the start that I fully realize the way I’m going about this “food stamp project” in January is a bit unfair. How so? It is unfair in at least three ways.

First, many who qualify for food stamps are often quite limited in terms of time. No small number of them work two jobs, and in some cases, even three. If they have children living at home, their time once they arrive home is most certainly at a premium. Any and all time spent on food preparation means it’s time that can’t be spent doing something else (i.e. – doing laundry, helping with homework, maintaining a vehicle, etc.). Consequently, for quite a large percentage of folks who receive SNAP benefits, the choices made in terms of what food to acquire boils down primarily to this single question: “What food can I buy that can be prepared in the least possible amount of time with the least amount of attention required in doing so?

Second, transportation for many who receive SNAP benefits is a complicated affair. Many do not have a car and so, they must walk or ride a bicycle wherever they go. On occasion they might be able to hitch a ride with a friend who has some wheels, in which case they are dependent all the more on the choices of others. If they do have a vehicle, due to their limited funds they can’t drive around just anywhere looking for the best prices and deals on food. For some, what funds they have available translates into being able to drive their vehicle only straight to work and back, and precious little, if any, more at all. As a result of any or all of the preceding factors, a great many people on SNAP are forced to make their grocery purchases not on the basis of where the best deals and selections can be had, but on the basis of what is located closest to their residence. Translation: the local convenience store (i.e. – stop-and-rob).

Third, there is a kind, and degree, of temptation that comes only from living in the intersection of limited money, time, and transportation. For many who receive food stamps, life is so full with work, family needs, and all the essentials related to keeping food, clothing, and shelter as happening matters in one’s life, there’s little time for leisure or pleasure. It is in that context that the temptation to maximize the self-pleasure that can be found in life’s moments is most keen. For some, that will be about making food choices not so much with the question “What’s good for me?” in mind, but with this question in view: “What tastes good to me?

And so, all of this adds up to a bit of unfairness in my project. For while I have tried to keep time close to the top as I have made my food selections, time has not always been my sole, or even number one, criteria. Similarly, I have not purchased any of my food at a convenience store close to my residence, but have instead watched for items to go on sale at large businesses and grocery stores. This has given me quite an edge not only in what I can get for the money I spend, but has also enabled me to make some more healthy and/or palatable choices. And in all of this I’ve tried to purchase food more toward the “healthy” end of the spectrum than it is toward the “this gives my taste buds a zing” end of things.

But despite these inherent shortcomings in my project’s composition, I plan to forge ahead, and will if anything by doing so know that I haven’t even begun to taste all of the challenges and difficulties associated with eating on $4.00 per day.

imagine you, on food stamps (7)


At MoSt Church we assist, on average, 90-100 families each week for about 49-50 weeks of the year. And we’ve done this for many years. No brag, just fact.

Once a year, around the first or second week of December, we put on what we call The Big One food distribution. On that day, we assist, on average, 400 families with food in one day (actually, within two hours). This year, we were privileged to assist 436 families in The Big One distribution on Dec. 13.

Now folks from our community (Baytown, TX) can receive assistance from our pantry once every thirty days. And this thirty day period corresponds well with my plan to eat for a month on the equivalent of a diet sustained by food stamps. So I said to myself, “Self, food stamps are meant to supplement a family’s pantry, not be the sole source of it, so why don’t you receive from the pantry what folks would receive through it and then supplement that with what you can purchase with the equivalent of SNAP benefits (aka: food stamps), that is about $4.00 per day?

It sounded like a good idea so I took myself up on the suggestion and swiped a random sack from those put together for this year’s Big One food distribution. Now to be fair, let it be understood that folks who came to The Big One this year typically received three sacks: (1) a sack of produce (mainly onions and a watermelon), (2) a sack of meat (some frozen chicken), and (3) a sack of assorted food (primarily canned goods). The sack I swiped was a sack of assorted food (3).

Now I know you’re curious as to what was in my sack so here’s a picture (below) of the sack’s contents. And you should know that starting on Tues., Jan. 1, I plan to live the month of January on what you see below and whatever food I can purchase for $4.00 per day – just like a number of folks do who come to our pantry in Baytown, TX.


No, I haven’t ate Spam in decades and I haven’t ate Vienna sausage in years. I rarely eat beef anymore, so making acquaintance with chili again will be something new and sweet peas aren’t high at all on my list of favorite things. I’ve ate very little pasta the past couple of years, so mac and cheese and Ramen noodles will be a fresh experience, but I love blackeye peas, baked beans, soup, corn, peaches, tuna, cranberry sauce, and cornbread (though preparing the cornbread will require me to purchase milk and eggs) so, all in all, I’m quite pleased with what I discovered in my sack from our pantry. A quick check proved that none of the items were out-of-date and as a bonus, some of the items were low sodium or no salt (a good thing for I have only only very rarely added salt to food the past 20+ years).

Rest assured, I’m not at all surprised by what I found, for the folks who work our pantry do a superb job with what they have to work with week in and week out. Glory be to God for the generosity and labor of love that exists for those in need.

this went thru my mind


Alone & community: Being Alone, Being Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Such people will only do harm to themselves and to the community. … But the reverse is also true. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone. You are called into the community of faith; the call was not meant for you alone.”

Christian faith & the world: Global Facts and Figures

“Largest Christian populations … countries with the highest Christian population (% total pop) … countries with the lowest Christian population (% total pop).”

Domestic drones: The Dawning of Domestic Drones

“The unmanned aircraft that most people associate with hunting terrorists and striking targets in Pakistan are on the brink of evolving into a big domestic industry. It is not a question of whether drones will appear in the skies above the United States but how soon.”

Evangelism, outreach & witnessing: Why “Just Telling Your Story” Is NOT the Best Way to Share the Gospel

“He is agreeing that what matters most is personal experience, not truth.”

Evil, God, pain & suffering: * Why God? [required reading]; * If I’m Suffering, Is God Punishing Me?

* “We need one another to be God’s presence.”

* “… suffering in general is a result of the brokenness of the world, that which finds its root cause in human sin (see Genesis 3). But this does not mean that every instance of personal suffering is a direct consequence of one’s own sin. Often, our pain comes from the mere fact that we live in a world that is not what God had intended.”

Parenting: My Daughter’s Beauty

“How do I raise my daughter to know the true definition of beauty in a culture such as ours? How do I cultivate an image in her that is rooted in the beauty of Jesus and not the allure of a distorted sexuality?”