Archive for May, 2012

Olive Tree Summer Bible Reading Plan!

When I was a sophomore in college, I took an Old Testament Survey class in which we read the entire Old Testament in one semester. I remember reading the syllabus during our first class and balking at some of our homework assignments. Read Psalms 76-150 for Wednesday’s homework. Read Isaiah for Friday. Yes, that’s right. Read all of Isaiah.

Without a doubt, the volume of reading that semester was a challenge. But in hindsight, I am thankful for the lightning-speed pace with which we moved through the Old Testament because it revealed an overarching narrative to the Bible that I’d never noticed. There is a profound continuity between the Old and New Testament. God really is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and his desire is for the salvation of all people, first for the Jew and also for the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

When we were discussing overarching themes for the summer here at Olive Tree, we got hooked on this idea of reading through parts of the whole Bible in one summer. Rather like New Year’s, summer carries its own set of resolutions and to-dos. We invite you to make Olive Tree’s Summer Bible Reading Plan your goal for the summer.

Here’s the lowdown on reading plan:

  1. The reading plan organizes the Bible’s 66 books into eight literary genres: Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Gospels and Acts, Paul’s Letters, and the General Letters/Revelation.
  2. Each genre and book of the Bible includes a succinct introduction written by Olive Tree staff members that will help both mature and new Christians understand the basic historical context and themes.
  3. The plan’s dates are from June 1 to September 11. In most cases, you’ll be reading several chapters a day.
  4. The plan will be available as a free download until Friday, June 8. After that, it will be available at OliveTree.com for 99 cents.

Olive Tree is excited to help you dive into the Word of God. Our end goal for the Summer Reading Plan is that you become so steeped in God’s story that it begins both to define and transform your life.

“Let your roots grow down into [Christ Jesus], and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:7, NLT)

Memorial Day

I found myself feeling a little giddy this past week, excited about my three-day weekend: catching up on sleep, going to the beach, firing up the barbeque. I’m ashamed to admit that never once did the reason for my extended weekend come to mind. So today, as many of us in America have an extra day to sleep in and relax, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on Memorial Day. I know many people will visit gravesides of loved ones lost, and my heart goes out to you and to all of the brave men and women who serve and protect our country. I am truly thankful for you. I leave you with this thought from John Piper:

“This is a weekend for all Americans to give thanks for what God has given us through the sacrifice of all the men and women who have died for our country. However great the faults of our government and whatever our dissatisfactions, we have much to be grateful for. ” -From Memorial Day 2008

New Resources for Greek Students and Scholars

Olive Tree just released four new Greek resources: 1) The Greek New Testament, 4th Edition with Critical Apparatus, 2) The Greek New Testament (NA27) with Critical Apparatus, 3) The Analytical Greek New Testament (AGNT – Friberg) with Morphology, Lexicon, and UBS4 Critical Apparatus, and 4) The Greek New Testament (NA27) with Critical Apparatus, Mounce-Koivisto Morphology, and Concise Dictionary.

I’ll give you a brief overview of these four titles, but to see the full details on each of the Greek resources, follow the links to view them on OliveTree.com.

Greek New Testament, 4th Edition (UBS-4) with Critical Apparatus

  • Contains both the UBS-4, an edition of the Greek New Testament aimed at pastors, translators and students, and the UBS-4 Critical Apparatus
  • Text in the UBS-4  is the same as the Neslte-Aland, 27th edition, but UBS-4 has additional formatting
  • UBS-4 Critical Apparatus shows variants that were deemed meaningful to students and translators, not an exhaustive list

Novum Testamentum Graece (NA-27) with Critical Apparatus

  • Contains the NA-27, a scholarly edition of the Greek New Testament and the NA-27 Critical Apparatus
  • NA-27 is the product of 100 years of work from the Institute for New Testament Textual Research
  • The NA-27 critical apparatus is one of the most exhaustive available and includes variants in orthography

Analytical Greek New Testament (AGNT – Friberg) with Morphology, Lexicon, and UBS4 Critical Apparatus

  • Contains the UBS-4, and UBS-4 Critical Apparatus
  • Contains searchable lexical form and parsing information from Friberg Morphology and Parsings
  • Contains definitions and grammatical analysis of Greek word forms from the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament

Greek New Testament (NA27) with Critical Apparatus, Mounce-Koivisto Morphology, and Concise Dictionary

  • Contains the NA-27 and the NA-27 Critical Apparatus
  • Contains the lexical form and parsing information with a brief English gloss from Mounce-Koivisto Morphology
  • Contains definitions for each Greek word from the Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament

Special upgrade pricing is available on many of these resources. Check them out on OliveTree.com to find out more!

Olive Tree at Expolit

Last week Olive Tree attended its first ever Spanish speaking conference, Expolit. Olive Tree representatives Daniel Scott and John Cruz spent the whirlwind 5 days conversing with Spanish speakers from all over the Americas. With the new Spanish localization in BibleReader, many long time Olive Tree users are excited to share BibleReader with their non-English speaking family and friends. Daniel reported, “We met one gentleman from Paraguay who has been using Olive Tree for over 10 years. He first was on Palm, then a BlackBerry, and now uses it on his iPhone. He loves it!”

This was a conference of many “firsts.” It was the first time Editorial Unilit published a hard copy study Bible (Biblia del Discipulo) at the same time as releasing an electronic version through Olive Tree.  Daniel had a chance to talk to a group of pastors about using BibleReader and Biblia del Discipulo for Bible study.

Danny at Expolit

Daniel speaking at Expolit

Olive Tree and Unilit also gave away two Kindle Fires in a drawing held at the Olive Tree Booth. Along with the Kindle Fire, these two will be given a small Spanish library with the Biblia de Discipulo, the Comentario de Matthew Henry, and the Nueva Diccionario de la Biblia from Editorial Unilit.

Marcelo Millán from Chile

Pastor Albert Moreno from Nashville, TN

Just Give Me Jesus

To know the stories behind the authors of devotionals like Anne Graham Lotz’ Just Give Me Jesus gives new depth of meaning to the written work. Today, we take a peek into the life of one of the daughters of the world’s most famous evangelist, Billy Graham.

Anne Graham Lotz, Billy Graham’s second daughter, is a powerful force for God’s Kingdom in her own right and was even called “the best preacher in the family” by her father. But Anne’s road to ministry was an uphill battle. She married early and had her first child at age 20. Several years later, Anne was struggling with depression as she cared for three small children and wrestled with her role as a stay-at-home mother. She wanted an opportunity to serve the Lord outside the home.

In 1975, God revealed an opportunity for Anne to lead a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group at her church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Though some disapproved of her choice, it quickly became clear, when the audience numbered 300 and counting, that Anne had found her niche.

After 12 years of ministry with BSF, Anne began to receive speaking requests both nationally and internationally and was shaped by other women in ministry, including Audrey Wetherell Johnson, the founder of BSF. Since then, Anne has started a non-profit called AnGeL Ministries, formed from her initials AGL, whose mission is to “give out messages of biblical exposition so that God’s Word is personal and relevant to ordinary people.” Anne’s ministry includes numerous speaking engagements and writing devotional books. Olive Tree has four of Anne’s books, including The Vision of His Glory, Just Give Me Jesus, Heaven: My Father’s House, and God’s Story, which will be on sale at OliveTree.com later this week in honor of Mother’s Day.

In Just Give Me Jesus, Anne longs for her readers to know God and reflects on her own life-long journey to know Christ:

“I am growing in my knowledge of God, and I say without hesitation or qualification that knowing God is my joy and reason for living. He is…

 

the Wind beneath my wings,

the Treasure that I seek,

the Foundation on which I build,

the Song in my heart,

the Object of my desire,

the Breath of my life—

He is my All in all!”

 

Encouraged by Anne’s example, may Jesus also be our all in all!

National Day of Prayer

 

Today is the first Thursday in May, a day set aside by our country’s leaders as a national day of prayer. The Bible speaks of prayer often and encourages us with numerous examples of people who spent time in prayer. Examining the lives of those prayerful individuals in the Scriptures reveals that they are no different from you and me; they have their shortcomings and, in many cases, it is only through the Lord answering their prayers that they succeeded.

Learning to Pray from Moses

Moses’ example—that is, his overcoming his fear of public speaking and leadership—speaks volumes about prayer. Moses knew he wasn’t a capable leader of his people, so he spent much of his time in conversation with the Lord, often pleading for God to have mercy on the stubborn and rebellious Israelites. It was only through his conversations with the Lord that Moses was able to deliver Israel from Egypt.

Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ [God] said, ‘But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’ (Ex. 3:11-12 ESV)

Moses continued to ask the Lord for guidance, and when it was clear Israel would need a new leader to take them in to the land, he appealed to God, saying:

‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.’ So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.’ (Num. 27:15-18 ESV)

God provided Joshua to be the new shepherd to the Israelites, a direct answer to Moses’ prayer. However, not all of Moses’ prayers were answered. In Deuteronomy 3:23-28,  Moses pleads with God to let him enter the Promised Land with the Israelites.

 And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’

But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan.  But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ (ESV)

God’s answer to our prayers, like His answer to Moses’ here, may be “no,” but the truth still remains that God is willing and ready to listen to our prayers, but we must be equally willing to speak to Him and listen for His answer.

As a Christian, prayer is an important part of spiritual life.  It’s a time when we draw into the presence of our Lord and offer Him our praise, thanksgiving, supplication and repentance. We want to encourage you today and every day to spend time taking advantage of the privilege of speaking to our Lord personally and intimately through prayer. The writer of Hebrews invites us to do the same:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:14-16 ESV)

 

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