Personal

Bible Reading 101 (Part 2): Keep Track

Bible Reading Chart 2What do you keep track of?

People keep track of calories, expenses, water consumption, sex, bills, medications, vacation time, chores, taxes.  Why do we record these things?  When life is complicated, it’s easy to forget (particularly as we get older), and there are often serious consequences when we can’t remember what we have and haven’t done.

Things that are important you keep track of.  

For the past four years I’ve been using a fitness tracker (first a Fitbit, then a Garmin watch) to help me record my steps, my runs, my heartbeat, my workouts.   A few years ago, it seemed like no one had fitness trackers, but I was in a meeting a few days ago, and I looked around and the majority of the people were wearing some type of tracker.  Why do I have a tracker?  It is important to me to know how much exercise I am getting.

Things that are important you keep track of.  

In my last blog, I wrote about reading the Bible slowly, one chapter a day.  Here, I’m going to encourage you to “Keep Track” as you read the Bible.

For most of my adult life I would randomly pick a part of the Bible to read next in my daily devotions.   I would feel like reading Mark, then Exodus, then 2 Timothy (my favorite books).  I would continue this cycle for a while until I thought, I think it’s time for me to go back and read Mark, then Exodus, then 2 Timothy.  Strangely, I never felt like reading Leviticus, Nahum, or Jude.

In my optimistic moments, I would rationalize that I had probably read through the whole Bible in its entirety in my random Bible reading plan.  But in my more realistic moments I realized that the odds of me randomly completing the Bible were the same as winning the lottery.  It is important to read through the whole Bible if you believe all Scripture is inspired and profitable for teaching.

Things that are important you keep track of.  

About 6 years ago I started to keep track of which parts of the Bible I’ve read.  I decided I didn’t need a high-tech solution to this problem.  A piece of 8.5″ by 11″ paper listing the  66 books of the Bible would suffice (see image).  After I finish a book, I record the month I complete it.  To decide which book to read next, I just find one I haven’t read for a while.  It took me about 5 years to finish.

There are 1189 chapters in the Bible.  If you read one a day (and you keep track), you should finish the Bible in 3.25 years.  If you are young, you could read through the Bible 10-15 times over the course of your life.

I know there are apps for keeping track.  But I’ve decided to not use my phone during devotions or prayer times because it is too easy for me to get sucked into emails, news, sports, youtube, or other temptations.  Perhaps you are better at resisting temptation than I?

I also don’t like using devotional guides that direct you through the Bible because it is easy to spend more time on the fluff (the side bars, the personal stories), so you don’t actually spend much time reading the Bible.  Pure, unadulterated Scripture is my preference.

I would be happy to email anyone (dlamb@biblical.edu) my Bible Tracking chart.  I folded mine in half and I keep it in my devotional Bible, so I know where it is.

There are a lot of ways to record what you’ve read, but figure out a method that works for you, since…

Things that are important you keep track of.  

Advertisements

Memories of my father

Dad Nate Note Dave (high)My father (Richard C. Lamb, senior) passed away yesterday (Feb 10, 2018). 

While it wasn’t a shock, he was 84 and in hospice, we are still really sad.

I have hundreds, but I’ll share only three memories of dad here.

When I was young Dad would play ping-pong with me and my brothers.  Most fathers in these situations would show compassion to their young children as they learned the basics of the game, letting them win points, get close, perhaps even “win” the game.  In this regard, Dad was not like most fathers.  He would say, “I’m going to beat you 21-0!”  He would then proceed to beat me…21-0.  Perhaps not compassionate in this regard, but honest.  I learned about competition from my father.

When I was in grade school, my father switched fields of research, from high energy physics (think quarks) to gamma ray astrophysics (think quasars).  When I told people what my dad did, I liked to say, “It’s not rocket science.  It’s far more complicated than that.”  At the time of my dad’s research transition, I didn’t really understand why he did it, but I knew it was a big deal, highly risky professionally.  For biblical scholars, it would be like switching from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  Mom later explained it me.  Dad’s high energy research required him to make a lot of trips back to Argonne National Lab (outside Chicago), which meant he was traveling a lot, far more than he wanted to.  Doing astrophysics gave him more time at home, more time with his family (more time to beat his sons in ping-pong).  I loved having time with dad growing up.  I learned about fathering from my father.

When mom was battling Alzheimer’s, dad took care of her for years at their home, until it became dangerous for mom.  Finally, mom moved over to Richmond Place (in Lexington, KY) where they had more resources.  Whenever my family and I would go to visit them, dad would often say, “Let’s go over to Richmond Place and visit Jane.”  He would drive over to see her 2-3 times a day, seven days a week.  At the end of her life he would feed her, tease her, sing to her–some how make her smile.  Dad’s college roommate at MIT was from Northfield, Minnesota, so dad learned the St. Olaf fight song, which he taught to mom.  Because of the development of her Alzheimer’s, at their 50th anniversary celebration mom could no longer converse, interact, or really engage with anyone.  But she could still stare into dad’s eyes and sing harmony, to his melody.  They sang,
We come from St. Olaf…
Um Ya Ya, Um Ya Ya,
Um Ya Ya, Um Ya Ya,
Um Ya Ya, Um Ya Ya,
Um Ya Ya, Ya.

They really loved each other.  I learned about husbanding from my father.

Dad loved competition.  He loved his children.  He loved his wife.  But most significantly, he loved Jesus.  We’re sad and we miss him.

The Uncle I Never Met

Robert Maurice Oldham Grave MarkerIn November of 1944, in the US, Franklin Roosevelt had just won his fourth term as president. In Western Europe, Allied forces were gradually retaking land from the Nazis (the Battle of the Bulge began the following month). In the South Pacific, US planes were bombing Singapore and Tokyo while US aircraft carriers (Lexington, Intrepid) were being attacked by kamikazes.

Also, in November 1944, a Private (First Class) in the US Army Signal Corp died in an accident, a gas explosion in the South Pacific (a not uncommon occurrence in military contexts). His name was Robert Maurice Oldham. He had just turned 21 (his birthday was Sept. 11).

He was also my uncle, my mom’s older brother.  I was born in 1962, so I never met him. He is buried in the Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky, next to my mom’s parents.

Dad at Oldham Grave SiteSeventy years after his death, in November of 2014, my father and I visited his grave site and that’s when I took these photos.

On Memorial Day, my family and I remember his service to our country.

Noah’s Trip to Haiti (Part 2)

Noah on ground with kidsMy son Noah spent 9 days in Haiti last month with friends from our church, working at an orphanage. I posted the first half of his letter yesterday to donors (click here for post).  Here is the 2nd half of his letter.  

I wished we had gone back to the disabled orphanage, but we had other things planned.  We spent most of our days visiting another larger orphanage in the mountains. The team would drive up in the morning, spend the day, and then return to the compound for dinner. I became very close to many of the kids there. Evens would borrow my sunglasses and watch every morning, and make sure I got them back at the end of every day. Lele and Bebe were brothers, but I probably spent more time with Lele. Lele and Kenn loved to be carried and they loved to make me carry both of them at the same time and walk around staggering with their weight. Cynthia loved to play tag and get into tickle fights. Roberto and Robinson were tricksters. When I first met them, they kept saying they were the other person. I also enjoyed a game of “basketball” with Robinson by seeing who could throw a ball highest against a wall. Eveloude liked to be given high speed piggyback rides. I found out late in the week that she had been a restavec, or a slave girl, and escaped to the orphanage not long before our arrival. She was not yet a Christian and at twelve years old, she could not read. By the end of the week she said “Jesus loves you” in English.

One of my favorite ways to connect to the kids was to push them on the swings. I developed an elaborate routine. I would raise a child up, and ruthlessly blow on the back of their necks until they were giggling uncontrollably, and then release them pushing them as needed. Next I would stand in front of them in the path of the swing, and run out of the way right before their feet hit me. The kids loved it. Too much even, and I would need to maintain up to six swing at a time. Looking back on it, I realized my dad played with me in the same way. When I was very young he would push me down a hill in a stroller and screaming “out of control baby stroller,” or when I was a little older he would swing me upside-down and yelling “pendulum research.” I had been given an opportunity to be a father to the fatherless. I could only show love for a few of the seventy kids there, and I was only there for a week, but I like to think I showed some kids that they were loved, by us and by God.

Thank you again, – Noah

Noah w Eveloude