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I May or May Not Hate Bible Reading Plans

So I’ve been reading through the New Testament in a month, using You Version’s New Thru 30 plan. At the beginning of the venture I expressed my disdain for Bible reading plans.

So here is the update. I finished! OK, my New Thru 30 was more of a New Thru 31, but I can still say I did it in a month, so I’m satisfied.

How was it, you ask? Well, it about killed me. I started out with glowing enthusiasm. That was when they had me reading between 8 and 12 chapters a day. And then one day it was 25 chapters. TWENTY-FIVE, friends! That’s a lot of reading. Those weekends for catch-up became vital to my existence.

And then I missed a day.

After that it was just brutal. But I finished! I finished.

Do I regret doing the plan? Not a bit. I mean, I read the New Testament through in a month, which has never been done in the history of me. And the Word is amazing. And I discovered that I really liked checking off on my iPhone as I read the chapters. It guilted me into reading when I didn’t want to and made me feel like a million bucks when I did it.

So this is what I picked up in my whirlwind tour of the NT:

• Jesus is good. Oh so good, with a a goodness that leaves me speechless and undone.

• The Kingdom of God is simple and epic all at the same time. And we American Christians barely have a clue what it’s all about. But I’m going to try to figure it out, if it’s the last thing I do.

And here’s the crazy part… even though I almost died doing my first Bible reading plan (believe me, it was a close call!), I’ve already got my next one picked out to start tomorrow!

It’s the Historical Plan, where you read the Old Testament through the way Jewish people would have back in the day, and the New Testament in the order it was written. Sounds fun!

Just to up the ante, I plan to read it through by the end of the year, even though I’m a month behind. I can catch up! After all, most days it only has me read 3 chapters a day. After 25 at a time, this will be a walk in the park!

And… here’s my nifty badge that You Version gave me for finishing New Thru 30. Aren’t you jealous?!

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I’m stuck…

As a self-avowed Bible-reading-plan hater, I’m proud to say that I’m right on track with YouVersion’s NewThru30. It’s crazy to realize that I’ve read all of Matthew and am already into Mark, just since the New Year.

But I’m stuck. I’m stuck back at the end of Matthew 11. I read it over and over. I’ve made my husband read it. I’ve made my friends read it. I’m considering pulling random strangers off the street to read it. I’m going to make you read it:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” MSG

Sometimes it feel as if Christianity gets bogged down in a wearying array of traditions and meaningless add-ons. But this Kingdom, the one Jesus offers, is something completely different. It’s simple and real and makes my heart swell with joy.

It’s the kind of Kingdom I want to sign-on for.

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I Hate Bible Reading Plans

I don’t do Bible reading plans. They just don’t work out well for me. It always turns into an epic fail, somewhere between week 3 and Leviticus.

So when people on Twitter started buzzing about #NTx12 (reading the New Testament through in 30 days, for 12 months), I complained to Chris about my personal disdain for Bible reading plans, how they were too much pressure, etc.

When I got done ranting, my much-more-Christlike-than-me husband looked at me out of the corner of his eye and said, “I was planning on suggesting Destiny Church do that plan for the first month.”

And there I was, faced with a dilemma. Was I going to be a pathetic whiner or a submissive wife and spiritual church-planter?

I’m not going to lie. “Whine” was pretty much my first reaction. But something stopped me (I think we can safely assume it was Holy Spirit). It came down to this: Was I willing to spend extra time immersing myself in more of the Word than normal? Um, it didn’t really sound like a bad deal when I looked at it that way.

So now that I’ve got my heart behaving properly, I’m actually really excited about this plan! For one, it’s only 30 days long. That barely gives me time to fall off the wagon!

Also, the way YouVersion has it set up, you get weekends “off.” Before you cry “unspiritual,” think about it… You don’t get sidetracked on the days that you have a routine.

No, it’s more like… SUNDAY MORNING. When your hair won’t do right, and the kids are crying because they have to take a bath before church, and the dog wants to walk around the block 4 times before he’ll do his business. After you manage to get everyone piled in the car more or less alive, you realize you haven’t done your Bible reading, but you think, “Well, at least they’re going to read the Bible at church.”

THAT’S when you get behind. And then it’s a rolling snowball of behindness, that leaves you having to read all four Gospels in one day, just to catch up. So I’m good with weekends off.

And the last reason I’m excited is because I’m reading in The Message and I love the fresh perspective. I did my first day of the plan and I basically bawled through the whole thing. Because Jesus is just that beautiful.

So you want to join me? I’ll give you a hint. Even though the plan started on January 1st, today is the first day with reading, so you’re not behind! Once you click “start plan” on YouVersion, edit your start date to January 1 and it will correctly place you on Day 3 and you can start reading today!

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