Bible Journey

Reading through Judges

I am reading through the Old Testament book of Judges. The Judges were men and woman that God used for a period of time to lead His people, the Children of Israel, and help them make good decisions – which for the most part they do not. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts from my this morning from the life of Samson.

-Even though Samson was a leader – God’s chosen leader – he was a sinner. He was also stupid at times and the sin that led to his death was a result of his placing himself in the wrong environments. Most of our problems can be traced back to the fact that we were somewhere we didn’t belong.
-He slept with prostitutes.
-His arrogance was a major contributor to his downfall.
-He exercised bad judgment, even though he was a Judge.
-We all have tendencies to sin. It would be wrong to look at Samson – whose sins eventually led to his death – and think you’re better or different that Samson. All of us are prone toward sin.
-The consequences of sin are humbling. Samson’s weakness for fast, loose women led him to sin against God and show his vulnerabilities. He found himself captured by his nation’s rival enemy. The Philistines gouged out his eyes and used him as an ox to grind grain. While he was blind and shackled to a millstone he cried out to God for forgiveness. The results of his sin showed him his need for God. And that is when he turned to God.

We saw something similar this week with Michael Vick. A lot of people have criticized Vick because now that he’s in trouble he has “found Jesus.” I don’t really understand that though. Usually we don’t recognize our need for God until we’re in a situation that we cannot control. The consequence of our sin humbles us and shows us that we are sinners and that we need God. I don’t like Michael Vick because he plays for the Panthers rival. I don’t like him for killing dogs. But I embrace him now as a brother in Christ because in my own life I too have been humbled by my own sins. And in my times of desperation I too have realized that I need God and I turned to Him for help. That’s not shallow or hypocritical. It’s normal!

-God forgave Samson. He did “look” on him again. He did give him his strength back. And his people again embraced him and brought his body from Gaza back to the tomb of his father. Point: God hears us when we cry out from the consequences of our sins. He doesn’t want us to suffer the consequences of our sin – eternally for sure. Isn’t that why He sent Jesus Christ to live and die for us so that we wouldn’t pay for our sins? “Jesus paid it all!” God wants to forgive us. And Jesus teaches us that judgment is His job – not yours or mine.

Enough preaching...

Bible Journal

As you can imagine, I have spent a lot of time in the Bible over the last 15 years or so in ministry and ministry preparation (college and Seminary). I did my Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Poli Sci and my graduate degree (Master of Divinity) at Gardner-Webb University. The greatest gift my professors gave me is a love for the Scriptures. One of my favorite professors of all time is a lady named Dr. Sherri Adams. I will never forget the first statement she made to our class my first year in graduate school. She said, “In my classes, you will read the Bible.” WOW! What a novel idea: seminary students reading the Bible. But you’d be surprised how man seminarians graduate having never read all the way through the Bible – let alone understand it.

Another statement that Dr. Adams made to our class (on more than one occasion) was, “The Church (the Body of Christ) should be all of God’s people reading all of God’s Word (the Bible).” I agree with her. And starting today I want to do my best to make good on that. I am inviting you – whether you are a part of Rocky River Community Church or not – to join me on a journey through the Bible. We’re going to take it a book at a time and I plan to alternate between Old Testament and New Testament books – so we don’t get bogged down in Leviticus. I’m not trying to get through it in a hurry. This is not a one-year plan. Instead, I want us to digest it and really get our hands around it as we go.

Ever couple days or so I will be posting on this blog what I am learning and some insights that might help you as you go. I don’t know how well I’ll be able to respond to individual questions but you are certainly welcome to make comments and give feedback.

Here are a couple things you will need: A modern translation of the Bible (I primarily use the New Living Translation), and a notebook and pen to write down your thoughts and learnings. If you are so inspired, I would also recommend you get a Bible Handbook. The standard is Halley’s Bible Handbook. BTW, if you don’t have a modern translation I will be glad to send you one – or you can pick one up on Sundays at Rocky River Community Church.

We will begin this week with the Gospel of Mark. This week’s reading is the Gospel of Mark, chapters 1-9. I’ll post my thoughts on Friday. ENJOY! I’m glad you are coming along! If you are so inclined, shoot me an email just to let me know you are in...


Hey Rocky River Church (and friends)! Remember that NT90X starts tomorrow. We have challenged our congregation to read through the New Testament of the Bible in 90 days! It's gonna be an exciting journey! If you didn't pick up a reading guide on Sunday, you can email Donnie Icenhour at and he will email you the schedule. Hope you'll join us. It will be an exciting journey!

Again, the start date is tomorrow, September 1!