Picking A Translation

Book Reviewed:  How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth

By: Gordon D. Lee; Mark L. Strauss

Purchase Links: Westminster  Or  Amazon

There are tons of bible translations on the market today.

Why?

Does commercialism drive the choice to produce a number of translations?

Is it personal preference? Is there a “Best” translation?

Which one do you need or want?

The options can be mystifying. If you have felt that way, or are feeling that way now, then today’s book review is highlighting a selection worth your time.

Cover of "How to Choose a Translation for...
Cover via Amazon

The Book, “How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth” addresses these questions and more. This book introduces the reader to the necessary terms for the subject of bible translation, explains why we have the various translations, the differences in the types and their purposes and best applications.

If you are new to the topic of Biblical interpretation or feel lost in a sea of options when picking a new Bible, this book is for you.

If you want to understand the difference between the various categories (“literal” and “meaning-based,” “dynamic equivalent” and “paraphrase”) and their uses, this book is for you.

The authors address the technicalities of translation from Hebrew and Greek, yet the book is easy to understand. Readers will learn the history of translation in English, what category their favorite translation falls into and what makes a translation both accurate and reliable.

The authors cover the four areas of relationship in translating any text: accounting for cultural contexts, differences between languages, presentation (style and format) and dealing with ambiguity.

The ease of approach and helpful glossary in the back make this a useful guide for the pew-sitter and the person involved in vocational ministry.

Pro’s: Terms are well explained and the book is easy to read. Discussion is clear. Topics include process of bible translation, various difficulties, and the history involved. Read this book and you won’t be confused about which Bible to use for which purpose from devotional reading to research.

Cons: Authors seem slightly biased toward the methodology they used and the translation they helped put together. The book is not compromised by this, simply be aware they have an opinion and it shows up from time to time.

God Built: Forged by God – Book Review

I have heard a lot of good things about Steve Farrar but never personally read one of his books until now.  God Built: Forged by God, in the Bad and Good of Life is a very interesting and thought provoking book.

This book goes in depth into the life of Joseph and looks at why each event in his life happened.  From his betrayal by his brothers, to being sold into slavery, to being a chief slave, to being thrown into prison, to being handed the keys of Egypt, Joseph had a life of more downs than ups.  But Joseph acknowledged that everything in his life was orchestrated by God.  Which gets to the main point of this book, the sovereignty and providence of God.

“But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. … And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God;” Genesis 45:5,7-8

This book challenged my beliefs on how much God is in control of every detail of our life, and every event, even the bad ones.  It has challenged my views that God does not just allow bad things to happen, but He put them there.

Praising God in the storm

Many will get offended and defensive when I say that, but those are usually the same people who sing that it is “God who gives, and takes away.”  This is a belief that we have acknowledged but never really thought through the implications of.

It is God who gives and takes away; He has a purpose for everything, we just need to learn to accept it and keep following Him regardless of if we see the good in a situation or not.  God had a purpose to allow Joseph to go through what he went through, and He has a purpose for what we are going through.

Take for example the Jasper family.  One day while the father was playing around with his five year old son their go cart flipped over, killing Cooper, the five year old boy.  Along with all of the pain that goes with loosing a child they never took their eyes off of God. They knew that it happened because God wanted it to happen, and this freed them to worship God even in the darkest of moments instead of tearing their family apart with anger towards God or blaming each other.  (Check out their story made into a documentary)

Working for God

Having a better understanding of who God is and how God controls everything also helps us in our day to day life, not just during the bad times.  When working at a job, God put us in that job, if we like it or not we are still working for God so we need to give it our best.

Joseph was literally a slave, but he worked hard to serve God and he ended up becoming the top slave in the house, in control of everything.  Then he got demoted, sent to prison, but his attitude and willingness to serve God meant that he was recognized by the jailer and was put in charge over his area of the prison.

When God puts us in our own dirty jobs, even for years at a time, we need to endure it with a positive, Godly attitude.  That will help us learn the lesson that God may have for us in those situations, and it will be a good witness to those around us that God may want us to minister to.

God’s Control… and Evil

One of the questions that is often brought up when discussing this topic is if God is in control of everything, then that means He made sin and makes us sin.  Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has an answer for this, which is explained in a bit more detail in the book.

The great problem is this: if God does govern and control everything, then what is his relationship to sin? All I can do, in answer, is to lay down a number of propositions that are clearly taught in Scripture.

The first is that sinful acts are under divine control, and occur only by God’s permission and according to his ultimate purpose (Genesis 45:8).

The second is that God restrains and controls sin (Psalm 76:10).

The third is that God overrules sin for good (Genesis 50:20).

My last proposition is that God never causes sin, nor approves of it, He only permits, directs, restrains, limits, and overrules it.  People alone are responsible for their sin (James 1:13-15).

You are built by God

All of this is meant to show you that you are built by God, the way you are and the plans He has for you in the future.  It is about us being men, manning up to our responsibilities and living how God wants us to live, because He built us for a purpose.

Your past mistakes and hardships were not mistakes, they were engineered by God to make you who you are.

I would recommend this book to most people, and at only $8 for the hard back at Amazon it is in a price range for most people as well.  So pick it up!

TuneIn Radio – iPhone App Review

App Name: TuneIn Radio
Price: Free, ($0.99 for ad free version)
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Web

Tune In Radio is one of my favorite iPhone apps for listening to audio on the go (second only to Pandora). It is the ultimate app for listening to local or world wide radio stations. TuneIn Radio is full of features while still maintaining an easy to use interface. If you enjoy listening to music, sports, or talk radio on the go, then TuneIn Radio is for you.

Features

Local Radio

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After you enter your location you can view a list of the radio stations in your area. Stations that do not have an online feed are grayed out., but, at least in my area, almost every station offers online access. This means you can listen to the station broadcast from just across the street, listen to all three of the radio stations in Cocos Island, Costa Rica, or get a taste of the down under by listening to the show Wake Up Australia live.

This app provides an interesting way to add a little unique variety to your life.

Categories

What if you know what you want to listen to, but it is not on any station in your city? This is where categories come in.

Categories are divided into three main areas, Music, Sports, and Talk. From there you can select what genre you want to listen to, be it conservative talk, disaster relief, or religious shows, and then several other categories for specific countries or languages.
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After selecting the category a list of shows is displayed. This is one of my favorite features of this app. Select the show you want to listen to and you will be given a list of every station currently broadcasting that show and how long is left. There have been a few instances of the show listing being wrong, but for the most part it is accurate.

What if there are no stations playing that show? You may still be in luck. Some of the shows have a list recent episodes you can listen to, making it like a smart TiVo for your radio.
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If you do not know the category the show you want is in then you can make use of the search feature.

Favorites

Any show or station you listen to can be marked as a favorite. Favorites show up together on one page for easy browsing. Stations in your favorites list show you what is currently being broadcast on that stream making it easier for you to find what you want to listen.

Login

You have the option of logging in to your free TuneIn Radio account. This will enable the app to sync your favorites with your TuneIn radio account. You can then access your favorites from TuneIn.com or sync your favorites to another mobile device.

Overview

This app does everything you could expect from a radio station app, all packaged with a very nice, easy to use, user interface. Add in the fact that it synchronizes your presets with an online account and with other devices makes this a versatile app for listening to the radio anywhere you have an internet connection. And for the price of free you really cannot go wrong.
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Christian application

This app goes outside of our normal app review for ETM since it is not a Christian app, but I have found it to be very helpful spiritually. I added shows such as Family Life Today, Dave Ramsey, and Renewing your Mind as my favorites allowing me to listen to wholesome talk radio wherever and whenever I want.

Family Life Today has about 2 dozen shows in the recently played section, ensuring you always have some uplifting content at your finger tips even if the show is not broadcasting anywhere at that moment.

Out running errands with the kids and need to keep them quiet? Put on some Adventures in Odyssey. This is an app your whole family can enjoy. So turn off that TV and tune in to your favorite Christian radio.

Courageous – Movie Review

In 2007 while browsing through a Christian bookstore I found a movie that touched my life.  The movie was Facing the Giants.  I resisted the movie at first because it is a football movie, and being a geek means I am not really much of a sports fan.  But I gave the movie a chance, and I am glad I did, that movie touched my life and encouraged me to put God first once again in my life.

Sherwood Pictures, the group that created the movie, just came out with another movie this month in theaters called Courageous: Honor Begins at Home.

The Message

The message of the movie is an important one.  It focuses on the man’s responsibility to his children and wife, and how important that relationship is.  The men in the movie are like any of us, imperfect fathers from all walks of life.  Men who suck at being a father and men who are doing a good enough job.  The men get to a point in their life where they decide “good enough” is not really good enough, and they seek to change.

Stephen Kendrick, one of the movie’s producers stated the mission they have for the movie during an interview.  He said “We want to challenge men to forgive their dads, their dads wounded them, or provided poor example for them. And them seek God as their father and then step up to spiritual leadership. We can change the world if we can get dads to step up and disciple and lead this next generation.”

Story Elements

The story is very engaging and emotional for all audiences.  There is action, humor, tragedy, and redemption.  The characters are very believable and the actors are good.  Despite the fact that this movie is made by a church congregation, it has all the elements and look of a Hollywood blockbuster, but with a strong Christian message.

I went to the movie during a weekday so there were not a lot of people there, maybe a dozen or so sitting all around me.  Throughout the movie, in every direction, were people laughing, and even sobbing.  (I was too, but don’t tell anybody)  That tells me the entire audience really engaged and connected with characters and the story in a deeply emotional way.

Go see it!

Courageous, I would say, is an epic film.  You need to see it.  The message given make this far exceed any entertainment available today.  It will encourage families to take a more courageous stand in their family, even if it is not easy.  It will encourage men to want to do the right thing in their marriages and with their children, and will show them how it is possible.

And while you are at it, go see Sherwood Picture’s other movies available on DVD.  Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof.

Courageous, the book

After seeing the movie, get the book.  There are two books, The Resolution for Men, and a companion book The Resolution for Women.  I have The Resolution for Men at home sitting at the top of my book pile, so I will be reading it soon.  As soon as I finish it I will write a review for you guys.  However, based on the quality of Biblical work Sherwood puts out I would say you do not need to wait for my review to get the book and read it.

If anybody has read The Resolution for Women, please write a small review and send it to us.  Email it to Info@EternalTruthMinistry.com.

What are your thoughts?

Have you seen the movie yet?  What are your thoughts?  Post a comment below telling me how this movie has impacted you and your family!

Flame On – A true story of Tragedy, and God’s provision

“Flame On” is the story of Cooper Jasper, a five year old boy who died in a dune buggy accident, and the story of a family who is fully devoted to God.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.” – Job 1:21

Blessed be the name of the Lord. Can you honestly say that? In times where God gives? Or when He takes away?  In the face of real tragedy in your life, when it seems that your life is over, can you say “Blessed be the name of the Lord”?

The Jasper family had the greatest tragedy that can happen to a family. They lost their only son. The grief that they went through was beyond anything any of us can imagine. But they did not turn to depression or to alcohol or to drugs during this low point in their life like so many others would do. They fell to their knees and worshiped God, drawing on what they knew of God to get them through this tragedy.

I heard this story on the radio first, where “JJ,” Cooper’s father, was talking about how important it was in a tragedy to read your Bible every day and to pray, even though you will not feel like it. And how important having a body of believers around was to them.

JJ also talked about the sovereignty of God. God is in control of everything, all events that happen are put there by God, for whatever purpose He declares, even if we do not know the why. (Rom 8:28) Believing in this sovereignty is extremely difficult during a tragedy, but this family did it. And then they turned this story into a documentary movie.

Flame On illustrates the struggle between the sovereignty of God and human responsibility while examining how faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can take you from the very bottom of despair to victory through tragedy. This film is a “must see” for those grieving the loss of a loved one and will leave you with a peaceful knowledge that we serve a gracious, loving God who gives us light through the dark moments of life.

The movie is called Flame On, and is available to watch for free on their website FlameOn.net. Or you can order the DVD for only the cost of shipping. This is a story that you should watch, because we will all go through tragedy at some point in our life, and knowing how to stay focused on God is necessary.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:6-7

Radical book review

Radical: Taking back your faith from the American Dream

Radical is one of the toughest, most challenging books I have read in a long time. The book is fairly short, only about 200 pages, but in those pages you will be challenged like never before.

David Platt, the author, challenges its readers to look at their lives and see if they are living their life in radical obedience to Jesus, or if we are too distracted by our pursuists of the American dream to really give obedience to Christ any serious thought.

In my first book, Radical, I explored how the biblical gospel affects individual Christian lives. Simply put, in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need, gospel-believing, God-exalting men and women do not have time to waste their lives pursuing a Christian spin on the American dream.

David Platt compares his life starting out as a pastor of a mega church with pastors of underground churches in Asia just a few weeks earlier which starts him on his journey to see if he really is following and obeying Jesus.

But as a new pastor comparing the images around me that day with the pictures still fresh in my mind of brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, I could not help but think that somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christanity is actually about abandoning ourselves.

At the end of this book is a one-year challenge. What you learn in this book will challenge your faith and your way of life, but hopefully through reading it you will decide to forsake the American dream for the sake of the gospel.

This is a Must Read for every Christian.

Operation World

Operation World is an organization dedicated to seeing the world come to Christ by encouraging Christians everywhere to pray for the world. But not just the world in a general sense.  Operation world focuses each day on a different country or part of the world, and brings up needs that the people in those areas have. Both physical and spiritual needs.  It could be anything from a government that is against Chrsitanity, high illiteracy, or lack of missionaries.

We do not merely pray about the many points featured herein, we pray toward something, and that something is magnificent – the fulfilment of the Father’s purposes and His Kingdom come

Is it effective?

We have a global mission of reaching the lost with the gospel. While each Christian is tasked with the great commission to reach the lost that God sends into our lives, there is also a much greater need. One that we cannot do alone.  Jesus never placed this mission on just one person or one small group.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:36-38

Notice that Jesus did not tell the disciples that it was their job to do all of the work. They had their fair share to do too, but they were also to pray. Not just pray that each person comes to Christ, but for what? For workers.

So yes, this website has an exteremely Biblical context. Praying for workers and other needs in each and every country. One country per day.

A Quick way to draw closer to God

It only takes 5 minutes to do, but the spiritual impact these five minutes will have is enormous. It did not take long of me praying every day for a country before I started to have more of a burden for the lost.  And even better, it strengthened my relationship with God by a lot in a very short time.

So how do you get involved?  First got to their website, http://www.operationworld.org and sign up for the mailing list. You will receive a reminder every day to pray for the country of that day. The daily country is listed on their website as well and most have a short video prayer that you can watch.  And finally, you can get the book, which I highly encourage. The book has a lot more information on most of the countries and gives you more things to pray for.  Plus last year I did have a few problems with the website and mailing list not working as expected but the book is always there telling you what country to pray for each day.

So what are you waiting for? Go get praying!

Resources

Christ Centered Gamer – Game Reviews

Today I am going to give you a review/overview of ccgr.org.

ccgr.org is a very unique website, it’s main purpose is to review video games from a Christian perspective. One thing I want to point out from the start is they don’t get games bad reviews for violence and stuff, they actually give a game score, and a morality score.

ccgr.org has a nice way of reviewing games. If we look here at their review of New Vegas, you will see a “Game Info” box that provides a lot of information on the game, from System Requirements to ESRB rating. There is usually always a gameplay video. A “Highlights” box (my favorite), and then the score breakdown.

Let’s take a look at how they breakdown scores (for New Vegas):

Game Score – 82%
Game Play: 16/20
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Stability: 3/5
Controls/Interface: 5/5

Morality Score – 32%
Violence: 0/10
Language: 0/10
Sexual Content: 0/10
Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 6/10

We see they gave it a 82% game score, and a 32% morality score. In the game score, the higher the number the better the game. In the morality the score, the lower the scores, the more immoral the game is. I love this feature, because anytime I have ever tried to use Christian game review sites before, they always give games bad reviews for violence and language and what not. ccgr.org provides a much better way of reviewing from a Christian prospective than I have ever seen.

And on top of all of this, their reviews are good…and not just something thrown together. The reviews are worth reading, and the site is very good.

The next time you need a review of a game, whether to see if the game is good, or to see how immoral a game is, ccgr.org provides a excellent way getting the info you need.

Side-note: They also have forums, IRC, and game servers!

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Book name: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.
Price: $8.27 (Amazon) | $5.54 (Kindle)
Author: Francis Chan

The book “Crazy Love” is one of the few books i have read that I recommend to pretty much everybody. I cannot count the number of people I have told to buy this book or how many people I have bought this book for.

It tries to show us that God is deserving of all devotion and our lack of devotion is a problem with our view of God.

The core problem isn’t the fact that we’re lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant Christians. The Crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have a inaccurate view of God. … Jesus came humbly as a servant, but He never begs us to give Him some small part of ourselves. He commands everything from His followers.

The book is divided into two sections. The first three chapters take a look at who God is, and then the final seven chapters examines ourselves in light of what we learn about God.

Come with me on this journey. I don’t promise it will be painless. Change, as we all know, is uncomfortable. It’s up to you to respond to what you read. But you will have to respond to a choice: to adjust how you live daily or to stay the same.

When you get a chance pick up a copy of this book and read through it. It will challenge you to take a look at who God is and who we need to be.

Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make since to unbelievers.

check out our other book reviews

myPrayPal

App Name: myPrayPal
Price: Free
Platform: iPhone, iPad

As I promised in my review of Prayer List, I will give a review of the free prayer list app called MyPrayPal. Even though I personally like Prayer List better, myPrayPal has a lot of nice features that make it worth considering. To begin I will explain some of it’s shortcomings in my mind.

Cannot specified an answered prayer
The app has a button you can press to mark a prayer as answered which removes it from your main prayer list, but there no text field to enter how the prayer was answered. This may make it harder in the future if you want to look back on how God answered your prayers.

user interface
The user interface is just okay, but several things you try to do just do not work like you would expect an iPad or iPhone app to work. There are several actions, such as assigning a category where after you finish you expect the setting to hide but it doesn’t, because there is a save button for every setting that is placed at the top of the app. This may not be a problem for iPhone users but when viewing it on the larger screen of the iPad it can be easy to miss.

Design
The look of the app is very plain. This may not matter to most of you but to me if I am going to use an app daily it has to be pleasing to use. Along the lines of design the whole app looks like it is made for the iPhone first and iPad users just get a larger version of it. Sometimes while using this on my iPad the display looks like it reverts to an iPhone screen size.

Lack of settings
This app has absolutely no settings besides setting a pin. This is a good thing if you are looking for an extremely simple app, but if you are one who likes to customize your experience with an app this is a negative.

Categories
The way this app does categories is slightly off from normal. For one you cannot have something not be in a category or search for “uncategorized”. Also the category called “all” acts just like any other category except you cannot edit it. A prayer can be assigned to the “all” category which is a bit odd.

Now that I have mentioned what I do not like about the app let’s talk about what I do like about it.

Free
The main thing to like about this app is that it is free. It is awesome to see developers create software for the community without expecting profit in return. Although I am sure if there were a small fee for this app the developer could spend more time to support the app to make improvements quicker.

Last prayed for
My favorite feature is that this app keeps track of how long it has been since you have prayed for a certain prayer request. Prayer requests that have not been prayed for in a while are moved to the top of the list and it tells you how long it has been since you prayed for that request. There is a “pray” button you press to mark a prayer request as prayed for. Although a down side is that when you hit the button you are taken to a loading screen for 5 to 10 seconds before being returned to your list.

Pin protected
You can you a 4 digit pin to protect your list. Even though this is not as a full password like Prayer List has it gets the job done easily enough.

Reminders
A nice feature of this app is that you can setup push notification reminders for different prayer requests. You choose the time of the reminder and if you want it to be daily or on a certain day of the week. After the reminder goes off a red number badge appears on the app icon and stays until you hit the “pray. Button on the prayer request with the reminder.

Sharing
Prayer list allows you to hit a button to send your prayer to someone via email, but myPrayPal let’s you email, text message, tweet, or publish to facebook.

preloaded with categories
The final feature I like about this app which is kind of minor is that when you start it for the first time it already has several categories for you to use, making it easier to start adding prayer requests right away.

There you have it. My thorough review of two different prayer apps for the iPhone and iPad. Which app do you use, and why do you like it?