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Recently, we announced a free giveaway sponsored by the nice guys over at Logo Bible Software company here on

Although you were probably wishing for free software, it was actually for some free soft wear. hehe.

So we had a bunch of entries and finally picked three random winners from the comment entrants — Drum Roll Please . . .

The winners are:

  • Scott Adamson

  • JoshInThe818

  • Ryan Strother

Woohoo!  You guys will be strutting your stuff shortly as you proudly display your Logos Bible SoftWEAR! 😀

Logos Bible Study Software

So what’s next?  Come back next week to when we’ll announce a really cool freebie giveway we already have planned for you

HINT: The free contest prize involves something as small as a pack of gum, but carries 66 books inside, and you can *listen* to it on the go (yup, that would mean it is battery-powered!)

When studying the Word, we’ve come a long way even in the last decade or so as a part of the Google generation.

Information is at our fingertips. The Bible is no different it seems.

Logos is one of the major bible study software platforms out there for pastors, seminarians and others that want to dig deep and utilize all the resources available to study a passage or Biblical topic.

While the Logos Bible Study software package ain’t free, this offer is!


Check out this video below for what Logos Bible Study sent me to give away to our readers here at

All you have to do is leave a comment here below on this blog post page and let us know what is your preferred Bible translation.

Make sure to fill in your name and email address in the comment form so we can contact you in case you are a winner!

We have 3 of these nifty giveaways totally free from the coolio team at Logos Bible Study — Thanks guys!

Last summer, an almost unnoticeable essay was published on the web. It was a simple and straight-forward essay trying to reframe an issue that has been complexified (is that a word?) beyond comprehension to some. Over the last year, that essay by Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet has taken on a life of its own — and in its latest iteration has been released today in book form: Jesus Manifesto.  I was excited to get an advance copy to read and more so when I had a chance to interview both Frank and Len about the Manifesto and what they claim in the book regarding the state of the Church.  Enjoy!

Q) The essay you both wrote last year – A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century, which was the precursor to your new book Jesus Manifesto (Thomas Nelson) – seems to be a holistic critique against how Christianity is “being done” today, at least in North America. Can you share a little about how this project should be received with respect to this and is your book about the same thing?

A) Frank: I think it was more of a clarion call pointing out that Jesus Christ has been dethroned and devalued in many quarters of the Christian faith, being replaced by so many other things. Jesus has often been boiled down to a footnote or a stamp of approval to some other issue or topic. Our book expands what was in the original essay and seeks to re-present Christ in a fresh and powerful way, showing why He is worthy of having the preeminence in all things. Its aim is to wipe everything else off the table and glorify Jesus beyond the stratosphere. One of the endorsers of the book wrote the following, which I think answers your question pretty well:

“Gandhi once said, ‘Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.’ Maybe if we actually knew Christ, we would reflect Him more. Sweet and Viola’s Jesus Manifesto is the quintessential re-introduction.”

Len: One of the most important developmental tasks of every human being is to find their voice, and to speak out of their unique voice. One of the worst things that can happen to each of us is to lose our voice, or to speak out of other voices than our own. Frank and I are saying that the true voice of the church is Christ, and when other voices take over, the church is rendered voiceless.

I am a big fan of Wendell Berry’s writings. I think this farmer/poet/essayist is USAmerica’s greatest living poet. What makes Wendell Berry so special is that his writings are simply the land given voice. The Bible is the Spirit given voice, but the Spirit’s voice is a unique, one-of-a-kind, once-for-all-time voice. It’s not a propositional voice, but a story-telling, poetic voice that carries a unique register and timber and tone: it is the voice of Jesus the Christ. It’s time the church spoke again in its original, true voice.

Q) The subtitle of your book is “Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ” – pointing to an assumption that Christ’s sovereignty has been “lost” or “misplaced.” For me, there seems to be a bit of a difference between seeing the problem as Christ’s Supremacy and Sovereignty being “lost” and one where the is not being acknowledged. Is there difference between the two positions from your point of view?

A) Len: I don’t see a difference. British scholar Gabriel Josipovici shows how the name of God disclosed to Moses, ehyeh asher ehyeh, with its repeated “h” and “sh” sounds, “is as near as we can get in language to pure breath, non-articulation, non-division.”* In other words, with every breath we take, we invoke God’s name. Every child’s first breath, mouths God’s name. Every last breath, utters God’s name. Every word spoken, for words are carried aloft on breath-wings, is an attempt to speak God’s name. Frank and I are saying that God sent us Jesus to tell us the name of God: the name above all names.

Over 300 years ago a German pastor wrote a hymn that built around the Name above all names. I love to sing this song, although it’s seldom sung anymore, because the lyrics are posed in question and answer format. It’s an antiphonal song that comes across as a confession of faith:

Ask ye what great thing I know, that delights and stirs me so? What the high reward I win? Whose the name I glory in?

Jesus Christ, the crucified.

This is that great thing I know; this delights and stirs me so: faith in him who died to save, Him who triumphed o’er the grave:

Jesus Christ, the crucified.

*Gabriel Josipovici, The Book of God, 74

Frank: I think this is merely semantics. We are saying that the supremacy and headship of Christ has been “lost sight of” hence it must be “restored” or “brought back into view,” and more accurately, “restored as a living experience.”
There is a principle in God that He never gives anything, but that He first allows it to be lost. The Lord Jesus said that until you lose something, you can’t really have it. This appears to be a divine principle. God gives something first, then allows it to be taken away, that it may be given again. It’s the principle of death and resurrection, and it’s a recurring truth throughout the Scriptures. Ever notice all of those re- terms in the Bible: Restoration (Acts 1:6; 15:17), regeneration, restitution, recreation, rebirth, renewal, resurrection, revive, etc.

Our Lord is a God of restoration.

For this reason, church historians have used the “restoration” motif for a long time. It’s been said that God used the Reformers to restore justification by faith when it was lost sight of. God used the Holiness movement to restore personal holiness when it was lost sight of. God used the Moravians to restore missionary outreach when it was lost sight of. He used the Pentecostals to restore the power of the Spirit when it was lost sight of. Right or wrong, we feel that we are living in a day when the supremacy and headship of Jesus Christ needs to be restored in the life of the church.

Q) A central part of the argument for how we are to re-center our faith is found in the statements, “Knowing Christ is Eternal Life. And knowing him profoundly, deeply, and in reality, as well as experiencing his unsearchable riches, is the chief pursuit of our lives, as it was for the first Christians. God is not so much about fixing things that have gone wrong in our lives as finding us in our brokenness and giving us Christ.” I agree that the Christian religion has dangerously become more about things that really should be subordinate to Christ or on the periphery as a result of knowing Christ. But I wonder if defining the “chief pursuit of our lives” in the way that is being presented and/or seeing God’s purpose as restoring our fallenness still keeps us – humanity – erroneously at the center of the story, and not God. North American Christianity has surely become consumeristic, but your article individually-focused emphasis on Christ seems vulnerable to similar outcomes. Would you be willing to put these claims in the proper context according to the lens you are seeing the issues at hand?

A) Frank: My books Reimagining Church and From Eternity to Here take dead aim at the individualism, independence, and consumerism that seem to be in the drinking water of Christianity today. This is not just a Western problem; it’s quite universal as Western Christianity has spread just about everywhere.

I don’t know what version of the manifesto essay you’ve read, but there’s an entire section on how that the pursuit of Jesus Christ is not an individualistic pursuit. But rather, it’s a corporate journey (see below). We dedicate an entire chapter to this point in our book, Jesus Manifesto. Here is point 9 of the essay:

“Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his church. While Jesus is distinct from his Bride, he is not separate from her. She is in fact his very own Body in the earth. God has chosen to vest all of power, authority, and life in the living Christ. And God in Christ is only known fully in and through his church. (As Paul said, “The manifold wisdom of God – which is Christ – is known through the ekklesia.”) The Christian life, therefore, is not an individual pursuit. It’s a corporate journey. Knowing Christ and making him known is not an individual prospect. Those who insist on flying life solo will be brought to earth, with a crash. Thus Christ and his church are intimately joined and connected. What God has joined together, let no person put asunder.”

Len Sweet Jesus Manifesto BookLen: The relationship of the WE and the ME is one of the most important subjects we can talk about. Like Frank, I have addressed this in a couple of books before: The Three Hardest Words to Get Right, 11 Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Live Without, and Jesus Drives Me Crazy. Part of that unique “voice” of Jesus I referenced earlier is that Jesus always is heard in surround sound (I used to say “stereo”). If you only hear one thing, it’s likely not to be Jesus (Alpha/Omega, Lamb/Lion, Prince of Peace/Sword of Truth, etc.). It’s like the body of Christ has two lungs, and two brains (left/right), and . . . The Gutenberg world majored in the ME, the I, the left-brain, partly because the book is the most anti-social technology ever invented by the human imagination. The Google word is WE or right-brain dominant. We need both brains. God gave us two brains for a reason.

Q) Separate from the actual content of your essay, it is curious that both of you as authors who embrace technology and the Internet, chose to pursue a printed book which is a commercially sold medium opposed to releasing a free, viral-friendly electronic document such as an Seth Godin idea virus. If this Manifesto is a prophetic wake up call for the Christian community at large, doesn’t this go against the movement’s objectives or potential toward mass exposure and adoption to require the purchase of a book?

A) Len: Media is not a zero sum game. How’s your “paperless office” doing? Almost every website seems to be selling books, a bookstore (even churches are bookstores through their websites, thanks partly to’s franchise program as well). Books will flourish even in this iPad, Kindle future, but our experiences of books and the books we keep will change. When my original publisher refused to break up the text with inserted quotes and use background images on some pages, I pulled one of my first books, Quantum Spirituality, and set up my own publishing company (Whaleprints). I also do a weekly podcast called Napkin Scribbles, am one of the “Twitter Elite,” have a top-ranked Facebook site, post a sermon a week on—there’s always a Sunday coming for me—and am writing more books than ever before. By the way, Frank and I “posted” the Jesus Manifesto first on the web—partly inspired by the German word that is used to describe what Luther did with his 95 Theses: not “nailed” or “mailed” but “posted” on the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church in 1517.

Frank: Many years ago I started self-publishing my books. For the first two years, I gave them away free of charge. When the time came that I could no longer afford to pay for them (it costs a pretty penny to print a book), we started to sell them to cover our expenses. Believe it or not, once we began to sell the books, a lot more people were interested in reading them.

Right now on my website, most of my writings are available free of charge. This includes two free eBooks at the moment. One would think that an electronic book that’s free of charge would disseminate more widely than a book sold by a publisher. The truth is, it doesn’t. Not even close. For whatever reasons, published books are read by far more people than free eBooks or give away copies. (That’s been my experience anyway, and we’ve been tracking it for years.) I don’t understand why, but it just is. I wrote about this recently on my blog in fact. And that’s why I’ve agreed to have my books published.

Thomas Nelson is the largest Christian publisher in the world right now. And they are getting behind the book in a huge way. So right or wrong, we felt it was best to go with them to get the full message of the Jesus Manifesto to as many people as possible. They have allowed us to make available free sample chapters and I suspect the same will be true for the audio version.

Q) Finally, what is the best case scenario if this call is heard properly by the Christian community? What does the hope that the both of you have after writing this book actually look like?

A) Frank: Calvin Miller (author of The Singer and many other works) wrote this just after he read the book:
Jesus Manifesto is the most powerful work on Christ I have read in recent years. The Christ of the Empty Tomb is back among us. Sweet and Viola have beckoned us to return back to Olivet and renew our souls. I was hushed by its welcome authority. I found a lump in my throat as I read through page after page of Biblical witness to the one and only, incomparable Christ in whom alone is our Salvation. You must read this book. All of us must, and then we must believe in this book, rise and advance on our culture with the truth we have lately backed away from in our faulty attempt to play fair at the cost of our God-given mission.

My hope is that this same sort of response will become so widespread that we will all drop the religious “stuff” we are chasing and fall down on our faces in the presence of the greatness of Jesus Christ, making Him central and supreme in our lives, our ministries, and our churches. In a word, my hope is that Paul’s statement in Colossians 1 will become a living, breathing reality instead of black letters on a page – “that He might have the first place in everything.” It’s one thing to parrot that sentence; it’s another to be so captured by Jesus that it becomes our biography. But this will never happen unless our eyes are opened to see His greatness. And with the Holy Spirit as our help, that’s what we are seeking to do with our book.

Len: What can I say but “Amen” to Frank.

Kenny: Thank you both for taking the time out to share some of your thoughts behind Jesus Manifesto.  I’m looking forward to seeing the conversations that will undoubtedly emerge from the book release!

Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ (Thomas Nelson) releases Tuesday, June 1st and will be available on discount from that day.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Are you a liar?

NO!  Of course not…not at least to others!

But what about to yourself?   According to Dave Ramsey, most people are being dishonest. . . with themselvesabout money and finances.

Financial honesty is something that many people — including Christians — need to face up to.   The good news is that the transformation to a life of integrity regarding money is something that can be learned. 10% knowledge, 90% behavior!

This past year, I had the chance to experience the Dave Ramsey in-your-face-no-holds-barred approach to bringing financial peace back into the picture for upright Christian living.  I led about 50 people through his 3-month Financial Peace University program locally.  For anyone that is struggling financially, hiding from their own debt, or just plainly confused about how to manage their finances, Dave Ramsey’s message is pretty solid.  After going through it all, it really was amazing to see that the life changes are real and for some, completely transformational.

dave-ramsey-money-answer-bookThe key to Ramsey’s teaching is a very concrete simplified system – that doesn’t assume you are debt free.  It is very practical and fully of direct commands for participants to do or not do.  Follow the formula, and you will become debt free. Seriously.

One of the tools I wish I had available when teaching the Ramsey system would have been a big fat compilation of FAQ’s regarding the various topics covered.

Voila.  It exists!  And this year, an updated version of the same title book has been released.  Dave Ramsey’s The Money Answer Book offers quick 1-page answers to the most common questions he gets from  participants and followers on his TV, Radio and FPU programs.

It is organized into the various categories Dave Ramsey focuses on in his overall teaching, including budget planning, saving for retirement or student tuition, or personal buying matters — even building wealth and charitable giving.  Each section has dozens of specific questions that are answered in a simple, succinct manner.

You won’t get the full picture reading this book cover to cover, but you will gain a better understanding of his view of personal finance management.  It’s an easy read because you can pick up the book and start at any chapter, any question.

Anyone that has been exposed to Ramsey’s mantras, whether in person at an FPU event, or through his various multimedia offerings, will immediately like this book.  It is easy to read and easy to understand.

If you are currently going through Ramsey’s envelope system or any other part of his money model, or need a quick refresher as a form of encouragement, I recommend The Money Answer Book for you.

QUESTION: Do you believe the Church should be teaching people how to manage their money?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Raymond Hundley is a a PH.D, former youth pastor, seminary professor, missionary and more.  His bio lists Asbury Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Hundley has written Will The World End in 2012 published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.  It’s a quick read at 154 pages, plus supplemental content like a study guide for groups reading this book together.  So when someone with these credentials and puts out a book about the coming Rapture in 2012, it peaks your attention.

At least it did mine.

Raymond Hundley - Will The Word End In 2012?

The 2012 book turned out not what I expected it to be. . . Continue Reading…

Just got my hands on the world’s latest Bible translation of the New Testament: The Voice from Thomas Nelson Publishers – in joint production with the Ecclesia Bible Society, headed by Chris Seay.  For the academics and Bible nerds out there, be warned, you’re in for a ride.

That’s because The Voice is more of a retelling of the Bible for the new generation than a new academic translation of the text.   After the first time you sit down with the Voice Bible, you’ll notice some really distinctive devices that are used:

  • screenplay formatting so that you know who’s talking and with what type of tone, attitude or force of message
  • color-highlighted text to help readers follow along with what’s going on in the passage
  • devotional commentary intentionally using modern day language and concepts
  • explanatory book introductions and notes within chapters gives context and details normally found in footnotes – again put in plain English

Kenny Jahng with The Voice Bible Translation

The “translation committee” drew from traditional academic scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists.  The collaborator list includes heavyweights such as Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet.  They have the standard ivy tower theologians on the list too so that critics can be satiated, or at least rebuffed.  Because of this unusual cast of characters, the final product captures your attention from the first words you read aloud (which by the way is also one of the assumptions in the writing – that it will be read aloud in public settings similar to the oral tradition of the text) whether in public worship, in more intimate bible study groups, or even when you are reading it by yourself.

But sometimes it’s better to see it than hear it.  Here’s an example of just how differently The Voice audaciously retells the story:


16 For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. 17 Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.


16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

See the difference? Personally, I found this translation refreshing.  While the publisher claims it is written so that it can easily be read aloud, I really like how The Voice is attentive to the reading experience. I did not find myself re-reading parts of a chapter over and over as I do sometimes with other translations.

The Voice Bible which Thomas Nelson sent to me as a review copy was a paperback with heavy off-white pages.  It is well laid out visually.  Even though it has screen play foratting, etc, it reads really well — not one verse at a time for reference, but read — as in sit down and read the book just as if it any of your other narrative books in your library.  And unlike the NIV, this translation is pretty accessible in the fact that it is available for 8 bucks on Amazon right now. (Supposedly all profits also go to missions-based activities/ministries too).

If you like The Voice NT, they are working on the OT translation as we speak.  In fact, you can get the [NT + Psalms + Proverbs] during the summer of 2010 (pre-orders already being taken).

Dramatic Translation of the New Testament Bible

Is this a replacement for your NRSV, ESV or RSV Bible?  Probably not just yet.  But is it a dynamic voice you should add to your casual Bible study praxis or study group discussions? Definitely YES.

QUESTION: What translation of the Bible do you own or carry with you?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a review copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”