Our new video, TAKING BETTER NOTES, is now available. We talk about some iOS and Mac apps to help you take better notes!
While You’re Waiting…Our new video on TAKING BETTER NOTES is coming Monday, but in the meantime, check out this awesome podcast from The Light Network called Preachers In Training. Daniel Howell is the guest with Robert Hatfield and talks about tech Bible study tools for ministers. Check it out!
Today we teach you to READ BETTER! As part of our UPGRADE YOURSELF series for the first part of 2013. Reading better with Google Reader, Pocket, and Kindle everywhere is the way to go. Enjoy!
Backing up your computer is essential. In this episode, we use SuperDuper on a Mac to teach you to make a full backup or just a disc image. Also, you can use Windows Backup Utility if you’re on a PC.
In this episode: we introduce you to our new 3-section video format, we go over exactly what Twitter is for new users, and you get a freebie lesson of the week.
What Do You Know About Amos? [Obscure Bible Books]
See if you can figure out what these people have in common.
Thomas Edison: plagued by sickness and temporary deafness, Edison had only 3 months of actual school in his entire life. He grew up in a small home Port Huron, Michigan. He was home schooled by his mother through most of his life. Through selling candy and vegetables at nearby train stations, he was able to supplement his income and launch into several entrepreneurial ventures. One of his most notable accomplishments was the founding of a little company called General Electric, one of the most largely publicly traded companies today. His estate still holds 1,093 patents from all over the world. Some of his inventions included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. This all from a guy who was kicked out of school after 3 months as a little boy.
Elvis Presley: born in Tupelo, MS in 1935 in a shotgun house that was not a lot bigger than this room, Elvis Presley’s humble beginnings had his first performance ever at a local state fair, and he sang and placed fifth. While in school in 1947 in Memphis, he was a loner who was regarded as “that trashy kid who played hillbilly music.” But you know how the rest turned out. After signing a record deal in 1955 with a local record label, his first TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 skyrocketed him to super-stardom. For nearly 20 years, only the Beatles would rival his success as a musician. All this from a guy who was born in a tiny house in Mississippi and whose parents were jailed when he was very small.
Steve Jobs: was rejected by his original adoption parents at birth because they decided they wanted a girl. Following high school graduation in 1972, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Although he dropped out after only one semester, he continued auditing classes at Reed, while sleeping on the floor in friends’ rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money, and getting weekly free meals at the local soup kitchen. In 1976, he founded a little company called Apple Computer, and because of his late-life productivity, it is now the most valuable company in the world, surpassing companies like Berkshire-Hathaway and Exxon-Mobil. Not bad for a guy who was given up for adoption by his own parents and quit college after a few months.
Jesus Christ: Let’s not forget the man who quite literally split time and changed the world single-handedly. He was the most important of them all. Jesus grew up in an humble manner as well, the son of a carpenter and lived in a place that wasn’t well-respected at the time. His ministry converted thousands in three years, and billions ever since.
The Prophet Amos: universally known as the “farmer prophet”, he was nothing extraordinary like the prophets before and after him. He was a layman, a working man. Saying of himself: “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but … a herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit” (7:14).
Amos was an ordinary guy, just like me and you, who God used to do amazing and world-changing things.
I’m just a ________. What can I do to change the world?
You might say this to yourself all the time, I know I do. I’m just a high school baseball player, softball player, soccer player, what can I do? I’m just a average student, a college dropout, what can I do? I just a resident of Lewisburg, TN. Not exactly a glamorous place. What can I do to change the world?
Amos wasn’t a prophet or priest or the son of either. He was just a shepherd, a small businessman in Judah. Who would listen to him? But instead of making excuses, Amos obeyed and became God’s powerful voice for change.
God has used “just-a’s” such as shepherds, carpenters, and fishermen all through the Bible. Whatever you are in this life, God can use you. Amos wasn’t much. He was a “just-a.” “Just-a” servant for God. It is good to be God’s “just-a.”
Facts About The Book of Amos
Background: Upon the success and victory of Jeroboam II over Syria, the people enjoyed great prosperity. This resulted in wantonness, luxuriousness, and gross sin. Calf worship, which 200 years before had become the kingdom’s religion [I Kings 12:25-33], had been “mixed” with Baal worship. Priests were committing shameful acts and the people were living as though God did not exist. Amos was sent to Bethel, the center of the calf worship, to exhort the king and the people to repent of injustice, greed, drunkenness, swearing, adultery, and oppression. He threatened them with captivity in case of impenitence, thundering out the judgment of God. He backed up his messages 40 times with the use of the expression, “thus saith the Lord.” His preaching brought such conviction the king ordered him out of town. Although his message was stern, his oft-repeated invitation was to “seek the Lord.”
Period: In the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam [1:1] two years before the earthquake” [1:1]. Josephus (a historian at the time) states this earthquake took place when Uzziah was struck with leprosy. Amos prophesied ca. 764-755 B.C. He probably knew Jonah and Elisha as a youth, Isaiah and Micah as an older man, and was a contemporary of Hosea and Amos was the third prophet.
Purpose: To teach us that you can be ordinary and still do great things for God. To teach us that the sins that separate us from God must be judged before fellowship can be restored [I John 1:9].
Key Verse: “Prepare to meet thy God” [4:12].
Prophecy: Amos was considered a prophet and the book is a book of prophecy. There are four main prophecies that he foretold that came true:
• Destruction of Samaria: 3:15 Stated: ca. 760 B.C. Fulfilled: 111 B.C.
• Earth darkened: 8:9 / Matthew 27:45 Stated: 755 B.C. Fulfilled: At Christ’s crucifixion
• Famine of hearing the Word of God: 8:11 Stated: 755 B.C. Fulfilled: After Captivity
The “Woes” of God [6:1]
• For being wicked: Job 10:15
• For calling evil good: Isaiah 5:20
• For hypocrisy: Matthew 23:13
• Against riches: Luke 6:24
Conclusion: The Book of Amos ends with a glorious promise for the future. “’I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God” [9:15].
So, just when you think you can’t make a difference, remember Amos and his ordinary, humble beginnings, and realize that God can brings lots of people to Christ through you.
Portions of this post were taken from here.
What Do You Know About Ecclesiastes? [Obscure Bible Books]
Imagine for a second that you have Bill Gates’ money. No, seriously. You can do anything you want, go anywhere you want, and buy any item you want. Your house is more like a complex, with office buildings and arboretums and personal gymnasiums. You have an enormous cash pile at your disposal, and oh, you still hold tons of influence in the most successful computer software company in the world.
Wouldn’t you get bored?
I know what you’re saying - “Uh no, Chad. I wouldn’t. I would have the time of my life.”
But think about it. When you’d done everything, went everywhere, and bought everything you wanted, what would you do then? You’d be bored, and you’d search for meaning in something higher than yourself.
King Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, realized this. He had everything. Power, money, influence, women - everything he desired was literally at his fingertips. But later in life, when he wrote Ecclesiastes, he realized that there is so much more to life than having money and getting everything you desire.
Some facts about Ecclesiastes
Name: The word “Ecclesiastes” means preacher or one who preaches.
Contents: The design of this book is to expose the vanity of all worldly enjoyments; to show that man’s happiness does not lie in natural wisdom and knowledge, worldly wealth, civil honor, power and authority, or in the mere externals of religion, but in God and the worship of Him.
Character: Poetic philosophy.
Subject: The experience of a man who tried everything under the sun to satisfy his heart and found that it was all vanity and vexation of spirit.
Writer: Solomon: 1:1, 12, 16; 12:9
To Whom Written: His subjects in particular and man in general.
Key Chapter: 12 – A call to remember God.
Key Word: Vanity, found 37 times.
Key Thought: The vanity of earthly life: I John 2:15-17.
Spiritual Thought: Happiness and hopefulness are impossible apart from God.
Next week (Lord Willing) we look at our next Obscure Bible Book: Amos.