If You Think A Budget Doesn’t Work, You’re Doing It Wrong

Budget

It sounds so trite, but no one gets ahead financially without a budget. It’s like a law of nature. If you are not getting control of your money, I bet you don’t have one.
I can hear the complaints going up now. “Budgets are crap. They don’t work. I tried one once and it was a disaster.’ I believe you. But the problem was with you. You did it wrong.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people. I know what I’m talking about. Most of the time, it goes something like this. One member of the family makes a budget and presents it to the family. Usually it starts with the house and car payments, then credit cards, electricity, gas, maybe gasoline, etc. At the end, after they total everything, what’s leftover goes for groceries. And it’s usually about $25 a week for a family of four.
Even though groceries were budgeted last, they go grocery shopping early in the week and spend over $100. On Friday or Saturday, they go out to eat and blow another $60 and the budget is over.
If that describes you, don’t beat yourself up. You’re in good company. It happens to most people. The problem isn’t with budgets, you’ve just done it wrong. When you do a budget the right way, it’s much easier to make it work.
First, sit down together if possible. Even if one partner does the budget, get the other person’s buy in. If a couple are not together, it won’t work. Write the budget down on paper. Write it in pencil in case you need to erase. Don’t put it in your laptop, phone or tablet. Write it out. You’re trying to master your finances not practice your typing or software skills. Besides, writing this stuff down makes it feel more real. It really does.
I created a set of forms for my wife and I to do our budget. I had two budget forms in that set. I had a basic budget form to use while we were in debt. Then I had another one for after debt. Each of them had everything on a single page. I believed then and believe now, that if I can’t do my budget on a single page, I’m not going to do it.
Note: If you want one, I’ll send you a free .pdf of the basic form. You can make as many copies as you need. Just do one of two things, either use the Contact Us button, and ask for a budget form, or send an email to me at sam@samburtonpresents.com. Make sure you include your email address.
The method to doing a budget begins with a 4-category plan. It’s that simple.
1. God. I really believe that unless we give first, before we spend, we’ll never get control of our funds. B and I are Christians. We believe that God gets the best of the first and the first of the best. We give 10%. We started with 5% because our debt load was so bad. I’ll tell that story later. If you don’t believe in God, I urge you to consider Him. Feel free to email any questions you have, and I’ll try to answer them. But, find a charity, some cause you believe in and give.
2. Food. You’ve got to eat. You’re going to eat. If you don’t you’ll starve. And if you don’t eat right you’ll be unable to function properly at work. If you’re in debt, make it a basic budget. Don’t be buying T Bones and Lobster if you owe big car payments and Credit Card companies. Make your budget more basic until you break the debt trap. I’ll share details of how we did it in a future post.
3. Household expenses. Your family, you know, spouse, children, your dog Muffin, they all like having a roof over their heads, so budget your house payment next, followed by electricity, gas and insurance. Don’t budget things like phone bill, cable, and internet at this time. They are luxuries and don’t count yet.
4. Transportation. You must get to work to earn money. You need a car. You don’t need a car payment. If you have one right now, so be it. You have to put gas and oil in it and have it insured. You don’t need a new car. I don’t care who you are, you don’t need a new car. Go ahead, argue with me, but you don’t need one.
These 4 things occupy what I call your perimeter. These things are the must haves. And they should be budgeted in this order. These are must haves. Netflix is not a must have.
If you will begin your budget with these items, in this order, you’ll be way ahead of the rest of the pack. And, like I said earlier, just contact me if you want my basic family budget form absolutely free.
You rock. You can totally win.

My UFO Close Encounter – A True Story

I think that since I started my mind thinking about supernatural things and cryptids last week, I would continue with that thought today. Why not, right?

We moved several times when I was in Jr. High and High school. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the names of the roads we lived on during that time, except for one, Middlesex Drive. I remember it not because of the odd name, but because of a strange event that happened to me while we were there. Frankly, it changed me forever.

The house was brand new as were all the others in the neighborhood. Lexington was a fast growing city in the seventies and new houses were going up everywhere. Most of these new homes were split levels and split foyers. Ours was a split level. On the ground level were a single car garage, the kitchen, dining room and living room. Upstairs were three bedrooms and a bath. Below ground were a family room, an extra bedroom and the utility room that also contained a bath. My bedroom was below ground. Probably every teenage boy in the neighborhood had a below ground bedroom in those days, because we were not civilized. Our rooms smelled bad. Probably mostly to do with unwashed socks hiding under our beds. I know it didn’t have anything to do with unwashed bodies, because I took at least two showers every day. One before school in the morning and one in the evening. At least three days a week I took one in the afternoon at school after gym class as well. I hated the thought of smelling bad. I was terrified of smelling bad in front of, you know, girls.

We also played our music too loud. Apparently, 20th century parents weren’t keen of Black Oak Arkansas, The Edgar Winter Group, or even Elvis. They kept spinning in my room along with Elton John, the Bee Gees and a wide range of Southern Gospel Quartet music. I had a nice collection of Motown favorites like Marvin Gaye, and the Stylistics for variety. Man, my hair is growing back just thinking about it.

One of the features about downstairs living I liked best was the fact that I had my own entrance to the house. There was a door from my bedroom to the backyard. That was great because I had a white German Shepherd, Rajah. I could easily sneak him into the room, not that I would ever do a thing like that! Anyway, after we were done playing, I could open the door and let Rajah out. He would stare in the back door for a while, then lay down and sleep right outside. It was comforting for me to know my big dog was right outside.

One summer evening, August, to be precise, I was listening to the radio late on a Tuesday night. I kept it low enough not to disturb my parents or sisters upstairs. Rajah lay outside my door. The radio was tuned to WKYT radio as it pretty much always was.

The time was ticking away, well past midnight. It was dark out. Because there were no houses behind us, just a corn field, the back of our neighborhood was always particularly dark. There were lots of stars lighting the sky, but no moon that night. Whenever there was no moon, the darkness of the cornfield was particularly creepy. I was glad Rajah was out there. I was thinking about letting him inside when it all happened.

First, the radio stopped. It just shut off mid song. So did the clock. At first I assumed it was a breaker. Then I saw Rajah. He was sitting up just outside the door with his eyes fixed on the sky. He was frozen like a statue. I called to him. He didn’t move a muscle.

I got up and looked out at the sky. All I saw were stars. Then one star began to move, but instead of moving across the sky, it moved towards me. It began like a white pin prick and grew larger as it moved closer. In just a few seconds it was as big as a full moon and lit up the back field. But it wasn’t done. It kept coming closer until it was in our back yard. Technically, it was in the corn field, but very close to the yard. It was very large and very bright. The thing just sat there pulsating and watching me.

I did what any 16 year old would do. I jumped back in bed and hid under the covers. There was a hum coming from the orb, but that was the only sound in the night. There were no dogs barking. There weren’t even any insects or frogs doing their usual serenading of the darkness. It was terrifying.

I don’t know how long I stayed under the covers. Probably around 10 minutes. By that time it was getting pretty hot under there and the oxygen was pretty stale. I was trying to decide what to do when I sensed a slight change in the brightness, so I pulled my head out from under the blanket.  The craft was now moving off. It flashed once, then slowly but steadily retreated the way it came until is was just a tiny pin prick, then disappeared.

The moment it was gone, the radio came back on. Rajah shook and turned to face me. I got up and let him in. He whined and lay down by the bed. I let him sleep there the rest of the night. I didn’t sleep much. I kept watching the sky, afraid the thing would return.

The next morning I said nothing to my sisters. Neither of them have ever said they saw anything. Eventually, like a year later, I told my parents. They never saw anything. My dad poo pooed it.  My mom stayed quiet. She was open to anything.

On the school bus, and at school, nobody saw or heard a thing. It was like I was the only witness to the event. And that made no sense to me.

In order for you to fully understand my discomfort, you should be aware that even back then I was a Christian, and did not believe in men from outer space. I was convinced we were the only inhabited planet in the universe. There were no grays or lizard people. But what I had experienced was real. And it shook me to my core.

Those were days before the internet so Google wasn’t an option. I was forced to go to the library and go through the card catalogue with a fine tooth comb. I did that at my school library and at the public one, checking out everything I could find on UFOs, encounters, the Bible, and anything else I could find.

Eventually, I found a book written in 1972 by an Australian Christian Writer, Clifford Wilson, called, Crash Go The Chariots. It was a response to Erich Von Daniken’s, “Chariots of the Gods”. I don’t remember much about the text of the book, but Wilson seemed to answer most of my doubts. He set me on a path that I still walk. These days, I call UFOs, and most other supernatural events. Demonic Practical Jokes. They are designed to trick us and to cause us to take our eyes off of God and His message to us.

For example; the teaching that every single person has brought back from a kidnapping encounter with ‘aliens’ is a denial of the Gospel’s core teaching. What’s also true is the message is almost exactly the same as from those who have near death experiences. What a coincidence.

Now this episode is getting a bit long in the tooth, but as I unfold these stories to you, I’ll also unpack what I think is happening. For now just let this thought sink in. I believe that UFOs, The Loch Ness Monster, Dogmen, and even ghosts, are ‘real’. I believe they are trans dimensional and enter our dimension with evil intent. I believe that’s why they can do things that seem so odd to us. Because we are used to our 3 dimensions.

Yes, there are loads of hoaxes. But there are too many serious stories that cannot be discounted or disproved. We must take them seriously.

For now, think on those things. I’ll be back soon with more.

 

Cryptids – A Big Risk

Dogman

Every once in a while, we have to take a risk, a gamble in life, or we don’t make any real progress. This is one of mine. I’m going to spend some time in this space telling you some pretty weird stuff. Things that many people would choose to be quiet about. I’m not going to do it all at once, but along with more traditional stuff like my usual Bible related stories, and things like gardening and money management, I’m going to tell you about UFO’s, ghosts, dogmen, bigfoot, and more.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m doing it because more and more people are having encounters. I hear them. And folk are scared and confused. They are often disbelieved and made fun of. I want to change all that. In fact, I want to change your mind about these things too. I’m going to tell you about several of the adventures my family has had with the unknown. I know these encounters are real. As you’ll see, most of them happened to me or my parents. I won’t try and convince you. I’m just going to tell you what happened and what I think it means. You are totally free to call me a crazy nut, but most of you know me well enough to know that I’m not lying to you.

I hear podcasts and see the folk on YouTube and I know people are scared and scarred. I want to tell you, I believe you. And I believe that what you have experienced seems so odd to you because what you have experienced is a supernatural or transdimentional event. Because of it’s nature it won’t make sense on many levels. Back when I was in High School, which wasn’t yesterday, I coined the phrase, ‘a demonic practical joke’ to explain my own interpretation of these events.

UFO encounters, hauntings, attacks by cryptid creatures, are all designed to frighten us and cause us to question truth and reality. To take our eyes off of God. And I believe that as we get closer to Christ’s return, these events will increase as part of ‘a great delusion’ that’s going to draw a great many people away from Him.

Anyway, I hope you’ll stick around and read some of my posts. I’m giving you fair warning today. I know that mixing words like Jesus, Bible, and Faith with UFO, Ghost, and Bigfoot will seem weird and contradictory, but when all is said and done, I think you’ll get it.  What I’m hoping is that those of you who have followed my podcast and preaching ministry won’t panic or worry about my orthodoxy with some of these stories. And I’m hoping that some of you who are comfortable with talk about Dogman or UFOs won’t write me off because of my faith. Stay tuned. You rock.

 

Jesus Paid It All

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You’re listening to the ReDescovering the Bible Online Radio Show with Sam Burton episode 50.

Welcome back.  For those of you tuning in for the very first time, a special welcome to you. It’s been a long time coming.  I’m Sam, I’m your host. I’m coming to you from the Camper and I’m delighted to be here.

I want to thank you for all your support the last couple months. I’m really touched by the number of you who’ve written notes of support or spoken to me about your appreciation for the podcost.  That touches me so much.  I just want to add, for those of you who don’t know, that I’ve had some health issues that have prevented me from updating, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it was fairly serious. It’s mostly over now and I feel great. So I’m trying again.  It would really mean a great deal to me if you would continue to lift me up in your prayers.

Let’s see, where should we go to keep you updated?  First, Brittan and I are still planning to head to Scotland as soon as we’ve raised enough money. For those of you interested, as some of you have indicated, you can just log onto our website, www.risegroup.us, and go to our giving page for a link to instructions.

Ok, that should catch you up on everything, so let’s get right into today’s text. If you think way back to our last time together, we’re looking at the book of Hebrews as key to understanding the old testament. We looked at how Jesus was superior to angels, to Moses and to Aaron.  Today, we want to look and see that Jesus provides us a better covenant. And we’ll find that in Hebrews 8,9,10.

First, though, I think it’s interesting that the writer uses the Tabernacle, rather than the temple itself as the picture. Remember that while God himself gave instructions for the tabernacle, it was David who envisioned the temple and left instructions for it’s building. Then after it was destroyed by the Babylonians, the new temple was designed and build by Zerubbabel.  They were both accepted by God, but were not authorized by him. It is this temporary structure that is said to be a picture and a shadow. Solomon’s temple was extremely ornate and in second Chronicles we read how God honored this gift from David and his son.  Zerubbabel’s temple was not so lavish, yet God said that it would see God’s glory is greater ways that Solomon’s had ever seen.

Think about that, Solomon’s temple, with all it’s gold, silver, and other precious materials, had seen the glory of God in such a way that the people couldn’t for fear enter it. There was no such display at the dedication of Zerubbabel’s Temple. But God had promised a greater glory for it. The promise of Haggai 2 to be empty. That glory didn’t come when King Saul refurbished it.  There was no sign of such glory. The glory came, when into that temple was carried Jesus of Nazareth, by his mother and step father. It was this temple of Zerubbabel, where Jesus cleared the money changers, it was this temple that had His footprints throughout it. When the Hebrew writer declares the superiority of Jesus to Moses, I’m certain he had this Old Testament promise in mind.

God said He was going to make a New Covenant with the Jews, and we find that New Covenant described in the book of Hebrews.  That’s one of the reasons I just can’t agree with those who are looking for God to bring about a revival of the old temple and sacrificial system. Why in the world would our God want to take the Jews to a picture of heaven, when he can take them to the real deal. A new covenant with and through His Son, Jesus.

The Crucifixion of Jesus, fulfills and nullifies all of the old Covenant. Starting with the sacrifice. The Hebrew writer says clearly in Chapter 10 verse 4, that the blood of Bulls and Goats could NEVER take away sin. Bulls and goats were a messy, gory, picture of how bad sin is. Think for a minute about the millions upon millions of animals sacrificed and whose flesh was burned on the altar. Yet their blood, even the gallons of it spilled, could NEVER cover a single sin.

Jesus blood, though, covers every sin ever committed. Do you get that? Every sin you’ve ever committed and every sin you will ever commit, was covered by His once for all sacrifice. That’s good news.  No, that’s great news.

God is never going to go back to a system that didn’t work. It was temporary. What Jesus did is forever.

So as we study the old testament, let’s look for signs of permanence. Let’s look for promises of Jesus. And when we find them, let’s celebrate.

This week is what’s called Holy Week. The last week of Jesus ministry. It began with his Triumphal Entry into the City of Jerusalem. And it Ended with His resurrection from the dead. In between we have his arrest, and his murder.  Those things are promised in the old Testament. We will see the first promise of Him in the 3rd Chapter of Genesis. And as we weep at what our sin did to Him, we celebrate His willingness to suffer it.

The book of Hebrews uses the tabernacle, not the temple, to describe how the Gospel is superior to the Old Covenant. From the sacrifice, now instead of millions of animals and gallons of blood, we have a once for all sacrifice, to the basin of washing, which had to be used over and over to cleanse the priests, to baptism which represents our cleansing, one time we have to be washed, and only once. And finally, the tearing of the temple curtain from top to bottom showing us that Jesus sacrifice is a complete one and not the way to God is open. We no longer need priests and high priests. We all have access to the Creator of the world directly through the sacrifice of Jesus.

As we read the old testament, we must look for promises of Jesus and celebrate. That’s the only way the old Testament makes sense.

Paul wrote in first Corinthians chapter 15, that if Jesus is not raised, we are of all men most miserable. But He IS raised, and that’s the best news ever heard.

That’s all I’ve got this week. Next we’ll start the old testament. Happy Easter every one.

Jesus is still Number 1

Episode 49

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Image result for number 1 imagesFirst, I want to apologize to everyone for last week’s audio problems. I never did figure out what happened, and I’m sorry to everyone who couldn’t get the podcast to play. In the end, I just deleted the file and replaced it. Sometimes, the best fix is just to start over. No fuss, no muss.

This week and next, Brittan and I are out of town, so we’ll have abbreviated shows.  Please pray for us as we’ll be presenting our coming Scotland work to a congregation in Florida.

If you didn’t get to hear last week’s show, we’re preparing for our survey of the Old Testament Books, by having a quick review of the New Testament Book of Hebrews. It is my strong opinion that Hebrews holds the key to understanding the Old Testament. I promise, as I always do, that a good understanding of the New Testament unlocks the Old Testament much better that the other way around.

This book called Hebrews likely began life as a sermon by Paul, that was later written down by Luke and distributed to the Churches. Remember, the early Church didn’t have mp3, or even cassette tapes.  We are very fortunate to be able to turn to podcasts or YouTube for great sermons these days.

Please keep in mind as we see all the ways Christianity is superior to Judaism, is because Jesus FULFILLED the Old Testament. The Church, including this podcaster, has often been guilty of teaching either that Christianity is a continuation of the Old, or, that the New Covenant is a Replacement of the Old One.

The replacement theory is partly true, but it’s more than that. The New One is certainly the one in effect these days, but that’s because Jesus fix, or fulfilled, the terms of the Old Contract, so it became obsolete. The New One is superior in every way. The book of Hebrews explains that better than all the books and doctoral discourses in the world put together.

Today we’re going to look briefly at the superiority of Jesus. Next week we’ll look at our superior contract.

Paul begins his message by claiming that Jesus is superior to Angels or Prophets. In Chapter one we read, that the old covenant was explained and introduced by a variety of methods and prophets, but the New One came via His Son.  As it were, directly from the horse’s mouth. And the rest of the Chapter declares the superiority of Jesus even to mighty Angels.  In fact, Paul declares that even the ancient and revered songs of David declared the superiority of Jesus.

Look closely at verses 1 and 2.  He begins with, In the Past, as it, it used to be THIS way.  Verse 2 begins with BUT. The implication is ‘Now things have changed’ and the rest of the chapter explains the deity and superiority of Christ.

He continues that theme in Chapter 2.  After declaring the Deity of Christ in Chapter 1, verse 14 of Chapter 2, teaches Christ’s humanity. Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature.

Chapter 3 teaches Jesus is superior to Moses. That’s a really big deal. Check this out. Heb 3:5  Moses was faithful in God’s house as a servant, and he spoke of the things that God would say in the future.

Heb 3:6  But Christ is faithful as the Son in charge of God’s house. We

Beginning in verse 14 of chapter 4, Paul spends several chapters showing that Jesus priesthood is superior to the Aaronic priesthood.

Please consider these two passages as illustrative of  the material in chapters 5,6,7

Heb 7:23  There is another difference: there were many of those other priests, because they died and could not continue their work.

Heb 7:24  But Jesus lives on forever, and his work as priest does not pass on to someone else.

And

Heb 7:27  He is not like other high priests; he does not need to offer sacrifices every day for his own sins first and then for the sins of the people. He offered one sacrifice, once and for all, when he offered himself.

Heb 7:28  The Law of Moses appoints men who are imperfect to be high priests; but God’s promise made with the vow, which came later than the Law, appoints the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

The short version is, The point of the Old Covenant was to uncover the sinfulness of sin and that God set places holders, the law, prophets and even Moses, until He sent His Son to fulfil all the holes and requirements of the law. Everything before Christ was temporary, but because of His Resurrection, we have a perfect priest and an eternal messenger.  More than a servant, a Son. One who is perfect and who never dies.

Moses, Aaron, the law and the Priesthood, were sent to show the way. Jesus, the Christ IS the way.

Next week, we’re going to see how we have a superior Covenant. And why that’s a good thing. That episode will impact everything you understand about interpreting the Old Testament, and the way you understand the End Times.  I can’t wait. Until then, Be Blessed. And be a Blessing.

 

Happy New Year – Podcast: Season 2:Episode 1

happy-new-year

 

Episode 48

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Season 2, Episode 1:

You’re listening to the Rediscovering the Bible online Radio Show, Season 2, Episode 1.

Happy New Year everybody. Welcome back to all you regular listeners and a special welcome for you new comers. My name is Sam, I’m your host, Wow am I glad you’re here. Today, it’s a cloudy, rainy, January 2 and I’m coming to you, as you’ve come to expect, from the camper here at the farm.

Gosh, it’s been a long time since we’ve been together, hasn’t it?  A lot has happened in my life, and I’m sure in your world, too. The biggest news of all, I guess, is that Brittan and I are moving to Scotland permanently later this year. I’ll get you all the scoop as time goes by, but I’m expecting this show will continue, just from another location.

This season, we’re going to spend the bulk of our time in the Old Testament.  We finished the New Testament last season, and I really want to get through a survey of the Old Testament this year. We’re going to change the format, just a little, and look at some things chronologically and others thematically. Don’t worry, it will all make sense later.

First, I want to recommend that our new listeners go back and listen to some or our earlier episodes, particularly those on Luke and Acts. They will really help, I promise.

Now, let’s talk about translations and reading plans. It’s a brand new year, and there are a whole lot of people who’ve made new year resolutions to read the Bible through. If you’re one of those people, Yay, you. Those of you who’ve been listening for a while, or have been through one of my classes or workshops, know that I believe the order in which we read the Bible is very important to understanding it. First, I encouraged you to begin with the New Testament. The Bible will make way more sense that way. Start with the Gospel of Luke, then read the book of Acts. Luke will clearly tell you who Jesus is, and Acts will give you instructions on how to begin following Him. If you’d like to see my entire reading plan, just go to samburtonpresents.com and let me know by leaving your information on the ‘contact’ page.  You can also simply request a copy via the comments section of the show notes which are also at samburtonpresents.com.

One of the questions that comes in regularly is related to which translation to use. The shore answer is, the one you’re comfortable with. This season, I’m going to be using the New Living Translation. I think its simple language is a great way to understand the Old Testament. It’s a fine translation especially if you’re new to Bible reading or if English is not your first language.  On the whole, it’s easier for me to disrecommend  the translations I discourage, than to share the ones I endorse.  I strongly disrecommend the New World Translation. It has been seriously tampered with. Unless you’ve been given one by a Jehovah’s Witness, you probably haven’t ever seen it. It isn’t sold at Christian Bookstores. Yeah, it’s that bad. I would also discourage the Revised Standard Version as it was translated by liberals and skeptics and downplays many important texts.

For those who only have King James, that’s fine. I’m not going to bash it. It’s not my favorite, but it’s still the most used translation in the English language. I it starts to get difficult for you, but you like the way if flows, try the New King James.

Here’s a big money saving tip for you. You can try loads of translations for free by using the internet. For my laptop, I downloaded e-sword.net and several free translations and other Bible Study materials.  I did the same thing with for my smartphone with the free app, YouVersion.   In full disclosure, I haven’t found a free downloadable New Living Translation, but you can read it for free online at BibleGateway.com and via YouVersion for your phone or tablet. You’ll just have to make sure you have internet access.  If you have any questions, ping me and I’ll help any way I can.

Ok, I think that takes care of all the housekeeping for now. The Old Testament can be fun. I know…some of you are giving me that cross eyed skeptical look. I can see you right through the microphone.  But I’m serious. There are two keys to the old Testament that are really important. First is, Read the New Testament First.  How many times have you heard me say that? The second is, right before you begin a study in the Old Testament, go through the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament.

I am totally convinced that Hebrews unlocks the Old Testament and how it relates to the Gospel and The New Testament better than any other tool. So…we’re going to spend a few weeks in Hebrews setting the table for our Old Testament Survey.

Let’s spend just our remaining time today, reviewing the background of the Book of Hebrews, because some people find it controversial. I think those people have way too much time on their hands, but let’s look anyway.

Many conservative scholars consider Hebrews one of the most important theological studies of any of the NT books except possibly Romans. Martin Luther, the Reformer, not MLK the civil rights advocate, on the other hand was not a big fan of Hebrews. I would say, he’s the father of all the Hebrews critics. In the first place, he thought there was too much emphasis on works, though not as much as the book of James.

The other big hurdle for some people to clear is the fact that the author is anonymous. While it has a formal ending, it has no salutation at the beginning. Now, I believe there’s a good reason for that, and we’ll get to it in just a minute.

Frankly, several of the New Testament books, Matthew, Mark, and, John as well as Hebrews are anonymous and all have controversy surrounding them as a result. Church tradition is pretty clear and consistent on the subject, but modern and modernist scholars tend to ignore tradition and history and look for novel hypotheses.  After all, there’s not much notoriety, grant money or name recognition is writing, ‘The Church Fathers were clear on…’  Fame comes from stirring the pot.

Over the years, several alternative authors have been named as candidates, namely, Peter because the closing is similar to his closings in his letters, Barnabas, James, Luke, because the quality of the Greek was good and the style indicated an educated individual, and Apollos.

I must admit that when I was in Seminary, I liked the notion of Apollos, but just because I thought he was underappreciated.  I played with the idea of James for a while, but mostly it was just because I was having fun.

In the end, though, I have come back to the oldest traditions that Paul is the source of the Book. Hebrews indicates a thorough knowledge of the Law and Old Testament. While there are other candidates, James, whose entire ministry was spent in Judea would be one. Barnabas, a Levite, would be another, but Paul, the formally trained Pharisee, would have had the most complete training in the law of any of the early Christian leaders and Biblical writers.

I have come to the conclusion, as have many others, that The book of Hebrews began life as a sermon preached by Paul, and eventually written down by Luke, very possibly after Paul’s death.  This would explain the lack of a greeting at the beginning, the superior quality of the Greek, the similarities to Luke’s other writing, and the very ancient tradition that Paul was the author.  In fact, the matter is pretty much settled in my mind.

Do your own homework. In the end, as I often say, background studies are fun as an academic exercise, but in the long run, don’t help much in understanding the contents.

Hopefully, you’ll do a reading of Hebrews over the next few weeks while we examine it. What you will see, if you do, and the direction I’m going to drive the show, is that Hebrews is an overt attempt to show that everything about the Gospel, including the Giver, is a fulfillment of the old covenant, is superior to it, and has replaced the Old Testament as the covenant in place. These conclusions have a profound impact on our understanding of the end times, of role of Israel and the Church in Prophesy, our understanding of everything from the sacrificial system to the ten commandments.

In the next couple weeks, at least for those of you who are familiar with current trends in Current teaching, I’m going to challenge much of what you probably take for granted. It’s not new teaching, it was standard operational procedure for the first 1800 years of the Church. It just sounds new.  And, it’s going to dramatically, affect the way we look at some of the more difficult and controversial parts of the Old Testament.  We’re going to rock the boat. I love that. It’s going to be FUN.

Please join the investigation.  Next week we’ll look at a Superior Savior. Then, A superior Covenant. After that, A Superior Salvation.  Then we’ll be ready to dig into the Old Testament itself.

And that’s all I’ve got. It’s so good to be back with you. As always, please share your thoughts and/or questions either via the comments section of the show notes on samburtonpresents.com or via email.

Talk to you soon. Have a happy New Year. Be blessed, and, be a blessing.

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Episode on Luke

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Help, I Just Can’t Make Sense Of The Bible. Oh, By The Way, It’s Boring

Rediscover CoverDoes that headline resonate with you? It wouldn’t surprise me. Nearly every week, I am asked about the best way to read the Bible, or asked why the Bible is so hard to understand. I totally get that. It can be frustrating when your new to it.

One of the reasons the Bible seems so hard is that it’s not in the best order for reading. Say what? I’m serious. If you’re new to the Bible, or have just never seemed to make sense of it, I’m going to clear some of that up for you right now!

The Bible is actually a collection of books; 66 of them to be precise. And they are grouped into categories just like a library. In fact, we should think of the Bible as a library of books in a single volume. Just like we wouldn’t go to a public library and start with the first book and read them in order all the way around the walls, we get the most out of the Bible if we don’t read from beginning to end (Genesis to Revelation) the first time we read it.

If you want to know more about that, I recommend my book, “(Re)Discovering the Bible Vol. 1”. It’s available on Amazon as an e-book, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it.

In the next two paragraphs, I’m giving you a suggested order in which to read the Bible. I am convinced you will get more out of your personal study if you do this.

The Bible is divided into two major segments, Old Testament and New Testament. As you can see, I’ve recommended the New Testament first. If you read the NT first it will help you understand the Old Testament much better than if you begin there. Trust me.

I highly recommend reading the Gospel of Luke first, followed by the Book of Acts. The reasons are two fold and quite simple. The Gospels tell us who Jesus is, which is the most important thing you and I need to know. The Book of Acts tells us what to do about that knowledge. It’s the only book in the Bible that describes how people became Christians.

The second reason I choose Luke and Acts, when there are 3 other Gospels, is that Luke is the author of both books, so they flow very smoothly. See, I told you it was simple.

In the next paragraph, you’ll find a recommended order for reading the entire New Testament. Essentially, I tried to put easier to read books first and the more difficult ones towards the end.

One more thing; I encourage readers to read through the New Testament twice before moving on to the Old Testament. Mainly, that’s because it really will make the Old Testament easier to grasp.

Here’s the full NT reading list in recommended order:  Luke, Acts, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Matthew, James, Mark, 1 and 2 Timothy, John, 1,2,3 John, Galatians, Philippians, Titus, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, Romans, Jude, Revelation.

Ok, now it’s time for the Old Testament. What I’ve done here is simply put the Old Testament books into an order that breaks up the harder to read ones by including some of the easier to read ones in between the harder ones. That gives our brains a rest. You’re welcome.

I do have one more suggestion. Before beginning your Old Testament reading, go through the New Testament Book of Hebrews one more time. I call Hebrews the ‘key to understanding the Old Testament’. It really will help. I promise.

My suggested Old Testament reading plan looks like this: Genesis, Joshua, Psalms, Isaiah, Exodus, Judges, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Leviticus,Ruth, Job, Lamentations, Numbers, 1 Samuel, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel, Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel,Song of Solomon, Daniel, 1 Kings, Hosea, 2 Kings, Joel, 1 Chronicles, Amos, 2 Chronicles, Obadiah, Ezra, Jonah, Nehemiah, Micah, Esther, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

There you have it. Obviously, you can read the Bible in any order you want, but I did this to help those having trouble staying focused and those who were inexperienced with the Bible. As you become more familiar with its message, you may create your own reading plan, or simply go front to back. It’s your call.

I hope this helps; I really do. If you have any questions, please use the comments section and ask.  Again, I refer you to my book, and encourage you to tune into the (Re)Discovering the Bible Online Radio Show podcast.

You can also email your questions to me.  Thanks, as always. You rock.