I have tried many different means of of getting a regular devotional going in the mornings. I know the importance of it, but it always gets lost in the shuffle of the morning routine rather than becoming part of the morning (or afternoon or evening). One thing I do every morning without fail is check my e-mail and Google Reader, so when I keep looking for some devotional that can be sent by one of those means. Then I run into the problem that what I find is just uninteresting to me. Terrible to say that the Bible is uninteresting! Anyway, I found something that I have been enjoying for the past several weeks. It’s an e-mail devotional put out by back to the Bible, called Powered by 4.
I like the premise. Every good Evangelical Christian (okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but at least the ones I’ve been connected with) knows that you’re supposed to read your Bible every day. How many of us do it? Powered by 4 sets a goal that readers follow through at least 4 times per week (hence the “by 4” part). And it is really simple: they send an e-mail with a passage to read (so far, it’s been one chapter), then there are several questions at the bottom to help the reader think on the passage.
My problem with devotions is this: after so much Greek, Hebrew, theology, and the like as both an undergraduate and a graduate student, I find a lot of devotionals unhelpful. I recognize that they are helpful to a lot of people, so I don’t want to discount them. But they don’t help me for whatever reason. I’m too cerebral, possibly. But many of the books or guides I’ve found come across to me as trite and shallow. In all likelihood, they aren’t really. I’m sure my own biases prevent me from seeing the gold that is in them to be mined. But I never find gold.
And as much as I would like to commit to reading through the Bible every year (I have one plan fed to me daily in Google Reader), that doesn’t happen either. So Powered by 4 works well for me. I don’t have to figure out where to go next to read – it’s decided for me. It’s not an overwhelming length of text to consider like the Bible in a year plans typically are. There is enough to get context and find something to chew on for the day. So I encourage you to check it out if you have been looking for a plan of your own to follow. Maybe we can work up to 4 days a week (or more!) together.
Let me know how it goes.