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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Bible Reading, LifeJournal, and YouVersion


6 or 7 years ago, Dan Reeves introduced me to something called the LifeJournal produced by Wayne Cordeiro at New Hope Church in Oahu.  Back then, I was part of a network of pastors in the Detroit, Columbus, Toledo, and Cleveland areas and Dan was doing some consulting with our network of RCA Churches.  It's a simple little book that helps a person be more disciplined in their daily Bible reading.  Apparently, Wayne has used this with his whole church to much success.  We started using it for our daily devotional time, but also as a way to do some prayer and Scripture work together as a group whenever we would meet, seeking what God might be saying to us at that time.  We were literally, on the same page of scripture every day, and then when we came together, we had a chance to share what we heard as well as hear some interesting parallels with one another.

Here's how it works.  If you're familiar with a reading through the Bible in a year plan or a lectionary readings, you already know most of it.  Basically, Wayne has put together a Bible Reading plan for the year.  He then provides a little explanation of how, simply, to approach the text using the acronym S.O.A.P. - Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer (simplified Inductive Bible Study).  Wayne talks about looking that day for what the Holy Spirit has highlighted in the chapters for you that day, trying to see it, understand it, and apply it.  There is space to write down a scripture, and journal out your observation, application, and prayer.  There's also a section to keep a prayer list.  That's it.  Simple.

Sometimes I realize that all I really need is some simple organizational help to get me going on something I'm undisciplined about.  This is a great way to get into the Bible daily, create some accountability (if you do it with friends), and keep a record of what you see.

Since that time, I've moved on from my leather bound paper journal to an online version.  If you haven't seen YouVersion produced by Craig Groeschel's team at, you have to check it out.  It's an online (and mobile phone) app that gives you a ton of different translations, the ability to make notes - public or private - and to tag scriptures, etc.  It also has a bunch of Bible Reading plans that will help you track your progress.  They even have some built in accountability tools if you want to use them. They'll email you, or a friend, to remind you of your reading.  You can also do online journaling as well as see how the passages have affected other people.  Be careful... this is an open application, so you have to listen to people's interpretations and check them out.  Taking them at face-value could get you in trouble.  This kind of media is great for a lot of reasons, but it's also great for spreading misinformation or misinterpretation.  (Of course, that happens in real life, face to face encounters just as well!)

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