1, 2 & 3 John Is Ready for Download

1, 2 & 3 John CoverIf you want to judge a book by it’s cover, I think you will find the latest addition to the Scarlet Letter Bible’s New Testament downloads takes the prize, hands down.

In the two months since the release of Mark’s Gospel, Apple released iBooks Author, which as far as I’m concerned, changed the whole picture for digital book publishing. If you have an iPad, the new format is a real treat. The PDF and old iBook formats are also a lot slicker, thanks to the new editing software.

The text itself is the scarlet rendition of 1, 2 & 3 John, as found scattered throughout posts on the Scarlet Letter Bible over the last 4 months.

Pick your format from the downloads page.


Even More Important When It’s Hard

feet walking away across a bridge
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/23890964@N03/6133080172/">Lindsay Stanford</a>

2 John 12-13

There is plenty more I could say, but I’d rather not write it down. Instead, I’m planning to visit you. It’ll be so much better to deal with it face to face.

People from the church here all say, “Hello.”

Everything from last week’s post about phoning it in applies here, too.

In addition, consider that it’s especially important to make it personal when the subject matter is hard.

It’s the time we’re most tempted to deal with it impersonally, of course. We’d rather not deal with the added stress of in-person confrontation.

Put it this way. In the moments when your head is telling you, “just send an email,” but your gut says, “you’ve got to go pay a visit and get this straightened out,” your gut is almost always right.

When a Book Club Is Not a Book Club

wine and cheese spread
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdickert/390774242/">I love butter</a>

2 John 7-11

The world is full of liars. They say Jesus was a hoax. People who say that are liars. They’re the Antichrist. Watch out! Don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard for! Claim what’s yours!

If you don’t stick with Jesus, but go out on your own, God help you. If you stick with what you’ve been taught, God and Jesus will stick with you.

If someone tries to tell you something else, keep away from them. It’s like inviting trouble to invite them.

There was once a book club. It was a nice book club. Everyone loved to get together to discuss what they were reading at their weekly meetings.

At one of their meetings, the hostess served wine and cheese. It was lovely. Everyone agreed. What a lovely touch, having such elegant refreshments. Over the next few months, more and more of the members, when it was their turn to host the club’s meetings, began to serve wine and cheese.

It was so lovely that club members soon began inviting some of their friends. “Come to our book club,” they said. “We have wine and cheese.”

It wasn’t long before many of the club members started showing up for meetings without having read the material. In the moments of awkward silence when nobody had anything to say about the book of the week, discussions began to center around the wine and cheese. A year later, the group still called itself a book club, but they no longer bothered to read or discuss any books at their wine and cheese meetings.

True story. Is your church about doing the Jesus thing, or is it about the wine and cheese?

Or, as the Elder would say, “Watch out! Don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard for! Claim what’s yours!”

Real Life, Now

the "Leave it to Beaver" Cleaver house
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/5362293391/">Loren Javier</a>

2 John 4-6

I was elated to see that some of your members are really living, just as God intends for us. But friends, I’m asking that you love each other. I’m not asking anything new here. It’s what we’ve always insisted on from the start. Love, by doing what Jesus says. From the start, this has been the whole point.

Some people are really living. Some people are really loving. Some people are doing what Jesus says.

Even in the early church, so often held up as the paradigm to get “back to,” some people are really getting it. Others are just going through the motions. They’re not so different. “Getting back” to a mythical “golden age” (whether it’s the 2nd century church to which this letter was written, or the mid-20th century post-war, baby-boom church with Sunday School classes bursting at the seams), only means going back to a time when some people get it and others are going through the motions.

The point is not to recreate an ideal past. The point has been, from the beginning, to “get it” here and now.

The point is not to pine nostalgically for glory days, but to really, truly live today.

The point is not to wish for love’s labors lost, but to love by doing what Jesus did in the present.

That’s the point. Always has been. From the start.