Thursday, December 27, 2018

Looking forward to the NEW YEAR


Hi Friend!

I want to spread the news that my new Read To Me Daily plan is now LIVE in the YouVersion app. If you haven’t heard, you can read this plan normally, OR if you hit the play button on the Devotional page, it becomes like a podcast, where you can listen to the whole thing, including the devotional introduction. This is perfect for those who would like to read and listen at the same time. However due to an unforeseen chain of circumstances, the audio devotional will not be in the app until sometime on January 2. The link to see or sign up for this plan is here in the episode notes: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/13707/

I am grateful to the fine people at YouVersion for the extraordinarily patient help they gave to me to get this new kind of plan set up. They not only gave me excellent help by email, but even phoned me twice.

If you will be joining me in using the Read To Me Daily plan on January 1st, please be aware that the Devotional page will not have the play button for audio for the first 2-3 days. The play button should magically appear by January 3rd, and if it doesn’t, please look for another announcement from me like this one.

I ask for prayer as I am searching for a new voice to take my place in reading the devotionals for the Read To Me Daily plan. I hope to find a volunteer who is more expressive in reading than I am, and who has the time to edit recordings.

It is time for me to recommend different Bible podcasts for those ready to move to a different voice for next year. The two big alternatives are Daily Audio Bible (the oldest, and my inspiration for starting the DBRP in 2014) and Daily Radio Bible.

As some of you would have noticed, my devotional comments are usually talking about something that was previously read. This is a bit counter-intuitive to some. If you are one of those people, two YouVersion audio reading plan authors talk more about ‘this is what you will read’ style. They are Kris Langham who has an app and reading plan called Through the Word,

[Examples:

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/437-ecclesiastes-bible-audio-guide
https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/387-luke-bible-audio-guide]

and Nikki Gumble, who has a plan called Bible in One Year.

I personally am planning to follow the Read To Me Daily plan using the NIV in 2019. Since the devotional text was not written with the NIV in mind, I am expecting to find times when the devotional comments will not match closely enough with the NIV. If you decide to join me in using the NIV with the Read To Me Daily plan, please remember that I would like to hear your comments. We might even do a plan sharing thing this year with people going through the NIV.

The NLT podcasts will again be re-released daily at dailybiblereading.info. And the GNT podcasts will be re-released daily at dailygntbiblereading.info.

Perhaps you--- like me, have been finishing up the final Bible readings for 2018. Just today I wondered about Isaiah’s dates. It turns out that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which Isaiah describes in the past tense in Isaiah 64 didn’t happen until 100 years after his death. As I have mentioned before, prophets frequently describe future events in the past tense. John does it all the time in Revelation. If you also are finishing Isaiah, you might be interested in viewing two videos about the book of Isaiah at https://thebibleproject.com/explore/isaiah/. In response to the first of the videos, if you have listened to what I said somewhere about Isaiah, you will know what I think about the authorship of Isaiah. I believe he wrote it all.

Please encourage your friends to read the Bible in 2019!

May the Lord bless you ‘real good’.

Phil


Check out this episode!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

2018 December Getting ready for the New Year


Hi, and Merry Christmas!

I have plenty of information to share this time. I hope you are not too distracted while listening to all this!

Would you like to see more people find the Daily Bible Reading Podcast? If so, here is a quick way you can really make a difference: Some time ago I made a channel for the DBRP on YouTube which is linked here in the episode notes. Please, even if you never intend to listen to an episode on YouTube, please click the link to subscribe to that channel. The more people that are subscribed, the higher our channel will appear in search results.

At the beginning of 2019, I hope to be able to make Youtube playlists of episodes a month at a time, so that it becomes easier for people to actually listen to the DBRP using that platform. Youtube is the second most popular Internet search engine. So please help some people who are searching to discover the DBRP. Just click the link above and click to subscribe to our channel. Currently, there are only 8 people subscribed.

The DBRP got off to a rough start in 2018. This was due to my not observing how the new update to the Apple podcast app ruined the way the many episodes of the DBRP were being displayed. People--- including my son, David, were having difficulty finding the next episode they wanted to listen to. This is important because, around half of our audience are listening on Apple devices and primarily using the podcast app. So we lost many listeners at the first of the year.

To address the problem, I have taken three categories from the DBRP podcast and moved them to two different new podcasts. This makes it so that menus and search results are less cluttered. So here’s how it will work for next year:

  • If you want to listen to the NLT podcast series, starting on January 1st, use our first web site, which is dailybiblereading.info. You will find complete information about listening apps and how to subscribe in the ReadMe PDF file linked at the top of the site. New episodes of the NLT will be released every day. Links for everything I am talking about right now are given in the episode notes.
  • If you want to listen to the GNT podcast series, those are no longer being released daily at the first site, but at the new one: dailygntbiblereading.info. Every day a new GNT episode will be released to all the podcast apps and will be available at that website. Complete information about listening apps and how to subscribe are found in the ReadMe PDF file linked at the top of the site.
  • If you enjoyed the JoySightings series of podcasts, I have moved those to a new location: joysightings.info. See podcast subscription information at that site. The Joysightings.info site also is host to the DayStarters series. The Joysightings podcasts are for sharing Parables of all kinds, but especially those of Safed the Sage. The DayStarters podcasts are GNT NT readings which were prepared for our daughter Hannah, so that she could start homeschooling days for Ava and Joel by listening to grampa read and pray. The readings are just the NT portion from the GNT readings, and they do not cover the more difficult readings in the New Testament. See the table of contents for both the DayStarter and JoySightings podcasts at joysightings.info.

Again I ask for your help! If you are an Apple device user and are still using the native Apple podcast app to listen to the original DBRP (not the newer GNT podcast), please tell me if you are more easily finding your episodes now. If there are problems, please send me a screenshot and tell me the difficulties you are having.

In looking forward to the new year, I never encourage people to listen to my podcasts for two years in a row. If you’ve listened to me for one year, it is time to find a different voice. But this year I have something new to suggest to you! I am releasing a new 100% audio reading plan for the YouVersion Bible app called Read To Me Daily. This will be almost like listening to one of my podcasts--- almost, but not quite. You’ll only hear my voice for the first 3 minutes reading the devotional introduction. But after you play the audio on the devotional page, then the YouVersion app will automatically play the default audio recordings for the two OT portions and one NT portion in whatever version you are using. This obviously won’t work for Bibles which don’t have recordings. The translations I recommend using for this plan are the NLT, GNT and NIV. For those who have read the NLT and GNT recently, I suggest following the NIV this next year. Just to let you know: That’s the version I plan to read in 2019.

One thing I like about this new RTMD YouVersion reading plan is the flexibility and the ease of use. Some people will choose to read on their own without activating the audio on days when that is convenient for them, but listen to the readings on days when they are commuting to work. Or, someone might listen one week to the readings in the GNT, and next week use the NIV recordings. Some people who delve deeper might choose to listen to some daily readings twice, perhaps once in the ESV and once in the NLT. Everything will be easy to do using just one app, the YouVersion Bible app. This Read To Me Daily reading plan will follow the same Digging Deeper Daily reading calendar as the DBRP. So on any day you might want to, you could jump to listening to your day number in one of the DBRP podcasts.

The reason I recommend using the NLT, GNT, or NIV for the RTMD plan is because those three translations are easier to understand in audio form. This plan will be released in 4 semesters to cover the whole year. Please help me spread the word about the new RTMD plan. I will release an audio invitation soon. Please share it with your friends.

Let me shift the topic back to the podcasts now: Recently I was talking to a man who has a ministry to the elderly in our town. It seems to me that the Amazon Alexa devices are the easiest way for elderly people to listen to the DBRP. I have already registered an Alexa skill for the DBRP, and I am applying for an Alexa skill for the Daily GNT Bible Reading podcast as well. Alexa devices like the Echo Dot start at just $29, but to use it, the person also needs to have a Wifi connection. By the last week of December, I will have new information in the ReadMe PDF file linked at the top of our websites that will tell you how to get things set up for using Alexa devices. Once you initiate the podcast on the Alexa device for your elderly friend, they can listen any time they want by saying, “Alexa, play the next episode of Daily Bible Reading Podcast.”

The initial idea for the Daily Bible Reading Podcast was to leave the recordings as a legacy for our grandkids. So far none of our grandkids have made it through a whole year’s worth. They currently range in ages from 16 down to 3, so there is still hope that they will listen to grampa someday. With the help of our podcast publisher, the DBRP is able to be subscribed to in almost any podcast aggregator app (and there are many), plus Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, GooglePodcasts, iTunes and Apple podcasts, Facebook, YouTube, and soon in Pandora.

I dropped the subscription to the dedicated Android and Apple podcast app, but I see that at least the Android app is still available in the Play Store. On my tablet, I noticed that the Android app is still working just fine. So for some of you, that may still be a hassle-free and advertising free way to listen. I still recommend the Podbean aggregator app for both Android and Apple devices, but it does show advertising while the podcast plays.

There are two more apps from YouVersion (also publishing under the name LifeChurch) that I want to tell you about. The first is Bible Lens. This app makes it easy to put Bible verses with any pictures that you have in your mobile phone or tablet. You are given multiple ways to creatively format the verses, and the output is more artistic than is possible using the verse-image feature that is available inside the YouVersion Bible app. (You see the Image option whenever you highlight a verse.)

The second terrific app from LifeChurch is Bible app for kids. This app is a very engaging way for kids from about 4-8 to listen to and watch Bible stories. The interface is like a game, and your kids will be able to navigate through and play the stories they want themselves.

One of my spiritual fathers, Richard Burson, gave me Sam Shoemaker’s book, Extraordinary Living for Ordinary Man. In that book was Shoemaker’s poem, “I stand by the door.” I will read that poem at the end. [I have edited the poem, and it was already slightly modified by the one who posted it at the website I link to the episode notes.] But here I give just the first lines:

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world—
It is the door through which people walk when they find God.

Not just a few times I have been tempted to be envious of people who have such wonderful ministries to overflowing audiences or who are invited to lead organizations. Somehow, no one has ever chosen me for anything like that. This poem has encouraged me, because it seems like to me that God has called me to take my place near the door Shoemaker talks about. And truthfully, it has surprised me that God gave me an audience through my podcast. And guess what! We find now that ‘the door’ has moved. At the time Shoemaker wrote, the door might have been to a church or an organization like the one Sam Shoemaker founded, where people might come and find answers. Now the door is more often via YouTube, or Stitcher, Facebook, or the app called Whatsapp. God is still calling many people to come to Jesus. So many people are spiritually hungry and searching for answers. Please join me in standing near the door!

Before I read the poem to close this podcast, I want to remind you to follow the link at the top of the episode notes to go to YouTube and subscribe to that channel. Let’s pray that this will help some find ‘the door’.

 

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world—
It is the door through which people walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like those who are blind.
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it . . .
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for people to find that door—the door to God.
The most important thing any one can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch—the latch that only clicks
And opens to one’s own touch.
People die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
[While others//They live,] on the other side of [the door//it]—live because they have found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping [those on the outside//them] find it [too],
And open it, and walk in, and find Him . . .
So I stand by the door.

Go in, great saints, go all the way in—
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics—
In a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening . . .
So I stand by the door.

The people too far in do not see how near [some others//these] are
To leaving— [those far-in ones being] preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from people as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.
Where [are they]? Outside the door—
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But—more important for me—
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch,
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
‘I had rather be a door-keeper . . .’
So I stand by the door.


Check out this episode!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Our 2018 Christmas Letter!

Hey Friends! Here is our Christmas letter! This letter shares one major prayer request: We are poised to start distributing a major new Gospel-sharing video in Indonesia. We were involved in translating and recording the narration parts for this production.

View/Download here.


Check out this episode!

Our 2018 Christmas Letter! [See attached PDF]

Hey Friends! Here is our Christmas letter! This letter shares one major prayer request: We are poised to start distributing a major new Gospel-sharing video in Indonesia. We were involved in translating and recording the narration parts for this production.


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

JoySightings and DayStarters Moving Locations


This is a really quick information podcast, recorded on my phone, because I am leaving for Indonesia in a few hours and I wanted to get this news to you.

The new web site for the JoySightings and DayStarters series WILL BE http://JoySightings.info. I am deleting the 134 episodes of DayStarters immediately, because I think that they are really messing up the search results for lots of listeners. So if you are listening to either of these series, please send me a message and tell me what series and number you were ready to listen to, and I will try to prioritize getting these ready for you. I will delete the 48 JoySightings episodes in a few days.

In a day or two from this posting, I hope that the iTunes/Apple Podcast app subscription link will be at the new web site: JoySightings.info.

For those who don’t know what these two series are, the JoySightings series are primarily a collection of Parables. Most of them are by Safed the Sage (the pen name of William E. Barton) who was a pastor in the Eastern USA over 100 years ago. He wrote his parables for the Sunday School Magazine he edited for the Congregational denomination. Another part of the JoySightings series are two wonderful children’s books by David and Karen Mains, Tales of the Kingdom, and Tales of the Resistance.

The DayStarters series was made at the request of Hannah, our daughter who is currently in Jakarta, Indonesia. She asked last year for 7 minute NT readings and a prayer to be made into separate podcasts. I chose the GNT recording series, and the books that I felt would be best for Ava and Joel who were 8 and 7 years old last year.

I recently moved the GNT series to a new podcast location, which is dailygntbiblereading.info.

One of the main reasons I have separated the original DBRP podcast into 3 podcasts is because of the terrible Apple podcast app, the native app that has the purple icon. For those of you who are using that app, I hope that the changes will eventually help you. But for some, like my son, David, the new GNT podcast when accessed in the Apple Podcast app still is not showing up in the proper order.

In my last news update, I recommended the Podbean app for all those who have trouble seeing the DBRP podcasts in the order you are listening to them. I was wrong about it not showing much advertising. It shows advertising all the time you are listening. However, if you are just listening and the screen is off, you won’t see the advertising. Podbean only shows the most recent 200 episodes, so it can’t find all the episodes for a whole 365 day year.

The very best app for listening to the DBRP (now three different podcasts) may be the one you have on your phone already: your favorite web browser. Just keep a tab perpetually open that has one of our  three sites. All three sites will be listed at the original site: dailybiblereading.info.

Here is a link to our most recent letter giving our prayer requests for my time in Indonesia. I was supposed to be on my way today already this morning. But the Lord evidently had different plans. I am thankful for a little more time at home, and for being able to give this news to you just before leaving. My letters are normally posted at the Digging Deeper Daily Facebook group which is also linked here in the episode notes.

May the Lord bless you ‘real good’.


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

GNT Podcast Moving Locations


Hi, friend!

This is to let you know that I have moved the GNT Bible Podcasts (the Good News Bible podcasts) to a new location. The way to subscribe to the GNT podcast series has changed. This is being done primarily to help the many folks who listen via the Apple podcast app or iTunes. This will make it so that listeners of the GNT podcasts won’t have unlistened to NLT podcasts cluttering their display. If you are listening to the NLT series, do nothing. If you listen on the Apple Podcast app,soon you won’t have the GNT podcasts cluttering your display. If you listen to the NLT series, just continue as you have before.

If you are a listener to the GNT series, the new website address just adds GNT to the name: That new GNT website is now DailyGNTBibleReading.info. If you listen on an Apple device, going to that site should present you with a link to subscribe so you can then find the GNT series in the podcast app.

For those of you actually listening to this podcast on an Apple device, open the episode notes and click on the iTunes/Podcast App subscription link, and you will be able to subscribe to the GNT podcast series with another tap. HERE’S the LINK.

This change also means that I am discontinuing the dedicated DBRP podcast apps for Android and Apple. I am not sure how long the current apps will continue to work. (Probably not long.)

If you are using the Android app, then let me suggest that you install a better Android app. And if you would like to join the many people who have ditched the now-broken Apple podcast app, I have the same recommendation for you: I recommend Podbean. Here are some of its great features:

  • Podbean works on both Apple and Android.
  • It shows nicely formatted episode notes.
  • It is easy to follow/subscribe to the either the Daily GNT or the Daily NLT Bible Reading podcast. Just search by the podcast name.
  • There are good controls for listening speed and silence reduction, and even optimizing volume.
  • You can easily choose episodes to pre-download. I wish the Apple podcast app was this intelligent.
  • The app includes almost no advertising. The only advertising I see is for the Pro version which is 99cents per month. You only see that advertising in the settings and probably when requesting certain kinds of content.
  • Downside: Podbean won’t list really old episodes. It only shows the most recent 200 episodes. So if someone wants to start listening today starting at episode 1, they won’t find it. People wanting to start from Day 1 should probably use the website.

New info about listening on Alexa:
I figured out my problem with getting Alexa to play the DBRP on an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. The Alexa skill invocation phrise is Daily Bible Reading. That won’t work out of the box. First start the Alexa app with the on-screen icon. Then find the Skills section, and manually type in the name of the skill, Daily Bible Reading. Then and only then will you be able to say, “Alexa, tell Daily Bible reading to play the newest episode.” (Otherwise Alexa keeps wanting to play an Audible Bible recording, which is most annoying.) Other skills are listed right on that page in the Skills section, which can be used for going back or forward x number of episodes, etc.

I will register a new Alexa skill soon for the GNT podcast.

There are many great podcast aggregator apps out there. A quick way to follow the DBRP on many apps is to supply the app with the rss feed (which is a special internet link). The rss feed for each podcast can be found right in the top information bar, among the icons, at our two web sites.

I’ll be leaving for Indonesia on the 11th of September, and be away from home until November 1. I’ll give another update on that soon. See the Digging Deeper facebook group, where I will try to share a picture or two.

May the Lord bless you ‘real good’!




Check out this episode!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

JoySightings_048


Three more parables from The Wit and Wisdom of Safed the Sage:

  • The Quick and the Dead;
  • Hollyhocks and the Storm;
  • The Circus Procession

Check out this episode!