Notes and Outlines

OK, everyone, we are planning for the future!

To that end the Believe Something Better Page has been updated! You can now see a little of what we are planning with it. We plan on having the Notes and Outlines (free material we’re providing) up and available for download. This coupled with the BOGV provides a kind of study bible experience. We hope to have these study notes completely available over the course of the next two years. You’ll get to see the page evolve as more content is finished.

We are currently working on the finishing touches to 1 John-Jude, the first volume which will be made available in the Believe Something Better Commentary Series. We are really excited to be getting so close to actually making something available and having fruit for labors.

In this we want to give all the glory to God. We can do nothing through our own strength and only God is the one with the strength who has accomplished this!

Pray for us as we continue to move forward with this goal of finishing the series of commentaries and for volunteers. We are actively seeking volunteers to get involved in the Ministry. If you feel as though you would like to be involved please e-mail us. We are also open to taking donations please e-mail us about this option as well.

Thank you so much!
RB

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August 2017 Update

Hey everyone, I want to be better about posting updates here. We’re looking for volunteers currently in a number of places; not just here but also at BOG Ministries. If you would like to get involved in our ministry here, we have a multitude of positions we would love to fill. We are looking at expanding our scope a little bit and we would love your help as we do so.

We are moving forward with so many things. I do plan on having the next episode of the BSB Vidcast/Podcast out this month – most likely very close to the end of the month. I am continuing work on the Believe Something Better Commentary series and I think we are on track for the first volume (though in actuality it looks as though it will be the 55th volume in order of Biblical layout) to be finished by November with subsequent publish in December or January. I am currently finishing up Second John and will be moving on to work on Third John soon. I am rather excited about this whole thing. It always feels good to have some fruit from your labors.

I am hoping to actually put out the eBook of the of the Psalms by RB and I hope to be putting out the second set soon. I enjoy poetry and write it as my mind wanders. I hope you enjoy it too.

All in all, I am hard at work and the BOG team is hard at work. Currently the work for the BOG team is the Gospel of John and after I am finished working on 1 John – Jude I will be putting together a short amount of info to go along with John in order to have an outreach book available. This would be BOG Ministries’ first piece of work in print and we have the same feeling as I stated above, fruits from our labor.

Pray for us as we continue down the road, running the race which is laid before us. We look forward to hearing from any of you who wish to get in touch. Our e-mail lines are always open. Feel free to e-mail us when ever you want!


RB

A Conversation with a Martyr

Download the Story A Conversation with a Martyr here →

OK, that could be a very misleading title!

I want to make it clear I have not personally contacted a martyr for the faith. Rather this is a work of fiction. I have always been – at least when it comes to writing – a fiction writer. I love to write fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy. You in fact can read my fiction online as it is currently being serialized. Well I was sitting in my chair reading Voice of the Martyrs and the Lord smacked me on the head with an idea I just couldn’t shake. Well… I think it was the Lord anyway. As I said I just couldn’t shake it I had a visceral need to write it and finish it.

I thought I’d give you all a chance to read it. I’ve been holding it back as it is different from anything else I’ve ever written. The idea is I’ve been praying to God about being the kind of person who is willing to lay their life down for Him. I’ve never thought I was this person. I want to be this person, but never felt like I had the courage to be. This part is not fiction, this part is absolutely true. I have prayed this question many times in my life. Wondered for many years if a great persecution happened here in the USA would I be the person hiding his beliefs to get by or would I stand up and shout God’s good news from the roof tops?

The story is essentially God giving me an answer. Whether this answer is real or fake, I cannot tell. I’ve pondered it and handed the story to wiser men than I. I have nothing more really to say about the story.

I hope you enjoy it.

Download the Story A Conversation with a Martyr here →

Update – July 2017

Hello everyone, I am just wanting to give a quick update. We’ve been rather sparse this year on the number of updates. I have to admit I have been really busy so far this season and I’ve been rather preoccupied. This does not mean I am doing nothing. We are hoping to bring out the first official volume of the Believe Something Better Commentary Series this Fall/Winter. This Volume will encompass 1 John – Jude. I believe in actual numbers, though being the first one published once everything is said and done it will be the 53rd volume in the series.

I am hoping to move onto James, or 1 & 2 Peter after 1 John – Jude is finished. We will have to wait and see what the Lord provides in this. I am currently reading my NIV Study Bible which my parents gave me years ago.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, or send us an e-mail. We look forward to hearing from everyone! As always prayer requests are welcome and keep us in your prayers!

Thoughts on Actions – 2017

Well, I’ve been trying over the past several years to write an article for Believe Better Ministries on the subject of Actions. I feel as though I’ve been blocked. I don’t know if I have the words to bring this subject to bare. I’ve prayed over it and still do not feel led to write a full paper on the subject. So, I’m going to give my thoughts and leave it at that. (Quick side note: I think the reason I’ve been stopped from writing is due to it being very, very hard not to become legalistic when putting forth this subject. So I pray for a grace filled message.)

My main thought, when I’ve written things down about actions, is we’re not meant to be stagnant, passive followers, sitting in pews. We are meant for so much more! So many believers think the meeting of the Church involves going to a building, sitting in a pew (or chair), singing some songs, listening to a message, drinking a little grape juice and eating a cracker, giving a little money, and then going home. This is NOT the meeting of the Believers! If this was the way our meetings were to be conducted in this day and age why do I even need to go? Can I not accomplish all of this from my sofa? My couch is way more comfortable to sit in than any pew (or for that matter any chair) I’ve ever sat in in any Church Meeting Hall, I can easily buy grape juice (or wine if I wanted) and crackers, I can listen to KLove or some other Christian music network (heck I could pull it up on Pandora if I wanted), I can watch any of a number of different speakers on TV or listen on radio for a message, I can give money over the home or straight through the internet, and in the end I’ve accomplished about the same thing.

Are either of these a true form of a meeting of the Church? No! Again, I say no! We are called to service. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, gave us an example (John 13:12-17). Jesus was among us as a servant and said the greatest in His Church (the believers) would be the one who served (Luke 22:24-27). We are to be ready to act! I like how the ESV translates the first half of Luke 12:35: “Stay dressed for action”! we are to be ready. The type of readiness is the same as a soldier.

The literal translation of the phrase is “gird up your loins”. This girding of the loins was what a soldier would do before putting on his chest plate. He would take a strip of tough cloth and tightly wrap it around his waist preparing himself for action, for combat. This is what the Lord Jesus was saying. Let alone His brother, James, who gave us “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26b) Why? Does this mean we need to follow the legalist? No! It simply means this: You can see the fruit!

As those who follow Christ, we have invited God into our hearts and He is faithful and indwells us. So, since we have the Holy Spirit living in us – conforming us to the image of the Son (see Romans 8), helping us to put off the old self and to put on the new self (see Colossians) – there should be fruit. Now, here is where this topic gets sticky and this is where my words fail me. I would never tell you to judge someone else, lest we forget what the Lord Jesus said about removing the log from our own eye before removing the speck from our brother’s eye.

I am not saying we need to apply these principles to others. I am saying we need to do these ourselves and let the Lord deal with everyone else. Remember this Christian life is all about a relationship with the Almighty. He teaches His children what they need when they need it. You may not see fruit in someone else’s life, but you also don’t know about the rocks their roots have been fighting with.

I think I should leave it at that. We need to be more active in our faith. The things we say we need to do. Having said this I also want to remind you, take this to heart for yourself, don’t push it on others or judge others for what you don’t really know. The lord is working in their lives just as He is in yours and in mine.

Easter Thought – 2017

Well, here, we are in 2017 and standing again before the Lord in worship of His sacrifice for us on the cross. As far as holidays go, Easter really is my favorite. I’m brought to my knees, with tears in my eyes, as I think about how worthless my righteousness is, and yet God thought a relationship with me worth it enough to pay the price to have that relationship. Relationships have been the big-ticket item in my thoughts and Bible stud recently. I recently posted a thought here, and gave a short word on it at the Willamette Bible Chapel, where I spoke on Colossians 1:24–27.

Relationships are important! They are really in a lot of ways, the most important thing. We see this even in the law as the Pharisees ask the Lord Jesus what the greatest commandment was. His responses to this question are both completely relational (Matthew 22:34–40; Mark 12:28–34; Luke 10:25–28). Furthermore, the verse which is singular best known verse in the Bible: John 3:16 gives us a relational statement about why Jesus came to the Earth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world!

Christianity, for some reason has almost become more like an achievement or badge to wear rather than what it’s supposed to be. Christianity should be more like the relationship status we post on Facebook:

“RB is in a relationship with the Eternal Creator of All — God”

This is what Christianity should be. This is what Easter celebrates. We are celebrating God bridging the gap for us so we can have a relationship with Him. If God hadn’t done this we would only be able to view God as one mighty lawgiver. Instead, however, we get to enjoy the benefits of a personal relationship with the most powerful Being which exist. A Being whose very word says He is love (1 John 4:8).

This is what I am remembering this Easter.

Hope you all have a happy Easter.

New Random Project

Well everyone, I have to admit I have Adult ADHD. I have ADHD for a long time. I learned to cope early on, but one byproduct of ADHD for me is my mind runs at two thousand times faster than other peoples. This also causes me to have almost too many thoughts happening. So, in an attempt to siphon some of those thoughts off I’ve started putting my thoughts down to paper. I’m going to start posting those thoughts to the web (I know scary). Well those thoughts will be being posted in either my personal blog (RB-Wan) or in my new project 21st Century Warrior Monk. The first post is out here and explains pretty well what my goals are for that project. This is part of the Believe Better Ministries only in that I am the author of these posts.

I hope if you go check it out you will enjoy it. If you have any feedback I always enjoy receiving it. Send it to me at RB.May@BelieveBetterMinistries.com.

Thanks So Much!
RB

Review of the CSB

I was graciously given a copy of the new Christian Standard Bible (CSB). I’ve gone through it now and appreciate the translation highly. I’m the sort of person who uses multiple translations in my study of the Word. I had purchased a copy of the HCSB (the previous revision of what is now called the CSB) two years ago, on the reference of a brother. I read through several portions of it immediately and had a thorough appreciation for the translation. I like a little more literal version than the CSB/HCSB, but sometimes I know the literalness obfuscates the matter.

This Is the same reason we have consistently made new translations of the Bible since the original King James Version came out. We need updates to language and contextual understanding. This is the very appreciation I have for the CSB. It has a mediating style between literal (formal equivalence – word-for-word) and idiomatic (dynamic equivalence – thought-for-thought) translation which the translators have called “optimal equivalence”. It allows them to put meanings and/or words on the page which while implied by the Greek would not be part of a literal translation.

This allows the CSB translators to give a clearer translation than some of the literal translations may be able to. As someone who favors literal translations, my first thought is to discount the CSB because of their chosen translation philosophy. However, I ha e been edified time and time again by translation whose philosophy was a balancing between literal and idiomatic. NIV, HCSB, NET, and others have all been used by me to great effect and edification.

I have specifically enjoyed the CSB as a they also chose wording which are different from the traditional. This really makes you think about what you are reading rather than letting verses go by just because you’ve read them a hundred times before. John 3:16 is one of the best examples:

King James Version
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

English Standard Version
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

New International Version
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Christian Standard Bible
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

You can see even the NIV which isn’t supposed to follow the traditional translation dogma and is supposed to be a completely new translation follows the traditional reading of John 3:16. It is only the CSB (and the HCSB before it) which broke from the tradition and finally did something new.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought: Never discount something because it is new. As Christians we are to give every faithful rendering of Scripture a chance. The Lord will bless us for being faithful to His Word.

Episode 0 – Believe Something Better Podcast

Click Here to download this Episode of the Believe Something Better Podcast

This is a simultaneous release of this episode in audio and video. If you would like to watch this episode please feel free to click here.

This is the first episode of the Believe Something Better Podcast. It is an introduction to myself (Ray “RB” May IV) and my beliefs. It is also an introduction to the show itself. You can read the thought on relationships here.

We also look forward to hearing from you! If you would like to get in touch with us you can send us an e-mail here. Thank you for listening!

If you would like more information about the Willamette Bible Chapel click here.
More info on the Plymouth Brethren here.
More info on the Open Brethren here.

Just a side note it’s fitting this first episode is posted on my (RB’s) birthday.

Thoughts on Friendship – 2017

Willamette Bible Chapel just had their annual Men’s Retreat. I attended and was truly blessed. The subject this year was friendship. I really appreciated this subject as relationships are a strong call in my life. I think everyone has a huge call in their lives toward relationships. I personally feel they are the most important thing in our lives. Jesus said the greatest commandments are to “Love the Lord your God” and “Love your neighbor”. This tells us, even from the time of the law, relationships were primary in the heart of God.

Relationships are our primary view and shining forth of God. John states in his first epistle that we cannot saw we love God and hate our brother (fellow believer whether man or woman). So, it is our relationships in which we show how much we love God. Through loving our brothers and sisters (fellow believers) and our other neighbors (those who are not believers as well) we show how much we love God. Through this – loving the people around us (believers or not), and loving God – we fulfill the whole law.

One of my other thoughts is on relationships, well friendships really, is our intimate friendships affect our views, attitudes, and everyday choices. If I make intimate friends with a non-believer I need to be careful with this friendship so it does not drag me away from God. Rather, I need to shine the light of God into their lives. If I allow it to pull me away from God, I allow, also, my witness for God to be torn down. So, I need to guard my heart from such things. I need to strive toward God and shine His light.

I’m not trying to say we should cut ties with the world, and those who are unsaved. This would not be loving our neighbor as our own selves. Cutting ties with those who are unsaved, also, tears down our witness. For to whom are we witnessing? Ourselves? No, we are witnessing to non-believers! So, it would be terribly inappropriate to cut ties with the unsaved. Did Jesus do this? No, of course not, He was a friend to sinners.

The difference is Christ is God, perfect, omnipotent; able to not let the world tear Him down and destroy His witness. We are impotent and must depend on the LORD for our strength. So, through all our friendships we need to cleave into God. Our intimate friendships should, however, be with believers. This is because our intimate friendships when with other believers, shall build us up in the Lord. Have friendships evangelize shine the light of the Lord as a city on a hill! Relationships are one of the greatest ways to evangelize. Be honest, be loving, be Christ to everyone.