Over the last 8 months I’ve been on a search for ways to simplify my life, maintain a balance with my schedule, find ways to be more accountable and discover new resources to help in my walk with God. I will be using Thursdays to address some of those resources. The first one I want to start with is YouVersion.
For several years I have used some of the online Bibles to look up Scripture on the fly or to search for keywords when needed. It wasn’t until YouVersion launched several years ago that I had hope that an online Bible could be as valuable of a study/sermon prep tool as a regular paper-based Bible. Over the last year the amazing folks at LifeChurch.tv have made vast improvements to the YouVersion platform to the point where it is my main tool for personal Bible study and sermon prep work. I can mark certain passages, enter private journal notes for sermon prep, make contributions for others to see and add sermon series name tags to anything I mark in the program. It is a great organizational tool for someone who preps his sermons months in advance of actually preaching them.
YouVersion has a daily reading schedule that will take users through the Bible in a year if you follow it. I usually don’t as I am on a personal journey through the New Testament again. I usually read the daily New Testament Scripture through my iPhone app at home during my morning devotions. I use the contribution feature to create a pseudo-Bible study for leader in our church. They can go look at the Scripture I’ve mark, see my thoughts on the selection and see more clearly where God is taking me…to take our church. All of the tags I have are sermon series titles for the upcoming 10-12 months. I’ll use them to mark passages, Scriptures, contributions or journal notes that can be used for that series. When I get ready to do more in-depth prep all I have to do is click the tag and I’ve a treasure trove of things for each sermon in the series. I use my journal entries (because they are private) of a way of creating a personal dairy of what God is showing…and as a way to make sermon notes. Word has it that there will be the ability to make YouVersion contributions and journal entries from your smartphone in the near future. I’m looking forward to that feature.
My goal this year is to go paperless…and to stop lagging my laptop around. YouVersion is helping me meet that goal…and then some.