Bible Study Bus is Not in Kansas Anymore

The Bible Study Bus rolls on…and we keep hearing good thingsfrom those who attend. An attendee/organizer from Kansas sent this email after the Bus visited her church in late May:

Landon,

The Bible Study Bus event was a success! We had between 40 and 50 people there, which I thought was good considering the majority were not from our church.I was really excited because I had sent a media alert to our local TV stations and one of them actually came and interviewed Bob and took pictures of the bus. It was featured on the news last night.

The presentation was awesome!I was impressed with how intuitive the Bible study software is. I suggested to Bob that he go back to work for Microsoft and make Word and Project more user friendly, too :) One of my favorite features is the ability to see flowcharts of the relationships between everyone in the Bible. I can never keep track of who knew who.

Please thank everyone for bringing the Bible Study Bus to Topeka. It was a terrific experience!

Thanks!

Wendy

Sure enough, channel 13 reported that “A big green tour bus cruised the streets of Topeka.” Big and green don’t quite do it justice, somehow…

Mark Goodacre is Coming to Town

Guest blogger Mark VanDyke provides some details on Monday’s lecture event…

The next Lecture Series event is just around the corner!


On Monday, June 11 Logos will welcome Dr. Mark Goodacre to Bellingham, Washington. Dr. Goodacre hails from Duke University where he teaches in the Department of Religion. The lecture, titled “Did the Jews of Jesus’ Day Expect the Messiah?”, will begin at 7:00 PM at the Mount Baker Theatre in downtown Bellingham.


It is popularly assumed that the Judaism of Jesus’ day had a clear, well-defined expectation of a Messiah figure whom God would send to liberate them with military might. It is then assumed that early Christians, and perhaps Jesus himself, revised this expectation and proclaimed a different kind of Messiah, one who was to suffer. But how accurate is this picture? Does it explain the evidence found in the Hebrew Scriptures, early Jewish texts and the New Testament? Or should we instead think of a great variety of expectations, as many scholars argue? In this lecture, Dr. Goodacre will revisit the term “Messiah” and explore evidence that it was used as a synonym for a new Davidic “king” or “ruler”. Dr. Goodacre also asserts that when the first Christians called Jesus “Messiah”, they were speaking not only about past events and present beliefs, but also about his future return as king.


Dr. Goodacre not only teaches at one of the world’s top universities but he also maintains one of the web’s best sites on New Testament studies. New Testament Gateway is a web directory of internet resources that is updated each day with blog posts, new information and discussion on anything relating to the New Testament. Dr. Goodacre’s blog is written for an academic audience but his lecture will be geared towards a wide range of people.


So far, the Lecture Series has been a major success. Attendees have been impressed not only by the quality scholarship on display at the events but also by the direct application that can be derived from each lecture. As a matter of fact, the lectures have been so good that a few employees at the Mount Baker Theatre have shown interest in attending when they aren’t “on duty”.


Once again, here are the event details:



  • Date: Monday, June 11
  • Location: Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, Washington
  • Time: 7:00 PM
  • Topic: Did the Jews of Jesus’ Day Expect the Messiah?
  • Admission: Free!

We look forward to this event being another resounding success and, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, we hope to see you there!


Update 6/7: Mark shares additional details about the upcoming lecture on NTGateway Weblog.

Update 6/11: Follow Mark’s journeys in the Pacific Northwest: Travel Diary: Bellingham, WA

Radio Ads (Logos on the Airwaves)

Part 2 | Part 3

Logos doesn’t do a lot of radio advertising, but sometimes we have occasion to dabble in this area. Of course, it’s always a challenge to convey a very visual product via an aural-only medium. We’ve pretty well established the fact that when people see Logos Bible Software, they “get it” and are eager to own a copy…but when they hear about it (especially when limited to a 60-second spot) the response is not so automatic.

We don’t have a big budget to go out and hire a flashy advertising firm to create ads, sowhen we do a radio ad it’s usually written in-house. Since we’ve got a couple buildings full of smart, creative people, the Logos marketing department will solicit ideas from the whole office and run with the best idea that comes in.

The two radio spots linked below recently ran on our local Christian radio station, Praise 106.5. You can download and listen to them as MP3s. I edited out the special URL given for the radio campaign (can’t spoil our sales source tracking with a massive influx of orders from the blog!)so you may notice an abrupt ending or jump.

Radio Spots

College Roommates – concept from Brenna Sebens, executive assistant

Leatherbound Bible – concept from Mark VanDyke, marketing assistant

Biblioblogs.com Interviews Rick Brannan

Biblioblogs.com is a list ofblogs on biblical topics, maintained byJim West and Brandon Wason. Besides being a great resource to discover blogs on topics that may interest you,it alsofeatures a different biblioblogger every month and posts an interview with that person.

Why do I mention it now? BecauseJune’s Featured Blogger is none other than our very own Rick Brannan, who writes for the Logos Blog, Ricoblog and PastoralEpistles.com.

Check out Rick’s interview to learn the origins of the name Ricoblog, what Space Invaders and a TRS-80 have to do with Bible software, and how Say’s Law relates to the future of blogging. Oh, and while you’re reading about Rick, stop by Ricoblog and congratulate him on his brand new baby. She’s a cutie!

The Changing of the Guard

Guest blogger Scott Lindsey is back in the office after five weeks on the Bible Study Bus. View more road trip photos at Flickr or readScott’s first and second posts from the trip.

ScottBobHandoff

Bob Pritchett, our fearless leader, and family flew into Dallas on Tuesday evening to take the keys to the Bible Study Bus and continue our Bible study campaign across America!

I can’t believe my leg of the trip is done… WHEW, that was a lot of driving and work. The Lindsey Crew drove almost 5,000 miles in the last 5 weeks. But it sure has been a privilege to introduce people to the best Bible study technology on the planet!

We had some great BBQ and an even better event Tuesday night in Fort Worth at Christ Chapel Bible Church. Attending Tuesday night’s event was Mike Atwell, our new Field Rep for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Wednesday was a day to celebrate… the first installment of the Bible Study Bus Road Trip is complete! So, we went to Six Flags over Texas. GroupAtRVThanks to Sean Fields – our resident graphic artist – and his loud-and-proud Bible Study Bus design, it’s impossible to forget where you park the thing. You should have seen the bus in the massive Six Flags parking lot… thousands of people all day walked by mouthing the words Bible-Study-Bus. We invited the Dossey family up from Austin to enjoy the day with us. Alex and Nicole both used to work at Logos and have remained dear friends. It was great seeing them again!

It was truly a blessing to travel across this great nation for the last 5 weeks and meet so many wonderful churches and show the Body of Christ how Logos can greatly impact personal Bible study. I pray the fruit of our labor brings glory to the Lord and creates a hunger and thirst for His word.

Well, onward Logos Bible Study Bus! The Road Trip continues through August so we hope to see you at one of the events.

- Scott Lindsey & Family

New Bible Widget for Mac

Mac users can download the new and improved Bible Widget from www.LogosBibleWidget.comor Apple.com.

Thebiggest update is that thenew widget adds the ESV Bibleso you can instantly navigate to a verse in either the English Standard Version or King James Version Bible.

Logos Bible Widget version 2 is also much more streamlined, in response to requests from users who foundthe original widgetto be a desktop space hog. It’s alsovery good-looking, if I may say so (kudos to Sean Fields, Logos design director)…

Using the widget is simple: Type a Bible reference to jump to that verse. Click the forward or back arrow to jump to the next/previous verse; click the double arrows to jump to verse 1 of the next/previous chapter. You can copy/paste text from the verse window into another application.

To switch Bible versions, just flip the widget over.

Related posts:

Top 50 People in the Bible

Earlier this month, we blogged about the process used toquantify theThe Most Important Person in the Bible by computing factors such as frequency of mentions and the dispersion of those mentions across biblical books and chapters.

As you might suppose, Jesus Christ is the most important person in the Bible.

But what I findinteresting is how the Bible characters fall into rather distinct first, second and third rate clusters when we use Sean Boisen’salgorithm. These three clusters really jump out when the data is loaded into Many Eyes,IBM’sonline visualization engine.

Click the screenshot above to see a full-size static image that I enhanced with name labels…or click here to play with the live visualization at Many Eyes (Java required).

Three Clusters

Moving from right to left (descending order of importance), the three clusters that emerge are:

  1. Jesus, David, Moses, Jacob
  2. Abraham, Aaron, Solomon, Judah, Isaac, Saul (Son of Kish), Joseph, Paul, Joshua, Peter
  3. The remaining 36 characters…starting with Levi, Benjamin, Hezekiah and ending with Jehoshaphat, Uzziah and Adam.

If you wanted to study the various people in the Bible using a top-down list, it wouldn’t hurt to begin with Jesus, David and Moses. Jacob might be a little higher up the list than I would think warranted. But the second clusterseems pretty solid, with Abraham, Joseph, Paul and Peter definitely looming large in the pages ofScripture.

A few biblical figures I didn’t expect would be buriedso far down in Cluster 3: Noah and Adam, those staples of bedtime Bible stories and flannelgraphs. Plus prophets with whole books named after them such as Jeremiah and Isaiah. Of course, these are the top 50 Bible peopleout of 2,987…so we’re not talking about obscurity for any of them.

“Where are all the ladies?” you may rightly ask. None of them made the Top 50 using this name weighting scheme…but Sean did generate a data set for the Top 50 Women of the Bible which I plan to blog about in a follow-up post…

Dot Size vs. Position

Many Eyes also helpsillustrate how Sean’s inclusion of factors such as dispersion overbooks and chaptersaffects the overall ranking. Here’s a close-up of Cluster 2:

The X-axis is the overall “importance ranking” and the dot size is the number of mentions. So Sean’s weighting is evident in those places where you see a smaller dot like Abraham promoted far above a larger dot like Saul. Ranking the Bible names strictly by number of mentions would put Saul above Abraham, so we’re clearly getting a more nuanced view here.

The upshot of all this? We’re not solving the Bible Code or anything…and not trying to. But Ifind it very cool that anaverage joe like me can play around with these data and visualizations without knowing a lick of programming. I made this visualization just by selecting a visualization style and choosing which data to put on which axes. Once the dataset iscomplete (thanks, Sean!) we’ll be able to do all kinds of additional cool things not possible today…and be able to do it using Logos Bible Software!

Related posts around the blogosphere:

Logos and Latin-American Missions

Today’s guest blogger is Rob Haskell, who works in the Spanish department at Logos.

It’s been fun to find out through my work with Logos that missions is a growing theme in Latin-American Christianity. This is so much so that we have been able to create a collection of 40 books on missions from a Hispanic perspective called Biblioteca Digital de la Misión (Digital Library for the Mission).

According to COMIBAM, an umbrella organization for missions from Latin America, there are almost 10,000 Latin missionaries around the globe – many of them in the US! Andthat figure does not take into account the number of “non-professional” missionaries who emigrate every day from Latin-American countries to all parts of the globe, taking with them the good news about Jesus.

Last month an elderly woman approached our booth ata pastor’s conference in Monterrey, Mexico. She was dark skinned and dressed in a sari so my initial thought was that she was East Indian. As it turned out she was a Mexican woman who was headed to India as a missionary in a month. She was outgoing, energetic and particularly excited because the Lord had just given her a laptop. Of course, the Logos booth was her next stop. Another person had also given her a crisp $100.00 billand after applying all possible discounts she was off with her very own Biblioteca Pastoral – our largest collection of books in Spanish. Now she can take a theological library of 144 books in her own language to the ends of the earth.

This committed missionary woman from Monterrey is probably the most striking image I have of the growing Latin-American passion for world missions, but there are many other amazing stories and surprising statistics which all point to a growing movement. It will be interesting to watch it develop and see how Logos can continue to play a role in the Lord’s work around the globe.

Protesting the Postage Rate Increase?

Ever since my blog post about saving 10% on postage, I’ve been thinking more and more about the reality of all the postage out there that has never been used.

Then I realized that today is May 15th, the day (according to several mass-emails I received titled “Do not pump gas on May 15th”) that we as a nation are going to show our solidarity and stick it to the gas companies by boycotting the pump for one day. This email explains that if we all get together we can take the gas companies for billions of dollars, and they will choke on their stockpiles.

In a way, the post office has created their own form of stockpiling of postage. The stockpile of collectible stamps has definitely contributed to their bottom line, but will never be used. They know there are collectors out there that need to have a complete collection, so why not make more designs just to sell stamps that will never be used?

Big deal I say. The post office has a good idea. They won’t be more popular by raising rates every week, but they will be popular by releasing more collectibles, and keeping rate increases down by ensuring they sell more postage than is actually used.

Sure, I know I have better things to do than to dream about postage all day, you probably do too – but if you are curious about what is really out there, take a look at what I found out…

I called up my new buddy, Tim, at the local Stamp and Coin shop and asked if there were an industry association for Stamp & Coin stores – sure enough – the American Philatelic Society. After looking over their website I stumbled on the dealer member directory which boasts 1,800+ entries. Now Tim is not a member, and it looks like most of his peers at other local Stamp & Coin shops aren’t either. A quick yellow pages search for Stamp and Coin in Seattle shows eight stores, yet a search for member stores in the APS directory yields only two. If you apply that multiplier to the country you get 7,200 Stamp & Coin shops. Hardly scientific I know, but this is a blog post, not an investigative journalist’s life’s work.

Tim says if you are any kind of stamp store at all, you have to have at least the basic collection of plain old postage issues including five issues of each stamp, mini sheets (which can have 20 stamps), rolls, regular sheets, blocks of 4, and so on and so forth. That can easily run around $5,000 of face value postage for a small mom & pop store – not to mention the bigger stores.

Since Stamp & Coin shops are always buying and selling inventory of stamps, add to that another thousand or two just to make sure you have more of the popular stuff, and an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 face value of old postage that they picked up at estate auctions or bought from the heirs of collectors like I mentioned in my previous post.

Inventory adds up pretty quickly, and pretty soon we are looking at say – $25,000 of face value postage stamps at each little shop, not counting the face value of the collectible stamps that are actually worth far more than their face value and which no sane person would ever dream of using as postage. If we take our conservative estimate of $25,000 in face value and multiply that by 7,200 stores we are looking at $180,000,000.00 in unused postage just sitting around in store inventory. Not to mention millions of dollars in unused postage in private collector’s hands, old desk drawers, lost, you name it.

Let’s add in the private collections. Apparently more than 55,000 members receive The Journal of the American Philatelic Society. Don’t get me wrong. I like stamps. I use stamps. I think they’re great. I’ve always had a roll or book of stamps in my desk drawer, but I’ve never once thought about joining the special stamp club. I figure in order to want to join the APS desperately enough to pay a membership fee and get their journal, you probably have to be pretty serious about stamps.

Tim says if you are pretty serious about stamps you’ve got to have at least a couple thousand in face value postage. Take over 55,000 members and multiply that by a couple thousand bucks and you’re looking at well over $100 million dollars, and that’s just for the dedicated “card-carrying” members. Now you have to believe that if there are more than 55,000 people who want to pay to be members of the APS there have got to be tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands more, that think stamps are cool enough to collect, but don’t want to join the club. For every one person that is serious enough to join the membership club, there have got to be dozens who are interested enough to collect stamps, but not enough to pay to join. Add their collections into the mix.

Now some people may be thinking that this is too hard to believe. Seriously, “hundreds of millions” of dollars in stamps? Come on.

Well how about this for starters: since most “collectors” are by nature not “sellers” imagine how much postage they are holding onto compared to what they have for sale. A quick scan of the APS auditors’ report from three years ago shows that they had almost $14,000,000.00 of members’ stamp books sitting around on consignment waiting to be sold. Who knows what that number is today, and that just counts the stuff that they are trying to get rid of. Most collectors “collect” and don’t sell, so if there is $14 million sitting around on consignment waiting to be sold, imagine how much they have in their private collections.

Any way you slice it, it looks to me like there are hundreds of millions of dollars of unused postage out there just sitting around with no special collectible value. So forget the forever stamp, there are already “forever” stamps out there. Every stamp ever issued in the USA is still worth every penny that it says it is.

Don’t go nuts. Do not send an email to everyone you know that says something like this:
“Protest the postage rate increase! Don’t buy stamps from the post office for the entire month of May! Buy old postage from Stamp & Coin shops and don’t go to the Post Office for the entire month in protest of the postage rate increase! If we all get together we can take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Post Office’s hands and put it back into the hands of the small business owners.

That will teach the Post Office that we don’t want a stamp hike!”

Oh rats, I forgot. I should have written that in ALL CAPS!

Obviously this won’t work for the same reason not buying gas on May 15th won’t work. As long as there are collectors, and as long as the Stamp & Coin shops keep inventory, they will just go out and buy more. If you don’t stop the consumption nothing changes when you put off purchasing for a brief time.

But what if people realized that the stamps that they were collecting were never going to make them rich? What if people who were sitting on stamp collections decided to take them out of their mint condition books and use them on a letter? Is the Post Office ready to operate on budget with an unforeseen $200 million dollar shortfall in postage sales?

It makes me wonder.

Now seriously, you need to get back to work because this post is way too long, and isn’t even remotely related to how to get the most out of the best Bible Study Software in the world like it should be.

If you are on your day off, and happen to be in the mood for some more crazy rambling, keep reading.

Is the USPS recognizing unused postage as a liability on their books, just like some gift card retailers do?

Does the postmaster general even discuss the fact that there are untold hundreds of millions of dollars in stamps out there that haven’t really been accounted for? They just assume that they will never be used, and they go about their business. Are they held to the same level of accountability that gift card or stored value card retailers are? Or does the government get different treatment?

Over a year ago it was reported that Home Depot Inc. saw $43 million in pretax profit from cards sold before 2002 that went unused. The same report revealed that Limited Brands Inc. had unspent gift cards worth $30.4 million on the books. It would be interesting to see if that same year the postmaster general’s report including a line item for unused postage… Big retailers are raking in tens of millions of dollars in profit on totally unused gift cards that people lose, throw away, collect, or just never spend – and those cards are way more versatile and useful than a sheet of stamps.

But once again we see that the Internet changes the way the world works. Now there are several websites that do nothing but facilitate trading or selling unused gift cards…not to mention eBay. People are already selling unused postage at a discount on eBay and other places.

Will we see new sites popping up selling “Unused postage” (hurry, that domain was still available when I wrote this post) or what about the new forever stamps? The USPS printed 4 billion “forever” stamps already and people are snapping them up like crazy. A quick search of the web shows a lively discussion on the merits of “forever stamp arbitrage” or forever stamps as investments. Since even the new forever stamp will always be worth the price of a first class mail piece, having, oh I don’t know…say 10,000 more stamps than you need when your kids inherit your shrewd investment may still flood the local Stamp & Coin shops with a ton of inventory that they will need to blow out. Of course it will be more convenient to use, so it may be easier to sell, but still – they will be sitting on lots of inventory, and that is a recipe for a discount.

Well, I have to get back to work now, then take some envelopes over to the Stamp & Coin place to get stamped, then run over to the gas station to fill up my car. Hey, I’m on empty, give me a break! :-)

Those Little Numbers and Letters

We recently created a Libronix-based product for a third party company andone of their outside consultants did Quality Assurance testing on it. She had a number of questions about the way things work within Libronix DLS—but the oddest question she asked was, “What are these numbers and letters all over the Bible?”

It took me a couple of tries to figure out that she was talking about the footnote and cross-reference indicators within the text of a Bible such as the English Standard Version.

After further clarification, I realized that she was not confused by the electronic implementation…she would have been equally stymied by the appearance of these littleletters and numbers in a print Bible! I guess it’s one of those things I take for granted as someone who has been around the Bible all my life. And yet surely somebody must have explained it to me, too, somewhere along the way.

People expect a fair bit of documentation with their new Bible software, which is why we include a help manual within the program, ship a free video tutorial disc with every base product, offer training articles, 70+ video tutorials on the web, Morris Proctor’s Tips & Tricks blog, tutorial posts right here on the Logos blog, user newsgroups, the Logos Wiki, and Camp Logos.

But what kind of help do people get when they pick up a print Bible for the very first time? How do they find out what all the little letters and numbers mean?