As the son of a marine, Joshua grew up moving from military base to military base. Rarely having time to catch his breath, let alone put down roots, he moved from one location to the next feeling alone and unable to connect, especially when it came to church. From talking to the base chaplain to going to local churches, he kept getting discouraged and gave up on church for several years. Until he found Cherry Point Baptist Church, a loving community that encouraged him to find out why he believed what he believed.
“After I was saved, I wanted to learn all that I could about the Bible. When I heard about the New Living Translation (NLT) my curiosity was piqued. Reading the NLT has brought a sense of vividness and clarity. I have read lots of translations, but keep coming back to the NLT,” said Joshua.
Joshua’s enthusiasm for God’s Word continues to grow and he can’t keep it to himself. He leads a multigenerational Bible study at his church and has become an active member in a local community feeding program.
“We live in a world filled with competing ideas. Not only reading but understanding the Bible helps people find their way. If they aren’t in the Bible, they are putting themselves at risk. I know, because it happened to me,” said Joshua.
From past experiences Joshua learned the importance of discernment and finding truth in God’s Word, not in the world around you. In his Bible study he helps others understand that too. It’s not only about reading the Word, it’s about studying it and applying it to our lives.
“Readability helps a person to understand what God is telling them. If a translation is hard to read and understand, I’ve seen people struggle when asked to read aloud or feel frustrated that they don’t understand. I’ve had that experience in my own study, finding myself mentally rephrasing or using a dictionary to try to understand some of the words. I wonder how many people have given up reading the Bible when faced with these issues?” said Joshua.
Making sure that doesn’t happen has become paramount to Joshua. The NLT is used every week in the Bible study Joshua leads to make concepts clear and help people feel confident while reading God’s Word. He has also found that the NLT is a great way to engage with people who attend a local feeding ministry.
Called Loaves and Fishes, this ministry invites community members to a free meal. Volunteers bring hot meals and desserts and they talk to people around the tables. The evening includes a short devotional, Scripture reading, and a time of prayer.
“I started attending as a visitor, and now I’m a volunteer. I give the devotional, but I also hand out plates, set up the tables, and help wherever I can. Just being a listening ear or extra pair of hands to someone who needs it is a powerful ministry,” said Joshua.
“Reading the NLT gives me a sense of peace. I feel I can turn off the distractions of the world around me and just pray, read, and ask God for wisdom,” said Joshua.