PLEASE WELCOME from Birmingham, Alabama, one of my favorite people and a great teacher of God's Word, KEN CRAIG!
Want to have a better understanding of God's Word? A simple explanation of the plan of redemption? A better comprehension of the main theme of the ENTIRE Bible? Then enter to win Ken Craig's book, The Big Picture of the Bible. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email address written out like this: sandirog at gmail dot com. If you'd like to be entered in the drawing twice, then not only leave a comment, become a follower on my blog!
When I think of the Bible, sometimes I feel intimidated and overwhelmed. But Ken makes it easy for us to understand. And he does it by simply pointing us to scripture. This isn't some newfangled "knowledge" that he's imparting on us ignoramuses. What Ken teaches in The Big Picture of the Bible is wrapped around what Jesus has done for us. His life on this earth, His death, burial and resurrection. God's plan from the beginning is the key to us having a better understanding of His entire word, and Ken helps us to see that plan in an easy, comprehensive way. It's quite amazing, really. And wonderful!
So, who is Ken Craig?
Ken Craig has had a long and varied career in the field of information technology. After receiving a degree in mathematics, Ken began his IT career in Houston as a computer programmer with IBM on NASA’s Space Shuttle program. Ken has since managed various IT companies both in the U.S., as well as internationally. Ken has been married for more than thirty-five years, has two grown children, and serves as an elder at the Helena church near Birmingham. Ken’s real passion in life is telling others about The Big Picture of the Bible. He has carried this message all over the world. Ken can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ken, thank you so much for coming. It's great to have you here.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Didn't you live in Holland for a while? What were your experiences there? How long waere you there for?
I was loaned to a British firm that was in a joint engineering venture with a Dutch firm to build a state-of-the-art high tech plastics compounding plant for GE Plastics in the south of Holland. I was loaned to the British firm for two months to produce the planning for the development and integration of the numerous computer systems required for the new plant. That two month loan turned into a six year stint in The Netherlands! My children were 3 and 5 at the time and they made the transition to Dutch life very well. We spurned living in the American community near The Hague, choosing instead a small village outside of Amsterdam named Abcoude, a truly wonderful village of about 3,000 people. We absolutely loved our time in Holland and even learned to speak the difficult Dutch language, which very few of the Americans living in Holland would even try. This came in very handy in business meetings as people would switch to Dutch when they wanted to say things they didn’t want me to know! Of course I could understand everything they were saying and this really helped my business endeavors. My son was placed on the local soccer (football) team and they would practice every day with professional trainers. They take football very seriously in The Netherlands. My daughter was three and picked up the language in nothing flat from her local kindergarten class. As the kids got older we placed them in the Amsterdam International school and later they were in the Antwerp International School when we moved to the south of Holland to be close to the construction of the plant. I managed system development projects in France, Germany, Belgium, England, and The Netherlands while we were there, which gave me a broad and treasured exposure to varied European cultures. We still have many dear friends in Holland and there are times we miss it, after all it was our home for 6 years.
What was it like returning to America?
Actually the transition went fairly smoothly. My daughter remembers being made fun of at elementary school because she liked mayonnaise (Belgian frite saus) on her French fries. The hardest thing was to reacclimatize ourselves with the choices available here. The Europeans live pretty Spartan and structured lives compared to the US. Stores, ALL stores, in Holland must close by 6 so that families are spending time together and not running businesses and out shopping. I would tell the Dutch that in America you could, if you wanted to, go out somewhere and buy furniture at midnight, and they would not believe me! But it works both ways, for over there if you needed aspirin you would just go to the store and there would be a bottle of aspirin. On our return I remember nearly melting down at the drug store as I contemplated several shelves of aspirin of every hue and description with added ingredients and without this ingredient and so on. That is the short answer to the question often asked about the difference between living in Europe and living here. Choice. Each European country has a fairly uniform culture and their laws and customs are in place to support, and propagate their culture. In the US we don’t have anything even faintly resembling a uniform culture so all of our laws and customs are largely driven by market forces, hence tremendous amounts of choices in all areas of our society. This fundamental difference is at the root of many, if not most, communication problems between Europe and the US.
Having lived in The Netherlands are you excited about the World Cup?
I have to admit that I am a soccer convert. When I went to Holland, soccer was a ninety minute sedative. After being immersed in soccer and the culture with my son, I reluctantly began to truly understand and appreciate the game. I also managed a company in Brazil for over a year. They are even more into it than the Dutch. Now, The Fox Soccer Channel is one of my “go-to” channels. My son and I are quivering with excitement as the World Cup approaches. This is “our” thing and it only happens every four years! We are big fans of the Dutch National Team (we even decorate our TV room with orange streamers and the like) and will pull for them in every game unless they play the US National Team. That would be a true nightmare scenario for us. Hup Holland! Aanvallen! (Go Holland! Attack!)
How long have you been writing? How did you get your start?
About fifteen minutes! Seriously, I am not a writer. I have often wished that I was more skilled at this. TBPOTB is the first book I have written and I wrote it hesitatingly and reluctantly. I feel more comfortable lecturing than writing. In the past, I actually conducted training classes for IBM to teach technical people how to give a proper presentation to clients and for project reporting, etc. I am a self-professed wizard with PowerPoint and can help an audience achieve that “death by PowerPoint” level faster than just about anyone!
Do you make a lot of money from the book and lectures?
Actually, I do not charge for my lectures and likewise I do not make anything from the book. Part of the “deal” I made with the publisher was to keep the price low so people could afford the book for themselves and to buy copies to give away.
What made you decide to write this particular book?
While living in The Netherlands I was pressed into doing a bit of preaching and teaching at our local church. I think my mathematics background causes me to look at things as systems and I began contemplating the Bible as a holistic work, trying to figure out how all of the pieces fit together and to what purpose. I eventually worked up a series of lessons which I called “The Plan of Redemption.” They were very well received and after returning to the states these lectures morphed into a set of lectures now called “The Big Picture of the Bible.” These lectures “went viral” and in the last six years I have given them at over 150 churches and lecture venues in nearly 20 countries. What I was trying to do was to capture the theme of the Bible and then “test” the major doctrines and teachings against that theme. First, I didn’t want to take a “negative” approach to scripture and by that I mean starting from some point of doctrinal presupposition and then try to shoot down any opposing view by proof texting. Rather I wanted to step back and see what the central message was and try to present an overwhelmingly positive case for that message. Second, I did want to counteract the influence of post-modernism to believers today, whereby everything in scripture is relative and there is no absolute biblical truth. If the Bible is a truly postmodern book then it really has nothing of importance to say to me or anyone. We should follow its teachings because, and only because they are true. If it is true, we should follow its teachings regardless of whether that truth results in promise or peril. I didn’t want to write the book, but I kept being pressured by a growing body of friends until I finally put together this brief volume. I didn’t want this to be a heavy and burdensome systematic theology of the Bible; although I did want it to make logical sense.
What do you hope people will walk away with after reading your book?
There is a LOT of confusion about the Bible. It is easily one of the most misunderstood books that exist. Even so-called experts disagree about key Bible doctrines. I’m convinced that if we just step back and “get the big picture” then we can avoid all the confusion whether it originates from doctrinal presupposition, post-modern thinking, or even unbelief.
I hope that people who read the book (it only takes about 45 minutes) will realize four things: 1) That the Bible is undeniably true. It would have been impossible for men to have written this book across thousands of years that reflect the staggering unity and clarity of purpose and theme we see in the Bible unless there were a supernatural force providing guidance. 2) That the Bible really is a pretty simple book once you grasp its underlying theme and purpose; 3) That they will see how the role of Jesus Christ fits so precisely and neatly into God’s plan for mankind; and 4) They will come to appreciate the role of Jesus Christ, the love God had for us in sending Him, and how critically important the response of faith is in those of us that want to love and serve Him.
Ken, thank you so much for joining us! It was great to get to know you and to learn more about your book.
For those who would like to win a SIGNED copy of Ken Craig's book, please leave a comment, and if you join my blog, you'll be entered into the drawing twice! Don't forget to leave your email address like so: sandirog at gmail dot com.
If you don't win, you can go HERE to purchase Ken's book online.