Monthly Archives: August 2010
I hate to admit it, but the summer ends soon. *sigh*
So, as churches, youth groups, pastors, and small group leaders finalize their fall schedules I thought it would be helpful to post 5 new Bible reference tools that will help you better teach the Bible. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? In addition to some of the catalog blurbs about each book I’ve posted my own thoughts. I’d love to read your reactions to these titles below. Are you looking forward to any of them more than the others? Which one?
Zondervan Atlas of the Bible: Revised Edition by Carl Rasmussen – “This thoroughly revised edition of the Gold Medallion Award-winning Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible uses innovative 3D imaging technology and over one hundred images to bring the biblical world to life with unprecedented clarity.” As I flipped through it I was amazed at the Holy Land imagery and how clearly the information is portrayed. Who says an atlas isn’t cool? read sample
This morning I read a short devotional about listening to God. I found it quite helpful personally and wanted to share.
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!: Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3.10Few of us are as open to God’s call as Samuel was. When we hear God call us, we tend to let his words blow right past our ears. We listen to a voice inside that says, “God can’t possibly use someone like me.” Our doubts and fears overcome us.God knows your weakness. He meets you where you are. But he also knows your heart and your potential. He has a much better perspective than you on what you can become if you answer his call. Just listen for God’s voice in your life and respond, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Scot McKnight also wrote on The Power of Whisper here.
Jeff Manion is the pastor of Ada Bible Church in Ada, MI. He recently spoke on The Land Between at Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit. In our interview with Jeff he unpacks the meaning of The Land Between and shares a message anyone in minstry would benefit from. If you’re not in the land between now, then you likely have been before, or will be in the future.
EC: What does The Land Between mean?
JM: When the Israelites leave slavery in Egypt and move towards the promise land, they spend significant time in the wilderness – and that’s what I’m calling the land between. It was a transitional space between their former home and future home. I use this imagery as a geographic metaphor for the undesired transitions we experience. These transitions would include financial setback, health issues, unemployment, family crisis, etc. This difficult space is where God does some of his deepest work.
Finding the right curriculum for your church is no easy task. Committee meetings, the budget, the congregation’s expectations, and doctrinal concerns all play a part in deciding which books and Bible studies your church uses. There’s so much out there, too – which curriculum is best, and why?Some of my friends here at Zondervan are making it easy for pastors and ministry leaders to engage with our curriculum resources. They’ve created www.ChurchWideJourney.com (It just went live!) and this is your official invitation to visit.
If you’re a pastor, small group leader, Bible study leader, Sunday school teacher, or even ”assistant to the regional manager” - visit this site. It’s contains downloads, videos, and information to help you make informed decisions about the curriculum your church uses.
Here’s a helpful blurb from www.ChurchWideJourney.com:
Helping people love God and others more is why you’ve chosen the path of ministry work. And now, you can help your church with proven tools designed for both congregational and small group settings. These powerful and life-transforming resources help you foster spiritual growth, deepen bonds between people, and draw them into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
This site is designed to help you choose from a variety of church experiences (journeys) and small group tools that have changed the spiritual temperature of churches around the world. Watch the videos, check out the sermon outlines or transcripts, and see which journey you can see your church on next!
Friends at the Zondervan blog are giving them away right here. :-)
Yesterday we posted part one of our interview with Mark Buchanan. Here’s part two in which he discusses his new book, Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul. (Read a sample.)
EC: How can we help others who are in a different season then we may be ourselves?
MB: I think the idea of seasons of the heart is akin to the idea of love languages: just by being aware of them makes us more sensitive to others. For me, going through a deep and prolonged winter of the heart has made me safe for more people in my church. It made me a better pastor. By thinking of spiritual formation in seasonal language, I am now able to discern a person’s season and help them steward it best. Even more, I am able to help them find Christ in the thick of it.
Mark Buchanan is a pastor and award-winning author who lives and speaks on the West Coast of Canada. His writing has been published in numerous periodicals, including Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, and Discipleship Magazine. He is the author of five books including Your God Is Too Safe and his new book Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul.
Here’s the first half of our interview with Mark on Spiritual Rhythm. The second half can be found here.
EC: What does spiritual rhythm mean?
MB: I distinguish between rhythm and balance. Balance is what most people seek, but I think it’s is a myth. Balance in life is something that, even if we can attain it, is not worth the effort. It’s like standing a kayak: it’s fragile, inert, and a misuse of the kayak.
Rhythm is what we seek when we paddle the kayak. Balance flows out of rhythm as a natural by-product of it. Balance is not the point of life any more than it’s the point of kayaking, but it’s what happens without our even having to think about it when we get our rhythm right.
In a spiritual sense, rhythm is comprised of our pace of life and our ways of engagement in any given season. A good rhythm is what serves us best that season. In winter, we move at a different pace than, say, in spring. We engage life and God differently. That difference is defined by rhythm.
Last weekend the annual Global Leadership Summit took place in South Barrington, IL, an event put on by the Willow Creek Association. If you’re familiar with this event, then you know it features some of the best Christian speakers each year, and often serves as a catalyst for new movements in church ministry.
I’ve attended the Summit once via a video site in Grand Rapids, MI. This year, however, I was not able to attend at all. Neither in person nor via video.
So, for those of you who were there, tell me about it!