Thursday, April 29, 2010

8 choices that will change a woman's life by: jill briscoe

I haven't read this book yet - so a review will have to wait. However, just skimming the set-up and chapters, etc.. it looks like a really good book for a women's cell to use and study from.

Her 8 choices are:
1. Resist pain or use it
2. Pursue wealth or grace
3. Speak wisely or foolishly
4. Value your time or fritter it away
5. Live for self or the Spirit
6. Develop God's gifts or waste them
7. Persevere under trials or protest your life
8. Stand for the truth or abandon it

These topics look great + would make for a super-cool cell series or challenge group study. The discussion/study guide thing at the end of each section is ok, but can be a bit hoaky. She has prayer excercises to do as a group and questions as well as Scriptures to read. This can be used with some wisdom - be careful about the cheese factor/ being patronizing. But, for the most part even the discussion guide looked use-able. So, I'm already for this book - even though I haven't carefully read the whole thing yet.

Jesus Christ and mythology part 2

I finished Bultmann's book today. The second half was not as offensive as the first half. In this section he describes his method of hermenuetics and defends against some potential complaints against his position.

He claims that to think about a supernatural being intervening in our world is to be a primitive person; and he wants to make the Bible easy to digest for non-primitive modern people.

"Of course, there are today some survivals and revivals of primitive thinking and superstition. But the preaching of the Church would make a disastrous mistake if it looked to such revivals and conformed to them. The nature of man is to be seen in modern literature, as, for instance, in the novels of Thomas Mann, Ernst Junger, Thomas Wilder, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Graham Greene and Albert Camus, or in the plays of Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Anouilh, Jean Giraudoux, etc. Or let us think simply of the newspapers. Have you read anywhere in them that the political or social or economic events are preformed by supernatural powers such as God, angels, or demons? Such events are alwas ascribed to natural powers." (p.37)

Bultmann then describes how good hermenutics will be combined with existential philosophy. He takes an entire chapter to describe how we have to use what existential philosophy has taught us in our Bible interpreting.

In the final section, he brings up the following potential complaints that people may have when reading his book:
- Doesn't science change? Then how can science be a solid foundation for belief and Bible interpreting?
- Isn't this subjective arbitrariness?
- Isn't de-mythologizing just another way of saying rationalizing?
- Doesn't faith only have meaning if God truly exists outside our own ideas, and is able to act?

His answers to these objections are:
- Yes, science changes - but it's still the most reliable tool we have.
- No, because trusting in a supposed supernatural being would be true subjective arbitrariness ("Freedom of subjective arbitrariness believes itself to be secure precisely because it is not responsible to a transcendent power, because it believes itself to be master of the world through science and technology." p.42-43)
- No, because we are finding theoretical thoughts that we can agree with - we are just questioning God as a being with personal existance and ability to act.
 - He says that "to think of God is to think of our own personal experience" (p. 70) because God is something we create in our own souls. However, says Bultmann, God is still something outside of us - because He existed inside the souls of other people at other times too.

The whole book is pretty annoying and sacreligeous. He's a name-dropper and makes arguments based on what is "modern" or "reasonable". Funny that our modern culture today is completely different, (that book was written in the 50's) and yet people still make the same argument. I think that his goal in this book is to try and shame spiritual people for believing in the supernatural. He may as well just shout "That's so idiotic! What modern-day person could believe such a thing?!" We need to know how to make our stand in the face of such unreasoned peer pressure.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jesus Christ and Mythology - by: Rudolf Bultmann

In this book, Bultmann tries to "demythologize" the story of Christ, and of His miracles. It's good to read; because it can stimulate critical thinking to be faced with such an opposing view. But it's also really hard to choke down.

Here's an early quote from his argument: "The whole conception of the world which is presupposed in the preaching of Jesus in the New Testament generally is mythological; i.e. the conception of the world as being structured in three stories, heaven, earth, hell; the conception of the intervention of supernatural powers in the course of events; and the conception of miracles, especially the conception of the intervention of supernatural powers in the inner life of the soul, the conception that men can be tempted and corrupted by the devil and possessed by evil spirits. This conception of the world we call mythological because it is different from the conception of the world which has been formed and developed by science." (p.15)

We see straight away that he's not interested in anything spiritual and personally applicable from the Bible. Out of everything he lists, he says "ESPECIALLY the conception of the intervention of supernatural powers in the inner life of the soul" Yikes.

He claims that while some Jewish mystics believed in an apocolyptic future Kingdom of God on earth; that Jesus never believed in such a thing. He credits the modern thought that Jesus was escatalogical to a scholar named Weiss; who wrote "The Preaching of Jesus about the Kiongdom of God" in 1892.

He then goes on to state how silly it would be to believe that God would become a human and forgive sins by dying on a cross. "Particularly the conception of the pre-existent Son of God who descended in human guise into the world to redeem mankind is part of the Gnostic doctrine of redemption, and nobody hesitates to call this doctrine mythological." (p.17) It is a doctrine that 1 Cor. 1 describes that most will see as "foolishness" or "a stumbling block".

However, look at his reasons against the teachings of the Bible - "It is different from the conception of the world which has been formed and developed by science", and "nobody hesitates to call this doctrine mythological" It's a pretty poor argument.

He then describes how to use the Bible, if one wants to read it and still be modern: "For modern man the mythological conception of the world, the conceptions of eschatology, of redeemer and redemption, are over and done with. Is it possible to expect that we shall make a sacrifice of understanding, sacrificium intellectus, in order to accept what we cannot sincerely consider true - merely because such conceptions are suggested by the Bible? Or ought we to pass over those saying of the New Testament which contain such mythological conceptions and to select other sayings which are not such stumbling-blocks to modern man?" (p.17)  In other words, just read the parts of the Bible that don't offend your modern sensibilities, and skip the rest.

He then has some fun reinterpreting certain "crude" (his words) truths and transforming them into something really believable. For example, when Jesus said that he would come as a theif in the night, maybe that just means that we should just be open to what God's future may be for each of us. This section really made me feel like I was listening to a teenage girl at a beauty pageant. Who cares about hollow self-created platitudes if miracles and afterlife and redemption are not real?

Then I had enough for one day. So, I'm putting it down. But, I may finish it later in the week.

a new cult?

So, a friend of mine talked to me yesterday about a new(er) religious belief based on this book called, "A Course in Miracles"

I guess that the author describes the book as being dictated by an inner voice she identifies as Jesus; although followers of this religion do not believe that Jesus is God. Only that God teaches us through Jesus - but that Jesus is just a man who is a good teacher.

Here is a page describing the teaching:

It looks like a mix of many different ideas; including some Christian, some eastern, some new age, and some almost ancient gnostic "we are just minds" kind of teaching. The friend who had been sucked in to this cult was turned onto the teachings by a hired "life coach" and since hearing about these teachings was very confused about life. She described a story of creation in which God creates a perfect forest using all the love He had; but one leaf became jealous and wanted more love, so it turned inward and created it's own world. Then other leaves did the same. Until we all exist in this forest together but are completely unaware of the reality outside the inner world we have created ourselves. To get out of it, she had to repeat the 2 mantras of the religion every half-hour.

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

She then went onto describe an eastern idea about suffering and pain being only illusions. When asked, "what about people with cancer?" she replied, "Cancer comes from anger. It only kills because people can't see the truth." When asked, "What about a child born with a disease like autism?" she was confused, but speculated that maybe they did something in a previous life (karma).
She also had some matrix-style jargon like, "this cup is not real" "nothing is real". She also began to feel like everything was meaningless including connections such as marriage.
Anyway, it sounded kinda strange. So, I just wanted to give people a head's up about it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

more papers

ok - here are a few more papers that I've collected. these will be made available by the equipping department this year:

"MELCHIZEDEK" by Conrad Hilario
"Women's Role in Ministry" by Conrad Hilario

“Renewing Zeal” Martha McCallum

“Zeal” Kay Lipovsky

“Victory over the Darkness – A Fruitful vs. Barren Life” Martha McCallum

“Victorious Love Output: Yeilding Rights” Holly McCallum

“Levels of Ministry” Dennis McCallum

“Worship” Holly McCallum

“What is Worship?” Lee Campbell

“Five Worldviews” Dennis McCallum

“Relativism” Dennis McCallum

“Deism; 1986” Dennis McCallum and Allen Mautz

“Liberal Theology; 1986” Gary Delashmutt

“Optimistic Secular Humanism; 1985” Dennis McCallum

“Critical Reasoning” Dennis McCallum

“Judaism and Islamic Beliefs” Holly McCallum

“Christian Sects; 1986” Gary Delashmutt, Dennis McCallum, and Jeff Torgerson

“Godly Wisdom Defined” Joe McCallum

“Wisdom Applied” Holly McCallum

“Jesus: Servant Leadership and Victorious Love Output” Holly McCallum

“Understanding the Times” Holly McCallum

“Time Management” Holly McCallum

“Satan _ and Why Evil Exists in the World” ?

“Satanology” Dennis McCallum

“Satanic Covert Tactics” ?

“Biblical Insights on Simplifying Your Life” Doug and Deb Rudy

“The Principle of Sin and Temptation” Martha McCallum

“Revival” “Methods of Revival” “Themes in Revival” “What is Revival?” “When is Revival Needed?” ?

“Perseverance” Holly McCallum

“Sin Management vs. Repentance” Holly McCallum

“The Resilient Life” Holly McCallum

“Principlizing Workshop” Holly McCallum

“Early Xenos” ?

“Running the Race with Endurance and Prayer” ?

“The Struggle of Prayer and the Joy of Waiting” Kay Lipovsky

“Paul’s Intercessory Prayer” ?

“Prayer” Holly McCallum

“Prayer and Priorities” ?

“Paul’s Knowledge of the ‘God of all Comfort’ and Peter’s Knowledge of the ‘God of all Grace” ?

“Loving Obedience” ?

“Obedience” ?

“How to Motivate People” Dennis McCallum

“Ministry as a Means of Growth” ?

“The Logic of Salvation; 1985” Dennis McCallum, Gary Delashmutt

“The Word of God” Holly McCallum

“The Word as a Means of Grace; 1981” ?

“Means of Grace; 1981” ?

“Means of Growth: Prayer” ?

“Nehemiah: How can We Deal with Discouragement?” Holly McCallum

“Discipline” ?

“Suffering in the Christian Life: 1985” Dennis McCallum and Gary Delashmutt

“The Means of Growth Introduction; 1987” Dennis McCallum and Gary Delashmutt

“The Means of Growth; 1985” Dennis McCallum and Gary Delashmutt

“Follow-up Questionnaire for the 30-day Experiment” ?

“Walk in Reality: Meditating on the Word” Holly McCallum

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Living by the Book - Hendricks+Hendricks

Ok, get ready for some lists. haha. Here is the Bible study method from Howard Hendricks in his book, "Living by the Book". If there is ever someone who complains that they hate inductive study, or can't get into it/can't get anything out of it --- there is another way to study outlined in this book that gets to the same result.
Hendricks says that there are 3 steps to understanding Bible passages: Observation, Interpretation, and Application.

He begins with observation=
His chapters on this initial step center around two lists that he developed. The first has to do with our attitude and outlook as we approach reading a biblical text; he says:
"Read thoughtfully
read repeatedly
read patiently
read selectively
read prayerfully
read imaginatively
read meditatively
read purposefully
read acquisitively
read telescopically" (p. 75)
Then he defines and describes each of these attitudes. It's a good section, especially for those who don't fancy themselves "readers" - he wants to show how to approach a reading so as to suck the most out of it possible.
He then adds one final list and describes it - a list of clues. This list shows which things we may need to pay attention to in a given text:
"Things that are emphasized
things that are repeated
things that are related
things that are alike
things that are unlike
things that are true to life" (p. 141)

The second step to studying a passage of Scripture is to interpret it. In this section, he begins by talking about hazards to avoid when it comes to interpreting, and then talks a little bit about genres of literature. Then he gives his LIST for interpreting! haha. (he loves lists)
Consultation" (p.221)
For content, he means asking the who? what? when? where? how? questions. Context means looking at the passage before and after yours. Comparison means looking at cross-references or other similar/relevant passages. Culture means understanding the history. And consultation means using outside references such as a commentary or the like.

Finally, Hendricks talks about how to find the application for a paticular passage. He suggests asking the following 9 questions=
"1. Is there an example for me to follow?
2. Is there a sin to avoid?
3. Is there a promise to claim?
4. Is there a prayer to repeat?
5. Is there a command to obey?
6. Is there a condition to meet?
7. Is there a verse to memorize?
8. Is there an error to mark?
9. Is there a challenge to face?" (p. 308)

Monday, April 19, 2010

kings of Israel and Judah

So, I did a study of the kings of Israel and Judah; and thought I would share my list for anyone interested. It's hard to format to show the chronology/who was ruling at the same time as who - so, I'll just list them seperately for this blog.
Kings of the Northern tribes of Israel=
Jeroboam - king for 22 years. evil. 1 Kings 12ff
Nadab - king for 2 years. evil. 1 Ki. 14:20, 15:25ff
Baasha - assassinated Nadab. king for 24 years. evil. 1 Ki. 15:27ff
Elah - king for 2 years. 1 Ki. 16:8
Zimri - assassinated Elah. king for 7 days.
Tibni/Omri - divided Northern kingdom/ civil war for 6 years
Omri - Tibni was killed by Omri's people. king for a total of 12 years. evil. 1 Ki. 16
Ahab - king for 22 years. married to Jezebel. very evil. 1 Ki.16:29-1 Ki. 22:40
Ahaziah - king for 2 years. evil. 1 Ki.22:40ff
Jehoram/Joram(son of Ahab) - king for 12 years. evil 2 Ki. 3ff
Jehu - assassinated Jehoram/Joram(son of Ahab). king for 28 years. 2 Ki.10ff
Jehoahaz - king 17 years. evil. 2 Ki. 13
Joash/Jehoash - king for 16 years. evil. 2 Ki. 13
Jeroboam 2 - king 41 years. evil. 2 Ki. 13-14
Zechariah - king 6 months. evil. 2 Ki. 15
Shallum - assassinated Zechariah. king 1 month. 2 Ki. 15
Menahem - assassinated Shallum. king 10 years. evil 2 Ki. 15
Pekahiah - king 2 years. evil. 2 Ki. 15
Pekah - assassinated Pekahiah. king 20 years. evil. 2 Ki. 15
Hoshea - assassinated Pekah. king 9 years. evil. last king of Israel. 2 Ki. 15-17

Kings of Judah - the Southern tribe =
David - king for 40 years. right.
Solomon - king for 40 years. right, but corrupted by wives.
Rehoboam - king for 17 years. evil. 1 Ki. 12ff
Abijam - king for 3 years. evil. 1 Ki 15
Asa - king for 41 years. right, but died of foot disease. 1 Ki. 15ff
Jehoshaphat - king for 25 years. right. 1 Ki. 22:41ff
Jehoram/Joram(son of Jehoshaphat) - king for 8 years. evil. 2 Ki. 8
Ahaziah - king for 1 year. evil. also killed by Jehu. 2 Ki. 8-9
Athaliah - queen for 6 years. evil. Ahaziah's mother; assassinated most of the court. 2 Ki.11
Joash/Jehoash - king for 40 years. right. 2 Ki. 11-12
Amaziah - king for 29 years. right.  2 Ki. 14
Azariah/Uzziah - king for 52 years. right. 2 Ki. 15
Jotham - king for 16 years. right. 2 Ki. 15
Ahaz - king for 16 years. evil. 2 Ki. 16
Hezekiah - king for 29 years. right. 2 Ki. 18ff
Manasseh - king for 55 years. super evil. 2 Ki. 21
Amon - king for 2 years. evil. 2 Ki. 21
Josiah - king for 31 years. right. 2 Ki. 22ff
Jehoahaz - king for 3 months. evil. taken into captivity by Pharoh Neco. 2 Ki. 23
Jehoakim/Elikim - king for 11 years. evil.
Jehoiachin - king for 3 months. evil. taken captive. last in the line of Davidic kings (until Messiah) 2 Ki. 24
Mattaniah/Zedekiah - king for 11 years. evil. tried to rebel against Babylon and got overthrown. Last king of the Judah kingdom. 2 Ki.24-25

I looked at Chronicles too; but didn't list those passages for this blog. When it says, "right" that means that it said of that king: "did right in the sight of the Lord" - although, it was often qualified by big sins that the king committed -- none of the kings were perfect.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some Papers

Here are some papers that will be made available through the Equipping Dept. this year. Also, several years of original challenge group outlines and notes will become available. If you know of any other original papers, please let me know!

“Guiding the Decision-Making Process” Doug Patch

“Affirming Growth/Attracting Leaders” Jeff Gordon

“Questions to be used for Initiating Evangelism” Chris George

“An Introduction to Alcoholism” Jim Leffel

“Psychiatry for the Lay Counselor: When to Refer for Professional Help” Jeff Gordon

“Recognizing Emotional Disorders” Amy Merker

“Signposts” Holly McCallum

“Confidentiality, Gossip, and Openness in the Body of Christ” Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt

“Home Church Duplication Model” Dennis McCallum

“Concept of Authority in the Bible” Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt

“My Problem with Self-First and Inner Child Theories” Dennis McCallum

“The ‘Ban’” Gary DeLashmutt

“Learning Theory and Christian Leadership: Xenos HCL Retreat 1988” Dennis McCallum

“Losing Your First Love” Holly McCallum

“Knowing God” Holly McCallum

“New Identity – What is it?” Holly McCallum

“Orphans vs. Adopted” Holly McCallum

“The Deceit of Indwelling Sin” Martha McCallum

“Intimacy with God Meditation Worksheet” Holly McCallum

“Intimacy with God” Holly McCallum

“Intimacy with God part 2” Holly McCallum

“Gifts of the Spirit: 1986” Martha McCallum

“Holiness” Holly McCallum

“Holiness: Personal Worksheet” Holly McCallum

“Faith – Rest – Walk” Martha McCallum

“Under Law, Under Grace: 1983” ?

“Home Church Follow-Up” Dennis McCallum, Gary DeLashmutt, KJ Swearengen, and Kim Mautz

“Evangelistic Concepts 2” Holly McCallum

“Evangelism” Chris Patch

“Church Growth” ?

“Decision Continuum” ?

“Necessary Biblical Convictions” Jeff Lentz

“Evangelism” Holly McCallum

“Common Questions Non-Christians Ask” Holly McCallum

“One-on-One Discipleship” Martha McCallum

“Discipleship in the Church” Dennis McCallum

“Discipling in Christ: Levels of Conflict and Growth” Holly McCallum

“Cell Group Plan” Holly McCallum

“What is a Faithful person?” Holly McCallum

“Bible Study” Holly McCallum

“Bible Books and History” Martha McCallum

“Application Restrictions” ?

“Problem Passage Interpretation Format” ?

“Judgment vs. Discernment” Martha McCallum

“1 Corinthians 6: Human Sexuality” Martha McCallum

“Love Therapy to Love Ethics: A Description of Who and How we Love” ?

“Counseling: 1987” KJ Swearingen

“Pre-marriage Preparation” KJ Swearingen

“Relational Evaluation Worksheet” Dennis McCallum, Gary DeLashmutt, Louie Basso, Greg Leffel, Jeff Beale, Fred Hershline, John VanScapen

“The Cross – Jesus the Sacrifice” Holly McCallum

“The Cross” Holly McCallum

“Brokenness” Holly McCallum

“Biblical Hermeneutics” ?

“The Bible Stands Alone” ?

“The Gospel in the Old Testament” Gary DeLashmutt

“Wedding Checklist” Mark Avers

“Discipleship Resources” James Rochford and Tim Lipovsky

“Is There Good Without God?” James Rochford

“The Afterlife” Jessica Lowery

“Spiritual Vitality Questionnaire” Jessica Lowery

“Simple Pleasures: Teaching Your Kids to Love Nature” Jessica Lowery

“Young Leaders” Jessica Lowery

“Evangelism” Jessica Lowery

“Ezekiel Chapter One” Jessica Lowery

“Mount Sinai” Jessica Lowery

“Books of the Bible” Jessica Lowery

“Dissonance” Jessica Lowery

“Christian Basics” Jessica Lowery

“Bible Overview” Jessica Lowery

“Interactive Salvation History Overview” Jessica Lowery

“A Servant’s Guide to Victorious Living” Holly McCallum

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Out of the Comfort Zone" by George Verwer

I just skimmed a book about missions strategy by George Verwer called "Out of the Comfort Zone". It's a 152-page treatise on how to approach missions in a grace-based way. Written in 2000 - it's a pretty modern and on-target book.
Chapter 1 he talks about having a "grace-awakened approach to mission". He heavily quotes Swindoll's book on the topic. It's a good way to start out in thinking about mission.

Chapter 2 he speaks about witness - saying that "there is a 'being' and a 'doing' side to witnessing. Like so many things that people are arguing about in the church today, it isn't a case of 'either/or', but a case of 'both'." (p.21)

Chapter 3 is about being a missions leader. He speaks to the need for balance in leadership; for example = the balance between faith and common sense, the balance between discipline and liberty, the balance between authority and fellowship, the balance of life and doctrine, the balance between being decisive and firm while also gentle and broken, and also the balancing of the many priorities in the life of the leader (i.e. work and rest, family and time with God, etc..), lastly he reminds us to have a balanced view of God.
He also sets out 6 practices that the missions-leader needs to keep up on: 1. Keeping a Vision 2. Sensitivity and Understanding 3. People of Prayer 4. Encouragers of others 5. Committed to high standards in Communication 6. Readers
This chapter really spoke to me as a leader. I think it's quite good.

Chapter 4 is about being a missions mobilizer. He speaks to how to get informed and take ownership for world evangelism.

Chapter 5, called "Future Missionaries - From Where?" is dedicated to some of the controversies in the world of missions; such as western vs. indigenous missionaries, funding, insensitivity, redeployment, etc..
He believes that there should be Western missionaries in certain areas and indigenous missionaries in others. He believes in redeployment and in paying missionaries for missionary work (instead of having tent-makers). In fact, he belives it's poor stewardship to have a missionary doing a menial job that a non-Christian could be doing when they could be using their time to spread the gospel.
Verwer may be confident about a missions strategy; but he's also grace-based and warns against getting too "extreme" on this topic. As an example, he says that Brazil (which he predicts will be sending missionaries around the world by 2025) is a place that doesn't need Westerners; but suggests that if someone is having success there, that they stay - following the principle of spiritual expediency.

Chapter 6 is about funding - I'll be honest, I just skimmed over this chapter. But in the chapter before, I know he talks about the stewardship principle and the fact that a preacher/evangelist is worthy of a wage.

And the last chapter is called "Acts 13 Breakthrough" - he outlines what exactly he thinks needs to be done in missions in this new millinium. He includes numbers that are very informative and makes a plea for 200,000 new missionaries.

All in all, I think it was an excellent book. Great about missions, great about leadership and evangelism too.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Gospel Primer for Christians part 2

"Preaching the gospel to myself each day nourishes within me a holy brazenness to believe what God says, enjoy what He offers, and do what He commands." (p. 52)

The first section of this book is a 55 page argument for why it would be beneficial to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. He also means that we say the truth of salvation in our prayers, thereby "putting on the armor of God" by our prayers. He also means that we meditate on certain aspects of the gospel. The argument is very sound and scriptural; I personally thought it went on a bit long. But, it was all good.

I liked the second section a lot. It was just sort of a list of statements and verses for us to meditate on concerning our salvation. For example, here's one: "I am completely unable to save myself or even to make one iota of a contribution to my own salvation." Then, it will give a verse to go along with that thought: Romans 5:6 "We were helpless."

The third section is a poem about the gospel. That's not for everyone, but I think it can be nice to read.

The final section is a story/example demonstrating what it's like to be a fallen/prideful human and how realizing the gospel can help us.

I think the book is pretty good; although I liked the second section the best; and it was kind of too short for me. I think it is a great launching board for getting started on a fantastic spiritual discipline: speaking out gospel truths in our prayer times. I think what would be fabulous would be to make my own section 2 list of truths and verses that was longer and have it to read through periodically.