The Word of God

 From the prophet Isaiah (ch 55):

10 As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
   and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
   will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
   will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
   and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
   for an everlasting sign,
   that will endure forever.”

The Word of God

 From the prophet Isaiah (ch 55):

10 As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
   and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
   will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
   will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
   and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
   for an everlasting sign,
   that will endure forever.”

Book Review – The Book that Transforms Nations

My friends and regular readers of this blog believe that the Bible is a special book.

If we only knew how much…

I recently finished The Book That Transforms Nations, the latest book by Loren Cunningham. He is the founder of Youth With a Mission, and if there’s anyone who is qualified to write this book, it is him. He has ministered in EVERY country on Earth, as well as numerous territories that don’t count as countries but are distinct areas nonetheless (how many of you have been to Pitcairn Island?).

The book has a straightforward structure. The first part of the book explains the problem, especially in the West, of our turning away as a society in general from God’s Word. He then spends a majority of the book describing ways the Bible has been used to transform cultures, from whole countries like Norway and South Korea to Calvin’s Geneva and yes, Pitcairn Island. Third, he describes how what we believe about God affects how we act in life, and shows how exceptions to the rule actually prove his point, with examples such as Japan and Latin America. Finally, he casts a vision on how we can get the Word out there.

We don’t hear stories anymore of the way God has transformed societies. I was impressed by Hans Nielsen Hauge, the Norwegian who skied to much of Norway spreading the Word, and the difference it made in that land. We may know a little about William Carey and his ministry in India, but I didn’t realize the extent of work done there.

Some of this information isn’t all that new. The idea that how we believe about God affects our culture comes admittedly from Francis Schaeffer (and it isn’t necessarily original with him). Loren touches on the various areas of culture that shape it, the Seven Spheres of Influence, which I have blogged about (after learning them from YWAM). There could be more practical information about how to do what the book is trying to promote: getting the Word out to people and let it transform hearts.

Still, Loren (and his sister Janice Rogers, who has written other books with him) has an easy style to read, and he excels at getting the reader excited about the proposition in the book. I finished and was immediately ready to start tossing Bibles on co-workers’ desks (however, I believe I would better serve the Lord by staying employed for a longer term basis).

What really challenged me was page 198, where he talks about how easy we have it to finish the job, as previous generations had to hand copy the Bible, and travel by foot or animal to get it anywhere. Modern technology puts reaching the whole world with the gospel as a doable goal in our lifetime! His challenge is that “our willingness to obey the Lord and move out is the only real limitation” (p 198).

I encourage anyone who has a love for Jesus and His Word, and a desire to see our country and the other nations changed to check out this book.

Book Review – The Book that Transforms Nations

My friends and regular readers of this blog believe that the Bible is a special book.

If we only knew how much…

I recently finished The Book That Transforms Nations, the latest book by Loren Cunningham. He is the founder of Youth With a Mission, and if there’s anyone who is qualified to write this book, it is him. He has ministered in EVERY country on Earth, as well as numerous territories that don’t count as countries but are distinct areas nonetheless (how many of you have been to Pitcairn Island?).

The book has a straightforward structure. The first part of the book explains the problem, especially in the West, of our turning away as a society in general from God’s Word. He then spends a majority of the book describing ways the Bible has been used to transform cultures, from whole countries like Norway and South Korea to Calvin’s Geneva and yes, Pitcairn Island. Third, he describes how what we believe about God affects how we act in life, and shows how exceptions to the rule actually prove his point, with examples such as Japan and Latin America. Finally, he casts a vision on how we can get the Word out there.

We don’t hear stories anymore of the way God has transformed societies. I was impressed by Hans Nielsen Hauge, the Norwegian who skied to much of Norway spreading the Word, and the difference it made in that land. We may know a little about William Carey and his ministry in India, but I didn’t realize the extent of work done there.

Some of this information isn’t all that new. The idea that how we believe about God affects our culture comes admittedly from Francis Schaeffer (and it isn’t necessarily original with him). Loren touches on the various areas of culture that shape it, the Seven Spheres of Influence, which I have blogged about (after learning them from YWAM). There could be more practical information about how to do what the book is trying to promote: getting the Word out to people and let it transform hearts.

Still, Loren (and his sister Janice Rogers, who has written other books with him) has an easy style to read, and he excels at getting the reader excited about the proposition in the book. I finished and was immediately ready to start tossing Bibles on co-workers’ desks (however, I believe I would better serve the Lord by staying employed for a longer term basis).

What really challenged me was page 198, where he talks about how easy we have it to finish the job, as previous generations had to hand copy the Bible, and travel by foot or animal to get it anywhere. Modern technology puts reaching the whole world with the gospel as a doable goal in our lifetime! His challenge is that “our willingness to obey the Lord and move out is the only real limitation” (p 198).

I encourage anyone who has a love for Jesus and His Word, and a desire to see our country and the other nations changed to check out this book.

Bible Study Resources

The best 9 month investment of my life was spent reading a book 5 times.

Back in 1995 (getting farther all the time…) I was privileged to go to the School of Biblical Studies through Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia. Yes, we basically read the Bible five times through those nine months.

We learned the Inductive Bible Study method, which places an emphasis on learning the literary and historical context for the book of the Bible one studies, and reading the text and listening to what it says. It is contrasted with Deductive Bible Study, where one goes to the text with a preconceived idea and tries to find support for it in the Bible.

Those nine months did more for me in grounding me in the Word, and was invaluable to this day. Now I have found that it can be a resource for anyone.

There is a website entitled “The SBS Podcast” that gives downloadable teachings from some of the key leaders in the SBS system. You can download them directly from the site, and you can also subscribe to it through iTunes.

I highly recommend this resource for foundational Biblical study. There are topics from the Trinity, to Israel in New Testament times, to specific teachings on books of the Bible. I have a longtime personal friend as one of the teachers, and Ron Smith, who runs the SBS program within YWAM, has been a Bible teacher and author for years.

Oh, and the best thing: it’s free.

I encourage anyone interested to check out this great free resource for the Body of Christ. YWAM’s motto is, “Know Him and make Him known.” One of our best ways of knowing God is through His Word.

Bible Study Resources

The best 9 month investment of my life was spent reading a book 5 times.

Back in 1995 (getting farther all the time…) I was privileged to go to the School of Biblical Studies through Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia. Yes, we basically read the Bible five times through those nine months.

We learned the Inductive Bible Study method, which places an emphasis on learning the literary and historical context for the book of the Bible one studies, and reading the text and listening to what it says. It is contrasted with Deductive Bible Study, where one goes to the text with a preconceived idea and tries to find support for it in the Bible.

Those nine months did more for me in grounding me in the Word, and was invaluable to this day. Now I have found that it can be a resource for anyone.

There is a website entitled “The SBS Podcast” that gives downloadable teachings from some of the key leaders in the SBS system. You can download them directly from the site, and you can also subscribe to it through iTunes.

I highly recommend this resource for foundational Biblical study. There are topics from the Trinity, to Israel in New Testament times, to specific teachings on books of the Bible. I have a longtime personal friend as one of the teachers, and Ron Smith, who runs the SBS program within YWAM, has been a Bible teacher and author for years.

Oh, and the best thing: it’s free.

I encourage anyone interested to check out this great free resource for the Body of Christ. YWAM’s motto is, “Know Him and make Him known.” One of our best ways of knowing God is through His Word.

My Treasure

I came across this while cleaning out some files. I thought I’d share it, rather than have it sit around. I wrote it in 1995 while I was in the School of Biblical Studies with Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia.

Lord, where is my treasure? It is not where it should be. I had it all in hand, so that You would not have to worry about me.

I considered, “What will be the best? I do want to take care.” Perhaps it would be wise to spread my treasure around. “Diversify,” the money-man says. And if some disappears, I will have the rest to come back to, in my need of the days.

So I proceeded with my plan. I looked about, and I saw people cross my gaze. What a beginning-my fellow man. I then gave of my treasure: a man, a woman, relationships special and dear. But when I came searching, there was none to be found. Portions were gone, not to be returned, others strewn on the ground. “I am fortunate though, I have more.” So I moved to my next trove.

What will make a mark in this world? What I can do, my knowledge, my talents, my potential. Of course I deposited a cache there. It was all in my power. But treasure was lost in each dream unfulfilled. Who can reach all their expectations? Not one, I’m afraid. More treasure in ruin, and less to get me by.

“I must take care of myself,” was another consideration of mine. We only have one body to carry us through. It made sense, therefore, some treasure would stay with me. My strength, my mind, my pleasures were investments of sure benefit. Yet I am just flesh and mortal, no force in my own. The tears and the years each steal their own share. And from all of my efforts, my treasure was gone.

Lord, please tell me what happened! I thought my treasure was so secure. This was not supposed to take place; now all I am is broken.

My Lord spoke to me, “My child, now you will see. It is not in yourself that your treasure is protected. You were never asked to defend and stand your ground. My heart, My hand has always been available to cover what is precious to you. But only in your point of loss would you realize your fraility.

Now your treasure will be laid up in heaven-from My throne it will be guarded. It was never a burden for me, to be the watcher of your soul. Now you can rest in My delight, and know that you will find My inheritance for you!”

Inspired by the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 22-34.

My Treasure

I came across this while cleaning out some files. I thought I’d share it, rather than have it sit around. I wrote it in 1995 while I was in the School of Biblical Studies with Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia.

Lord, where is my treasure? It is not where it should be. I had it all in hand, so that You would not have to worry about me.

I considered, “What will be the best? I do want to take care.” Perhaps it would be wise to spread my treasure around. “Diversify,” the money-man says. And if some disappears, I will have the rest to come back to, in my need of the days.

So I proceeded with my plan. I looked about, and I saw people cross my gaze. What a beginning-my fellow man. I then gave of my treasure: a man, a woman, relationships special and dear. But when I came searching, there was none to be found. Portions were gone, not to be returned, others strewn on the ground. “I am fortunate though, I have more.” So I moved to my next trove.

What will make a mark in this world? What I can do, my knowledge, my talents, my potential. Of course I deposited a cache there. It was all in my power. But treasure was lost in each dream unfulfilled. Who can reach all their expectations? Not one, I’m afraid. More treasure in ruin, and less to get me by.

“I must take care of myself,” was another consideration of mine. We only have one body to carry us through. It made sense, therefore, some treasure would stay with me. My strength, my mind, my pleasures were investments of sure benefit. Yet I am just flesh and mortal, no force in my own. The tears and the years each steal their own share. And from all of my efforts, my treasure was gone.

Lord, please tell me what happened! I thought my treasure was so secure. This was not supposed to take place; now all I am is broken.

My Lord spoke to me, “My child, now you will see. It is not in yourself that your treasure is protected. You were never asked to defend and stand your ground. My heart, My hand has always been available to cover what is precious to you. But only in your point of loss would you realize your fraility.

Now your treasure will be laid up in heaven-from My throne it will be guarded. It was never a burden for me, to be the watcher of your soul. Now you can rest in My delight, and know that you will find My inheritance for you!”

Inspired by the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 22-34.

The Corinthian Correspondence (CSFF Tour)

Some of the best loved passages in the whole Bible come from the correspondence of the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church. The letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians teach on a number of issues and give insight that no other books in the New Testament have.

Interestingly, Paul had a greater conversation with the Corinthian church than what many people realize on the surface.

He first came to Corinth on his second missionary journey, after being chased out of other Grecian centers such as Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. He met up with Priscilla and Aquila, fellow Jewish Christians and tentmakers. He stayed and worked with them, proclaiming the gospel in the famously immoral city. The record in Acts states he stayed there for “some time”, and then left to hit Ephesus on the way back to Antioch in Syria.

Paul hit the road almost immediately after his return, encouraging churches in Galatia before coming back to Ephesus, where he stayed for three years. It was during this time that scholars believe he wrote his letters to the Corinthian church. We have two letters included in the Bible, 1 and 2 Corinthians.

There are…more.

In 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 it refers to a prior letter that Paul wrote to the church, before 1 Corinthians. Apparantly he had written to them about issues regarding sexual immorality and he clarifies his position in the current letter. He gives much teaching in what we know as 1 Corinthians, and it seems to have been received poorly. When we move into 2 Corinthians, Paul references a “painful visit” in chapter 2 verse 1. It is thought that the letter of 1 Corinthians was not well received, and Paul made a visit to bring correction. After he left, he wrote yet another letter to the Corinthians, which seems to finally have the effect that he wanted, causing “sorrow that led…to repentence” (2 Cor 7:8-9, see also 10:9-11). Thus, the relationship between the teacher and the church is restored, and Paul can write a more joyful letter that becomes our 2 Corinthians.

This begs the question: what happened to the “other” Corinthian letters. By this count, there were at least four letters of Paul to the Corinthians. The two other letters I have mentioned have no other reference in Scripture, and no known copy or fragment exists. In early lists of approved New Testament books, there is no mention of other Corinthian letters. We have no idea, other than the two quick references listed above, what the other books contained.

I have heard people who criticize the Bible’s accuracy claim that the lack of 4 Corinthian letters shows the Bible wasn’t accurately preserved. To this I say hogwash. Just because it is mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean that it was meant to be in the Bible. Paul quotes a pagan philosopher, should the pagan’s works be in the Bible? I believe that what we needed was preserved, and these other Corinthian letters were of such a personal nature that they weren’t pertinent to be kept in a global/general teaching manual like the Bible.

But…what if one of the “lost” letters to the Corinthians was found? What if it held explosive teaching and prophecy, threatening the status quo and becoming the centerpiece of a battle between good and evil?

What if?

Check back tomorrow for more…

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Michael Heald
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Kait
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Margaret
Melissa Meeks
Pamela Morrisson
John W. Otte
Rachelle
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

The Corinthian Correspondence (CSFF Tour)

Some of the best loved passages in the whole Bible come from the correspondence of the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church. The letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians teach on a number of issues and give insight that no other books in the New Testament have.

Interestingly, Paul had a greater conversation with the Corinthian church than what many people realize on the surface.

He first came to Corinth on his second missionary journey, after being chased out of other Grecian centers such as Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. He met up with Priscilla and Aquila, fellow Jewish Christians and tentmakers. He stayed and worked with them, proclaiming the gospel in the famously immoral city. The record in Acts states he stayed there for “some time”, and then left to hit Ephesus on the way back to Antioch in Syria.

Paul hit the road almost immediately after his return, encouraging churches in Galatia before coming back to Ephesus, where he stayed for three years. It was during this time that scholars believe he wrote his letters to the Corinthian church. We have two letters included in the Bible, 1 and 2 Corinthians.

There are…more.

In 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 it refers to a prior letter that Paul wrote to the church, before 1 Corinthians. Apparantly he had written to them about issues regarding sexual immorality and he clarifies his position in the current letter. He gives much teaching in what we know as 1 Corinthians, and it seems to have been received poorly. When we move into 2 Corinthians, Paul references a “painful visit” in chapter 2 verse 1. It is thought that the letter of 1 Corinthians was not well received, and Paul made a visit to bring correction. After he left, he wrote yet another letter to the Corinthians, which seems to finally have the effect that he wanted, causing “sorrow that led…to repentence” (2 Cor 7:8-9, see also 10:9-11). Thus, the relationship between the teacher and the church is restored, and Paul can write a more joyful letter that becomes our 2 Corinthians.

This begs the question: what happened to the “other” Corinthian letters. By this count, there were at least four letters of Paul to the Corinthians. The two other letters I have mentioned have no other reference in Scripture, and no known copy or fragment exists. In early lists of approved New Testament books, there is no mention of other Corinthian letters. We have no idea, other than the two quick references listed above, what the other books contained.

I have heard people who criticize the Bible’s accuracy claim that the lack of 4 Corinthian letters shows the Bible wasn’t accurately preserved. To this I say hogwash. Just because it is mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean that it was meant to be in the Bible. Paul quotes a pagan philosopher, should the pagan’s works be in the Bible? I believe that what we needed was preserved, and these other Corinthian letters were of such a personal nature that they weren’t pertinent to be kept in a global/general teaching manual like the Bible.

But…what if one of the “lost” letters to the Corinthians was found? What if it held explosive teaching and prophecy, threatening the status quo and becoming the centerpiece of a battle between good and evil?

What if?

Check back tomorrow for more…

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Michael Heald
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Kait
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Margaret
Melissa Meeks
Pamela Morrisson
John W. Otte
Rachelle
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise