Joel Rosenberg: Epicenter

Several people at church mentioned this book and when that happens I eventually have to read it to see what the sheep are eating. I enjoyed the book. It’s not really my bag. It talks a lot about politics, and world current affairs and various other things I don’t much care about.

But he did a nice job of keeping it simple, making his points, documenting points and showing how it ties into Biblical prophecies concerning The End.

I would disagree with some of his interpretations of prophetic passages. For example, saying that wars and rumors of wars and earthquakes are a sign of the end is the exact opposite of what Matthew 24 says, as it says those things are just life.

He also correlates prophecies concerning life in the Kingdom as signs of the Tribulation, as in the men seeing dreams and visions in Joel 2:28.

But I think it’s a book you might want to read. You can read Joel’s Blog here too to get a taste. If nothing else it will get you excited that we might be done pretty soon! How sweet is that?!

British Kids And Jesus

In a new poll to discover who the role models are for British kids, a family member and Richard Branson topped Jesus. This is understandable and not nearly as anti-Christian as many spin this to be.

First off, having a family member be a role model is a good sign, particularly since all good family members are Christians, therefore, they are choosing living models of Jesus Christ as their role models, so that’s not bad.

Second off, Richard Branson is head of a company named “Virgin” and well, if it weren’t for the Virgin there would be no Jesus anyhow.

On the plus side, Jesus did beat out Princess Diana by a whole two spots, so that was good. It’s not all bad for Britain, no athletes, actors or singers made the top ten. Way to go Brit kids.

Effectively Teaching The Bible: Part 3

According to my last two posts (here and here) effectively teaching the Bible has three steps, based on Ezra 7:10 and 1 Timothy 4:16:

1) seek it
2) do it
3) teach it

If it’s that easy, why don’t more people do it? Two main reasons come to mind:

1) God’s Word asks you to do some pretty ridiculous things. You’ll feel largely foolish most of the time trying to do them. The gist of most of it is: no longer I but Christ. In other words, your life is gone, hid, replaced and that’s just not that much fun.

2) No one will listen anyhow so why ruin your life for no reason? The “revival” under Ezra was pretty much a disaster. It lasted about 4 minutes and then there was 400 years of silence from God. Paul was more or less alone (2 Timothy 4:16).

Doing these three steps will backfire in your face. Sure, it will save you and your hearers, problem is, there won’t be many hearers. There’s always been a remnant. The prophets were rejected and killed. Jesus was rejected and killed. The apostles were rejected and killed.

We are told to expect the same—all who live godly will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).

Meanwhile, everyone who uses modern entertainment tactics will have huge crowds, lots of money, power, prestige and all else (2 Timothy 4:3).

So, are ya sure you want to teach it?

Mark Driscoll On The Emerging Church

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, the coolest church in America, did a sermon recently on the emerging church.

He talks about what it is, how it’s different from other churches, and then the various brands of emerging churches that have evolved.

If you want to know what the emerging church is all about, this article will give you a good idea.

Effectively Teaching The Bible: Part 2

My earlier post pointed to Ezra as an example of a teacher who sought God’s Word, did it and then taught it. That’s the process that must be taken. 1 Timothy 4:16 puts a more modern spin on it.

The bottom line is: If you don’t plan on doing God’s Word then don’t bother teaching it.

Paul warns Titus about false teachers who teach falsehoods under the guise of Christianity. He says they must actively be shut up (Titus 1:11)!

These kinds of people will always seek to cause division, argue about words and divert people from simple doctrine. Their motivation is usually a paycheck.

The ultimate test, according to Paul, is in Titus 1:16, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him.” They don’t do what God says.

Instead, Paul says to live a good example before the believers (1:6-9)—all qualifications of a teacher are based on what they do. Secondly, he then tells these guys to teach sound doctrine, which correlates quite nicely into telling people what they should do (2:1-10).

When believers do what God says, it magically results in them being able to teach others and adorn the doctrines of God. Amazing!

When you learn God’s Word, you do it and when you do it, others learn about God’s Word. It’s quite simple really.

Pew Forum On Religion

The Pew Forum came out with one of their largest surveys of American religious behavior. They found that most denominations are shrinking in size. The largest growth in denomination is “unaffiliated.”

There are many spins on this survey and what it all means. Luckily for you I will give you the proper interpretation.

Here’s the point that sticks out to me: “In the USA’s marketplace of ideas, 44% of adults have either switched or dropped religious affiliation.”

Almost half of all religious types have switched or dropped religion. Most people, according to the study, just jump from one church to the next. I won’t bother giving you opinion, I’ll just give you God’s Word on the subject.

Americans are spiritually “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” This is due to hyper-opinionated church goers, ineffective church leadership and a total lack of biblical knowledge. It’s all in Ephesians 4.

Effectively Teaching The Bible

Teaching God’s Word is not easy and everyone knows this. I have heard the following recommendations to help:

–Be intentional–which, near as I can tell, means “intend to do it while you are doing it” duh.
–Be engaging—humor, stories, fear-mongering, CNN video clips, etc
–Be like Jesus—tell parables, hug kids, heal people, give out free food, etc
–Be culturally relevant—wear jeans, swear, drink beer, meet in a bar, etc.
–Be academic—overheads, Greek, monotone reading of extended quotations, speaking more from Reformer’s books than the Bible, etc.
–Be Spirit Led—wing it. If you can’t come up with anything, speak in tongues or keep singing.

We all want easy steps to miraculous effectiveness. The Bible is the sole source we have for what God wants us to know and He does indeed want us to know it. That being the case, He has given us three easy steps for effective Bible teaching.

Teaching God’s Word requires experiential knowledge, Ezra prepared himself to teach his people by 1) seeking God’s Word, which meant he was frequently in it seeking guidance,
2) doing the things God’s Word said to do and
3) then teaching it to others. (Ezra 7:10)

Ezra had to know it and then do it before he went to step three, teaching it.

Paul says essentially the same thing. “Be careful about the way you live and about what you teach. Keep on doing this, and you will save not only yourself, but the people who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Here’s the cool deal. One day we’ll all know it because we will all do it! When this present age is done with, God will stamp His word into all hearts and all people will do His will perfectly and “they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me” (Jeremiah 31:34).

How cool is that? Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet. So, endeavor to know God’s word, do it and then teach it. It’s that simple.