Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Intersect by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers

Intersect

by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers 

5-week small group DVD resource
Kregel

Welcome to Intersect; a resource designed to help you start spiritual conversations with your small group, your friends, or people who don't yet know Jesus.
Intersect uses the creative medium of video storytelling to start and  facilitate discussions about where your story and God's story converge. We can all relate to stories, as we all have our own stories. Some of them are joyous and easy to share with the world. Others are difficult and remind us of times that we sometimes wish we could simply forget. But nonetheless, we all have beautiful lives that are marked by events, situations, and circumstances that have shaped us uniquely into who we are today.
The stories you will watch chronicle choices that are made when individuals find themselves in the middle of hard times. All human beings have the propensity to go through situations that are trying, and the Bible even teaches that finding ourselves in these times will be a part of all our journeys. It is how we respond to these times that helps define our lives and develop our characters.
Each story and its related discussion questions takes a look at an issue that we are all likely to experience at some point. Together you and your group can explore your responses to: expectations, rest, disappointment, trust and control. We hope that each person will identify with each story and theme, will connect with the choices that were made in the video story, and explore how that specific situation intersects with their own life.
Intersect also aims for you to find inspiration in how, in each story, the opportunity is there to turn to God for help. We believe that the Bible is a guide, telling the story of how we were created to live. We hope you and your group will connect with the Bible passages and realize their truth and usefulness for application in your life. This is where your stories will intersect with God's story.
Intersect is a useful tool for those in the church to use as they seek to engage those outside of it with the love and message of Jesus. Starting spiritual conversations in this context can feel intimidating, but this resource can be easily shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members. The video stories give platform to meaningful conversation, and the questions lead the way through the topic.
Intersect is for followers of Jesus too. Our hope is that through these stories your faith and understanding will grow, and you will discover where your story and God's story converge.
 
 
 Grow your faith with a 5-week DVD resource from @AwakenRob and @RabbiRogers. Perfect for small groups! Review it: http://bit.ly/1LhdqRq

 Meet the Author
ROB PEABODY @AwakenRob

Rob is the Co-Founder and International Director of Awaken, a non-profit charity that exists to resource the church for action. Awaken creates resources that inspire, educate, and equip local churches to live as Kingdom-bringers in their communities. In 2011, Rob and his wife, Medea, along with their two boys left his position as a lead campus pastor at a mega-church in Texas to pioneer and lead fresh expressions of church seeking to engage unreached 20-30's in northeast London. His latest book, Citizen, was released in Autumn 2014.

CRIS ROGERS @RabbiRogers

Cris is a writer, pastor, speaker and church visionary. In 2010, Cris planted a church in the poorest area of London with a dream for it to be an explosion of joy within the tower block estate in which he works.


Here is my review of this video resource:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers and their publisher for sending me a copy of "Intersect" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

'Intersect' by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers is a five-video series designed to train Christians how to engage non-believers in conversation about Christ.  Each video is only a few minutes in length.  The DVD booklet contains preparatory questions to answer prior to watching the video.  Then there is a Scripture reading and more questions for after the video.  Each of the five topics (Expectations, Rest, Disappointment, Trust, and Control) is pertinent and encountered daily in the world today.

The British flavor made me feel disconnected at first, but I quickly became aware that man’s troubles are universal regardless of accent.  I appreciated the transparency of the speakers.  The videos made me re-think how I treat people and reminded me how to love others into Christ’s kingdom.  Overall, this is a valuable resource for individuals and small groups alike.  My only criticism after a first viewing is one of the teachers was talking about Job and said that Job lost his wife – which he did not according to Scripture.  For me personally, this is not a deal-breaker for using the DVD because I’m a firm believer in being like the Bereans and testing what my leaders say against the Bible.  But I also know that many people don’t do that, and I think such a mistake might undermine confidence in the resource.
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Gather Around the Amish Table by Lucy Leid

Gather Around the Amish Table 
by Lucy Leid 
Cookbook
MennoMedia

Straight from Amish kitchens to yours, this cookbook offers favorite family recipes and charming stories from Amish and Mennonite cooks. Bake the pecan rolls that taste best after an ice-skating party, or try the hoagies that a community sold to help an Amish family with hospital bills. Discover the cocoa cupcakes with instructions to "stir by hand" that one young cook took literally, or whip up the whoopie pies that one Amish woman took to market in her horse and buggy.

These cherished recipes speak of comforting traditions, lively communities, and strong Christian faith. Gather your family around the table to sample the nourishing fare and trademark charm of the plain people. In the words of one cookbook contributor: "Bake someone happy!"
Advance Praise
"As I paged through the recipes and pored over the photos in Gather around the Amish Table, I found myself thinking again and again, I've just got to try this! There are so many recipes in here just waiting to become new family favorites-I can't wait to get cooking!" -Georgia Varozza, author, Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook
"Gather around the Amish Table is a collection of hearty and delicious homestyle recipes that include heartwarming anecdotes and beautiful photos. Reading through the treasure of recipes allows a glimpse into the home life of a community that gathers around the table for fellowship, with thankfulness for the bounty that God has provided them." -Lovella Schellenberg, coauthor, Mennonite Girls Can Cook
"This is a great cookbook with many easy-to-make recipes! The ingredients are simple and usually in any kitchen. The little stories make it even more interesting and wonderful. A lovely book!" -Lovina Eicher, author, Lovina's Amish Kitchen weekly column.
 Meet the Author
Lucy Leid is an Old Order Mennonite wife, mother, and cook in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


Here's my review of this charming cookbook:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Lucy Leid and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Gather Around the Amish Table" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

Gather Round the Amish Table by Lucy Leid is a unique cookbook containing interesting recipes and sweet stories from the author.  Many of the recipes combine ingredients that I would never have dreamed of putting together.  Using this book, I made some of the best soft pretzels I’ve ever had.  And using that same recipe, I also made some killer garlic knots!  This cookbook is loaded with delicious soup recipes and some recipes that I’m wary of trying because of what I believe to be odd ingredient combinations.  There are lots of breads and desserts and casseroles.

Honestly, my idea of Amish cooking has changed considerably as a result of reading through this book.  I figured their cuisine would be as plain as their costume.  But that is not the case.  This book was quite a surprise.  I look forward to tasting many of these intriguing dishes.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Armor of God – Week Three – The Breastplate of Righteousness

This is what I learned from Video #3:

·         The Breastplate of Righteousness is our uniform and it equals right living that aligns with God’s expectations

·         The Belt of Truth carries the weight of our pursuit of righteousness

·         Sanctification is the Holy Spirit’s job.  I cooperate by renewing my mind in the Word and obeying

·         The Holy Spirit sculpts me by chipping away anything that doesn’t look like Jesus

·         My heart is the centerpiece of my soul

·         My conscience is the microphone used by the Holy Spirit to enable me to hear God’s voice

·         Unrighteousness is an environment where demonic influence feels welcome

·         People should wonder what planet I come from – my behavior should be alien in this world

·         The devil will bait me at my weakest moments

·         Perfectionism is a crippling shackle the enemy puts on me – the Perfect One has already come

·         I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus

·         The Holy Spirit enables me to live beyond myself.  He changes me from the inside out

This week’s book work taught me:

·         Right living guards me from the enemy’s attacks because obedience = resisting the devil, which means he will flee from me (James 4:7)

·         I don’t need to invite unrighteousness into my life.  I only need to create the environment where it feels welcome

·         If I know the good I ought to do and don’t do it, I sin (James 4:17)

·         If I don’t choose to align my life with God’s truth, I leave my heart as an exposed target for enemy attacks

·         "If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! (Psalm 81:13-14)

·         Trying to be perfect is exhausting and discouraging

·         Comparing myself to others is deceiving because I still can’t compare to God

·         I am righteous and clean before God

·         The old things passed away, behold, the new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17)

·         I don’t need to gain God’s approval – I already have it

·         God’s people need to put off falsehood, sinning in anger, stealing, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, coarse joking (Ephesians 4:25-55)

·         God’s people need to put on humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, peace, truthful speech, kindness, compassion, forgiveness (Ephesians 4)

·         Righteousness is in me, not it needs to be on me

·         True righteousness must be released, not manufactured

·         If I concentrate on having a vibrant spiritual life, I’ll automatically grow and change as a result

·         I’m called to be a doer of the Word (James 1:21-22)

·         I must allow the Word to influence everything in my life

·         I need to meditate on the Word, internalize its principles and implement them

·         God will never convict unless He intends to empower

Here’s the prayer strategy I’ve crafted based on what I learned this week:

My Generous, Selfless Lord Who approves of me and will never convict me unless You plan to empower, I repent of wrongdoing and inviting enemy attack, of not doing the good I know I should (Jas 4:17), of perfectionism and comparing myself to others and of not having a vibrant spiritual life.  I ask You to help me live right and resist the devil so he flees (Jas 4:7), align my heart with Your truth, that Your Word would influence my whole life.  Thank You for providing my righteousness and making me clean before You.  I am a new creation – the old is gone (2 Cor 5:17).  Your righteousness is in me, now it needs to be on me.  Help me to follow Your ways and quickly subdue my enemies (Ps 81:13-14).  Lead me to meditate on Your Word, internalize its principles and implement them.  Make me a doer of Your Word (Jas 1:22-24) who honors You with her life.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Homiletics Matthew 19:23-21:17

written 26 February 2014


Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                  Jericho, Bethphage, Jerusalem    Who?  Jesus, Disciples, Multitudes, Chief Priests, Scribes

1
19:23-26
J: rich hardly enter heaven, easier camel go through eye of needle; D amazed: who can be saved; J: with men, impossible, with God all things possible.
2
19:27-30
P: we forsaken all/followed thee, what shall we have; J: ye which followed, when Son of man sit throne of glory, ye sit twelve thrones judging twelve tribes Israel; every one forsaken houses, brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, lands for my name’s sake receive hundredfold/inherit everlasting life; first shall be last, last first.
3
20:1-7
(J:) KoH like man hire labourers into vineyard; agreed a penny/day; he went 3rd hour saw others – go vineyard, whatsoever right I give you, they went; 6th and 9th hour likewise; 11th hour, found others – why stand all day idle; they say no man hired us, he saith go vineyard, whatsoever right ye receive.
4
20:8-12
Even come, lord of vineyard unto steward – call labourers, give them hire from last unto first; 11th hour received a penny; 1st supposed they received more, likewise rec’d a penny; murmered against goodman of house – these wrought 1 hour, thou hast made them equal to us which borne burden and heat of day.
5
20:13-16
He – friend didst not thou agree for a penny; take and go, I give unto last as thee; lawful to do what I want w/mine own, thine eye evil because I good; last shall be first and first last, many called but few chosen.
6
20:17-19
J going Jerusalem took disciples:  we go Jerusalem, Son of man betrayed unto chief priests/scribes, they condemn to death; deliver to Gentiles to mock/scourge/crucify, 3rd day He rise again.
7
20:20-24
Came mother of Zebedee’s children w/sons, worshiping; J: what wilt thou, she: grant my sons sit on your right and left in thy kingdom; J: ye know not what ask, able to drink cup I drink, be baptized with baptism, they: we able; J: ye drink/be baptized, to sit right/left not mine to give, but for whom prepared of Father; when 10 heard, moved to indignation against brethren.
8
20:25-28
J: princes of Gentiles dominion over them, great exercise authority upon them; not so among you, whoever great be your minister; whosoever chief be your servant; Son of man came to minister/give life a ransom for many.
9
20:29-34
Departed Jericho, multitude followed; 2 blind men cried out: mercy on us Lord, Son of David; multitude rebuked them – hold peace, they cried more; J: what shall I do unto you; they – our eyes be opened; J had compassion, touched eyes, immed. rec’d sight, followed.
10
21:1-5
Bethphage, mt olives, sent J 2 disciples: go village, find ass/colt, bring to me; if any say ought to you, say: Lord need them; this done, fulfilled prophet: thy King cometh sitting upon ass and colt.
11
21:6-9
D went/did as commanded; brought ass/colt, put on their clothes, set Him thereon; multitude spread garments in way, others cut branches; multitudes before and following: Hosanna Son of David, blessed He that cometh in name of Lord.
12
21:10-11
Jerusalem, city moved: Who is this; multitude: Jesus prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
13
21:12-17
J went temple, cast out them that sold/bought, overthrew tables/seats: It is written My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye made it den of thieves; blind/lame came, He healed; chief priests/scribes saw wonderful things He did, children crying Hosanna, they displeased; said unto Him: hearest what these say; J: yea, have ye read – out of mouths of babes/sucklings thou hast perfected praise; He left, went to Bethany, lodged.

 

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture):

1
19:23-30
J: rich hardly enter heaven, easier camel go through eye of needle; with men, impossible, with God all things possible; P: we forsaken all/followed thee, what we have; J: when Son of man sit throne, ye sit twelve thrones judging twelve tribes Israel; every one forsaken houses, brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, lands for my name’s sake receive hundredfold/inherit everlasting life; first shall be last, last first.
Principle:
With God, all things are possible.
Those who have sacrificed for the sake of Christ will be rewarded.
The first shall be last and the last shall be first.
2
20:1-34
(J:) KoH like man hire labourers; agreed a penny/day; he went 3rd,  6th, 9th, 11th hour; Even come, steward call labourers, give them hire from last unto first; 11th hour rec’d a penny; 1st supposed they rec’d more, rec’d a penny; murmered against goodman of house; friend didst not thou agree for a penny; take and go, I give unto last as thee; thine eye evil because I good; last shall be first and first last, many called but few chosen; we go Jerusalem, Son of man betrayed unto chief priests/scribes, they condemn to death; deliver to Gentiles to mock/scourge/crucify, 3rd day He rise again; Came mother of Zebedee’s children w/sons: grant my sons sit on your right and left in kingdom; J: ye know not what ask, able to drink cup I drink, be baptized with baptism, they: we able; J: ye drink/be baptized, to sit right/left not mine to give; when 10 heard, moved to indignation against brethren; J: great exercise authority; not so among you, whosoever great be your minister; whosoever chief be your servant; Son of man came to minister/give life ransom for many; departed Jericho, 2 blind men: mercy on us Lord, Son of David; multitude rebuked, they cried more; J: what shall I do unto you; they – our eyes be opened; J had compassion, touched eyes, immed. rec’d sight, followed.
Principle:
The owner of a thing can do as he pleases with his property.
Generosity can be thought wrong or foolish if we’re not the recipient of it.
Many are called but few are chosen.
Jealousy makes people angry.
Jesus’ blessing isn’t just for the afterlife; He wants to touch and heal us in this present life, too.
Jesus wants to open our eyes to the truth.
3
21:1-17
Bethphage, mt olives, sent 2 disciples: go village, find ass/colt, bring to me; fulfilled prophet: thy King cometh sitting upon ass and colt; D brought ass/colt, set Him thereon; multitude spread garments in way, others cut branches; multitudes before and following: Hosanna Son of David, blessed He that cometh in name of Lord; Jerusalem moved: Who is this; multitude: Jesus prophet of Nazareth of Galilee; J went temple, cast out them that sold/bought, overthrew tables/seats: It is written My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye made it den of thieves; blind/lame healed; chief priests/scribes displeased: hearest what these say; J: yea, have ye read – out of mouths of babes/sucklings thou hast perfected praise; He went to Bethany, lodged.
Principle:
Obeying the Lord leads to fulfillment of God’s plan, glory and praise.
Jesus wants His house to be holy, not corrupted.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure):

(Jesus taught the disciples about serving before entering Jerusalem triumphantly.)

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMAT see sacrifice for Christ as a good thing that, done in obedience to Christ’s direction in our lives, leads to His plan being fulfilled, His name being glorified and blessing for us in this life and the next.

 

Application:

1
What impossible things have you experienced as being possible with God?
What have you forsaken for Christ?
When have you witnessed the truth that the first shall be last and the last first?
How might you influence yourself to seek to be the servant of others?
Where do you struggle most with serving others?
2
How have you dealt with situations where someone went behind your back seeking a position above yours?
How should you deal with situations where someone went behind your back seeking a position above yours?
In what way have you applied God’s truth that those who would be great will minister to all?
When have you experienced Jesus’ compassion and healing?
3
How would you describe your obedience to Christ?
What should you do to increase that obedience?
How has Jesus cleansed your temple?
What might you do this week to make your “temple” a house of prayer rather than a den of thieves?
How is praise perfected in the mouths of babes?
In what way will you change how you currently praise the Lord to be more childlike?

 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

'The Finishing School' by Valerie Woerner

The Finishing School 
by Valerie Woerner 

Non-Fiction
NyreePress

 
Litfuse is excited to be partnering with NyreePress and Valerie Woerner to bring you The Finishing School: How One Book Nerd Began Living What She Learned.
Valerie says, "Finishing schools and learning social graces have always been fascinating to me. Maybe it's because I'm awkward and ungraceful to my core and love the idea that these things are taught instead of things you are born with. As I've grown in my walk with the Lord, I have realized that living an intentional life is the same. We don't flip a switch when we become a Christian and suddenly have a life that is overflowing with fruit. I've still got this rebellious flesh to contend with. And although I desire my days to be lived intentionally and on purpose, many days, they are simply filled with things like shopping and binging on Netflix or ice cream. We've got to learn how to grow. We've got to learn what obstacles we will face (because there will be obstacles) and how to overcome them. We have got to dig into what the Bible says and study that truth more than the voices of this world."
 
Are you tired of waiting for change to happen in your life? Do you feel stuck, even though you want to live more intentionally? 

The Finishing School is your practical guide to put you in motion to that purposeful life you dream about. Let the refining begin! In today's world, our pursuit of a life well-lived gets squeezed out by the silliest of things: binging on TV shows, shopping trips for things we don't need, bad habits we can't seem to get a handle on, and so much more. Valerie has been there, despite knowing what she wanted for her life. Actually doing it though? That's the real challenge.
After gobbling up all the non-fiction and self-help books her donut-filled belly could handle, she decided it was time to put her knowledge to use and start actually living it out. The result has been a refining process that has drawn her closer to God and produced the sweetest fruit in her life. You will hear about Valerie's journey filled with failures and victories and find practical tips to apply to your own pursuit of holiness. You will find homework at the end of each chapter that includes a worksheet to put real change in motion for your own life, as well as recommended books to further study those topics that really test you.
IN THE FINISHING SCHOOL YOU WILL LEARN:
  • 3 keys to experiencing joy
  • 4 steps to combating fear and anxiety
  • 5 tips to thriving in busy seasons  
  • 6 keys to a rest-filled Sabbath 
  • 7 ways to make prayer happen daily
  • and much more!
 

 Meet the Author
Valerie Woerner is owner of Val Marie Paper. She and her husband, Tyler, live in Louisiana with their daughter, Vivi Mae. The Finishing School is her first book.
Find Valerie online:

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View on Instagram Visit our blog






Here's my review of this valuable resource:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Valerie Woerner and her publisher for sending me a copy of "The Finishing School" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

'The Finishing School' by Valerie Woerner is a series of 24 short and sweet school-themed chapters.  Each chapter focuses on one characteristic of the Christian life.  The chapters can be worked in any order, but I recommend doing the first three chapters first because the orientation chapter sets the stage and prayer and Bible study are foundational to the Christian walk and the rest of the topics to be studied.  Disciplines such as forgiveness and contentment and hospitality are the topics of these enlightening chapters that will inspire Christ-like change.

The book points the reader to the author’s website for additional resources.  At the time this review was written, not all homework worksheets and resources are available online.  But what is available is thought-provoking and useful.  “The Finishing School” is a resource I will refer to again and again and recommend to others.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Armor of God – Week Two – The Belt of Truth

Video #2 taught me this:


·         My enemy wants me to lean on my own understanding

·         My enemy wants me to trust my feelings

·         The devil disguises himself (2 Cor 11:14)

·         Satan’s attacks are deception; he is a master illusionist but his suggestions can never stand up to God’s Word

·         Just like the TSA runs an ID under a light to determine authenticity, we must run those things we want to authenticate under THE LIGHT (God’s Word)!

·         "Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather, it is telling the difference between right and almost right." ~ Charles Spurgeon

·         The Bible is the unchanging standard that has to dictate our lives

·         If we haven’t applied what we learned in the last Bible study, we need to get out of this Bible study

·         The belt gave fortification and stability – the belt of truth does the same

·         The belt gives me freedom I wouldn’t otherwise have

·         I need to ask for holy courage and wild woman boldness to stand for truth

This week my mentors Miss Priscilla and the Holy Spirit taught me:

·         Instead of wanting to be spared pain and testing, I should consider it pure joy when I face trials.  They help me persevere and mature.

·         Knowing the truth can diffuse many battles by eliminating the possibility of being deceived

·         Truth is how I strengthen my spiritual core

·         Truth is God’s opinion on any matter

·         I need to uphold the Bible as my standard of living

·         I need to let God align my decisions and responses with his truth

·         I need to synchronize my convictions with God’s character and purposes

·         I need to filter every circumstance through God’s truth

·         I tend to have bad posture when lots of negatives (or perceived negatives) happen at once

·         I need to express truth

·         I need to be the strongest person in my room at work and not let my co-workers drag me into complaining.  Instead, I need to be the light of Christ in that darkness

·         The Belt of Truth stabilizes the other pieces of armor

·         The Belt bears some of the weight of the Breastplate of Righteousness, taking the weight off of the shoulders

·         Truth supports and removes obstacles

·         Light and Truth illuminate and reveal

·         I need to be militant about personal homeland security

·         God had Moses strike a rock to get water when they first ventured into the desert, but a similar situation where God asked Moses to speak to the rock and Moses struck it like the first time got Moses banned from the Promised Land.  I need to be open to God doing things in a new way in my life

This week’s bookwork included a third “Digging Deeper” article.  Digging Deeper III is called “The Divine Warrior” and it teaches about the warrior Priscilla talked about in video session #1 using the passage in Isaiah 59.  What a beautiful picture this is!

Here’s the prayer strategy I’ve crafted as a result of what I learned this week:

Heavenly Father, Author of Truth, Teacher and Tester of my faith, You are worthy of obedience!  I repent of leaning on my own understanding, of trusting my feelings or my past experiences – even with you!  I repent of doing any Bible study and not applying it, and of displaying “bad posture” when lots of challenges come along.  I ask you to help me distinguish between right and almost right.  Teach me to make Your Word my standard of living.  Give me holy courage and wild woman boldness to stand for truth!    Synchronize my convictions with Your character and purpose.  Make me militant about personal homeland security.  Help me obey Your instruction and not always seek to do things how we’ve done them in the past.  May I be embarrassed to be without truth.  Make me joyful when my faith is tested (James 1:2-4) and help me hold to your teaching so I know Your truth and am set free (John 8:31-32).