Tag Archives: Bible

Book Review: The Master Plan of Evangelism

Book Review:  The Master Plan of Evangelism by Dr. Robert E. Coleman

The Good:

Unique.  Wasn’t sure what to find when I opened this book.  Honestly, I knew little about the author or the book.  What I found was a unique approach to evangelism.  Usually you will find a method like ABC or a Romans Road rendition.  Instead, it tracks the steps of Jesus with His disciples and outlines the principles of evangelism that followed the sandals of our Savior.  Unique approach, but one that made this a worthy read.

Bible. Bible. Bible.  This man knows his Bible or his concordance needs a new binding from all the use.  From page to page, the Bible is used to back up his principles.  When you are talking about how to share something so delicate and important as evangelism, you better handle the Bible with care and abundance.

The Bad:

Practicality.  The question becomes when you write a book about following the footsteps of Jesus, can you practically pull of this type of mentoring, discipling, and evangelism?  Even the author would answer negatively to this question.  But just because we fall short of Christ, doesn’t mean we do not try.  However, there is a sense of, how am I going to do this like Christ.  It begs the question, why did he leave this task to someone like you and me?  Don’t let this part discourage you, but be a goal to continue to reach for.

The Grade:  B.  There were parts of this book I absolutely loved.  The mentoring side of discipleship and the call to “make disciples” was absolutely dynamite.  The plane took off with tremendous speed and there were times it coasted in the air, but the landing made it work the trip.  Enjoy this unique look at evangelism.

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Dreams Do Come True – My 1st Book Goes On Sale Today!

The cursor blinked on the dark screen of that old computer.  My dad gave me his old IBM computer that weighed more than my bedroom furniture, but that was where the dream began.  I began to journal, write about my day, and watch the green print float words across the screen.  I didn’t know how to type.  Goodness, I barely knew how to spell.  But I did know I loved to write.

where-it-all-beganFast-forward to my college years.  I found a black leather-bound book, dove into the book of Psalms, and went to work.  Each night, I would write a devotional for myself with a summary statement at the end.  I don’t know if it was “senioritis”, or I just ran out of time…but I graduated and I never reached the end of Psalms.  That black leather book left incomplete, was thrown in a pile of my old academic records and free movie posters that the local theater would give me and my buddies every Tuesday.

Days become months, months become years, and time continued to tick on by.  I go on to seminary, marry the love of my life, and our family grows to four with our 2nd daughter born.  Then, as I was cleaning my office, I stumbled upon that black book.  I perused the pages realizing what a treasure I had just stuffed in my files.  I committed to finishing the Psalms, and began my quest to become an author.

Little did I know how difficult that next journey would be.  Rejection after rejection from publishing companies, I began to lose hope.  I mean, how could I blame them.  My name wasn’t Francis Chan or John Piper…to publishers, it was Jeff Who.  Although I was hesitant, I researched my options with self-publishing.  It was a little overwhelming, so I phoned an old friend.  Well, at that time, I don’t know if friend was the right word.  On the other end of the phone was my high school English teacher.  I called him Mr. P, mostly because I thought he closely resembled Mr. C on Happy Days.  In High School, I rarely paid attention, talked during class, and often showed little respect.  But, when Mr. P got a call from me about my dream of becoming an author, he didn’t hesitate to take me to lunch, pay for my meal, and answer every question I had.  He paid attention to me, talked me into reviving my dream, and a respectful friendship was born.

After months of editing and brainstorming, we were about a quarter of the way through the book.  Then, tragedy hit.  Mr. P passed away in his sleep.  My mentor, my new friend, my help in this journey went to be with his Savior.

front-coverNow what do I do?  I turned to another mentor, an established youth ministry author, who took an interest in my dream.  He connected me with a publishing company called Overboard Ministries.  And, as they say, the rest is history.  After long nights of editing for over a year, deliberation of titles and book cover designs…the day is finally here.

Dear Lord, I don’t feel like I deserve this dream to come true.  Remembering the days in front of that dark screen in my room, journaling my day that consisted mostly of backyard football and NHL 94 battles on the Sega Genesis with my brother to the late nights in an off campus house hoping these words would bless someone, someday.  To the days where it seemed like this dream was all but lost, which happened on more than one occasion.  My name is finally on the front of that book.  God, I give you this book.  Use it to help teens who are not consistently having a quiet time with the Lord yet.  Use it to bless the frustrated college student who feels alone, disappointed, and abandoned to find comfort, encouragement, and fulfillment in the Bible.  Use it to guide that 7th grader who feels lost in the new world of adolescence, and needs to discover the guiding hand of God’s Word.

You see, in the end, this dream became bigger than me.  The dream becomes a reality when I am able to hand this book to a teenager or young adult and watch them fall in love with God’s Word.  Now, that’s when my dreams truly come true.

Visit:  http://www.bottomlinedevotional.com to learn more about the book and how you can order a copy.

 

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Book Review: Age of Opportunity

Book Review:  Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp

The Good:index

Do you know a Teenager?  Then read this book.  If you are a parent of a teenager, read this book.  If you work with teenagers, read this book.  If you know the name of a teenager, read this book.  Seriously, it is one of the best books I have read for guiding teens to a godly life.

Preparation for Life.  I feel like this book truly prepares the parent for real life.  Tripp is honest in his parenting short falls and weaknesses that we all share as parents.  He does not sugar coat the difficulty of raising a teenager, but he provides valuable insight on truly getting your teenager ready to face the world, AND have an effect on the world for Christ.

Biblical.  This book is intensely Biblical.  Drawing the wisdom and insight from Scripture, it allows you trust what is being presented, because it is straight from God’s Word.  It not only provides the Scripture backing, but also ways to guide your teens to find their answers for living within the pages of the Word of God.

The Bad:

Length.  If you are not an avid reader, this would be the only drawback.  It is a long parent book, but if you stick with it, it is well worth your time.

The Grade:  A.  No book is perfect (except ones that are inspired by God), but this one is a good as they come.  Every parent should have this on their shelf and should be referenced often in their pursuit of raising godly children.  It provides practical ways to prepare their child for real life along with a proper balance of living an effective Christian life.  Priceless advice that needs to be read and re-read often.

 

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How to Make the Opening Night of Youth Group Awesome

The Opening night of youth group sets the tone for the rest of your year. It isn’t a deal breaker for a teen, but it does factor into their decision to come back. So what are some things you can put into your opening night that would make it awesome, special, and worthy to repeat a visit. Here are some thoughts:

static1.squarespace.comBig Game. Plan ahead to have a big game or special icebreaker to make it a unique night. I’ve heard of youth groups that do a huge food fight. I haven’t been so brave but have done the BeanBoozled Jelly Bean Challenge, Blind Volleyball, and have even tried the Watermelon Challenge this year. This was last night.

Introduce New Series. This is the perfect opportunity to get the excitement level up for the new teaching series. Show an intro video that goes along with the theme. Other ways to promote can be done through skits and homemade video productions.

Rules. This needs to be part of your routine each year. Go over rules for conduct, dress, treatment of others, and various rules that you can refer back to if there ever is an issue. Prevention is much better than confrontation.

Give-Away. This does not need to be an XBOX or THIS…but a gift card and some things around your office like candy and leftover gifts from a youth conference.  I put it all in a box and do a drawing.  It makes it more dramatic.

Time in the Word.  I made the mistake one year of not doing any time in the Word, and made it all fun and games.  Well, when some visitors came back, guess what they expected youth group to be like?  That’s right, all fun and games.  Make sure you are clear what the focus is, and that is to help these students grow in their relationship with God.

Sign-Ups For Service.  Having trouble finding volunteers for ministries?  Here is an opportunity to have sign ups for children ministries, sound team, ushers, game crew, and the list goes on.

New People.  Have a dessert or cake to celebrate the new 6th or 7th graders that have just joined your group.  This will allow them to feel welcome and hopefully want to come back.

Introduce the Leaders.  We take a few moments to recognize the leaders, celebrate the years they have been serving, and explain what they will be doing – small group leader, event leader, etc.  Also, this is an opportunity to share how much we care about them, and to let them know we are available if they ever needed to talk.

Well, those are a few highlights of our opening night.  What do you do to make your opening night special and awesome?  Feel free to comment.

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Explaining the Bible to Your Kids

Looking for a great way to explain the Bible to your kids?  Here’s a great place to start…

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Book Review: Multiply by Francis Chan

Book Review: Multiply by Francis Chan

The Good:31Tm11DrPAL

Reading and Doing. With the application questions at the end of each completed thought, the book promotes life change. It allows the reader to interact with the material for not only greater understanding, but also provides an introspective look at their personal life.

Challenging. Reading God’s Word, sharing the Gospel, and discipleship are not optional in the life of a believer. Chan does an incredible job of challenging the reader, without disgracing or manipulating Scripture. The Bible interweaves throughout its pages effectively and reaches the heart of the reader.

Great for New Believer. For a new believer, young believer, or one lacking in Biblical knowledge, this book would be most beneficial. Chan provides an easy-to-understand Bible survey where a beginner believer could follow along, but still provides depth for any reader. It provides the reader with a great ride from Genesis to Revelation, taking necessary stops to allow for understanding and clarity.

Promotes the Church. As a pastor, I appreciated the elevation of the church in the latter part of the book. As the Bride of Christ, the church should be treated such, and this book does a masterful job of describing the early church and challenges the present church to step up.

The Bad:

Not What I Expected. Honestly, I was expecting a book on discipleship and multiplication of the church through making disciples. Little did I know that this book would primarily be a Bible survey. Although it was presented very well, it caught me off guard, and I walked away a little disappointed. So there’s your spoiler, but will help you enjoy the read more than I did.

The Grade: B

As I stated before, if I knew what this book was all about, I may have graded it higher. However, expecting more training on discipleship, I was a little disappointed. However, the presentation of the Bible, and weaving in and out of God’s Word made for an interesting, enlightening, and challenging read. Again, if you are a new believer and want a better understanding of the first page to the last of your Bible, this book is a strong suggestion for you. Otherwise, it was good review, with enough depth that you will still learn.

 

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8 Ways Christians Should Handle Homosexuality

In a message at a teen leadership conference, the speaker brought up a good point.  Oftentimes, Christian mishandle the topic of homosexuality and cause more harm than good.  While there is certainly disagreements in lifestyle and behavior, there are things Christians can do differently and better to show we love others, specifically those in the homosexual community.  Here are a few ways we can be more consistent, loving, and Christ-like.

homosexuality2

  1. Handle sin the same – don’t ignore less or more popular sins
  2. Don’t expect people who don’t follow Christ to obey the Bible
  3. Carefully choose the way you protest
  4. Remember it’s more important to make a difference than a point (Don’t crush others to make yourself feel better)
  5. How you say what you say, is as important as what you say
  6. Don’t fear sharing what you believe – Remember the argument is not with the Bible, but with the writer of it
  7. Treat those with whom you disagree with love
  8. Be willing to live with the consequences of speaking the truth in love

(Taken from a message by David Whiting, Teen Leadership Conference at Baptist Bible College, July 2014)

 

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12 Things Good Preachers Do Well

12 Things Good Preachers Do well

  1. Be aware of cultural and philosophical challenges to the gospel
  2. Inspire a passion for the glory of God
  3. Let the Bible speak with simplicity and freshness
  4. Be a Word-and-Spirit Preacher
  5. Use humor and story to connect and engage, and dismantle barriers
  6. Create interest; apply well
  7. Preach with spiritual formation in mind
  8. Make much of Jesus Christ
  9. Preach with urgency and evangelistic zeal
  10. Persuade people by passionate argument from the Bible
  11. Teach with directness, challenge and relevance
  12. Preach all of the Bible to all of God’s people

preach-543x360So if this was a checklist, how many of these things do you do well? What do you need to work on? If you’re like me, you have some things to work on. May God bless you as you pursue to improve your ministry to others!

(Credit:  Conclusion of Excellence in Preaching by Simon Vibert)

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

Curriculum Review:  Generation Change by Dave Ramsey, featuring Rachel Cruzegenchange_home_product

The Good:

The practicality is through the roof with this series. What teenager can’t use a lesson on finances, especially with a Biblical foundation? Seriously, some of these students had no clue how to manage money. If they practice the principles in this series, we are talking about saving them some major heartache.

The Biblical foundation was the best “good” of this curriculum. Without it, you could find these principles on a book in Barnes & Noble. But with the Biblical lessons and Scriptural backing for each point, it gave the material authority and reason for life changes, specifically in the area of money.

Dave Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze was the main speaker on the DVD’s. Her youth served her well in the sense of relevance. She was able to speak the language of the teens well, and tune into what they were thinking throughout the series. Rachel easily held the attention of the room, and did a great job presenting the material.

A word that comes to mind for this series is “sharp”. I would call this sharp material. What I mean is the leader guide was well-designed; the DVD’s were dynamic and engaging, including an artistic presentation in each DVD that was incredible. The overall package was impressive

The Bad:

The price may seem like it should go in the bad category, but when you see the price of the adult material, you will be thankful. However, one bad in purchasing all 3 sets in the series, was there was some material that was repeated. Since these DVD sets could stand alone in a study, I’m guessing that is why the material found itself repeating on occasion.

Another bad, more a slightly bad, would be the Biblical study required a little more prep on the leader’s part. There was definitely material as a foundation, but there were time when it lacked depth. Maybe my standards are high, but I was thirsty for more.

Lastly, there was some advice that was a little “shoot for the moon”. No debt from college? Pay for your 1st house with cash? Now I’m all for not getting into debt and living within your means, but there were statements like these that raised my eyebrows. With the income levels of my students, some debt management statements in my opinion were a little unrealistic.

The Grade: A-

If the students review was any indication of its worth, then it immediately should be considered in the “A” category. When I asked the students what they thought of the series, several of them said it was their favorite one they have studied. That’s a big statement. So, do these students just like talking about money or did this series truly have a spiritual impact? I’m going to go with yes.

Extras:  YouTube Videos: http://youtu.be/1DUYlHZsZfc & http://youtu.be/eGVpKaxnuBU

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (2013-14 Edition)

Curriculum Review:   Do You Know This Man? By Lifeway Christian Resources

The Good:

This ended up being one of my favorite series I’ve taught. The curriculum does a great job, first of knownall, in engaging culture. There are quotes from a wide range of celebrities, athletes and historical figures, from Mike Tyson to George W. Bush. Now that is a range of voices.

Additionally, it centers on a specific passage of Scripture, and provides easy teaching points from that passage. The points are already established for you, and it doesn’t force you to come up with your own teaching outline.

The activity pages are a thing of beauty. There is so much creativity there, and provides multiple avenues of learning. Whether your students are visual, auditory, or hands-on, you got it all in these lessons. There are also additional resources available online.

The Bad:

The series was a bit short for my liking. So I decided to stretch the mid-week discussion into a second week of material. It took a little creativity, but with a little work, there was enough material within the primary and mid-week curriculum to make two significant teaching lessons.

The Scriptural depth is lacking at times. Although it does a good job of diving deep within the main teaching passage, it lacks parallel Scripture to add to the subject at hand.

The Grade: B+

The Scriptural depth could use some improvement in areas, but if you are willing to dig a little deeper, this curriculum is all you need to provide a dynamite study of the precious Savior. With visuals out your ears, compact outlines, activities, and cultural parallels, you are set. I fully recommend this curriculum for a youth study on Jesus.

EXTRAS:

Videos: Falling Plates; Compassion; Something More; Resurrection

Series Bumpers/Intro: That’s My King; Jesus Changes Everything

Pictures:  Different Cultures Jesus

 

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