Category: – Equipping


What is the Bible really about?
Jesus.

(Message by Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian)

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Equipping The Body

Book: Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis

Two pastors outline and apply a pair of overarching biblical principles that call the current body of Christ to a deep restructuring of its life and mission.

“Church is not a meeting you attend or a place you enter,” write pastors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. “It’s an identity that is ours in Christ. An identity that shapes the whole of life so that life and mission become ‘total church.'” With that as their premise, they emphasize two overarching principles to govern the practice of church and mission: being gospel-centered and being community-centered. When these principles take precedence, say the authors, the truth of the Word is upheld, the mission of the gospel is carried out, and the priority of relationships is practiced in radical ways. The church becomes not just another commitment to juggle but a 24/7 lifestyle where programs, big events, and teaching from one person take a backseat to sharing lives, reaching out, and learning about God together.

In Total Church, Chester and Timmis first outline the biblical case for making gospel and community central and then apply this dual focus to evangelism, social involvement, church planting, world missions, discipleship, pastoral care, spirituality, theology, apologetics, youth and children’s work. As this insightful book calls the body of Christ to rethink its perspective and practice of church, it charts a middle path between the emerging church movement and conservative evangelicalism that all believers will find helpful. (excerpted from Amazon.com’s website)

Why We Recommend It:

“I love this book because Total Church demonstrates that to understand the gospel we are actually forced to respond to it in community, and for community to flourish we must be deeply rooted in the gospel.” 

~ Ryan Donell, Grace Church Resident
 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Grace Church has not received any compensation for writing this post. Grace Church has no material connection to the brands, products, or services mentioned. Grace Church is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How To Study The Bible

Have you ever heard someone talk about studying the Bible? Did you ever wonder what they meant?

How does one go about studying the Bible? Where do you even begin?

  • Do you begin in Genesis?
  • Is the Old Testament even relevant anymore or should you just stick to the New Testament?
  • How much should you read in one sitting? A passage? A chapter? A whole book?
  • Where do you go to find out more information about a particular passage?
  • What does this mean to me? How can I uncover practical application from it?
  • How should you choose what to read? Should you just sit down and flip open to any page and blindly point to a verse?
  • Ever wondered if something is in the Bible, but weren’t sure how to find out?

There are topical studies, character studies, and studies on books of the Bible. There are concordances, commentaries, and lexicons. There are dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases. Sometimes, the very thought of reading the Bible is downright daunting and overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be. Spending time in the Word, studying it, and allowing it to draw you nearer to God is an incredible blessing.

Here are a few key terms that may be helpful:

  • Concordance – A topical index of the Bible. This is very helpful if you want to research what the Bible has to say about a particular subject (i.e. joy, submission, forgiveness)
  • Commentary – A book of explanations or expositions on the whole or a part of the Scriptures. This is a great tool to use if you aren’t quite sure about the meaning behind a particular passage.
  • Lexicon – A lexicon is helpful if you are reading a particular verse and want to know the original Greek or Hebrew word and its meaning.

There are also many helpful tools right at our fingertips, thanks to the internet.

Here are a couple we recommend:

  • BibleGateway.com From the BibleGateway site you can find various reading plans (such as chronological or reading through the Bible in one year), search on various keywords or topics, check different translations, and view commentaries.
  • Biblos.com is another wonderful tool. On the Biblos website, you will find many of the same options as on BibleGateway, along with a few other helpful tools such as a Bible dictionary and encyclopedia (want to know what rabble is…look it up in the dictionary or the encyclopedia). There are also a few other tools available on Biblos that you will not find on BibleGateway such as a lexicon, concordance, atlas, and many other options.

If you want to know more about studying the Bible, Ryan Donell will be offering a summer Bible study that will teach you how to study the Bible. In this six-week series Ryan will cover topics such as:

  • How To Study The Scriptures
  • How To Understand It’s Meaning
  • What Does This Have To Do With Jesus?
  • How Do You Apply It?

Sign-ups for this series will begin this Sunday at Wafuasi.

*image courtesy of Jacek Raczyński

Why Do You Love The Church?

I don’t know when I first started loving the local church.  When I was really young, I didn’t love the church.  I slept through church.  I remember my mom taking my sister and me to Sunday night service (I grew up Southern Baptist), letting me lay my head in her lap, and waking me up when it was time to leave. 

When I was a little older, instead of loving the church, I looked for ways to skip church.  Going to Sunday School (once again, I was Southern Baptist) consisted of my sister and me sneaking out a side door and playing on a playground to pass time until we were supposed to meet back up with my parents. 

In middle and high school, I still didn’t love the church.  But I did love what the church offered me.  I loved our Wednesday night youth group, at least until it started interfering with sports.  I loved the mission trips we went on and the lock-ins we had. 

In college, the trend continued.  I went to church because I had always gone to church, but my love was given to parachurch ministries over the local church.  They were convenient, they were for people my age, and they allowed me to be around other people who loved Jesus.  I figured that was good enough. 

I’d like to think that I started to love the church right after I graduated from college, but a more accurate statement would be that’s when I started loving Student Ministry.  In all honesty, I probably didn’t start loving the local church until after I came on staff at Grace Church.  Before then, I had never been taught about the importance of the local church, and I just figured that loving the church meant loving God’s people; not an institution. 

Perhaps, the thought of loving an institution or organized religion scares you.  Perhaps, you feel like the church is unlovable.  Maybe that’s because you feel like the church doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.  Maybe it’s because you’ve been hurt by the church in the past.  Maybe it’s because you think that the church has strayed from what it was originally supposed to be and has been corrupted through history. 

If any of these scenarios resonate with you at all, I would encourage you to read Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.  In this book, the authors tackle the aforementioned issues people tend to have with the church.  They also go on to explain why we need to not only be a part of a local church, but we also need to learn to love it as well.

As a pastor in student ministry I’d highly recommend this book to all high school students, especially seniors going away for college.  I wish I had read something like this in high school because it would have helped shaped my view of the church and would have probably changed my involvement in the local church while I was in college.  In my experience, students who don’t love the church, even though they may be really involved in Student Ministry, end up leaving the church.  Because of this, we desperately need more parents who love the church so they can raise their children to love the church as well.

– Dion

Disclosure: Grace Church has not received any compensation for writing this post. Grace Church has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. Grace Church is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

*image courtesy of Aleš Čerin via sxc.hu