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From biblical times to today, humans have found meaning and significance in the actions and symbolism of birds. We admire their mystery and manners, their strength and fragility, their beauty and their ugliness--and perhaps compare these very characteristics to their own lives in the process. Though admired today, the birds of Scripture are largely unseen and underappreciated. From the well-known image of the dove to the birds that gorge on the flesh of the defeated "beast" in Revelation, birds play a dynamic part in Scripture. They bring bread to the prophets. They are food for the wanderers. As sacrifices, they are the currency of mercy. Highlighting 10 birds throughout Scripture, author Debbie Blue explores their significance in both familiar and unfamiliar biblical stories and illustrates how and why they have represented humanity across culture, Christian tradition, art, and contemporary psyche. With these (usually) minor characters at the forefront of human imaginations, poignant life lessons illuminate such qualities as desire and gratitude, power and vulnerability, insignificance and importance--even as readers gain a better understanding that God's mysterious grace is sometimes most evident in His simplest of creatures.
In Do Your Best and Trust God for the Rest, popular author James W. Moore talks about the idea that God doesn't expect us to be perfect. Instead, God simply asks us to be faithful, and then God will do and be what we cannot. Moore, through personal experience, shares how "God has the power to redeem! God can take our weaknesses, our foibles, our feeble efforts and redeem them and use them for good. God can take our defeats and turn them into victories!" This book contains a discussion guide.
No other time-honored spiritual practice is as immediate, raw, and engaged with Scripture as writing--responding to God--in the margins of the Bible. Composers like Bach to theologians like Barth, botanists and saints--all have written their thoughts directly in their Bibles. In doing so they engaged their fullest selves with our most significant text. Some people have lived with Scripture all their lives and yet feel estranged from it. This book inspires a new encounter with "the living Word"--and jump-starts a deep, creative, and hands-on approach to reading Scripture. As you sit, with pencil, pen, crayon, or marker in hand and Bible in lap, at whatever edges of life you are living within, now that invitation is yours. The creative practice of writing in the margins creates a divine conversation that transforms and guides. Meet God in the margins. Let God shape your character from the living interaction on the pages of your Bible. Writing in the Margins is a book about making connections on the pages of your Bible--and introduces a devotional and scriptural path of engagement that is life-changing.
The season of Advent provides an opportunity for spiritual renewal for followers of Christ. But often what happens is that we get so caught up in the hurry and rush, the hustle and bustle, the frantic pace of the season that we emerge more spiritually exhausted than refreshed, more disillusioned than inspired to face the coming of a new year. We may have tried so hard to enjoy the holiday season, to recapture a sense of wonder and mystery, only to end up asking, "Is that all there is?" The purpose of Advent, A Calendar of Devotions 2013 is to help you focus on the things that truly matter during this busy season, so that you can experience spiritual renewal. Advent, A Calendar of Devotions 2013 is a booklet of daily devotions for the season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) that helps you step back from the bustle and stress of the season and prepare your heart and mind to rejoice in God's loving gift, Jesus Christ. Each daily devotion includes a recommended Scripture reading, a Bible verse, an inspiring message, and an uplifting prayer.
Devotions based on Adam Hamilton's powerful book 24 Hours That Changed the World In his best-selling book, 24 Hours that Changed the World, pastor and popular author Adam Hamilton helped readers relive the one day in history that changed everything. Now, on this Special Edition Book and DVD package, Hamilton invites both readers and viewers to experience and understand the significance of Jesus' final hours. Drawing on insights from history, archaeology, geography, and the Bible, Hamilton takes us to the Holy Land and provides a deeper understanding of the most amazing day in history. We visit the sites where those earth-shaking events took place, and we walk where Jesus walked along the road that led to the pain and triumph of the cross. Now, in a companion volume that can also function beautifully on its own, Hamilton offers 40 days of devotions enabling us to pause, reflect, dig deeper, and emerge changed forever. The devotions, ideal for use in Lent or any other time of the year, include Scripture, reflection on the events of Jesus' final day, stories from Hamilton's own ministry, and prayer.
Jesus defies simplistic, effortless, undemanding explications. To be sure, Jesus often communicated his truth in simple, homely, direct ways, but his truth was anything but apparent and undemanding in the living. Common people heard Jesus gladly, not all, but enough to keep the government nervous, only to find that the simple truth Jesus taught, the life he lived, and the death he died complicated their settled and secure ideas about reality. The gospels are full of folk who confidently knew what was what--until they met Jesus. Jesus provoked an intellectual crisis in just about everybody. Their response was not, "Wow, I've just seen the Son of God," but rather, "Who is this?"--from the Introduction The church uses the concept of "Incarnation," (from the Latin word for "in the flesh") to help us understand that Jesus Christ is both divine and human. The Incarnation is the grand crescendo of our reflection upon the mystery that Christ is the full revelation of God; not only one who talks about God but the one who speaks for and acts as God, one who is God.
One out of seven children will lose a parent before they are 20. The statistics are sobering, but they are also a call for preparedness. However, pastors and counselors of all types are often at a loss when dealing with a grieving child. Talking to adults about death and grief is difficult; it's all the more challenging to talk to children and teens. The stakes are high: grieving children are high-risk for substance abuse, promiscuity, depression, isolation, and suicide. Yet, despite this, most of these kids grow-up to be normal or exceptional adults. But their chance to become healthy adults increases with the support of a loving community. Supporting grieving children requires intentionality, open-communication, and patience. Rather than avoid all conversations on death or pretend like it never happened, normalizing grief and offering support requires us to be in-tune with kids through dialogue as they grapple with questions of "how" and "why." When listening to children in grief, we often have to embrace the mystery, offer love and compassion, and stick with the basics. The author says, "We don't have to answer the why and how for them, but we can assure our children that God is with us as we suffer. We can do so by doing good for others and pointing out all of those moments when someone has done something good for us. I believe that most of the time that's as far as we will get, and that is okay."
As the geographic heart and soul of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, the Holy Land has immense significance for the millions of visitors each year. But since the fifth century BC, enthusiastic and curious people have needed a guide as they travel to see the sites for themselves. This book is different because it not only gives the historical, archaeological descriptions wedded to the biblical text, but it is an appropriate resource for spiritual formation and cross-cultural dialog. Packed with the latest information, this book locates and introduces the reader to popular and less-familiar sites such as Bethlehem, Shepherds' Field, Church of the Nativity, Roman Catholic Church of St. Catherine, the Herodium, Mount of Olives, Old City of Jerusalem, Wadi Kelt, Mt. Sinai, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Church of St. Mary of the Latins, Temple Mount, El-Aksa Mosque, Dome of the Rock, Hezekiah's Tunnel, the traditional place of the Last Supper, Siloam Pool, the traditional tomb of King David, the house of Caiphas the High Priest, Shrine of the Book, Herod's Antonio Fortress, Golgotha, Bethany, Tomb of Lazarus, Bethphage, Pater Noster Church, Gethsemane, and many others. Each entry explains the history and topography of the site as well as its function and significance as it is linked to the relevant biblical passages. This book will not only inform you but help you better understand your faith. Journey to the Holy Land with indispensable archaeological information linked to the biblical story.
Good preparation enables couples to take a first step together in facing their future challenges. While no one can smooth away all the rough spots in the marital road ahead, couples can be coached to pay attention to warning signs, see the bumps before they hit them, and deal more skillfully with inevitable conflicts. This book provides pastors with a framework and tools for this ministry. The good news is that you don't need any formal background in counseling, because the kind of work we're talking about isn't counseling--it's coaching--a coach who can help couples to respond positively to the differences between them. It's not about having the answers; but is it about helping couples manage difficulties before they become serious threats to the marriage.
Congregations are made up of people with all sorts of theologies. Pastor Mike Slaughter even says that these can stand in the way of the church's mission of social and personal holiness. But most people do not adopt a theology on purpose, mostly they merely breathe in the prevailing cultural air. The theology "de jour" seems to be Calvinist, with its emphasis on "the elect" and "other worldly salvation." In fact, there is so much Calvinism saturating the culture, that some do not even know there is an alternative way of thinking about their faith. They don't know where to go to find a viable option; they don't even know the key words to search Google. So people are left thinking like Calvinists but living with a desire to change the world, offering grace and hope to hurting people in mission and ministry--loving the least, the last, and the lost. In other words, they are living like Wesleyans. This book shows what Calvinist and Wesleyans actually believe about human responsibility, salvation, the universality of God's grace, holy living through service, and the benefits of small group accountability--and how that connects to how people can live. Calvinists and Wesleyans are different, and by knowing the difference, people will not only see the other benefits of Wesleyan theology but will be inspired to learn more. By knowing who they are as faithful people of God, they will be motivated to reach out in mission with renewed vigor. And they won't be obstacles to grace and holiness, but they can be better disciples and advocates for Christ through service in this world.
This volume offers a comprehensive intellectual and experiential introduction to Christian spirituality. It embraces spiritual traditions from the Patristic period to the present day. Part I, "The Roots of Contemporary Western Spirituality," covers spiritual types that have been fundamental in shaping spiritual practice. Part II, "Distinctive Spiritual Traditions," offers major introductory essays on spiritual traditions formed by such notable figures as Luther, Wesley, Ignatius, and John of the Cross, as well as ecclesiastical traditions such as Anglicanism. Part III, "The Feminine Dimension in Christian Spirituality," is devoted to Marian Spirituality, holy women, and feminism. Each of the fourteen chapters is followed by a practicum which enables readers to assimilate the practice prescribed into their own devotional life .
In A Healing Homiletic: Preaching and Disability, Kathy Black offers a unique and effective approach for preaching about disabilities. By going to the heart of the gospel and drawing on the healing narratives or miracle stories, Black shows how preaching affects the inclusion or exclusion of forty-three million persons with disabilities from our faith communities. A Healing Homiletic provides a new method of preaching about healing, based on Scripture, for understanding the needs of the disability community.
Scripturally-based readings to complement your Lenten journey. The Way this most ancient naming of the Church in the Book of Acts reminds Christians we are a people on a journey of faith. But what signposts might guide us on this way? Way Words provides an itinerary of daily readings based on scripture for the journey we make during the season of Lent. Each of its daily readings, starting with Ash Wednesday and concluding with Easter Sunday, will explore one concise phrase or verse from the Old or NewTestament that offers a spiritual guidepost for modern-day disciples on the Way ofJesus Christ. Each of the short forty-seven readings includes a scripture excerpt, followed by a brief prayer or spiritual exercise. This resource is written for personal study and devotional use during Lent. Introductory reading: Ash Wednesday Week One: Holy Foundations Week Two: Godward Callings Week Three: Crucial Decisions Week Four: Community Fashionings Week Five: Faithful Practices Week Six: Enlarging Vistas HolyWeek: Saving Mysteries
Both experienced and novice preachers need a new approach for sermon development skill-building. A Sermon Workbook offers a unique and flexible resource that is instantly accessible and useful for anyone tasked with the proclamation of the Word. The workbook format can be used in a linear fashion, beginning to end. Or readers can pick and choose the chapters to tailor-fit their own needs. In either case, readers build skill upon skill, working through inventive and engaging exercises first developed and taught at Yale Divinity School. The book addresses the skills and arts that are essential for effective preaching in our multi-tasking, multi-ethnic, sound-byte society. It offers theological clarity about why we preach, and what matters most. The creative, collaborative, and charming authors present the principles as they do in their classroom: in two voices--one male and one female--with the two complementing and supporting one another.
As campus designer for Ginghamsburg Church, in Tipp City, Ohio, Kim Miller has observed that when a church gets serious about Jesus' call, there is always a design element to be addressed. Kim asserts that physical space transformation is simply a backdrop for authentic people transformation. Change the space and the opportunity and environment to change the world emerges. This comes as a fresh challenge for churches and ministries struggling to present a new look to match their relevant message. An emphasis on spatial design is an incarnation of Jesus' call for new wineskins and is emerging as a key means to create community and the opportunity for transformation for a creative generation. This book is a practical guide for church leaders to transform their physical space into a ministry asset. Filled with pictures, tutorials and stories of spaces and lives transformed, Divine Rooms offers close-up snapshots of design-on-a-dime style looks, providing readers with usable ideas and how-tos that are supported by stories of real-life change from Ginghamsburg's diverse community and the many congregations with which Kim consults.
Leadership can be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. The pace is relentless. The expectations are weighty. The challenges are daunting. But it is possible to live and lead a new way, with that deep sense of contentment that all leaders yearn for. It is possible to be fulfilled, even today. Fulfilled articulates a new approach for the exhausted leader. This Christian theology of leadership is based on three inner capacities, which every leader already possesses but which most of us simply ignore or disregard: the capacity for stillness, awareness, and playfulness. The author examines these capacities and shows the reader how draw upon them in daily life. Vibrant leadership taps into this wellspring of inner capacities, continually available to every leader. It is not the exclusive possession of the gifted, faithful few, but is a grace provided for all. The fulfilled leader lives in wisdom, peace and joy, and is successful in all the most important ways.
Most new leaders hear the same phrase in some form: "This is the way we do it here." Resistance to change is common, and it is deadly to new church leadership. Leadership transition is a critical point for the church and its new leader. Incoming leaders need a realistic perspective and practical ideas, whether their successor was long-term or interim, highly effective or dysfunctional, beloved or unpopular. The author writes from personal experience: He helped transform a small, dying congregation, and later transitioned into leadership at a nationally recognized, historic congregation. He draws from these experiences and biblical examples to focus on practical principles, empowering the new leader to build a solid foundation. The Next leader is calm, determined, and effective, no matter who came before.
Christmas or confusion, Bethlehem or Bedlam... Which will you choose this year? The truth is, we don't have to choose, because Christmas always happens right in the midst of our confusion. God breaks into our confusion and makes himself known as a human boy. Christmas and confusion--weren't they intimately related at the first Christmas when Jesus was born? Sometimes we forget that. But, that's what this book is about--how Christ breaks into our chaos and confusion and brings Christmas--how Bethlehem always happens in the midst of bedlam. This thematic Advent study for 2013 has five sessions--one for each Sunday of Advent and one for Christmas. Each session is related to the overall theme of the book. This year's theme is Bethlehem or Bedlam? Discussion questions are included.
Christmas or confusion, Bethlehem or Bedlam... Which will you choose this year? The truth is, we don't have to choose, because Christmas always happens right in the midst of our confusion. God breaks into our confusion and makes himself known. Christmas and confusion--weren't they intimately related at the first Christmas when Jesus was born? Sometimes we forget that. But, that's what this book is about--how Christ breaks into our chaos and confusion and brings Christmas--how Bethlehem always happens in the midst of bedlam. This thematic Advent study for 2013 has five sessions--one for each Sunday of Advent and one for Christmas. Each session is related to the overall theme of the book and offers an alternative to the lectionary-based Scriptures for the Church seasons. This year's theme is Bethlehem or Bedlam? A reflection is also available at the end of each session.
Designed to make teaching Bible Lessons for Youth to your youth easy with each session broken up into small segments. The student book is reproduced as the center piece of each session in the leader guide and is surrounded by the minute-by-minute teaching plans printed in the margin. The instructions are provided for student book activities, discussion questions, illustrative games and short drama skits. Complete Scripture texts are printed in all books. (No need to pause while everyone hunts for the appropriate verse.) At anytime during the quarter you can refer back to the convenient Overview section found at the front of the guide and also take a moment to read the "Teaching Tools" article provided at the back of the guide. Don't forget to check out the "Out and About" activity that will allow your students to take what they learn in Sunday school outside the classroom, enhancing their faith journey. <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Spring Unit Theme: Hope <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Scriptures: <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Daniel Luke <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Acts <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">1-2 Peter 1-2 Thessalonians
Developed for use with the student book based on the Uniform Series, this leader resource provides a wealth of information, planning ideas, and lesson guides for each of the 13 lessons in the quarter. This resource includes detailed study of the biblical text, suggestions for developing lessons, teaching options, maps, and charts. It features articles that explore biblical themes related to the passages studied in the lessons. Don't forget to order your student books, which are found in the Related Products Section below. Spring themes: Hope - Beyond the Present Time (Daniel, Luke, Acts, 1, 2 Peter, 1, 2 Thessalonians) <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> Learn more about Adult Bible Studies at <a href="http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/">http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/
Based on the Uniform Series, this quarterly study presents stimulating lessons that explore the biblical message and how to apply it to daily life. The curriculum helps adults move from a focus on the Word to reflection on personal, family, church, and community concerns. Ideal for a variety of settings, lessons are Bible-based, Christ-focused, and United Methodist - approved curriculum for use in adult Sunday school classes, mid-week Bible study, and small-group studies. Also available in large print and can be found in the Related Product Section below along with the teacher book. <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Spring themes: Hope - Beyond the Present Time (Daniel, Luke, Acts, 1, 2 Peter, 1, 2 Thessalonians) <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> Learn more about Adult Bible Studies at <a href="http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/">http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/
The study for Lent in the Scriptures for the Church Seasons series is based upon the Revised Common Lectionary scriptures for the church year, a three-year cycle that includes readings from the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Epistles. The study will help Christians understand, appreciate, and participate in meaningful reflection during Lent and in joyous celebration on Easter. The Leader Guide, written by Nan Duerling, is combined with the Student Book allowing more flexibility for leading the study.
Adapting from Luke 9:51, Richard Wilke looks at Jesus' journey to Jerusalem in order to help us think about how we set our faces in life. What are our goals as people of faith? What are we resolute or determined about in our lives? As we "set our faces" to Jerusalem and to the ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, what difference does it make? What does Jesus' determination say to us about our commitments and about our need to grow in love of God and neighborThe 40 days of Lent are ideal to use this study and for readers to set their faces toward Easter. Study includes seven sessions, one for each Sunday in Lent and Easter Sunday. Each session features a Scripture reference, a personal reading, questions for personal reflection or group study, and closing prayer.
Few biblical books so widely and deeply resonate with spiritual pilgrims as the Psalms. Rich in powerful and evocative imagery, reflecting timeless human emotions and experiences ranging from the depths of despair to the highest joy, these ancient writings affirm the eternal truths that God is present, God loves, God cares, and God saves. From the heartfelt cries of individuals and the story of the Israelite nation woven throughout, contemporary readers join the psalmists in seeking and finding the God of hope, comfort, strength, protection, and renewal. Following an introduction, this book guides readers on a year-long journey through the Psalms, offering a personal study/reading for each week. Each reading carefully unpacks the psalm, highlights its key insights, and closes with a reflection and a prayer.
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