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Earthy Mysticism

by Tex Sample

This book, says the author, is "a testimony of narratives where [a] strange God appears. Such appearances supply the mystical states that have come to shape my life. I am not helped much by conventional approaches to spirituality. I find it almost impossible to do 'devotions.' Daily Bible study in the sense of devoting twenty to thirty minutes a day never worked for me. I cannot get around to scheduled times for prayer on my knees with head bowed. I find labyrinths and prayer beads boring. I am ever and again distracted in silent meditation. I simply cannot sustain a spirituality based in such things. "I do not regard myself as unusual or special. My hunch, and it is more than that, is that a host of people will recognize themselves in what I describe here. What is here is, clearly, my story, but it is not about me. It is about a God of surprises, of One who comes in the ordinary and the seamy. It is about a God who will goose you. It is about mystical moments when clearly the only thing that finally matters is this God who will never leave us alone, especially in the ordinary and angular places of life. It is, I hope, a spirituality for unspiritual people." From the Circuit Rider review: "Tex Sample's new book, Earthy Mysticism: Spirituality for Unspiritual People, simultaneously says a whole lot and very little about the subject of mysticism. The word "mysticism" itself only shows up in the introduction and the last chapter, bracketing the book with a concept that Sample doesn't fully define or even directly reflect on the meaning of. That being said, Sample never claims to be writing a scholarly view of what mysticism might be, but instead attempts to show how one can recognize the presence of the holy in everyday life. In this he succeeds powerfully." (Click here to read the entire review.)

Direct Hit

by Paul D. Borden

Lead the kind of ministry you've always dreamed of... Many congregations are declining due to an inward focus, and see their pastor as someone who should only minister to their needs. But pastors must anticipate a better future. Direct Hit offers hope to leaders of congregations that have lost their outward focus. By preparing for and leading systemic change, pastors can bring new life into the culture of a congregation, guiding it to answer God's call to reach people with the good news. Direct Hit offers practical explanations for how to: Develop a vision and communicate a strategy for its implementation Motivate a congregation to embrace the vision Develop resources, ideas, and personnel to prepare for change Embrace and implement change Embed a new DNA into the life of a congregation Systemic change occurs as a result of hard work, but the gain far outweighs the pain. Once change has occurred, a whole new world of opportunity opens up--a world in which you are privileged to equip, lead, and oversee a congregation that has joined God's mission. Ready. Aim. Go for it!"Church leaders need more than motivation and inspiration. In Direct Hit, Paul Borden explains how to change dysfunction to health and decline to growth."Leith Anderson, Senior PastorWooddale Church, Eden Prairie, MN"Direct Hit gets to the heart of the matter. Pastors--it's about Christ and leadership. Congregation--it's about Christ's purpose and mission. There is plenty of interpretation and coaching here for both sides of the pastoral relationship, but above all there is urgency. It's time to stop dithering and get on with it."Tom Bandy, PresidentEasum, Bandy, and Associates Paul Borden, is Executive Minister of Growing Healthy Churches (formerly American Baptist Churches of the West) and is in demand nationally as a church consultant. Direct Hit is the second Abingdon publication by Borden, whose first book, Hit the Bullseye, has sold 11,000 copies.

Design Matters

by Len Wilson Jason Moore

Many churches use visual technology in worship. Yet simply adding a screen and projector in a sanctuary doesn't automatically translate into growth and revitalization. This book helps worship-screen producers learn to "speak" a visual language. These time-tested design principles provide a basic framework for developing a visual literacy. The accompanying DVD includes graphic tutorials for creating art in Adobe Photoshop/Elements, time-saving techniques for achieving special effects, and helpful websites. To view a sample of the DVD, click here.To view the Midnight Oil seminar schedule, click here.

Delicious Bible Stories

by Daphna Flegal Leedell Stickler

Everyone loves a good story and everyone loves to eat. Delicious Bible Stories combines the physical act of preparing the foods, the sensory act of eating the foods, and active listening to create unforgettable Bible stories. Using no-cook cooking methods, the boys and girls will make foods that go along with Bible stories from both the Old and the New Testaments. For example, the children will make the haroset as they hear the story of the Last Supper. They will prepare Babylonian fruit and nut balls as they hear the stories of Daniel and many many more. Ingredient lists and preparation directions for the foods are included as well as the Bible stories. Help persons of all ages understand the Bible stories through the fun of taste and cooking!

Cultivating Fruitfulness

by Robert Schnase

Focus on the Five Practices: A Congregation-Wide Initiative Based on the book, Five Practices of a Fruitful Congregation by Bishop Robert Schnase Imagine a congregation-wide focus on these practices that includes a five week sermon series, five weeks with every household reading daily devotions and sharing prayers on these practices, five weeks of leadership teams and small groups stimulated to take new initiatives, five weeks of conversation and commitment focused on the mission of the church. These are the practices that lead to excellence and fruitfulness, and they can change your church. Imagine! Cultivating Fruitfulness is a congregational resource that inspires participants through 5 weeks of prayer and devotion. Each day includes a Scripture, a short story or concept from book, a personal question and a prayer. Click here to preview a sample devotion from Cultivating Fruitfulness. Download a brochure on all available Five Practices products. Other resources for the "Focus on the Five Practices: Congregation-Wide Initiative": Five Practices Leader Manual and Media A participant guide for group study on each of the Five Practices Five Practices -- Radical Hospitality Five Practices -- Passionate Worship Five Practices -- Intentional Faith Development Five Practices -- Risk-taking Mission and Service Five Practices -- Extravagant Generosity Focus on the Five Practices - Complete Set Contains one of each of the above resources, including the original book by Bishop Schnase. For more information on the entire intiative, go to fivepractices.cokesbury.com.

Funeral for a Stranger

by Becca Stevens

I have seen water move rocks. I have seen thistles break through boulders. If water and flowers can move stones, surely love can. Becca Stevens, from Funeral for a Stranger In this meditation on living and dying, Becca Stevens shares moving and hilarious stories about her life, love, friends, and our many families. This delicately formed narrative is also a window into the soul of a priest. I loved it and will hold it in my heart with gratitude for years to come. -Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why Loneliness finds connections, depair meets celebration, and fear discovers faith. Join Becca on her journey to a funeral for a stranger. God will be there. -Don Schlitz, Hall of Fame songwriter of The Gambler With elegant simplicity Becca Stevens escorts the reader to the banks of the deepest spiritual wellspring. Surely she ranks among our most gifted teachers on the things that matter most of all. -Stephen Bauman, author of Simple Truths: On Values, Civility, and Our Common Good

365 Meditations for Mothers by Mothers

by Sally Sharpe

365 Meditations for Mothers by Mothers offers a year's worth of short daily devotional readings written specifically for mothers, by mothers. Twelve different women of faith present a month's worth of devotions each, providing a rich variety of topics and writing styles. Designed to be used by mothers of all ages and stages, the daily meditations are brief enough to be read in just a few short minutes yet meaningful enough to prompt a longer time of meditation and prayer if desired. Each day's reading includes a focus Scripture verse, a brief devotion, and a prayer. Sally D. Sharpe is the editor. Writers include: Hilda Davis-Carroll, LeNoir Culbertson, Clare Golson Doyle, Mary Ritzman Ebinger, Leanne Ciampa Hadley, Rebecca Laird, Laura Leigh Parker, Sheron Patterson, Lillian Smith, Stephanie Thompson, Kathleen Turner, Ginny Underwood

Confronting the Controversies

by Adam Hamilton

Christians are faced every day with daunting choices between difficult alternatives. What does my Christian faith have to say about the moral issues that divide our society? There are plenty of people on opposite sides of the spectrum claiming to know the will of God in these matters. It is nonetheless very difficult to find help in looking at both sides of these ethical questions and applying the biblical witness to arrive at an authentically Christian belief about them. This is precisely what Adam Hamilton proposes to do. Presented as a collection of sermons, Confronting the Controversies includes euthanasia, assisted suicide, creationism, abortion, and homosexuality. Scrupulously fair to both the positions of each side and their motivations for holding them, Hamilton offers clear, concise information on what is at stake in these explosive issues. Hamilton applies a careful, broad reading of Scripture to offer direct yet compassionate guidance on what a faithful Christian response will be. This book is set up for group study, with discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Ethnicity, Hunter-Gatherers, and the "Other"

by Susan Kent

As the world continues to shrink owing to globalization, the need to understand the diversity of culturally distinct societies and their interactions with neighboring groups becomes greater than ever. Susan Kent has invited an international team of experts to present their insights into how one type of society, African hunter-gatherers, has managed to survive long past the first contact between foragers, farmers, and pastoralists.The contributors explore many issues, including culture change, trade, tribute, inter-group relations, autonomy, dependence, and differential contact histories and rates of change. They consider why the association of hunter-gatherers with non-hunter-gatherers has sometimes led to trade between autonomous societies and in other cases has led to assimilation. Ethnicity, Hunter-Gatherers, and the "Other" illuminates both past and present foraging societies by presenting new data and reinterpreting previously collected data within the framework of inter-group interactions.

Church History

by Justo L. González

One of the chief difficulties in studying the history of Christianity is the lack of prior exposure to the subject that students often bring with them. Struggling to keep up with the large numbers of names, dates, and places presented to them, it is easy for students to lose sight of the "big picture," the broad sweep of movement and change that instructors most wish to communicate. Justo Gonzalez has written this book to help students gain just such a quick and basic grasp of the main periods and issues in the history of Christianity. Drawing upon his own extensive experience and that of others, he contends that having been introduced to the essentials of church history in a brief and accessible form, students are far better able to understand and appreciate what they encounter in more detailed lectures and reading. Gonzalez provides a comprehensive opening chapter that summarizes major issues and concerns of each of the principal eras of church history. Subsequent chapters focus on the ancient church, the Christian empire, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, and the twentieth century and the end of modernity.

Christian Education in the Small Membership Church

by Karen B. Tye

Christian Education is part of the vital ministry of all churches, but especially of small membership churches. In a culture that places great value on numbers, small membership churches often mistakenly see themselves at a disadvantage. Small membership churches can create wonderful opportunities to form and disciple faithful followers of Jesus Christ. In offering viable Christian Education, the role of the pastor is critical. This book invites pastors to lead their small membership churches to develop an imaginative and holistic vision of Christian Education. Read the Introduction

Calling and Character

by William H. Willimon

In Calling & Character, Willimon lays out a clear and compelling picture of the pastoral life, one that will inform both those embarking on ordained ministry and those who have been in it for many years. He lays out specific habits such as study, collegiality, and humor as the day-by-day means of following the difficult and dangerous, yet deeply rewarding, calling of a pastor.

Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism

by Walter Brueggemann

In this timely and provocative work, Walter Brueggemann applies his experience and skills in the area of biblical interpretation to the theme of evangelism. He argues for the importance of considering afresh how the Bible itself thinks and speaks about evangelism, how it enacts the dramatic claims of the "good news." Brueggemann here describes evangelism as a drama in three scenes, concerning (1) God's victory over the forces of chaos and death, (2) the announcement of that victory, and (3) its appropriation by those who hear the announcement. This same dramatic sequence, as he shows, is many time re-enacted in the Bible; the times and circumstances of the re-enactment may differ, but the essential message, as well as the structure of its presentation, remains the same.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

by David A. Thompson Darlene Wetterstrom

Help bring combat veterans all the way back home. Over a half million combat veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. With thousands of military personnel still deployed, few communities escape the direct impact of solders returning from war. Yet their needs and the needs of their families are often hidden in plain sight in our congregations and communities. This book identifies specific needs of veterans and their families and gives creative and practical ways your church can minister to them. It is a "must have" for anyone serious about giving back to those who have given so much. "You [Thompson and Wetterstrom] are plowing very important ground, and I thank you for the reminder." - author Philip Yancey

An Introduction to Christian Theology

by Justo L. González Zaida Maldonado Perez

This book helps beginning theological students grasp the basics of Christian theology. Consciously avoiding the perspective of one school of thought or confessional tradition, the authors provide the reader with a brief, broad overview of the questions and contents of theological study. Their accessible use of language, clear organization, and careful explanation will prove of invaluable aid to those who are getting their theological feet wet for the first time. "In the words of its authors, this book offers an introduction 'to the fuller spectrum of Christian theology as it has developed through the centuries.' Few writers address the historical development of the classic doctrines and the contemporary resonance as adroitly as Gonzalez and Perez. The chapter on Jesus Christ, for example, presents concise summaries of the treatments of Christ's person leading up to Chalcedon, while suggesting a need for a multiplicity of images in understanding the work of Christ that liberates the whole person and restores all creation. Beginning students, as a result, are invited into a living theological conversation, where the contested claims of the past have continued relevance in a contemporary era beset by its undervaluing of the body and creation. Broadly ecumenical in tenor, with reference to theologians from nearly every century, the work should appeal to both a popular readership and introductory students in college and seminary. One disappointing aspect of the book is an absence of Latino/a, feminist, and liberation perspectives. For a work that argues for the contextuality of all theology, and from authors whose previous work has been monumental in Hispanic theological education, this lack is surprising."---David H. Jensen, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Religious Studies Review, Volume 29 Number 3, July 2003.

African American Christian Worship

by Melva W. Costen

Read a sample In this update to her 1993 classic, African American Christian Worship, Melva Wilson Costen, again delights her reader with a lively history and theology of the African American worship experience. Drawing upon careful scholarship and engaging stories, Dr. Costen details the global impact on African American worship by media, technology, and new musical styles. She expands her discussion of ritual practices in African communities and clarifies some of the ritual use of music in worship. In keeping with recent congregational practices, Dr. Costen will also provide general orders of worship suitable for a variety of denominational settings.

A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament

by Walter Brueggemann Bruce C. Birch Terence E. Fretheim David L. Petersen

This book has become a standard text in seminary and university classrooms. The purpose of this second edition is to help readers come to a critically informed understanding of the Old Testament as the church's scripture. This book introduces the Old Testament both as a witness of ancient Israel and as a witness to the church and synagogue through the generations of those who have passed these texts on as scripture. The authors of this volume share a commitment to the interpretation of the Old Testament as a central resource for the life of the church today. At the same time, they introduce the Old Testament witness in a manner that honors the importance of biblical scholarship in helping students engage the variety of theological voices within the Old Testament. This second edition gives special attention to deepening and broadening theological interpretations by including, for example, issues related to gender, race, and class. It also includes more detailed maps and charts for student use.

Carriage Terminology

by Don H. Berkebile

This reference work is the definitive source for the terminology, nomenclature, and illustrative diagrams for all known carriage types of the Western world, as well as many of the better known vehicles of other areas.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2014

by Kij Johnson

The latest volume of the prestigious anthology series, published annually across six decades!The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories in the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America® . The editor selected by SFWA's anthology committee (chaired by Mike Resnick) is American fantasy writer Kij Johnson, author of three novels and associate director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. This year's Nebula winners, and expected contributors, are Kim Stanley Robinson, Nancy Kress, Andy Duncan, and Aliette de Bodard, with E.C. Myers winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.

A Real Christian

by Kenneth J. Collins

A Real Christian: The Life of John Wesley fills a void in available books in Wesleyan studies by providing a brief, solid biography that focuses on Wesley himself. While exploring Wesley's ancestry, birth, death, and every major biographical and theological event between, Collins also explores the theme of John Wesley's spiritual growth and maturation. Wesley came to the conclusion that real Christians are those whose inward (and outward) lives have been transformed by the bountiful sanctifying grace of God -- what he termed real Christianity--and this he strove to obtain for himself. Real Christianity, as Wesley understood it, embraces both works of piety and mercy, the person and the social.

A History of Christian Thought Volume 3

by Justo L. González

A treatment of the evolution of Christian thought from the birth of Christ, to the Apostles, to the early church, to the great flowering of Christianity across the world. The final volume begins with the towering theological leaders of the Protestant Reformation and traces the development of Christian thought through its encounter with modernity. Volume #2 9781426721915 Volume #1 9781426721892

A History of Christian Thought Volume 2

by Justo L. González

A treatment of the evolution of Christian thought from the birth of Christ, to the Apostles, to the early church, to the great flowering of Christianity across the world. Beginning with Augustine, Volume 2 covers the flowering of Christian thought that characterized both the Latin West and the Byzantine East during the Middle Ages.

A History of Christian Thought Volume 1

by Justo L. González

A treatment of the evolution of Christian thought from the birth of Christ, to the Apostles, to the early church, to the great flowering of Christianity across the world. The first volume introduces the central figures and debates culminating in the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon among which the theologies of the early church were hammered out. Volume 2 #9781426721915 Volume 3 #9781426721939

95 Questions to Shape the Future of Your Church

by Thomas G. Bandy

95 Questions to Shape the Future of Your Church is a comprehensive commentary on systemic change for the church. It combines the spirit of Luther's 95 Theses with depth of insight akin to Luther's reformation catechism. This book will be essential for every congregational, denominational, and seminary bookshelf. Church leaders and members all yearn for a new Reformation that will realign Christian congregations with God's mission. This book frames the right questions, and focuses the right answers. It helps church leaders do the hard work of assessment and planning. The next Reformation will be an extraordinarily practical endeavor. Leaders need to apply the tactics that will leverage the greatest change, and guide the church deeper into the mystery of Christ and further in companionship with Christ. We want to be faithful. Now we know how to be faithful.

The Sunlit Morning

by Peg Augustine

Offer a Wonderful Easter Story to Your Church's Children Cokesbury makes it affordable with our $1.59 CHILDREN'S GIFT BOOKfor Easter 2009. Limited Time Only The Sunlit Morning is the story of a family's worship experience at a community sunrise service. Still in the near dark, an African American choir sings "He Rose," while another group pantomimes the drama. Biblical art will accompany the text to tell the story of Easter. The symbolism of the stone is explained as the family gives each person a small stone to keep. When the brilliant sunrise illuminates the empty cross, readers will remember that Jesus lives. The story ends as the worshipers flower the cross and join together to enjoy breakfast. Value-priced at only $1.59 and written in English and Spanish, The Sunlit Morning is the perfect gift for every child ages 4-8 in your congregation. Each page of the storybook is supported with Scripture and is beautifully illustrated in color.

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