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The Church As Learning Community

by Norma Cook Everist

Norma Cook Everist contends that it is meaningful to say that in ministries of administration, outreach, and pastoral care, the church is functioning as a learning community. Whenever and wherever Christians are being formed into the image of Jesus Christ through ministry, there Christian education is taking place. Christian education is the name we give to that process of formation. Building on this central insight, Everist has written a major new introduction to the tasks and practices of Christian education. Part 1 of the book focuses broadly on what it means to be the church in the world. Part 2 shows how being a learning community requires ongoing growth in faith throughout the span of life. Part 3 shifts focus to the church as it moves into the community and world.

When You're a Christian...The Whole World Is From Missouri - with Leaders Guide

by James W. Moore

James W. Moore says that just as Missouri is the "Show Me" state, this is a "show me" world, where talking a good game is not enough. Essentially, the world says to us, "If you're a Christian, then show me!" Moore contends that we, as Christians, must show the world that our faith is not only a way of believing but also a way of behaving - that it is not just something we celebrate on Sunday, but something we live out in the world every day. In his warm, conversational style Moore explores characteristics that must be visible in our daily lives if we are to be effective witnesses in this "show me" world - forgiveness, dedication, gratitude, love, compassion, a spirit of service, perseverance, strength, faith and vision. Only when these are evident in our lives will the world know that we are Christians.

Can You Believe in God and Evolution?

by Ted Peters Martinez Hewlett

Named a 2007 Book of Distinction by the Sir John Templeton Foundation. The special edition of this award winning book celebrates the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. Since, even before, the publication of Darwin's seminal work on evolution, science and religion have often been at odds. Even today culture wars continue to rage. How can I be faithful to God and fully enjoy the progress of science? Who is Charles Darwin and what did he actually say? Can you believe in God and evolution? Does teaching evolution corrupt our social values? How can you connect science and faith? Can science be a Christian vocation? So how can we interpret the creation story in the Bible? Authors Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett give a balanced discussion of the impact of evolution to help church leaders understand the values at stake. They make the convincing case that Christians can connect their faith in God with a scientific understanding of evolution with integrity

The Nuts & Bolts of Christian Education

by Delia Halverson

"Can you give me the book that will tell me how to DO Christian education?" The Nuts & Bolts of Christian Education is designed to answer the most frequently asked questions by new as well as veteran teachers and leaders. Even though most churches provide teacher and leader training at least once a year, generally these one- or two-day sessions are unable to answer every question that arises during the year. The Nuts & Bolts of Christian Education is a practical guidebook that leads new and experienced teachers through the challenging, and sometimes confounding, landscape of the education ministry of a congregation. This is not a collection of lesson plans--it is a chock-full survey of nearly every aspect of Christian education one could imagine. DOING Christian Education starts here.

You Can Get Bitter or Better!

by James W. Moore

Includes Study Guide All of us, at one time or another, face sorrow, grief, or loss--these challenges spare no one. The question is, How will we respond to these challenges? In this new edition of his uplifting book, James W. Moore shows us that we have a choice. We can become bitter, or we can ask for God's help to grow into better people. The author shares his supportive and upbeat message through compelling stories of healing through faith, hope, and resilience. Each chapter features a key passage of Scripture, as well as inspirational examples of the way others have dealt positively with life's challenges. James W. Moore also offers uplifting advice to show how, through God's help, we can see problems as opportunities, convert defeat into victory, grow spiritually, and look at change as a way to begin a new and more meaningful way of life.

Easter from the Back Side

by J. Ellsworth Kalas

Easter from the Back SideJ. Ellsworth KalasUsing an approach similar to the one he took in Parables from the Back Side and other books in the popular Back Side series, author J. Ellsworth Kalas opens up new possibilities of insight into the biblical Easter story. The author looks beyond the traditional gospel scriptures to connect the story of Christ's resurrection with other stories and scriptures throughout the Bible, including both the Old Testament and the New Testament.Kalas's creative approach both clarifies basic teachings and introduces new possibilities of meaning, even for those who are most familiar with the Easter story. Enriched with contemporary illustrations and personal experiences, this volume will provide new perspectives on Easter. Chapter titles and Scriptures include: "Why We Need Easter" (Genesis 3:1-7, 22-24); "Easter from an Ash Heap" (Job 19:13-27); "Easter for the Disillusioned" (Ecclesiastes 2:14-26); "Ezekiel Celebrates Easter" (Ezekiel 37:1-10); "Easter Is a Love Story" (John 20:1-18); "Late for Easter" (1 Corinthians 15:1-11); and "Forever Easter" (Revelation 21:1-4). J. ELLSWORTH KALAS is president of Asbury Theological Seminary and has been part of the faculty there since 1993, after thirty-eight years as a United Methodist pastor and five years in evangelism with the World Methodist Council. He has been a presenter on Disciple videos, is the author of the Christian Believer study, and has written more than thirty books, including the popular Back Side series; Longing to Pray: How the Psalms Teach Us to Talk with God; Strong Was Her Faith: Women of the New Testament; and What I Learned When I Was Ten.

The Theology of John Wesley

by Kenneth J. Collins

A rich articulation of John Wesley's theology that is appreciative of the old and mindful of the new, faithful to the past and attentive to the present.This work carefully displays John Wesley's eighteenth century theology in its own distinct historical and social location, but then transitions to the twenty-first century through the introduction of contemporary issues. So conceived, the book is both historical and constructive demonstrating that the theology of Wesley represents a vibrant tradition. Cognizant of Wesley's own preferred vocabulary, Collins introduces Wesley's theological method beginning with a discussion of the doctrine of God. "In this insightful exposition the leitmotif of holy love arises out of Wesley's reflection on the nature of the divine being as well as other major doctrines." (Douglas Meeks)

Designing the Sermon

by James Earl Massey

Providing fundamental homiletical principles, this classic book gives readers all the tools they need to prepare a meaningful sermon. "Sermon design"--James Massey's contemporary, creative approach to shaping specific classifications of sermons--focuses on order (What is the preacher's goal?) and on movement (What structure is he or she using to get there?). The discussion of his approach begins with an appraisal of the sermon in context--in relation to goals, design, basic forms, contemporary concerns, and the "why" of it all. Dr. Massey's specific forms for designing sermons include the narrative/story sermon--a subject which is receiving renewed interest today; the textual-expository sermon; the doctrinal/topical sermon; and the special occasion sermon, for which he has chosen the topic of the funeral. Suggestions are included for studying the methods of master preachers as a resource for more effective preaching. And three of the author's own tested sermons are used as illustrations of sermon design possibilities.

The Pentateuch

by Terence E. Fretheim

In this volume, Terence E. Fretheim seeks to introduce the Pentateuch to modern readers, stressing its continuing capacity to speak a word of--or about--God. The two chapters of Part One provide an orientation to the critical study of the Pentateuch and present a proposal for reading the Pentateuch in terms of its rhetorical strategy. That strategy, Fretheim argues, is designed in such a way as to have a certain effect upon its readers, most basically to shape their faith and life. The five chapters of Part Two focus on the individual books that comprise the Pentateuch.

The Wednesday Workout

by Richard Devinney

"By the Way- You Start Tomorrow Night". The recruiting of a less-than-fully-trained person is usually done at the last minute, since the search for a fully trained person will continue as long as there is either time or hope. Our last-minute, inexperienced director, then will be starting immediately. This first chapter is the most light-hearted, the most general, and the most basic of the book. It is pep talk and a look at the thing to do the first night for the first Sunday. The remainder of the book covers the other ongoing aspects of planning and directing effective choral rehearsals. * Easy-to-use practical format and style * Light, anecdotal reading * Covers all elements of rehearsal planning and techniques * Provides directors handles on how to use rehearsal time * Helps directors learn to better plan and work ahead * Gives directors more confidence in this area of leadership Market * Church choir directors * Music directors

Watching the Disciples

by Mary Jane Gorman

LENT This Lenten study looks at the twelve disciples as they tried to follow Jesus and live the challenging life to which he had called them. Examining the mistakes of the Twelve can help us to assess our own discipleship in order to see where it may need strengthening. During these weeks of Lent, as we join the Twelve in their on-the-job-training to become disciples of Jesus, we hope to find guidance for our pilgrimage. This seven-session study, appropriate for both group and individual use, provides one lesson for each week in Lent. Each lesson includes a Scripture reference, a brief reflection, questions for study or discussion, a brief prayer, and a focus for the coming week. MARY JANE GORMAN is a writer, teacher, and retreat leader living in Greenville, South Carolina, and she is the author of the book Tending Body, Heart, Mind & Soul: Following Jesus in Caring for Ourselves (Abingdon Press). Formerly professor of economics at Furman University, she has served on the board of United Ministries, a nonprofit community organization, and is a leader in First Baptist Church, Greenville.

What Do You Want for Christmas?

by James W. Moore

"What do you want for Christmas?" It's a question that gets asked often as the holiday season approaches and Christmas draws near. And if we're honest, much of the time when we think about how we would answer that question, we have material things on our mind. Author James W. Moore invites you to explore the question on a deeper level. Deep down, what do you really want for Christmas? Does your heart long for the gifts the Christ child brings--the type of gifts that money can't buy? This four-week study, appropriate for both group and individual use, provides an introduction and one lesson for each week of Advent. Each lesson includes a reference to a key passage of Scripture, a brief reflection, study / discussion questions, a brief prayer, and a focus for the coming week. JAMES W. MOORE, popular speaker and preacher, is the author over 40 books with Abingdon Press, with more than one million copies sold. He lives in Fairview, Texas.

The Choir Member's Companion

by Ginger Wyrick

The Choir Member's Companion is designed for use by individual choir members in a local church adult choir. The book is intended for choir members to better understand musical symbols, terminology, and symbols used in choral music. CONTENTS: 1. Introduction to Choir Membership 2. Basic Music Reading Skills 3. Musical Road Map 4. Basic Vocal Techniques 5. Sight-reading New Music 6. How to Mark Your Music 7. Preparation for Worship 8. Preparation for Other Performances 9. Glossary of Musical Terms and Symbols

Old Testament Stories from the Back Side

by J. Ellsworth Kalas

Using an approach similar to that in his book Parables from the Back Side, popular author J. Ellsworth Kalas brings a new perspective to selected Old Testament stories by approaching them from the "back side"--through a unique starting point, a creative retelling, a new "lens," or the eyes of a minor or unsympathetic character. Chapter titles and Scripture: "The Second Sin" (Genesis 3:1-13); "The Importance of Naming Joseph" (Genesis 30:22-24); "Because My Mother Told Me" (Exodus 2:1-10); "Moses' Midlife Crisis" (Exodus 2:11-22); "Patron Saint of the Minority Report" (Numbers 13:1-3, 25-33); "Tragic Son, Tragic Father" (Judges 11:1-6, 30-35); "Honey in the Lion" (Judges 14:5-14); "Beauty and the Beast" (1 Samuel 25:2-42); "A Refugee at the King's Table" (2 Samuel 9:1-13); "In Defense of Job's Wife" (Job 2:1-10); "Jonah's Christmas Story" (Jonah 3:1-6, 10; Matthew 12:38-42); "God Is Better Than His Plans" (Ruth 1:1-5; 4:13-17). Includes 12 Sessions with a study guide.

New Testament Stories from the Back Side

by J. Ellsworth Kalas

Using an approach similar to his other "Back Side" books, J. Ellsworth Kalas opens up new possibilities of insight into selected New Testament stories by entering them through the "back side" -- through a unique starting point, a creative retelling, a new "lens", or the eyes of a minor or unsympathetic character. Includes 12 stories and a study guide.

Led to Follow

by J. Howard Olds Cal Turner Jr.

With an open, honest, and conversational style, a minister who also manages and a manager who also ministers share insights they've gained through failures, successes, and struggles in their personal and professional journeys. From crises in the family business to existential struggles in the face of recurring cancer, what they show us is this: the heart and soul of leadership is found in following: following your call, following others' input, following your failures, following change, and even following the unknown. If you seek wisdom for your journey, if you seek a life of deep dedication and fulfillment, this book is for you.

Healing Where It Hurts

by James W. Moore

James W. Moore says that "physical stress fractures are painful and troublesome, but there is another kind of stress fracture that is even worse--stress fractures of the spirit." In his engaging style, the author provides guidance for those times in life when you need "healing where it hurts." Drawing upon the Bible and stories of faith and hope from everyday experience, he tells how the healing power of love can bring healing and wholeness . . . · when life breaks your heart · when you are fighting a virus in your soul · when you are heading for a breakdown · when your faith lands you on the critical list, or · when other stress fractures threaten to immobilize your spirit

Going on to Salvation, Revised Edition

by Maxie Dunnam

The church today desperately needs to recover the depth, richness, and wonder of the biblical and Wesleyan doctrine of salvation. In this book, author Maxie Dunnam offers his perspective on how to make this recovery possible. Drawing deeply on biblical and Wesleyan sources, Dunnam leads his readers on a rich and challenging tour of what it means to say that we are going on to salvation--saved by grace. Ten well drawn chapters map the full terrain of justifying, sanctifying, and perfecting grace, and mark off those detours that too frequently have confused the way of salvation. Each chapter includes questions for personal reflection and group discussion. Also included in this revised edition is a new chapter on the timely topic of Calvinism. Here is a book about salvation and grace that will itself be a means of grace for congregations and individuals. MAXIE DUNNAM is the chancellor of Asbury Theological Seminary; the pastor emeritus of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee; and the vice-chairperson of World Evangelism of the World Methodist Council. He is the author of several books, including This Is Christianity, Alive in Christ, and The Workbook of Living Prayer.

Faith Is the Answer, But What Are the Questions?

by James W. Moore

The Christian gospel says to us, "Here is the One who can deliver you! Here is the One who can save you. Follow him, and you can live. He will lead you to commitment, to love, and to life."I believe that with all of my heart, but I also know that there are still a number of tough questions we grapple with daily in these challenging times. How does faith help us when problems arise? How does the Christian faith strengthen us when suffering or tragedy or heartache explodes into our lives? How does the Holy Spirit help us? Did Jesus really mean for us to love everybody? In this hectic world, with so many things crying out for our allegiance and support, whom can we trust? Faith is the answer, of course, but still...what are the questions? And how do we respond to them honestly, creatively, and redemptively? That is the adventure before us. These, and other questions, we will deal with in this book. --James W. Moore, adapted from the introduction This book includes a study guide.JAMES W. MOORE, popular speaker and preacher, is the author of Yes, Lord, I Have Sinned, But I Have Several Excellent Excuses; God Was Here, and I Was Out to Lunch; When Grief Breaks Your Heart; There's a Hole in Your Soul That Only God Can Fill; and many other books. He and his wife, June, live in Fairview, Texas.

Celebrating the Gift of Marriage

by James W. Moore

As the title suggests, this brief, six-chapter book by popular author James W. Moore was written for the purpose of celebrating the gift of marriage. It provides marital inspiration and encouragement for all married and soon-to-be married couples. Through this book the author aims to help couples strengthen their marriage; to improve their communication with each other; to cherish each other and to honor their marital commitment; and to always keep Jesus Christ at the center of their union, uniting and sustaining their hearts in Christian love. Moore provides scriptural guidance and practical advice as he helps readers look at the characteristics of a successful marriage, as well as attitudes and actions to avoid. The book also contains a study guide that includes discussion / reflection questions for couples.

A Second Resurrection

by William M. Easum

For many congregational and denominational leaders, the goal for churches experiencing declining worship attendance is to turn those congregations around. The "turnaround church" is one that has stagnated or is in decline. The old trends are reversed, new members are added, and everyone rejoices in this story of a congregation restored to health and vitality. But what if the metaphors of decline, stagnation, and loss of health just aren't getting to the problem? What if the situation is much worse than what those ways of describing it imply? What if the congregation is spiritually dead? The only solution is resurrection. Churches that have lost their sense of mission, that exist only to provide fellowship for the "members of the club," that expect their leaders to focus solely on ministering to the members' personal spiritual needs; these churches have died to the purpose of the New Testament church, to make disciples of Jesus Christ. They cannot be turned around; they must come to life again. The key to that resurrection is leaders who are not afraid to diagnose the problem for what it really is, and who realize that resurrection is what being a Christian is about. The goal of this book is to guide the leaders of these churches through the painful, yet ultimately life-giving work of leading a church to new life in the Spirit. If you want to find new life for your church, read on . . .

50 Ways to Pray

by Teresa A. Blythe

For individual or group use "It is my hope that this book will provide at least fifty ways you may take steps in a lifelong walk with God. It is written for you, the seeker and sojourner, as well as you, the church leader, youth minister, retreat facilitator, or worship planner. It is for all of us who thought we only knew one way to pray." --from the introduction The explosion of interest today in Christian mystics, ancient prayer practices, and guided meditations speaks to a need for more hands-on tools that will help us pray in traditional as well as new and exciting ways. This book is intended to address that need. Each of the exercises includes not only instructions on how to use it as a prayer practice, but also some background, an introduction, a statement of intention, and tips to help you become comfortable with the practice. For those of you wanting to lead these practices in a group, there are special instructions and information in the Leader's Guide at the end of the book. "Rich with wisdom drawn from the wellsprings of Western spirituality, this remarkable book is a sustained experience of spiritual direction offered by a seasoned spiritual guide." -John S. Mogabgab, editor of Weavings journal "This book does more than point to ways of prayer; it serves as encouragement, guide, and partner for those who want to connect in prayer in ways that move beyond words." -Doug Pagitt, author of BodyPrayer and pastor of Solomon's Porch "This is a basic, balanced, and accessible guide to the variety, promise, and practice of prayer. Read it to deepen your understanding of prayer; use it to deepen your life in God." -Frederick W. Schmidt, author of What God Wants for Your LifeClick here to read a sampleTable of ContentsTeresa A. Blythe is a writer, spiritual director, and frequent conference speaker on topics of popular culture and spirituality. She has co-authored Meeting God in Virtual Reality and Watching What We Watch, along with numerous essays and reviews for Beliefnet, Spirituality & Health, and Publishers Weekly. Teresa serves as Program Coordinator for the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Tucson, AZ.

The Advent Jesse Tree

by Dean Lambert Smith

LET YOUR TREE TELL THE STORY Bring Christ back to Christmas by giving your children a devotional experience that adorns your tree with Christian symbols. * The Advent Jesse Tree DEVOTIONS This book offers 25 devotions for each day from December 1st to December 25th, Christmas Day... the day Christians celebrate that God's purpose wass finally revealed in the coming of the savior, Jesus Christ. Each devotion traces the heritage of Jesus through the stories and prophecies of the Old Testament. The Advent Jesse Tree enables individuals and families to engage in a more meaningful celebration of the Christmas season.These daily Advent devotions are written in two versions (one for children and one version for adults) including a scripture, a story & commentary, questions to ask, a prayer, and a song. * The Advent Jesse Tree ORNAMENT CRAFTS Each devotional story is paired with a representative symbol that traces the heritage of Jesus...such as a lamb, a dove, a rainbow, a heart, a star, etc. Children and their parents can utilize the symbolic line art printed with each daily devotion to craft meaningful ornaments. These symbols coincide with the prayers, a memory verses, questions for children, and songs found in the devotions for that day. Finally, on Christmas day, your tree will be filled with reminders of 25 Bible stories that led up to Christ's birth. Other available Advent resources include:Love, Peace Hope & Joy Gold Wire Votive Holder Love, Peace Hope & Joy Black Wire Votive HolderChildren of the WorldNativity StarHome Candlelight Service SetLet's Make a Jesse Tree

Proclamation and Theology

by William H. Willimon

This first volume in the Abingdon Press series Horizons in Theology addresses the major concerns and questions for preaching as it intersects with theology. William H. Willimon, recognized as one of today's master interpreters of the theology and practice of preaching, explains why, in the words of the Second Helvetic Confession, "The preaching of the word of God is the Word of God." Drawing from classical theology and practical experience, he provides a cogent, powerful explanation of what it means to live the preaching life.

Real Followers

by Mike Slaughter

Many Christians, disillusioned with lives of spiritual mediocrity that have been dampened by today's rampant materialism and cafeteria spirituality, are asking the same question: "Where is the substance that can move our church beyond ho-hum Christianity?" Today's public fascination with angels, New Age spirituality, and the paranormal is likewise spurring Christ's followers to look for greater and deeper life transformation through their faith. Real Followers: Beyond Virtual Christianity shows how an ordinary church can be transformed into a radical community--a fellowship of everyday people who began looking for meaning and searching for authenticity. Michael Slaughter describes a movement that is hooked in various generations, from buster to boomer to builder. This resource also includes discussion questions. Key Features: * Readers examine culturally relevant concepts to ask the age-old question:"Will you give up your right to yourself, take up the cross, and radically follows Jesus?" * Readers are presented with a workable example of how to grow their church, with examples from Ginghamsburg Church * Contains case studies of real people who have begun a "migration in the wrong direction" * Includes discussion questions Key Benefits: * Readers learn what it really means to find their destiny as Christ's followers * Readers are inspired to take doable steps toward becoming authentic Christ followers

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