I Am A Church Member – On Every Book Shelf!

I am Church Member

Reasons I Liked the Book

I like this book for several reasons. To list a few: it is small, simple, easy to read, practical, inexpensive and it has some great insights. Some of the content makes for some great discussions in small groups.

FIRST Read The Introduction

Many of us dive right into reading chapter one, but in this case I STRONGLY recommend reading The Introduction for it sets the stage for the chapters to follow. The introduction includes a story of the interaction between two different types of church members. If you are a seasoned church member I am sure you will be able to relate.

The Bible Miniseries – Episode #3 Review

The Bible Miniseries – Episode #3 Review

This episode is called, “Hope.”

Description:

  • The Jews are enslaved in Babylon
  • Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den
  • The Angel Gabriel tells Mary she will bear a child
  • Joseph takes Mary to Bethlehem for the census
  • Judea comes under the ruthless rule of Pilate.

I hope you enjoyed Episode #3 of the Bible Miniseries.  In the video I discusses some questions and address some comments.

Feedback, Questions & Comments

  1. Jesus touching water to attract fish
  2. Jesus saying, “We’re going the change the world.”
  3. Jesus Baptism and why producers left off the Dove descending and God making pronouncement over Jesus.

I have enjoyed The Bible Miniseries and have observed where producers have used creative license to draw in their audience.

Challenge: Use series as a segue for faith discussions.

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The Bible Miniseries Criticisms

 

I must admit that I really enjoyed part one of  The Bible miniseries.  However, I have heard some less than favorable comments from individuals with a background in the Bible.

Before I begin with any of the accounts to retell biblical passages, you must know that producers use what is called, “Creative license” when creating any film.

This is used to promote dramatization and to engage the viewers into the scenes.

Why is this important to understand?   Because the average person says that reading the Bible is boring and irrelevant to today’s culture.

Retelling biblical stories in an animated and creative way may spark interest and motivate the nominal Christian, as well as, the UN-Churched to pick up the Bible and read It for themselves.

Here are some top criticisms/observations I heard:

  • The Angels that approached Abraham and Sarah were NOT Black, Asian or White.
  • The Angels that went to Sodom and Gomorrah were not beaten and did not BEG Lot for help; nor were they ninjas.
  • Isaac was not a boy (age 10) when Abraham offered him up as a sacrifice.
  • Incomplete and they skipped the life of the major patriarchs: Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
  • They didn’t show Moses’ staff  turning into a snake.
  • Hebrew people crossed the Red Sea on DRY GROUND not a wet ground with water spraying on them.

Multi-Cultural Angels

I thought the use of a multicultural team was most creative.  Our God is a God to all people.  If we were to really trace the ethnic background of all the characters of the Bible, there are those who would have said that the entire cast should have been Black – as in dark skinned people.

Angels took a lickin, but kept on tickin

I enjoy suspense movies especially fighting scenes where the good guy is fighting the bad guy.  Characters like Bruce Willis, Steven Segal. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are some of my favorites not because they can fight, but that they can also take a beat down.

I’m gonna take a stab at why I think they wrote it this way.  The angels stated that they were going to spend the night in the square.  Lot was desperate to protect them from the evils of the street. The creative license was to show just how evil and perverse the people of Sodom were.

Come on, No Ninjas!

ninjaWhen I saw the Angels break out in a fighting scene I was reminded of Michael, the arch angel and his military team engaged in battle with the devil and his imps when trying to answer Daniel’s prayer.

I am comforted by this passage of scripture because Hollywood has depicted angels as soft, cute, harmless and even powerLESS beings.

The Bible is clear in depicting the different roles angels play, especially those protective fighting angels.  I’m glad they were not portrayed as wimps and weaklings, but powerful beings that do what needs to be done to protect us everyday!

The ninja or Jackie Chan affects made for better entertainment for the viewer.  I can only guess that God’s military warrior angels could master those swords just as well.

Just how old was Isaac?

It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I found out that Isaac may not have been a child when his dad offered him up as a sacrifice.  Scholars debate this fact and have Isaac’s age anywhere from 5 to 36.

Some facts that brought about this dispute include: the age of both Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael, the cultural age of weaning children, the age of Sarah’s death, along with some other historical events.

Most classic biblical movies have  Isaac depicted as a young boy. The point here was to demonstrate Abraham’s faith in God as well as God’s promise to provide.

Why did they skip events?

Yes it did appear as if the producers did skip some crucial scenes such as the life of Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, even Aaron’s staff turning into a snake.

Two points, there are still four more shows  and perhaps we may be given a glance back and secondly the goal of the producers is to highlight the entire Bible in 10 hours. Certainly, they will use their creative license in determining what things to air and what things to skip.

Red Sea wet or dry?

The Bible does tell us that they walked across on dry ground and the water stood up like a wall on both sides. I can see why some would have trouble with this as it seems to minimize God’s intervention.  Clearly the producers used a creative privilege here too.  Perhaps it would have cost them too much time to truly unpack this scene.

 

The important thing is that The Bible is being brought into many homes around the world. It gets us all talking and gives us the opportunity to fill in the gaps in order to complete the story. We can only pray that this experience will result in people being interested in learning more and reading the Bible for themselves.

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The Bible Miniseries – Pastors, Great Outreach Opportunity!

Some of you maybe aware of the upcoming miniseries entitled, “The Bible” created and produced by Roma Downey of Touch by an Angel and her husband, Mark Burnett.

The Bible is a ten-hour, five-week, miniseries beginning on March 3, 2013 airing ‘prime time’ on the History Channel 8PM – 10PM.

The Bible will air on Sunday nights where viewers will see some of the best-known stories from The Bible:  Noah’s Ark,  the Exodus,  Jesus’ birth and His disciples. The final episode of the miniseries will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Why broadcast on the History Channel?

Roma Downey, Star of Touch by an Angel and  husband, Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Celebrity Apprentice).

Roma Downey, Star of Touch by an Angel and husband, Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Celebrity Apprentice).

The History Channel has received a lot of criticism from the Christian community because of their slant on the Bible which is often wrong.

This makes one ask why Roma and Mark decided to showcase their movie on the History Channel. They indicated that..

  1. out of all the networks interviewed , the History Channel vowed to do the ‘best’ promotion and
  2. typically during the Easter season, the History Channel, as well as others, will broadcast shows calling our faith into question like: ‘Who was the Real Jesus,’ ‘Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?’ and shows like The DaVinci Code.

They saw it as an opportunity to broadcast the full Gospel, a meta narrative of the complete faithful message for the full month of March.

 

Pastors – Seize opportunity to be creative

Make the most of this opportunity to reach out to the people in your community who will be watching the series but may not attend church.

I believe Rick Warren said it best when he said, “One way to build a bridge between God’s Word and the issues of our day is to tie a sermon series into some cultural event, something that has already caught the attention of many people.”

He cited an example that when we were going through an economic crisis here in America, he preached a sermon on God’s principles for money management demonstrating HOW the Bible offers wise and practical advice on how to handle your finances.

Warren also took advantage on riding the Passion wave by Mel Gibson in that he preached a series entitled, “How Love Speaks: 7 Words From the Cross”.

Pastors –  Don’t forget Facebook and Twitter

Pastors, Bible teachers, small group leaders who are active with the social networks such as Facebook or Twitter,  you can connect with your congregation, groups, friends  using these platforms as well.  You can speak to one another during commercials or after the show or even the next day.

Pose questions of your own and or pose the questions using the study guidebook made available from Outreach.com .

Do you blog?

Of course, if you have a blog you could use that as a platform as well to dialog with your folks.

Resources are available – some even FREE!

Working with The Bible series team, Outreach has produced The Bible 30 Day Church Experience Kit along with a small group DVD study and personal guidebook so that you can help your church and community experience the Bible in a whole new way.

Outreach, Inc. also hopes pastors will encourage their flock to host their own viewing parties and are providing FREE “Bible Viewing Host Kits” to anyone interested.

Added Bonus

I just heard an interview from Mark and Roma that  the Lifetime Network will also air The Bible Miniseries on Mondays AND there will be a repeat broadcast on Wednesday evening on the History Channel – that’s THREE viewing opportunities available!

Won’t you ride this wave?

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Marriage Resource Tools

figting for marriage

Pastors, our church just finished up a great Wednesday Night Live Service.  It was a four week workshop series on Marriage and Living Single facilitated by two pastors.  I don’t want to use this blog to tell you how great it was.  Woops, I just did.

I would like to focus on the fact that people responded.  Both classes were jammed packed with eager people wanting to learn.

The attendance frankly blew our minds. People in both workshops were faithful in coming out every week.

Now why do I mention this?  Because as pastors, we need to be about meeting needs of people and being relevant. The divorce rate for Christians is about 51%.  It seems obvious that married Christian folk are having just as much trouble keeping it together as Non-Christians.

Face it, when our relationships are off course, it simply affects every area in our lives.

  • It affects how we relate to our children and how much patience we have with them or others.
  • It affects our job performance
  • it affects our Spiritual lives
  • It even affects pastor’s performance from the pulpit (c’mon tell the truth and shame the devil!)
  • it causes us to lean towards unhealthy vices that just end up making things worse.

Marriage Resource Tool (Take a peek at the overview video below)

That being said, I wanted to share with you a marriage resource tool I found.  The organization is called, The Art of Marriage.”   Go ahead and click and peruse the site.  They offer a 6-session dynamic video series: 1) God’s  Purpose & Plan, 2) Drifting Towards Isolation, 3) Husband/Wife Roles, 4) Resolving Conflict, 5) Intimacy & Sex and 6) Leaving a Legacy.

Your church can actually sponsor a conference and will be provided with all of the tools you need to plan, promote, and host an event. Here are six value-adds that I know you will find beneficial:

  1. The promotional material comes with the deal. (Already designed: brochures, flyers, posters, door hangers, save the date cards, web banners and even power point presentation for your church announcements)
  2. 30/60 second Pre-recorded public service announcements are available also with scripts
  3. Seven videos to assist you in promoting your event
  4. You can register your event on ‘The Art of Marriage‘ web site so others can find your event
  5. The ‘Cost Calculator.‘ This tool is used to assist you in determining the cost per couple.
  6. If you would like to start small with an intimate group you can do that too by purchasing the Study Group Curriculum.

This site also provides articles for those who wish to get married as well. Prayerfully, I can find a compatible singles resource tool as well. And if it is out there, I will find it and share it with you.

The harvest is plentiful.  We tested the waters in our church, throwing out our nets on the other side of the boat and guess what, we caught a lot of fish. It is Satan’s desire to destroy marriages and families.  Here is an opportunity  to not only invest in our sacred union but also to fight for our marriages and fight for the stability of our families.

Take a look at the videos and see whether or not you could manage this project at your church or in your ministry.  I believe it is a good start for dialogue as it also offers up practical solutions.

Let me know how it works for you and whether you enjoyed the video.