This book is a gentle, pleasant read. While it is full of good reminders to be caring, accepting, willing to serve, hospitable, and encouraging, I feel the gem of the book is actually found in the introduction. Janice Peterson explains early in the book why she chooses the words 'spiritual friendship' rather than mentor. This is noteworthy, lasting truth that has been observed in my life and in the lives of those around me over the years. Let me whet your appetite with this wise quote:
The reason I think it's important to distinguish spiritual friendship from the idea we know as "mentoring" is that spiritual friendship isn't any kind of hierarchy- it's not one person as the "expert" and the other as the "learner." Spiritual friendship is learning to see the worth God has placed in each person and appreciating the gifts individuals have to offer. It's being willing to share when you need to and learn when you need to. I'ts caring for the well-being of the other person, and letting her care for you as well. Giving and receiving. Walking sided by side through different seasons of life. We are all richer for understanding not only what we have to offer the people in our lives, but understanding what they have to offer as well.
Oasis International, in partnership with several major Christian organizations is launching The African Study Bible- the first study Bible developed by Africans with over 2,600 notes written by 350 contributors from 50 countries over the course of more than seven years. Oasis has partnered with Tyndale House Publishers and Urban Ministries Inc. to host the African Voices Conference from April 10-12 at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Along with thanksgiving and celebration of the ASB, distinguished leaders and scholars from Africa will 30 lectures on various topics including missional theology and the roots of Christianity in Africa.
The African Study Bible has already been released and celebrated in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana. The President of Kenya recorded a video blessing the ASB project. The upcoming schedule of celebrations of its release includes Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa June 4-11, as well as Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria June 29- July 1. Please join me in praising the Lord for bringing this project to completion and in praying for its use to His Glory and for His Kingdom throughout all of Africa and the entire world!
The ASB will be available for sale in the US in May and is being distributed by Tyndale House. It is a resource literally in its own category as there are no other Bibles written from this perspective or with this focus of ministering to the African people. With millions of individuals of African descent living in America, this resource is not only useful for those who live in or travel to Africa- it is very relevant right here in the melting pot of the United States.
Without further ado...
The African Study Bible is a resource in the making like no other. That may sound like a catch phrase, but it isn't intended to be showy. It's the truth, plain and simple. There are no study Bibles written with the African people as the intended audience.
How would I feel if I went to a Christian Book Store and looked at the rows and rows of Bibles available to me- a person who lives in the United States- only to discover all of the footnotes and study articles were written as though intended for Eskimos? Or Islanders? Eskimo or Island cultures have got to be different from my daily life, and, honestly, I'd probably assume I was out of luck. Only the Eskimos & Islanders get study Bibles, not us mainland Americans. Why bother reading notes about a lifestyle so far removed from what I see and live in every day?
Reality check. The study Bibles available to African Pastors and lay people are not written to take into account their unique, rich culture, heritage, and the struggles that they face.
Please don't misunderstand me, there are Bibles available to the African continent, there just aren't any study Bibles directed toward their culture. The study Bibles available in Africa are written from a Western culture (Europe & the USA) point of view. I am a fan of the KJV for many reasons, but I am also a fan of my old NIV Life Application Bible because the resources are so rich. I believe the ASB is planning to deliver rich resources to the hands of the African people in this NLT Bible and that is why I support the cause. Here are some highlights from the ASB Press Release:
“With the ASB, we’re bringing the power of Scripture to Africa in a new and culturally relevant way,” says Dr. Matthew Elliott, president of Oasis, publisher of the ASB. “Under the leadership of an 11-member editorial board of scholars from across Africa, we’ve brought together 350 writers and editors from over 40 African countries, representing 50 denominations. This is an unprecedented project that will impact the global church.”
“Our goal is to have the first run of the ASB available in Africa by the end of 2016,” says Elliott. “We already know of more than 100 million people in denominations and movements in Africa whose leaders want to use the ASB for discipleship so there is a lot of anticipation throughout the continent.”
To support the effort, Oasis is partnering with Tyndale House Publishers to create the study Bible. Other participants include Campus Crusade for Christ, International, Willow Creek and Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students), Scripture Union, Africa Leadership, TransWorld Radio, Moody Broadcasting, Center for Early African Christianity, PJA (Publications pour la Jeunesse Africane), MMD Global, The Livingstone Corporation, InSight Books, Urban Ministries Inc., and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, with additional participants being added on a regular basis.
With the editorial nearly complete, Oasis, with the support of its partners, is inviting fellow Christians to join with them in helping get the ASB into the hands of Africans. With a goal of raising one million dollars to print the first 100,000 copies, Oasis is seeking private donors as well as launching a Kickstarter campaign, which begins April 18 and runs through June 16, 2016. Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign have the opportunity to receive incentives ranging from artwork prints to limited Italian leather editions of the ASB as well as all-expense paid trips to the launch of the ASB in the United States and in Africa.
Here's what I like: No matter how much money you have, or don't have, you can help impact the production of the ASB and bless the African community of believers by keeping this ministry in your prayers. Pray for the discernment & wisdom for those in leadership. Pray for resources to come together and pray for the hearts of the people of Africa to be softening to the Gospel. We are very excited about the growth of the body of Christ in Africa, but in every nation, there are those who resist the Good News of Jesus Christ for one reason or another. Pray that those individuals will be moved to see the Truth, grace, love, peace, and freedom found in following Jesus. I appreciate that, from the limited amount of what I've seen of the ASB so far, it does not appear to be a resource which promotes (falsley) that our lives will become "fixed" or "easier" when we follow Jesus. It is a difficult road we are asked to travel, but we never travel it alone, and we do not have to do it on our own strength, wisdom or resourcefulness. That is the relief of an easy yoke on a hard journey. Pray that the Word of God, encouragement, and applications in the ASB would bring Jesus much glory.
There is a balance and professionalism to the content in this book that I greatly appreciate. Sometimes I find "How To" books lean too heavily toward personal anecdotes or too strongly toward meticulous step-by-step procedures, making them appealing to narrower audiences. Dana, however, seems to have spoken to enough women to have rounded out her approach, creating an excellent resource that is as beneficial to someone curious about being discipled as it is to a woman seeking to begin, or gain greater insight and wisdom into, discipling.
This book does focus on one-on-one discipleship, although it is suggested that if a small group will be involved (such as in studying this book together), that a group of about 8 women provides for variety of viewpoints while keeping a group quaint enough to allow meaningful connection and confidential sharing. There are just a few pages in the back which give helpful tips and information if you intend to lead others through this book as a study.
The first section of this book focuses on 4 key foundational Scriptural realities that need to be in place prior to more in-depth study or beginning discipleship of another woman. If you find these overwhelming and think there is no point in reading the second half, I would encourage you to keep on, as the wisdom and encouragement in the following chapters is gentle, yet firm. If you find the first portion of the book to be a mere review of knowledge you've become long acquainted with over the years, carry on, as the latter portion of the book may challenge you to step out and grow, and much of her advice regarding relationships with women we may disciple would be excellent to apply in other relationship settings as well. Throughout the book are varying prompts to read specific passages of Scripture in your favorite translation and answer questions that follow to engage the reader in discovering a personal application. It's actually quite cleverly demonstrating for you how to discuss Scripture with another person, which she covers in greater detail in the latter portion of the book.
I appreciate the author's willingness to share things she's learned through error, specifically citing what she did, learned, and chose to do differently thereafter. Since I can be weary of books which attempt to give structure to something which also is abstract, such as the concept of discipleship (it will look very different with different pairs of individuals, no doubt, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to guarantee success), I was pleased to read the comment she had regarding what to do if a meeting does get rather off-topic due to an unplanned interruption, need, or change in circumstance. In her case, the woman was distressed over a matter, which they discussed at length and considered Biblically and with prayer. The discipler simply wrote "next time" on her notes for what Scripture she'd planned to discuss that day. "If you face something like this in a discipling meeting, I encourage you to see the situation not as 'off topic,' but as 'real life' discipleship that trumps your plan."
I would recommend this book to any woman interested in what discipleship could look like. I honestly think a great deal of women who are in leadership roles of the church could benefit from the grace and tact with which the author suggests viewing and addressing individuals when situations do not go as expected with those you are working with or overseeing. There is, indeed, a place for discipline within the church, but to remain true to the Bible's teaching, reprimands should be clearly called for, and administered with truth, love, and humility.
***In the interest of full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to give a positive review; my opinions are my own.
A.D. The Revolution that Changed the World; The Bible Continues by Dr. David Jeremiah: A Book Review
I have read the Bible several times, but was intrigued by Dr. David Jeremiah's efforts to make it read like a novel. I have been utterly disappointed by some author's efforts to do this in the past. Paraphrasing the Word of God must be done with care to keep His message intact and uncompromised. The first two chapters had me concerned that the book would be too basic and would bore me since the information being covered is a subject I am familiar with. I could instantly see the value this book would offer for people curious about the Christian faith or anyone aged above middle school who would like to know what the book of Acts contains and what the Christian religion is founded on.
I didn't find anywhere that conflicted my understanding of the Scripture, although there is one place I felt a potential angle of an event wasn't fully covered. In no way was Scripture twisted or "cherry-picked", however, so it was merely a difference in interpretation on a somewhat trivial incident. When Peter and the others cast lots to fill the vacant position in the 12 disciples, I personally feel they were a bit hasty and taking matters in their own hands, as God already had a plan to appoint Saul (later Paul) to His ministry.
Some Christian organizations have expressed a complaint that the A.D. Bible Continues TV mini series on NBC did not clearly present the Gospel message. I don't have cable TV, so I never watched the series, but I can assure you that if you read far enough into this book, you will have a basic understanding of the gospel along with some oversight into the terms often used by Christian and the historical time period the book of Acts records.
Jesus is the only way to God. As he himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). But he invites everyone to come through him. He excludes no one. People can exclude themselves and rject that invitation, but that rejection is not an exclusion imposed by Christianity; it is self-imposed. It's a bit irrational for someone who rejects an invitation to accuse the host of inhospitality." [page 121 of A.D. The Bible Continues by Dr. David Jeremiah]
*** In the interest of full-disclosure: I received a copy of this book courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to write a positive review; the opnions I expressed are my own.
A Christian Book on Witnessing that will Encourage & Equip You, NOT make you Feel Guilty & Discouraged
I was given this book for free because I had sent an email asking for more information on the Evangelism/Witnessing weekend that Bright Lights was going to do not to far from here, but no one got back to me for a few weeks until the seminar was over. I had wanted to bring my teen who expressed interest in witnessing to the weekend, but I wasn't really that into it myself. My husband is a very passionate evangelist and I shrink in his presence. I learned not to be outspoken in my faith quickly when I became a believer because it wasn't welcomed discussion in my home. I've satisfied myself that my life would be a testimony for Christ and that I could wait until I was comfortable enough with a person/situation to share the gospel. Build a relationship first, you know? I've read plenty of articles and things that guilt trip Christians, telling them how Jesus commanded us to go make disciples, which He did, and explaining how heartless we'd have to be to not warn people about the misery of hell.
This book isn't just for "beginners," nor is it only suitable for youngsters. I am personally older than the author. The information/tips, encouragement and insight contained in this book would be beneficial to any and all Christians. I agree with another reviewer who stated the title would be more fitting if it were, "Will Christians Speak?" I know God spoke to my heart while I read this book, so thank you, Grace, for generously offering me this book- now that I've read it, I truly appreciate it.
I just finished reading this book, and I am going to read it again with a highlighter and a notebook handy. I plan to go through it again and take notes & I want to challenge myself to attempt 100 witnessing conversations next year. Why next year? Because I'm a planner and also a procrastinator. Go figure. I don't think God will let me go on this one, and, for added measure, I am going to blog about my interactions to help hold myself accountable. There, now it's out there. Even if no one reads this, I am a person of my word, so I will have 100 posts in 2015 regarding my attempts at witnessing using some of the techniques and conversation starters described in this book. God willing, of course, because I am not the One Who numbers my days.
UPDATE: I have utterly failed at attempts to witness as I so boldly proposed in the paragraph above. We've had several traumatic things happen that sent our family reeling for emotional stability and a sense of "new normal" following life-altering changes beyond our control or ability to predict. I give myself grace. I was pretty confident of the plans I was making- assuming they could certainly come to fruition with hard work because the goal I set was God-honoring. God has taught me so much this year about what it means to lay aside MY plans (even for 'good' or 'godly' activities) and to cling to Him because He is the ONLY shelter from the storms of life. I have been able to share my faith and my struggles with others, and I pray my light is shining despite the turmoil around me, but I am by no means concerned with blogging about my efforts to evangelize. I think, in all honesty, that would probably just open the door for me to become proud of any evangelizing efforts, and pride doesn't help anyone. If someone would like ideas on how to evangelize, read the book!
Food Allergy/Special Diet
Free Knitting Pattern
Holiday / Special Occasions
Movies To Check Out
Poems About Faith
Recipes (NO Gluten/dairy/egg)
Refined Sugar Free
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!