I’ll admit it.

I’m feeling edgy as I write this post.

bibleI just finished reading an article via Relevant Magazine’s website entitled “5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit About the Bible.” It has layers and layers of comments with all the diversity that you might expect. .

I hope it’s okay, but I’d like to share what I wrote there here to enlarge the conversation.

The article’s author essentially makes the following five points:

  1. The Bible Isn’t a Magic Book: “It isn’t really a book at all. It’s a lot of books. It’s a library.. and those books have dozens of authors… each had very different target audiences, disparate life circumstances and specific agendas for their work; so we don’t approach each book the same way.. some are for inspiration and some for information; we receive and see them differently.”
  2. The Bible Isn’t as Clear as We’d Like It To Be: “When you read and study this library in its totality, there are certainly themes and continuities and things that connect exquisitely, but if we’re honest we can also admit there are ambiguities.”
  3. 
The Bible Was Inspired by God, Not Dictated by God: “The Bible is ‘God’s Word,’ but we need to be careful about what we mean when we say it was ‘written’ by God. These are the words of men who were compelled by God to tell, not only what they claim to have heard God say, but things happening in and around them—their struggles, personal reasons for writing and specific experience of God. Of course they were inspired by God… but it doesn’t claim they are God-dictated.”
  4. We All Pick and Choose the Bible We Believe, Preach and Defend: “There are as many specific individual interpretations of Scripture in history as there have been readers of it. Our understanding and belief about the Bible is a product of our upbringing, the amount of study we’ve had, the friends we’ve lived alongside, the area of the world we live in, the experiences we have and much more. Is it really fair to accuse someone else of selectively using Scripture, unless we’re prepared to admit to the same crime in the process?”
  5. God Is Bigger Than The Bible: “The words in the Bible point to someone for whom words simply fail. The words are filled with good and lovely things that give us some frame of reference, but ultimately, God is far too big to be contained in those words. The Bible is not God. The Bible is a library filled with inspired words about God.”

Again, read the whole article if you’d like. I had to abbreviate it for space.

That said, I wasn’t initially sure where to start in my commentary on it.

Maybe it’s worth noting that the language of its headline alone indicates it is an opinion piece. That means that much of what is contained in here is based on feelings and ideas that may or may not be God’s intent.

Now, that’s something!

signedImagine an article with the same headline that God would write as the author. Maybe it would go something like this:

  1. The Bible Is a Divine Book: It’s not just a collection of many books, but One Story that involves several chapters. I AM the star. You are the supporting characters. It doesn’t work if you reverse that.
  2. The Bible Is As Clear As I’d Like It to Be: I did this on purpose so that through its words you would know The Word… and through Him, the Father and Spirit. You are meant to turn to Me, and I have provided you the verbal on-ramp of the Scriptures to this relational Highway.
  3. The Bible Was Inspired by Me, Because I Am, in fact, I AM: While many people would point out the humanity in the Bible, I AM in that very humanity. I AM in all things… but I specifically was in relationship with those people so that these timeless words could be articulated in time for all of history to benefit. Make the most of their journey to impact your journey.
  4. 
People WIll All Pick and Choose the Bible They Believe (But It’s Possible to Not Use This As An Excuse to Be a Cynic): Truth exists, and the fact that people argue over it will either propel them closer into the Truth or away from it because they dislike the tension. The choice is yours on which way you will live.
  5. I Am Bigger Than The Bible.
.. Which is Something You Know Because of the Bible: Do not look for Me wherever you want to find Me. Look for Me in the places I have told you I would most like to be found. Do not use My omnipresence as your excuse to be selectively present.

819Granted, all of that may be my opinion… i.e. “5 Things I Wish God Would Admit About the Bible.”

Then again, maybe my opinion is an informed one because of the Bible?

What do you think?

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post called, “Pivot of Perspective On Bible Study” where I talked about a few different ways I’ve been talking to people about how they view the Bible. Here I would like to throw out a few Bible_Coffeethoughts I’ve been thinking a bit through about how we refer to it in our speech. We refer to the Bible in a number of ways. We call it things like:

  1. Scripture
  2. The Bible
  3. The Word
  4. God’s Word
  5. The Holy Bible
  6. Word of God

All of these are certainly good and well-meaning names and I am not saying we need to change how we refer to it. But, I am asking whether or not it would change things. How could that impact how we think of the Bible and could that in some way change the way it impacts our lives? I have found the most common way we refer to it is, “The Word of God.” We have time in the Word. We study the Word.

But the more I study it, I’m starting to think maybe a more accurate and fresh description of it would be the “Acts of God” versus the “Word of God.” Now, I know that would be a bit awkward to refer to it by that name in the contexts we typically use the phrase “The Word of God.” But, just think about it for a second. We are not just talking about words here. We are, in fact, talking about actions God has taken.

Maybe referring to it (or thinking about it) as “Acts of God” would cause us to see how our actions should change? Maybe it would be a refreshing reminder that God took action toward and for us? Maybe understanding it as actions would help us move beyond feeling spiritually mature simply because we studied it a lot? And, maybe understanding it as Acts of God would reach much deeper into our affections/desires/feelings in ways that literally transform our motivations for obeying it?

After all, we do say things like, “Actions speak louder than words.”



The Best Bible Ever!

 —  May 31, 2014 — 1 Comment

“So…

your Bible has your name gold-stamped into the cover?

Nice.

Well, MY Bible…”

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Here’s the final and full version of The Book series video that Parker made for our student-version of the 40 Days in the Word campaign. So, so good!

JG



Here’s the latest series bumper video from the 40 Days in the Word series (student version called The Book). Each week of the series the idea was to add another 20-30 seconds of content to introduce what would be talked about that weekend. This is the best so far! Final version coming next week!

JG

Weekend Teaching Series: The Book (church-wide campaign, week 2 of 6)
Sermon in a Sentence: Why the Bible was written.

Service Length: 75 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend my goal was to share about why the Bible was written – we talked about how it was written to equip and transform us as an instruction manual, love letter and to show us God’s love. It was once again a different style message – more about the Bible than anything else. Hannah Rich shared her testimony about how God changed her life through the Scripture as well.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played a hilarious new game we called App Showdown: the app this week was Temple Run and we had 2 iPhones go head to head on the big screen. It was super fun – one student managed to have a run of close to 10K right out the gate. It was epic – super fun and easy – it will become a regular game we play in the future – just change to whatever the hot app is at that time (Fruit Ninja, Tiny Wings, etc). We also played the classic Jesus Pwn3d you video near the opening of the service, too!

Music Playlist: Rise and Sing, Words That You Say, Learn to Love, Your Love is Enough, Burning One

Up next: The Book: 40 Days in the Word (week 3 of 6)



As student minister’s one thing we have to always strive for is to be a perpetual student of our craft. We can never know too much about youth ministry. This is one thing that I defiantly do not have a problem with. No matter what I have done in my life I always threw myself into it full force. When I played drums in band in high school I studied, not only in school, but on my own. I listen to instructional by well known drummers at the time, I went to drum clinics, and dissected drums solos by popular drummers. When I joined the Army as a Military Police officer, I took baton instructor classes, correspondence courses, and unarmed self defense training. As youth ministers we must constantly be students of our own art. How do we do that? Here are some quick sources for training!

1: The Bible: I know I know, you’ve heard it a million times but that doesn’t make it any less true. The better your relationship with God the better off your ministry is.

2: Blogs: The cheapest form of training out there! Find a youth ministry mentor such as Josh Griffin at morethandodgeball.com, Doug Fields’ Blog, Stephanie Caro’s blog, or even my own at lifeintheymfishbowl.com. Want find great ideas to try? Read a blog. Want training on ideas to help grow your youth group? Read a Blog. Also there are non blog websites out there that are great. One I love is youthministry.com. Great articles and great ideas.

3: Certificates: Many colleges offer online youth minister training for a small price. Plus you get a handy certificate to hang up on the wall. Another place to check out is youthsphere.tv. This site offers a great certificate and great training under the giants of youth ministry. Use promo code MTDB for 10% off, too!

4: Group Magazine: Some of the best youth ministry ideas delivered to your door once every two months. Nuff said!

5: Other youth ministers: Your local youth minister’s network is a great source of training. You can pick up great life lessons while sitting down for a cup of coffee.

6: Youth Minister’s support networks: many denominations offer great youth minister support networks who can offer great advice and ideas.

7: Conferences: I’ve often heard conferences called the poor man’s seminary. That’s about the truth. With SYMC coming up you have the option of the large conference and it’s many options but also don’t over look the smaller local conferences that are out there, if money is an issue.

8: College: This option is not for everyone, but if you feel like God is calling you for a deeper commitment this is a great option. I’m currently enrolled online for a degree with a Student Ministry emphasis. There are many great colleges that offer Youth Ministry Masters degrees also many Seminaries that offer degrees with youth ministry minors.

9: Books: Some of the best training I’ve ever received was through two books, “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry” and “My First Two Years in Youth Ministry” both by Doug Fields. Books are the best way to glean ideas from well renowned youth ministers. Not just Doug but many giants of youth ministry have published books that are great training resources.

10: Last but not least: This one may strike you as odd…..your senior pastor. I know your thinking “He did not just say I could get training from the old man/woman” Yep I went there! Some of our senior pastors were youth ministers once. They can be great resources for ideas and wonderful sounding blocks. I was thinking about revamping our “Sunday School” class and asked our senior pastor what he thought. Low and behold we had the same idea and he had many small details that I hadn’t pondered.

If you look around there are many great resources out there for youth ministers to learn from. We really have no excuse to not stay on top of our game. You owe it to you church, your kids, and yourself to be the most well trained youth minister you can be.

Kevin Patterson is the youth pastor at Dawson Springs First Baptist Church in Dawson Spring, KY. Be sure to check out http://www.lifeintheymfishbowl.blogspot.com/ to regularly get in on his learnings, too!

Was going through a ton of resources that we want to point our students to during The Book (the student version of 40 Days in the Word church-wide campaign). I’m really interested in Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ, as well as Totally Infatuated, a resource from Simply Youth Ministry. This looks like a really good one I’m going to check out:

Maybe the Bible intimidates you or bores you. Maybe it feels old, ancient, outdated, irrelevant. Maybe it’s time for another look. Jacqueline Pierre is a teenager who understands what it means to discover a fresh perspective on the Bible. Her life has been transformed through her obsession with God’s Word. She’s your guide for this journey through the pages of Scripture, as she reveals why she’s totally infatuated with God’s Word.

Scripture speaks to your life–your school-going, sports-participating, friend-texting, goal-setting, future-dreaming life. The Bible will bring you peace and purpose, value and victory, success and strength. Expect great things to happen as you dive into God’s Word and pursue the treasure of life-changing truth inside its pages.

Let the Bible captivate you. Let God transform you through its truths. Let a new chapter in your life begin.

JG