Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jots and Tittles February 2013


While the casting of Jesus remains unsatisfactory, The Gospel of John is one of the best Jesus films to date and features skillful direction and interpretation. It also has a phenomenal soundtrack which the film does not take full advantage of.

Popout

Famous Bible Translation Mistakes Throughout History - C Michael Patton

Sola Scriptura Redux: What Does it Really Mean - Ben Witherington

Craig Keener on the Book of Acts as History - John Byron

The Top Ten Bible Verses of 2012 - BibleGateway Blog

3 Ways I Would Like Evangelical Leaders to Stop Defending the Bible - Peter Enns

Top 20 Archaeology Events and Discoveries of 2012 - John Byron

The Bible Brought to you by the History Channel - John Byron

Friday, January 25, 2013

Review: What Jesus Started by Steve Addison


book coverSometimes we get so caught up in the power of Jesus shouting from the cross, "It is finished!" that we forget that Jesus started something. What Jesus started was a movement that began small, with intimate conversations designed to build disciples into apostles who would go out in the world and seed it with God's kingdom vision. That movement grew rapidly and spread wide as people recognized the truth in it and gave their lives to the power of it. That movement is still happening today, and we are called to play our part in it.



What Jesus Started by Steve Addison holds the example of Jesus, Paul, and the New Testament Church up to the light in order to discover the methods behind the greatest missionary movement of all time. Addison defines Jesus's earthly ministry and the foundation of the New Testament Church as one disciple-making movement and goes through scripture and church history to answer the question, "What did Jesus do?" The result is a book about missionary methods, disciple making and church planting movements with the Gospels and the book of Acts as its main case study.

In many ways the book retells the gospels and the book of Acts through the eyes of missiology. Addison mixes in church history and is able to trace a coherent journey as well as a cohesive vision for this original disciple making movement. The study is interlaced with modern case studies and examples and finalized with a brief look at Addison's own ministry journey through the principles and methods described. The book includes by a fifty page implementation guide that draws readers into the process of making disciples and gives the reader a practical starting point to the methods of the missionary movement that Jesus started.

Addison does a excellent job of meticulously going through Scripture to reveal what Jesus and Paul did and to distill principles from their divinely inspired example. The scriptural focus creates a powerful conviction that the ministry methods and principles described are not merely new ideas, but powerful imperatives drawn from the Word of God. While the book reads as a fairly holistic look at scriptural example, it remains accessible and relevant.With its holistic scope, some readers may feel that certain subjects weren't given enough emphasis, or that important issues weren't raised, but Addison touches on many areas and he's clear about focusing on six principles and methods for ministry.

What Jesus Started may not be the best book on disciple making movements I've read, but it is by far the most Scriptural and intellectually convincing. The focus on the big picture as well as the principles and examples  make it useful for both inspiring vision and activating obedience. I will be revisiting this book frequently for guidance, inspiration, and reference as I follow the ministry model of Jesus.

My thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing this complementary review copy. I have given an honest review.

836598: What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World
By Steve Addison / IVP Books

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Bible Reading Disciplines





Once again, I am starting off the new year with some disciplined plans to read and study the Word. I often make these plans and then deviate to some extent from them later in the year; however, my deviations never stop me from reading the Bible. I just tend to prefer to do things in the spur of the moment. I often wake up thinking, "I feel like reading Zechariah, today," or something similar. I know that sounds holy, but it's true. I often supplement a basic reading discipline, such as a goal to read ten or more chapters per day (one that I've loosely held to since I first got saved) with Seinfeld calendar plans, audio Bibles, different translations, highlighting and note-taking projects, etc.

This year I'm starting off with deviations in mind. I won't be following a strict reading plan. Instead I'll have a set of loose goals and a set of firm goals.

I have a loose goal of reading ten or more chapters per day. This is a loose goal because I know some days will be extremely busy, and I'll rush through an epistle, while other days I'll have time to really sit down and study. This is a good goal as well because I can incorporate different projects, plans, and Bibles into it without missing a beat.

I have a firm goal of reading the whole Bible at least once and the New Testament multiple times. For this goal I'll be using the Bible checklist. I will highlight chapters as I read them and then use a different notation to mark them off every subsequent reading. I know my reading habits well enough to anticipate that I'll probably read the Old Testament once this year, and the Epistles all several times.
I have a loose goal of reading the New Testament aloud. I love reading the Bible aloud, and I will attempt to read the Psalms and the New Testament aloud this year, but this isn't easy for every environment, and I'll be flexible for travel and schedule interruptions.

I plan to revisit Scripture by Heart by Joshua Choonmin Kang for inspiration and tips for memorization.

I plan to read the Bible in discovery Bible Studies with others. DBS has become an important part of my Bible reading and evangelism as well as my discipleship as a whole.

I hope to be studying the Bible in Bangla by the end of the year. This is an ambitious goal, but I'm attempting to study Bangla twelve hours per week, and in the end I'd like one hour or less of that to be reading and reciting the Bible in the language of Bangladesh.

What are your reading disciplines for the New Year? Comment and let me know.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Strong in the Lord (January 2013 Newsletter)



Those who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits. Daniel 11:32

The knowledge of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ transforms. The strength and power of the Lord touches every part of the heart and life. Fearful, helpless victims of the world, the flesh, and the devil become powerful warriors for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Intimacy with God and the knowledge of His love and His heart creates a bold, outrageous love and a raging zeal for the God’s will and work. As Daniel promised, we were made to know God, and those who come to the knowledge of their Lord and Savior are to carry out great exploits. This means doing great things for God in the power of His Spirit. It means amazing works and deeds carried out by those who are meek in themselves but bold in the Lord and prepared to take the world as their inheritance (beatitudes).

The prophet told King Asa, “the eyes of the Lord go to and fro over the earth searching for those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him to show himself strong on their behalf” (2 Chron 16:9). Almighty God searches the world even now for men and women whose hearts are fully committed, devoted, and loyal to Him, not to test them with suffering and shame, but to lift them up and show Himself strong, powerful and mighty in their lives and for their sake. There are great things to be done in the power and Spirit of God. The Lord is looking for men and women who will fully trust their lives to Him and not succumb to the spirit of fear, which is not from God, but fully embrace the love, power and soundness of mind that comes from the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 1:7).

Cowards will have their place in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8), but the beloved of God will be bold on His behalf. The all-consuming fire of God’s love purges fear away and forges an army of insatiable hunger and zeal. This army of God is meant to take the world and the nations undaunted by opposition, violence, threats, or hardship because they do not count their lives dear to themselves.

David grew up in intimacy with God. The great psalmist had a tender heart and a passionate love for God. This great love gave Him a reckless abandon and when it came to the Lord’s work, motivating him to kill animals as a boy and spurring him on to run at the giant who dared to oppose the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. There are giants in our generation: strongholds, lies, and opposition from the enemy. God is searching for men and women like David who are after His own heart, and who will not back down from the fight.  Like David we are commanded to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). It is not God’s will for His church to be weak, sick, broken, in despair, or in defeat. We are more than conquerors by the love of God (Romans 8:37), and made to win and not to lose. We are commanded and equipped to walk in strength and in victory, to be overcomers in this life, not only for ourselves, but in the lives of others.
Sin, sickness, addiction, depression, and oppression are enemies to be vanquished by the body of Christ. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). Jesus was fully devoted to the will of God and accomplished the will of God by defeating the devil’s oppression of the world which is so loved by God. And He did these things because God was with Him. Today God is with His Church urging us on to do the works of Jesus and even greater things (John 14:12).

It’s time to win our neighbors for God. It’s time to take our cities with love and good deeds. It’s time to take the gospel to the nations. It’s time to carry out great exploits by the power of Spirit, to see the captives freed, the lame walk, the blind see, the oppressed and depressed released into the joy and power of God. May we boldly step into our heavenly calling as we devote our hearts to God and see him show himself strong on behalf of His people.


Read the rest of the January 2013 Newsletter here.
Read past newsletters.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jots and Tittles January 2013

I am so excited by what God is going to do in the New Year. I have been incredibly blessed and joyful to be busy about my Father's business, but I do have a newsletter, a book review, and a project on deck for this month. Hopefully I will be able to write consistently here along with the many other exciting things the Lord is doing in my life and ministry. I expect to travel a lot (hopefully both nationally and internationally) in the coming year as well as tackling some new projects. This blog usually takes the lowest priority, but I still trust the Lord to use it to bless people hungry for more of His Word. To check out more of what I'm up to, head over to jonathanammon.org.  


A Bible that can mean anything is a Bible without meaning. - Gary DeMar


Five Ways to Motivate Yourself to Read the Bible in 2013 from Biblegateway

Bible Buying Guide's Overview of 2012 Bibles

Randy Brown published an E-Book: How to Choose and Use a Wide Margin Bible

The Queen James Bible and Homophobic Translations by Michael Brown at Charisma News

The Bible is Surprise Bestseller in Norway




Thanks to Chuck Huckaby for posting this chart.