Book Review: More Than Cake

 

Today, I want to introduce you to Joe Miller’s book, More Than Cake.

Joe wrote the book for teams, but it’s good for individuals too.

Each chapter has a quote by another author, a devotional where Joe reflects on a topic, and then a discussion section.

The discussion sections contain four parts. Here’s an example:

1. MEANING: What meaning does this devotional have for you?

2. CONNECTION: As you think on this meaning, what passage of Scripture has special significance? Why?

3. CALL TO ACTION: What message does this devotional have for your team?

4. FINISH TOGETHER!: After you meet with your team, write the ending to each sentence:  a. “Based on the challenge of this devotional, my role in the team…”

The book contains 52 meditations in all. Because Joe writes in a winsome style, it’s a fast read. The discussion sections slow you down to reflect on each devotion.

I especially liked the quotes that Joe selected. They alone are worth the price of the book. Here are some of my favorites:[Continue Reading…]

Back to Christ

Tomorrow – June 22, 2012 – will mark three years since “A Jesus Manifesto” (the essay) was nailed to the Internet door by Leonard Sweet and me.

Seeing that it’s the third anniversary of our manifesto, I thought it would be fitting to repost it along with all the links to the supplemental materials, including the 200-page book that was given birth by the essay.

Many of you are new to the blog since June 2009, so you probably never read the original manifesto. In many ways, my new book Beyond Evangelical picks up where Jesus Manifesto leaves off.

A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ

a.k.a.

A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century Church

by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

 

Christians have made the gospel about so many things . . . things other than Christ.

Jesus Christ is the gravitational pull that brings everything together and gives them significance, reality, and meaning. Without him, all things lose their value. Without him, all things are but detached pieces floating around in space.

It is possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ . . . who is the embodiment and incarnation of all spiritual truth, values, virtues, and gifts.[Continue Reading…]

Charles Spurgeon vs. D.L. Moody

My new book, Beyond Evangelical, released a week ago. I want to thank all of you who purchased it.

So far, the feedback has been extremely encouraging. I’m glad I made the decision to write and publish it.

Many of you haven’t picked up your copy yet. Someone suggested that some of you may think that the book just repeats previous blog posts. This isn’t the case.

While it contains my entire “beyond evangelical” series, it also includes new chapters that you will not find anywhere else. And to my mind, they are some of the best and most important chapters I’ve written for the book.

In addition, the book cites and quotes large excerpts from Scot McKnight, Roger Olson, N.T. Wright, Mark Noll, Alister McGrath, and many other influential evangelical Christians. Those quotes are worth the price of the book and links to the full articles are included as well.

So the book is a powerful resource, putting loads of related content together in one small space.

If you’re a serious Christian, you can’t afford to be ignorant on what’s happening in Christianity today, and what God appears to be doing among Bible-believing, Jesus-following Christians.[Continue Reading…]

Rethinking the Sinner’s Prayer

Most evangelical Christians believe in and practice believer’s baptism as opposed to infant baptism.1 Likewise, most Protestants believe and practice baptism by immersion or pouring rather than by sprinkling.

The New Testament as well as early church history stand with both of these positions.2

However, it is typical in most contemporary churches for baptism to be separated from conversion by great lengths of time. Many Christians were saved at one age and baptized at a much later age. In the first century, this was unheard of.

In the early church, converts were baptized immediately upon believing.3 One scholar says of baptism and conversion, “They belong together. Those who repented and believed the Word were baptized. That was the invariable pattern, so far as we know.”4

Another writes, “At the birth of the church, converts were baptized with little or no delay.”5

In the first century, water baptism was the outward confession of a person’s faith.6 But more than that, it was the way someone came to the Lord. For this reason, the confession of baptism is vitally linked to the exercise of saving faith. So much so that the New Testament writers often use baptism in place of the word faith and link it to being “saved.”7 This is because baptism was the early Christian’s initial confession of faith in Christ. [Continue Reading…]

How to Get Your Alexa Ranking Under 100,000

Alexa is a blog ranking system among many others.

In a previous post, I talked about the danger of obsessing over rankings and social media stats. Keeping that in mind, if you’re a blogger who advertises on your blog (this fits many of my readers), then you’ll want to know that some advertisers look at your blog’s Alexa score to determine if they are going to advertise with you or not.

For that reason alone, it’s worth exploring the subject.

With over 150 million blogs on the Web today, a blog that has a ranking of less than 100,000 is doing great.

Anything below 50,000 is spectacular.

I’m writing this post for the sake of those of you who want to get your blog’s Alexa score down. And I’m writing from what I’ve discovered from my own experimentation.[Continue Reading…]

Let’s Talk About Your Destiny

At the end of Romans 8, Paul challenges the entire universe, demonstrating to all living things that nothing can condemn or lay a charge at the feet of God’s children (see Rom. 8:31–39). 

How can you, dear child of God, feel insecure, unworthy, and condemned in the presence of so marvelous an anthem? Paul does not answer a charge against God’s children with their own good deeds, their own clean record, nor with their own victorious living.

He answers only with Christ.

Paul’s life was spent trying to extinguish the specific falsehoods that eroded the notion that God’s demeanor toward us is grace-full. His letters throb with countless “blame-extinguishing” declarations.

These explosive statements are designed to inoculate the church from any accusation that can be laid at her feet.

God accepts only one person, His beloved Son.

And we are in Him.

So He accepts us on exactly the same basis as He accepts Christ.[Continue Reading…]

Rethinking Youth Ministry Training

In Finding Organic Church, I explore how Paul deliberately mentored, coached, and apprenticed his younger coworkers in Ephesus for a period of three years. Essentially, Paul repeated what Jesus did with the Twelve in Galilee in what A. B. Bruce called “the training of the Twelve.”

The main difference is that Paul trained eight people instead of twelve.

Interestingly, during the time that Paul trained these eight coworkers to carry on his work, he paid for their needs. Rather than taking money from them – to pay for their training or “internship” – he supported them during those years of spiritual apprenticeship.

Paul makes this plain in his discourse to the Ephesian elders:

“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:33-35).[Continue Reading…]

BEYOND EVANGELICAL – The Book

“A recently published e-book I can highly recommend is Frank Viola’s Beyond Evangelical.”

~ Roger Olson, Professor of Theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University.

Beyond

Description

Recent studies indicate that evangelical Christians are known by the world as people who are narrow-minded, judgmental, self-righteous, legalistic, callous, hard-hearted, politically partisan, and quick to attack their own. Why is this, and is there a viable cure?

The evangelical Christian world has fractured into four main streams. One of these streams has grown weary of the Christian Right vs. Christian Left squabbles and vitriolic disputes. If this describes you, then you are not alone. And you will be encouraged to know that God is raising up a new breed of orthodox Christians who are breaking free from the Christian Right vs. Left quagmire.

Beyond Evangelical explores the changing face of evangelicalism and introduces readers to a growing segment of the Christian population who do not fit into the Right or Left categories, but who are marked by an uncommon devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ as this world’s true Lord.

You can listen to the first chapter which answers the question: What Does Beyond Evangelical Mean?

[Continue Reading…]