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Midweek Roundup – 7/9/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.

1. Her.meneutics reccommends Women of the Word as one of their picks for summer

On vacation I pause my chapter-by-chapter daily Bible reading and spend the week focusing on one particular passage. This year, I’m looking forward to using Women of the Word to guide my reading. Wilkin is simple, practical, and unapologetic about the plain hard work of Bible study—just what I need to get my head out of those fluffy white clouds.

2.  Jonathan Parnell reflects on when the abortion industry “self-destructs”

When will the rhetoric about women’s health and women’s rights be exposed for what it truly is (since, of course, by women’s “health” and women’s “rights” they must not mean the near 28 million girls aborted since 1973)? What will it take? Where is the tipping point when the truth of their enterprise can no longer be ignored by the popular conscience?

Signs suggest that mind-changing momentum is beginning to build, and to our surprise, it’s not so much from the direct work of pro-life advocates, but from the unmasked mishaps of abortion activists.

3. Paul Tripp offers some advice for sleepless nights

We all struggle to sleep at night, and to be fair, life in a fallen world is harsh and unpredictable. There are many outside factors that make life difficult and provide reason for restless nights.

But I’m deeply persuaded that in the midst of trial, we often abandon our theology. We quit believing that the Bible has the answers for life and we try to take the reins. With the weight of the world now on our self-appointed shoulders, we struggle to get a good night of sleep.

4. Kevin DeYoung calls for clarity with regard to evangelicals and cities

I love cities. I’ve spent time in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Chicago this summer. I love the energy, the opportunities, and the history of our nation’s big cities. I have no desire to discourage any Christian from moving to the city for ministry. Our cities have lots of people, and so they need lots of Christians, lots of churches, and lots of evangelical institutions. I’m all for evangelicals and cities coming together.

But what does that mean?

5. Dane Ortlund shares four reflections on his fourth anniversary at Crossway

4. Content-first publishing. If we don’t make money, we shrink and eventually disappear. But we say no to book and Bible projects that might sell widely but compromise out doctrinal standards, and yes to projects that make an important contribution to the kingdom and the church even if we anticipate modest sales. I love that. Truth trumps the bottom line. Because of #1 above.

July 9, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

How to Be an Effective Bible Study Leader

WOWM - Tips and Encouragement

This is a guest post by Nancy Guthrie and is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.

Have you ever led a Bible study?

If so, you know how hard it can be to manage your group’s limited time and make sure you use that time wisely.

While some participants may be very casual about how the time is used, others in your group are very aware of the time and become frustrated when they feel their valuable time is being wasted. There are several issues, I’ve found, that have a significant impact on using the time allotted for small-group discussion effectively:

Getting Started

So often we run out of time because we are slow to get started. We are waiting for latecomers, or chatting, or enjoying some food together and simply let valuable discussion time get away from us. All groups develop a culture, and members learn whether the group will really start on time or not, and they adjust their sense of urgency in regard to arrival time accordingly.

Certainly you need to allow some time for participants to greet each other and to share their lives with each other, but you will want to determine how long that will last and give the group a firm start time for the discussion. If you set a culture of starting on time regardless of whether or not everyone in the group has arrived, and not allowing latecomers to interrupt your discussion when they arrive, you may likely find that group members become more punctual.

On the first day you meet, be sure to ask members to join the group and enter into the already-commenced discussion as unobtrusively as possible when they arrive after the discussion on the lesson has started. When we stop the discussion while everyone greets the late arriver, perhaps hearing the story of what caused the lateness, it can be challenging to get started again. As the leader, you will need to manage this area with a blend of appropriate firmness and grace.

Prayer Requests

Many times, we want our small-group discussion times to include a time of sharing prayer requests, which is a meaningful way of sharing our lives together and exercising our trust and relationship with God. But we also know that sometimes sharing requests can turn into telling long stories and lengthy discussions as other members offer advice or input.

One way to handle this, if the use of time for prayer requests is a concern for your group, is to provide note-cards for people to write down their requests and share them at the end or simply have members swap cards with someone else. Or you may simply want to determine a time to bring your discussion to a close that will allow for time at the end for sharing requests, praying together over those requests, and praying through the truths presented in the lesson.

Getting Stuck Along the Way

So often we give too much time to earlier questions and simply don’t have time to work our way through all that we want to cover. You might want to look over the content you want to cover before your group time to determine how you will use the time. Mark the key questions and topics you must get to. Make a note beside each question you want to be sure to include, indicating an estimate of how much time you want to give for discussing that question, and then watch the clock along the way to keep on track.

Keeping the Focus on God’s Word

People come to a Bible study for many reasons, from many situations and struggles, and with varying levels of knowledge of and interest in the Bible. Sometimes our groups can easily slip from being a Bible study group into becoming more of a personal support group. Finding that right balance between biblical study and personal support is a significant challenge for every small-group leader.

I’ve sometimes heard group leaders say that when a group member arrives with a significant struggle or sorrow, the leader feels she must set the study aside to listen and give input to that hurting person. Perhaps there are situations where this is the best thing to do, but we must also remember that the Word of God speaks into every need and situation in our lives. It heals, it gives perspective, it instructs, convicts, restores, and renews. Be sure that you do not assume that the advice and input of group members has more power than your discussion of the truths of God’s Word to help that hurting person.

Keep in mind that while some participants may come more for the fellowship and sharing of their lives with each other, many other participants are hungry to feast on biblical teaching and discussion of God’s Word. If, over time, these participants find that the Word is often set aside or given short shrift, they may look for another forum in which to study God’s Word with others.

Ending On Time

Because participants have plans after the study, people to meet, children to pick up from childcare, etc., it is important that you end on time so that participants will not be slipping out one-by-one, or be unable to focus on the discussion because of the distraction of needing to be somewhere else.

Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at conferences around the country and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Covenant Theological Seminary. She and her husband, David, are the co-hosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 8,500 churches nationwide and they also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is the author of numerous books including Holding on to HopeHearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, and the five-book Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series.

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Infographic: 6 Counterproductive Approaches to “Studying the Bible”

In Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds, popular Bible study leader Jen Wilkin wants to help women go deeper in their study of Scripture than ever before.

But, sometimes, unhelpful habits prevent us from really digging into what God has to say to us in his Word.

The infographic below, drawn from chapter 2 of Jen’s book, highlights 6 common—yet ultimately counterproductive—approaches to “studying the Bible” that we all struggle with from time to time (click to enlarge).

Head over to Facebook to see an alternate version of this infographic! Then share it with your friends!

Learn more about the book, download a free excerpt, and join the conversation!

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Christ in All of Scripture – Nehemiah 1


Nehemiah 1:4-11

“As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.

Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

As the book of Ezra closed, so Nehemiah opens: with the prayer of a godly intercessor. Nehemiah is the last in a progression of Old Testament leaders who in their faithfulness and their imperfection teach us to depend on God’s faithfulness, and who train us to look ahead to the true Intercessor who will represent God’s people perfectly before his Father.

Nehemiah knows God’s faithfulness in preserving a remnant and restoring them to Jerusalem, according to his promises (see note on Ezra 1:1–11). Yearning for his people, hearing of their city’s broken down wall, Nehemiah leads the third group of returning exiles 13 years after Ezra’s return. Before his action comes his prayer, which acknowledges a need for more than the physical protection of walls. His people need the faithful protection of their God.

Here and throughout the book, Nehemiah shows us how to pray: with reverence for such a great and awesome God (Neh. 1:5), knowledge of God’s Word, along with confession of disobedience to that Word (vv. 6–10) and requests for mercy (v. 11). His prayer addresses a covenant-keeping God of steadfast love (v. 5; see Ex. 34:6Deut. 7:9), a God who has “redeemed” his people (Neh. 1:10). Nehemiah is referring to God’s redemption of the Israelites from Egypt, but that rescue pictures the greater One to come, not through the blood of a sacrificed lamb but through the death and resurrection of Christ, “our Passover lamb” (1 Cor. 5:7). The word “servant” (Neh. 1:6, 8, 10, 11) emphasizes this people’s identity as belonging to this God, not to the earthly king Nehemiah serves. Addressing the Lord, Nehemiah calls the exiles “your people” (v. 10; seeEx. 6:7); they were chosen by God to receive his promises of blessing and to bear the seed of that blessing for all the peoples of the earth (Gen. 12:1–3).

This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.


July 7, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,ESV,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:32 am | 0 Comments »

Weekly Specials – 7/7/14

Crossway’s weekly specials are available to members of Crossway Impact. You can also find this week’s featured resources with participating online retailers such as AmazonBarnes & NobleBookshoutChristianbook.comeChristianiBooks (Apple)Vyrso (at each individual retailer’s discretion). Discounted prices available through 7/13/14.

Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality

William Edgar

E-book: $11.99 $1.99

Exploring the views of Francis Schaeffer on the Christian life, Edgar helps readers strive after the same kind of marriage of thought and life, of orthodoxy and love.

“An engaging, fascinating account, seasoned with unusual insight into one of the truly original apologists of our time.”
David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Buy: E-book


Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World

Stephen J. Nichols

E-book: $13.99 $1.99

An accessible tour of the life and work of Germany’s famous theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book explores the nature of fellowship, the costliness of grace, and the necessity of obedience.

“How I rejoice to see thinkers of Stephen Nichols’s caliber applying their fine minds to the life and thought of the inimitable Dietrich Bonhoeffer. There’s so much yet to be written about this great man. A hungry readership awaits!”
Eric Metaxas, New York Times best-selling author, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Buy: E-book


Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel

Fred G. Zaspel

E-book: $13.99 $1.99

This volume accessibly outlines B. B. Warfield’s teaching on a variety of topics concerning the Christian life, including prayer, Bible reader, and work.

“Above all, Warfield is an integrated thinker, so he is ideally equipped to show how that which is central to the Bible, the gospel of God, rightly shapes the Christian’s entire life. And Zaspel makes this accessible.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Buy: E-book


Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever

Michael Horton

E-book: $15.99 $1.99

Drawing heavily on Calvin’s letters, commentaries, the Institutes, and other lesser-known writings, Horton explores the riches of Calvin’s piety and its significance for contemporary Christian living.

“Learned and lucid, masterfully organized, and vigorously expressed, this full, solid, and exact study of Geneva’s reforming pastor is an outstanding piece of work. In all four sections Calvin comes to vigorous life. Calvin’s reputation for godly wisdom, and Horton’s for vivid writing, will certainly be enhanced.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College

Buy: E-book


| Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book Deals,Impact Specials,Weekly Specials | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »