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Improve Your Preaching with the Baker Contemporary Preaching Collection

Preaching week after week can be an exhilarating and daunting task. And once you’re in the thick of sermon prep, it’s hard to find the time and tools to adequately assess how you’re doing. How do you set goals to get better? How do you stay on top of the important preaching trends? How do you get better at developing ideas and turning them into powerful, life-changing sermons?

With the 19-volume Baker Contemporary Preaching Collection, you’ll have all the resources you need to take your pulpit ministry to the next level.

This collection includes modern classics like:

Performance in Preaching: Bringing the Sermon to Life ed. Jana Childers and Clayton J. Schmit

“Two of our finest teachers of preaching here collaborate on an invigorating book for preachers. Jesus doesn’t mean for us to think about the Gospel, even to understand the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to be enacted, embodied, and performed. Childers and Schmit show us how we preachers can better enable our listeners to not only hear but also perform the Gospel. One of the best books on the craft of preaching that we’ve had in a long time.”—Will Willimon, bishop, North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church

Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition by Calvin Miller

“One of our best preachers and writers tells us what he does best—and why and how.”—Eugene Peterson, pastor, scholar, and author

Preaching as Worship: An Integrative Approach to Formation in Your Church by Michael J. Quicke

“Michael Quicke’s winsome and insightful exploration of preaching as an integral component and reflection of Trinitarian worship is a welcome contribution to thoughtful literature on both preaching and worship. For too long, one has been viewed as simply a prelude or culmination of the other. Quicke helps us understand how worship and preaching function organically and holistically to honor the persons of the Godhead who also comes to us as one.”—Bryan Chapell, chancellor, Covenant Theological Seminary

Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons That Connect with Our Culture by Zack Eswine

“Zack Eswine moves the Christ-centered preaching movement forward with this volume. He not only calls us to carefully contextualize our message to various cultures, sensibilities, and habits of heart, but he also gives us a host of practical tools, inventories, and guidelines for doing so. All the while he assumes and strengthens the foundational commitment to preaching Christ and his restoring grace from every text. A great contribution.”—Tim Keller, senior pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

Preaching to a Postmodern World: A Guide to Reaching Twenty-First Century Listeners by Graham MacPherson Johnston

“Here is a significant book, one that urgently needs to be in print. Well written, biblical, and practical, it opens the stained glass windows. For anyone desiring a ministry of impact in today’s postmodern society, Graham Johnston has provided an understandable and useful focus for both the professional and the casual reader.”—Howard G. Hendricks, emeritus distinguished professor of Christian education and leadership, Dallas Theological Seminary

These five titles represent less than a third of the resources available in the Baker Contemporary Preaching Collection. And while these resources are on Pre-Pub, you can add them to your library for only $189.95. Don’t wait. Pick up these resources while they’re available at this low Pre-Pub price!

Greek Poets Influenced First-Century Judaism?

“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” 

When church father Tertullian asked this question, it was rhetorical; the answer, to him, was ‘Nothing.’”

But that’s not exactly true.

To understand the Hellenized Jewish culture Jesus was born into, one should have a cursory familiarity with the poets Homer and Virgil. The Jews, like many of the cultures conquered by Alexander the Great or within Greece’s circle of influence, experienced an assimilation of Greek speech, manners, and culture. Although the more orthodox Jews clashed with their Hellenized brethren over the extent to which Greek culture should infringe on Jewish practices, one can simply look at the translation of Hebrew Scriptures into the Septuagint’s Greek to see how deep that influence went.

Regarding Homer and Virgil’s influence on Hellenized cultures, Karl Olav Sandes writes,

“[Virgil] and Homer, in particular, formed a ‘canon’ of texts that the students met repeatedly and at various levels: ‘Homer’s epics had become the basis for Greek culture. Since classical time they were everybody’s schoolbook (to be more or less retained by memory) and companion for life.’ Homer was the foundational text of the culture in which many NT texts came to life. This conclusion can be inferred from Philo’s extensive discussion on encyclical education, and is supported by Josephus’s writings as well. On the basis of this fundamental role of Homer, it makes sense to look for Homeric traces in the NT, and not to restrict oneself to obvious citations.”—Journal of Biblical Literature vol. 124

The influence of these poets on Hellenized culture goes beyond the literary:

“The impact of the Homeric poems on geographic questions is profound. Geographers normally debated whether Homer accurately relayed geographic information. There is more at stake in these questions, however, than whether Homer is an accurate geographer. Ancient authors of all genres were particularly indebted to Homer as a model and source of material. It is no surprise, then, that ancient geographers engaged the epic poems of Homer.”—Eric C. Stewart, Gathered around Jesus

We might even be surprised by their influence on Scripture. Here Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier discuss Virgil’s possible influence on a Pauline metaphor:

“It is not uncommon for commentators to suggest what might have been in Paul’s mind when he cried out, ‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?’ (Rom. 7:24). ‘Wretched’ we understand, but what is the ‘body of death’ from which he wants to be rescued? A most gruesome picture is that presented by the Roman poet Virgil (70–19 b.c.), with which his audience in Rome might well have been familiar. In Book Eight of the Æneid, Virgil’s epic poem that chronicles the wanderings of Aeneas after the fall of Troy, the horrific cruelty of the Etruscan king Mezentius is told. To punish and torture his living captives, Mezentius tied them face to face with decomposing corpses of those killed in battle, leaving them bound together until the living captive died. Virgil’s poetic presentation does little to soften the horror of such a fate:

The living and the dead at his command
Were coupled, face to face, and hand to hand,
Till, chok’d with stench, in loath’d embraces tied,
The ling’ring wretches pin’d away and died.
—Virgil’s Æneid, Book Eight

What did Paul call himself—a ‘wretched man’? What did Virgil call those locked in the embrace of death—those ‘ling’ring wretches’? Surely no word other than “rescue” would fit both scenes. And if Paul had Virgil’s epic in mind, then this image of “body of death” suddenly puts the gospel’s deliverance from the law in a new and more serious light.”—Holman New Testament Commentary: Romans

Get works of Homer and Virgil on Community Pricing!

Now you can help set your own price to add these two cultural icons while they’re on Community Pricing.

Homer’s eight-volume Iliad and Odyssey is currently tracking to head into production at $14, and more bids could drive that price down even further. And the four-volume Select Works of Virgil is brand-new to Community Pricing. Bid now on these two important writers!

How the Resurrection Triumphs over “YOLO!”

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It would have been hard to get through 2012 without hearing or seeing the acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once). The term regularly trended on Twitter, showed up in Facebook news feeds, and quickly became part of the pop culture vernacular.

Like a modern Carpe Diem, “YOLO!” is the cry of a generation seeking to squeeze all the possible goodness from life. If the end of your one life is death, why deny yourself happiness now?

It may seem nihilistic, but it makes sense. If this is our only opportunity to taste life’s fruit, then we should indulge. Even Paul affirms this in his discussion with the Corinthians, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Cor. 15:32). It would seem that, in a closed system in which death is life’s final outcome, “YOLO!” is the only rational response.

But the fact that Jesus rose from the dead changes everything. Here are three ways that Christ’s death and resurrection triumph over “YOLO!”:

1. Christ’s resurrection has made a mockery of death

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” (Col. 2:13–15)

Not only are the rulers and authorities—demonic or otherwise—that would hold death over our heads vanquished; they’re humiliated. I love Paul’s imagery here. Jesus didn’t just destroy them, he disarmed them. Imagine an invading horde coming into a city and the king going out and simply taking their weapons from them—how embarrassing.

Christ has removed death’s stinger (1 Cor. 15:51); it no longer has power over us. The grave is not life’s final word.

2. Christ’s resurrection gives us hope

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”—1 Thessalonians 4:13–14

“YOLO” has an intrinsic sadness in it. The reveler who looks at life with a “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” mentality cannot help but shrink from death’s inevitability, and mourn for those who’ve passed.

But the resurrection gives us hope! Death isn’t a period at the end of our lives; it’s a comma.

3. Christ’s resurrection is a new beginning

In Romans 8, Paul shows us that Christ’s resurrection kicked off a chain reaction leading to the redemption of all things.

The Spirit of he who raised Christ from the dead dwells in those who belong to him (Rom. 8:11) making us children of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:15–17). And all of creation, which has groaned under the weight and futility of sin has waited for the revealing of the children of God in order that it be set free from its bondage and corruption (Rom. 8:20–22). Within the resurrection of Christ lie the seeds for the restoration of all things.

It’s no wonder that Paul’s heart erupts with the admonition to “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4)

For those who believe death has the final word, to embrace life from a “you only live once” perspective makes perfect sense. But for those whose lives are lived in the light of Christ’s resurrection, nothing in this life is “worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)

The promise of Easter is that, because death is not the end, the pleasures of this world have lost their luster. I may only live once, but thanks to Jesus, it will be one long, glorious life spent in God’s presence.

Looking for resources for study or meditation this Easter season? Check out our specials for Holy Week.

The Beautiful Tragedy of Good Friday

Hebrews 10

“Paul’s overriding interest is not in evil men who have done a wicked thing but in a good God who has done a gracious thing.”—Gerard S. Sloyan, The Crucifixion of Jesus: History, Myth, Faith

Like many, I was enthusiastic about Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ when it  premiered in 2004.  My enthusiasm waned considerably about halfway through. I wasn’t turned off because of my weak stomach; I was dismayed at its emphasis. It’s my conviction that it wasn’t the brutality of the Crucifixion that made it significant, but rather the identity of the one crucified. The tragedy is that the creator would allow himself to be humiliated, abused, and ultimately murdered at the hands of his creatures.

The one who would soon lay claim to all authority on heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) was betrayed with a gesture of familiarity and intimacy (Luke 22:47–53). Those who had sworn their allegiance fled and denied him (Matt. 26:69–75).  The mouth that had summed up the Law and the prophets with the admonition to treat others the way you desire to be treated (Matt. 7:12) was silent as Jesus was beaten and mocked.

A prefect of Rome apathetically dismissed the supreme sovereign of the universe (Matt. 27:24). The world’s only true innocent was scourged and forced to carry the device for his own execution through town. The feet that had walked upon the raging sea, the hands that had only recently healed the sick and raised the dead, were nailed to a rough piece of wood. Christ, who deserved to be elevated, was raised upon a cruel cross. And during history’s most unforgivable act, Jesus exemplified all his teaching in the prayer, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Good Friday, the most tragically beautifully date on the Christian calendar, is set aside to remember the passion of our Lord. It’s tragic for what the creator would suffer at the hands of the creature, and it’s beautiful for the work that was done on that dreadful day. As the writer of Hebrews put it, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It doesn’t really matter who was ultimately responsible for the Crucifixion. On this day we remember that we were all culpable—and are all beneficiaries.

And because of the humiliation endured that day, the head that wore a crown of thorns is now crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9), and any crown I receive will be laid at his nail-scarred feet.

Thank you, Jesus.

*   *   *

Looking for resources for study or meditation this Easter season? Check out our specials for Holy Week.

Prepare for Holy Week with Logos

Palm SundayThis Sunday, March 24, marks the beginning  of the Christian calendar’s high point. Starting with Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and culminating with his crucifixion and resurrection, Holy Week is a sacred time for Christians.

To help prepare for this important time, we’ve discounted a number of important resources focusing on the Cross and Resurrection. Meditate on powerful books like:

As an added bonus, tune in to Logos Talk Monday, March 25 through Saturday, March 30 and enjoy daily devotionals post focused on this important season.

We’re excited to share this season with you.

Save 40% on John MacArthur, J. I. Packer, John Calvin, and Others!

The votes have been counted—only eight authors remain as contenders for the Logos March Madness championship. Whose work would you like to see discounted by 75%? Vote now!

Then save 40% on:

Need help sifting through over 500 items on sale? Here are a few of the best-selling authors so far.

Round 1 authors:

Round 2 authors:

Don’t forget to vote this round. Only four will move on, and their works will be discounted 50%!

Who do you want to see win? Vote early, and share who you voted for on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the forums!

Easily Manage Your Devices and Downloads

iPhoneWith Logos 5, you can access most of your library on multiple devices. Now, it’s easier than ever to manage your devices and downloads.

Managing Your Devices

When you download any free app from Logos (Logos Bible Software, Faithlife Study Bible, or Vyrso) on your iOS or Android device, and sign in with your Logos.com account, your device will instantly be logged on your account page. Under the heading “Mobile Devices,” you’ll see all your devices and downloaded apps.

Device MgmtAbove, you can see the apps I have on my Sony tablet and Motorola phone. Let’s say I have one tablet for home and one for work, and I get them confused. When I hover over either of the devices, I’m given the option to edit their names to make it easier to remember which is which.

Device MGMTII

If I were to lose, break, or sell either of these items, I could simply hover over the device and choose to “Remove.”

Managing Your Downloads

I like to keep a couple books downloaded to read when I’m lounging around or have some time to kill. Managing those downloads is a cinch. Here are three ways you can manage your downloads:

1. Download books directly from the device

Click the information icon (i) to the right of any book in your library and you’ll get a pop-up with a button to download the resource to your device (iOS or Android).

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Click to enlarge

2. Download books from your order page

When you purchase a single volume, you’ll be taken to the order summary page. If you have devices on file and want to download your new book, you can do so here.

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Even if it’s a book you purchased a while ago, you can go to your order page, scroll down to the order history, click the order number, and choose where to download it.

3. Download books from Logos 5

My favorite way to manage my downloads is directly in Logos 5. Click on the Library icon, right-click on the bar to choose the information displayed, and check “Devices.” Once you choose for your library to display devices, you can see the books already downloaded.

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Click to enlarge

If there’s a particular item in your Logos 5 library you want to download, open the book, and then click the information icon.

Information

Now you can choose the device and app(s) where you want to download your book.

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We’re serious about Bible study. Not only do we want to give you the best tools available, we want to make managing those tools as easy as possible.

Do you have any suggestions that we could implement to make our tools easier to use? Leave us a comment; we’d love to hear them!

What’s the Significance of Biblical Words?

If you missed the Pastorum Live 2012 conference, you missed out on powerful teaching from 21 of evangelicalism’s leading scholars. Pastorum Live featured more than just lofty theology; it was scholarly teaching instantly applicable to your study and ministry.

In this short clip, Dr. Mark Futato explains what the specific word choices in Scripture can tell us about God and his character.


Join Dr. Futato, Ed Stetzer, Dr. John Walton, Jonathan Dodson and many others in Chicago April 11–12 for Pastorum 2013. When you register for Pastorum by Friday, March 8, you’ll receive a discounted rate—only $79! Register now!

Howard Hendricks (1924–2013)

Howard HendricksHoward Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary for over 60 years, author or coauthor of 23 books, and chaplain to the Dallas Cowboys (1976–1984), went to be with the Lord early this morning.

“To guide a person in the name of Jesus is a great privilege and a sobering responsibility; to misguide an individual is no minor matter to Him.”—Howard Hendricks, The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Teaching

Hendricks shaped more than 10,000 students in his lifetime—but his influence doesn’t stop there. Thanks to Hendrick’s personal mentoring of leaders like Chuck Swindoll, Tony Evans, and David Jeremiah, he has left his mark through their ministries, too. Being mentored as a young man played an important role in Hendricks’ life, and as he communicates in As Iron Sharpens Iron, the most dramatic spiritual and personal growth often happens through the influence of a mentor.

“Show me a man’s closest companions and I can make a fairly accurate guess as to what sort of man he is, as well as what sort of man he is likely to become.”—Howard Hendricks, As Iron Sharpens Iron

Hendricks’ enthusiasm for God’s Word was infectious. Convicted that the Bible was one of the most important means of spiritual development, he encouraged more than rote memorization and scriptural exegesis. To him, the Bible needed to become part of us.

“Do whatever it takes to become an acquisitive Bible reader. Marry the truth of the Word with your own interests and experience—through personal engagement in the process—so that you do more than remember a passage of Scripture—you make it your own.”—Howard Hendricks, Living by the Book

From our finite perspective, it’s impossible to see the impact of Hendrick’s faithfulness. Someday, in the light of eternity, we’ll see its full influence.

“Too many believers die with an unsung song still in them. They finish life at the top of the pile in their field but at the bottom of life in terms of fulfillment.”—Howard Hendricks, Color outside the Lines

Get 25% Off Your BibleTech Registration!

You don’t want to miss BibleTech 2013! For years, BibleTech has been a venue to connect people who are passionate about the ways technology is shaping how we interact with, and share, the Scriptures. This year’s conference will be no exception.

Check out the list of presenters to see the breadth of topics. Here are some highlights:

  • From Paper to Pixels: The Effects of Technology on the Bible—Look at the best practices for developers and publishers seeking to create technological solutions that encourage good Bible-reading practices while minimizing negative technological effects.
  • Pastor Hacks: How Technology Helped Me Survive a Year of Rural Bivocational Ministry—Learn some “pastor hacks” used to prepare sermons faster, keep track of member needs, plan worship services, and stay sane while balancing “part-time” ministry and full-time business.
  • Exploring NoSQL and the Bible—Explore the basics of NoSQL technologies with special focus on the experiences one developer for Bible Gateway has had using them.
  • Disruptive Electronic Books—Consider how the concept of a book will change: it will be smaller, incremental, database-driven and computer-customized to the person reading it. Formatting text on a computer screen will be replaced with dynamic two-way social multimedia.

Get acquainted with the speakers and catch up on their preparations for BibleTech:2013 by checking out their personal links. You can also view the official BibleTech:2013 schedule and plan ahead for your BibleTech experience.

BibleTech will be held at the Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Seattle’s vibrant downtown neighborhood—walking distance from the historic Pike Place Market.

Experience a fresh look into the exciting ways that technology is affecting the way we study, visualize, and communicate the Scriptures. Register for BibleTech today, and save 25% with the coupon code BBLTCH!

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