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Can God Be Surprised?

The newest issue of Bible Study Magazine explores four tough questions, including, “Can God be surprised?” Part of the theme section “Your Temple Won’t Save You,” this article and others dig deep into the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations.

It’s the type of nuanced biblical scholarship that Bible Study Magazine has been producing for more than four years. Each issue features in-depth articles and an 8-week Bible study, as well as insights from Christian leaders.

What’s new in the Mar–Apr ’13 issue:

  • “Church in the City,” featuring Tim Keller. Find out how this pastor leads his congregation to deeper Bible study and spreads the gospel in an urban context.
  • Insights from Sally Lloyd-Jones. The author of the Jesus Storybook Bible discusses how to share the Bible with small children.
  • Off-the-beaten-track feature. A story about the Bible in China.
  • In-depth, ongoing Bible studies: This issue features “8 Ways to Pray,” a new study on the book of Psalms. Wisdom literature expert Miles Custis explores how expressions of grief, frustration, and fear fit the mold of worship.
  • Special section: Is the Ark of the Covenant lost forever? Find out if Indiana Jones ever had a chance. Also, are there two versions of Jeremiah? Michael S. Heiser reveals the history behind this biblical book in “Double Vision.”
  • Devotionals: What do you do when everything crumbles? What does it means to abandon super-human strength? See what Jeremiah and Lamentations have to say about grief.

In addition to this, each issue of Bible Study Magazine features stunning infographics and reviews of the latest Bible study materials. Bible Study Magazine will help you go deep into the Word and apply it to your life. What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

You Could Be the Next Winner of the $25,000 Billy Graham Scholarship!

Steve LangellaKnox Theological Seminary’s $25,000 Billy Graham Scholarship is back! Enter to win at SeminaryDegreesOnline.com/Billy-Graham before March 1. If you win, you’ll earn your MA (Biblical & Theological Studies) at no cost.

You’ll get:

  • Logos 5’s vast Portfolio library, an academic advantage that’s yours for life
  • A $1,000 Logos.com credit for additional books
  • Logos’ deep academic discounts, so your $1,000 will go even further

What’s more, if you’re among the first 100 students to enroll this spring, you’re guaranteed at least a $2,520 scholarship.

Last fall’s winner: Steve Langella!

We’re pleased to congratulate Steve Langella, of Brooklyn, NY, on winning the previous Billy Graham Scholarship. Steve was born again in 1987; at the time, he was 24 and a bartender. He “began to feel restless and empty,” and one day he wanted nothing more than to go to church. He prayed, “Lord, I know that I am a sinner and that I have disobeyed you my whole life. Please save me and change my life.” God did, and Steve joined a church in Brooklyn, where came to realize that preaching and teaching were his spiritual gifts. In 2006, at 43, he decided to earn his BA in religion. Now he’ll be earning his master’s.

He says, “[this scholarship] will help me become better equipped to fulfill God’s calling in my life. It will . . . [afford] me the opportunity to continue my biblical education and not incur further debt . . . I believe that this scholarship will enable me to do what I could otherwise not to, which is sit at the feet of Gospel-centered men . . . and learn from their experience.”

The chance to become better equipped, to continue your biblical education debt-free, to fulfill your spiritual gifts—you could get all that, too. The Billy Graham Scholarship is back, and you could be the next winner!

Earn your master’s for free

Entry closes March 1. Don’t wait—enter to win at SeminaryDegreesOnline.com/Billy-Graham!

3 More Ways to Change Your Life with Faithlife

The most crucial thing a person can do is increase their faith in Jesus. Our relationship with Christ is eternal, and likewise, what we do for him has eternal significance. In a recent post, I listed two ways God wants to transform your life this year. Here are three more ways to change your life using Faithlife.

1. Discuss God’s work with others.

When we discuss what God has done and is doing with others, we grow. We learn from others and are able to support one another. The journey with God happens together. Paul remarks in his first letter to the Corinthians: “And if one member [of the church] suffers, all the members suffer together; if a member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26 LEB). To help you in the process of journeying in faith with others, Faithlife reading plans are connected to group functionality—so you can easily connect online to discuss God, the Bible, and life with Christ. Faithlife.com provides you with a place to discuss God’s work together. You can do this as publicly or privately as you like; with Faithlife.com, you control who sees what in each group you create. You also know the level of privacy of the group you’re joining and the messages you’re sending.

2. Listen to what others have to say about God.

Surrounding yourself with people who can lead you in the right direction is critical to success. Paul remarks, “Do not be deceived! ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Sober up correctly and stop sinning, for some have no knowledge of God—I say this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34). Listening to the first part of Paul’s message, it’s obvious that as believers we must surround ourselves with people who will help us in the process of learning about God, but the second part of Paul’s words—“I say this to your shame”—means that believers must be those who spread the knowledge of God. Faithlife.com provides a community where you can speak with others about God’s work among us, while providing a platform for you to contemplate and learn about the work you must do for God.

3. Act on God’s desires.

Simply knowing what God says, or talking about it, is useless. God wants for us to act on his Word and on his work among believers. Near the end of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he remarks: “Be on alert, stand firm in the faith, act courageously, be strong. All your actions must be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13–14 LEB). We must do good with our knowledge by loving others and following through on what God requests (compare 1 Corinthians 16:1–4, 15–18). Faithlife is about all aspects of your faith life having a place online and in an app, in a format that works for the online context of faith. But it’s my hope that the interactions you have with others on Faithlife.com, and your use of the Faithlife Study Bible, will result in you doing more for others in all of your life.

Now you may have read these three ways—and perhaps even the other two I listed—and said to yourself, “I know, I know—I will.” I can empathize with that response, but the truth is that we all need to be reminded and we all need accountability. That is one of the many reasons why we created the Faithlife app and Faithlife.com. Create a group to dialogue about the Bible together, and to support one another and suddenly you will be set up for success. If you set a goal to read through the Bible this year but have fallen behind, it’s not too late to begin Read the Bible together today.

The Francis Schaeffer Scholarship Winner Announced!

PameliaWe have a winner: Pamelia Harris!

Pamelia, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is the executive director at Mount Bethel Baptist Church. She’s involved with the New Visions Community Development Corporation, which, using Dave Ramsey’s financial principles, has helped more than 2,500 low- to moderate-income homeowners save money and rebuild credit. She’s active in her church’s food pantry, she’s helped start a women’s ministry, and she’s helped write curricula for women’s Bible studies. Pamelia mentors girls and young women through the Delta Academy. She wants to be used by the Lord to “help single mothers become women of God and raise successful children.”

Pamelia wasn’t sure if she could afford seminary, and now that’s not a problem. She says, “It [her Knox master’s degree] will help me in every area of my life and ministry and give me more confidence in the Word when counseling women.”

In short: “I’m over the top!” Congrats, Pamelia!

$18,000 more—the Francis Schaeffer Scholarship returns

Starting today, the Francis Schaeffer Scholarship is back! Enter to win at SeminaryDegreesOnline.com/Francis-Schaeffer-Scholarshipentry closes March 1.

You’ll get:

  • Ministry training grounded in the West’s literary and cultural traditions
  • Logos 5 Platinum, worth over $28,000 in print
  • A $400 Logos credit for additional books, and Logos’ deep academic discount for the duration of your enrollment

And if you’re among the first 100 students to enroll in the MACCS spring semester, you’re guaranteed a partial scholarship of over $2,000.

Earn your master’s for free—enter to win at SeminaryDegreesOnline.com/Francis-Schaeffer-Scholarship!

3 Ways to Lock In Your Upgrade Price

NOTICE: The launch period for Logos 5 has ended. But don’t worry—we have lots of exciting sales planned this year! Recently upgrade to Logos 5? Join us in the forums, and tell us about your favorite features.

Today has been an amazing and crazy day in the Logos offices. Our phones have been ringing nonstop, and you might be having a hard time getting through.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We’ve extended our hours until midnight to make sure we can take as many calls as possible. But if you still can’t get through to one of our sales reps before midnight and need to talk to someone before placing your order, just send an email to sales@logos.com before midnight PST and we’ll honor your upgrade price as soon as we can get to your email.

Here are the three ways you can get the best upgrade price now:

  1. Call us at 800-875-6467 before midnight PST.
  2. Order online at www.logos.com before midnight PST.
  3. Email us at sales@logos.com before midnight PST.

It’s not too late to save big on a Logos 5 upgrade. You still have 3 hours left to get the best upgrade price.

One Hour Left

NOTICE: The launch period for Logos 5 has ended. But don’t worry—we have lots of exciting sales planned this year! Recently upgrade to Logos 5? Join us in the forums, and tell us about your favorite features.

You have one hour.

After that, Logos 5 introductory discounts end—forever.

If you stay on the fence any longer, you’ll lose your only chance to claim your introductory discount on Logos 5. And really, why would you want to miss out on that?

Logos 5 is awesome, and if you have Logos 4, you’ll probably upgrade eventually. But here’s the problem with waiting: if you put off getting Logos 5 any longer, it’s only going to get more expensive.

Will you miss this deal forever? I hope not.

Call our upgrade hotline at 1-800-875-6467, or email the sales team and talk with someone about your upgrade options.

The Logos team is available until midnight (PST)!

Upgrade now!

P.S. Phone lines busy? Email sales before midnight to lock in your chance to get these savings tomorrow!

Last Day for Introductory Discounts on Logos 5!

Ends todayYou still don’t have Logos 5? You need to upgrade now! Try it risk-free for 30 days, check out your custom discount, use a budget-friendly payment plan—just don’t miss your only chance to get an introductory discount on Logos 5! The deals end tonight at midnight (PST); tomorrow they disappear.

Your discount might be bigger than you think

With our Custom Upgrade Discount Calculator, you won’t pay for books you already own. Your final price includes only the books that are new to you. And the Custom Upgrade Discount Calculator allows you to qualify for special upgrade pricing even if you don’t own a Logos 4 base package. All you need to do is own one or more titles included in the package you want to buy—you’ll get a discount for your books (plus the additional introductory discount!).

Even if you’ve never owned a base package before, but you’ve accumulated a large Logos library, you can get Logos 5 at an upgrade price!

Budget-friendly payment plans

Pick which Logos 5 base package is best for you, and then spread out your payments with a 12-month payment plan. Want to upgrade to Diamond, but can’t afford to pay it all up front? For every purchase over $1,900, we’re offering an extra 6 months to pay! That means you can take up to 18 months to pay for your upgrade. Don’t let your budget stop you from getting the base package you want.

Try Logos 5 risk free

Still undecided on the best package for you? Take a base package for a 30-day test run. Simply pick up the highest base package you can and lock in our special introductory pricing. Even with Portfolio (our most comprehensive base package), our payment plans will help keep your first installment low. After checking out its powerful features, content, and datasets, if you decide that it isn’t for you, we’ll give you a complete refund any time in the next 30 days.

Don’t let this opportunity pass

The best time to upgrade to Logos 5 is right now. You’re not going to get a second chance at introductory pricing. You can save up to 20% on your base package. But don’t wait any longer—this deal ends tonight!
Call our upgrade hotline at 1-888-875-9491, or email the sales team and talk with someone about your upgrade options.

Our team’s available from 6:00 a.m. to midnight (PST)!

Upgrade now!

The Brutal Truth

megaphoneIt’s a challenge to market Bible study tools. Products don’t sell themselves, and we are a business; selling things is how we pay the bills and continue to support ourselves and users. It sounds like we’re always selling, and in a way we are.

Someone could be cynical and say that we’re only encouraging people to study the Bible because we make money when they do. But we are in this business because we love making a product that serves the church while supporting our families. We really do want people to go deeper into the Bible, and we really are offering you an exceptional deal, on a fantastic product, for a limited time. It’s okay that we both win here!

“Limited time” is a tricky thing

When deciding how long to make our Logos 5 upgrade sale, we tried to think of everyone. By offering the introductory specials at the end of the year and extending them into the new year, we tried to help many of our pastors and leaders take full advantage of year-end or new-year’s book budgets. We gave plenty of notice so that those receiving cash for Christmas could plan ahead, those who wanted to put the purchase on their wish-lists could tell their loved ones, and those who needed to tighten their budgets to save up could plan ahead. Three months is actually pretty long for a “limited-time” sale, but don’t let that fool you—the sale really is over after this weekend (Monday night, Feb 4, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. PST, to be exact.)

Here’s where it gets challenging

There’s something special about a deadline’s finality that grabs people’s attention—unfortunately, too often on the wrong side of that deadline. It’s amazing how many people seem to call the week after a three-month sale to say, “Okay, you convinced me, I’ve waited three months, now I’m ready to get the deal,” only to be told they just missed out. Don’t let that be your sad story. Upgrade now before it’s too late.

Bottom line—there is no risk, just reward

If you only learn one thing about us from a customer-service standpoint, I hope it is that we have an amazingly awesome team that will bend over backwards to take care of you. We are here to serve you at every level and in every department, all the way to the top. If you ever have a situation that can’t be handled by our staff, you can go straight to our president.

Our customer service is your 100% iron-clad purchase-protection policy. Perhaps you haven’t read all the copy, watched all the videos, or learned everything there is to know about all your upgrade options—I get it, it can be overwhelming. My encouragement to you is to learn what you can, verify that the incredible deals we’re claiming to give you are true, and—if you don’t have the time or patience to do all your research right now—just jump in at the highest level you can to lock in your special discounted sale price (and the extended payment plans). Then, take your time to get familiar with the new product, texts, tools, datasets . . . at your leisure. If you decide it wasn’t the right move for you, we’ll be glad to return that upgrade and serve you with a full refund any time in the next 30 days.

We really want to serve you, even if you just want to give it a “test run” for 30 days. Remember: you can go for the biggest collection upgrade possible and still have a relatively small first-month charge on your credit card, thanks to our extended payment-plan options. Even if you decide you just want to take 30 days to see what it’s like to have the biggest and best, there’s no risk to you, and you’ll only be charged the first month’s payment. If you decide not to keep it, even that will be refunded—there is simply no risk.

Call our upgrade hotline at 1-888-875-9491 or send us an email and talk to someone about your upgrade options.

Our team is available:

  • 6:00 a.m–9:00 p.m. (PST) February 1
  • 6:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (PST) February 2
  • 6:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. (PST) February 4

Or simply head to Logos.com and upgrade now!

6 Reasons Logos 5 Is Awesome for Small Group Leaders

Small group“How am I going to handle this one?”

If you lead any sort of church small group or Bible study, you ask yourself this question all the time:

  • My pastor preached on gender roles—how am I going to handle this in group discussion?
  • We’re supposed to discuss some tough passages Thursday—how am I going to handle them?
  • A visitor just asked a really tough question—how am I going to handle this?

I often wonder how I’m going to handle a passage or question in my small group, but I don’t have to wonder for very long. I use Logos 5, and it really comes in handy for both preparation and small-group discussion.

Here’s 6 Things Small-Group Leaders Love about Logos 5

1. The Topic Guide is awesome.

When my pastor talks about the relationship between the Jews, the Gentiles, and salvation, I can easily look these topics up to get a more rounded understanding. I just type in “Gentiles,” and get a list of pertinent passages, topics, and more.

2. It’s easy to plan and save discussion material right from the Bible.

I can create a note in Logos 5 called “Jesus and the Gentiles,” and then save relevant passages to it, along with any notes I choose to make:small group 1
I can access this note in the Logos mobile app, too, so that I have all my prep notes ready by the time discussion starts. I can even share notes with my group on Faithlife.

3. Bible Facts gives plenty of background information.

If my group is discussing the dynamic between Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7, there’s a good chance we’ll want to look up what it means to be a Syrophoenician. With Logos 5, I can right-click that word and look it up in Bible Facts:small group 2Mystery solved.

4. Referent data clarify things quickly.

Ever read a passage and ask, “Wait—to whom does ‘he’ refer this time?” With Logos, just right-click any pronoun and see the person to whom it refers.

5. RI senses shed more light on the given passage.

In Mark 7:27–28, Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman have a short exchange:

And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”

When I turn on the Reverse Interlinear feature, I can see the biblical words’ senses (courtesy of the new Bible Sense Lexicon). Jesus refers to children in the sense of descendants, but the woman refers to them in a more endearing sense.small group 3

6. It’s on sale (but not for long)!

Now through February 4, you get 15% off any Logos 5 base package you upgrade to—and that’s on top of the special discounts you get on books you already own.

So if you haven’t already invested in the world’s leading Bible-study software, now’s the time to get Logos 5.

Learn about our educational resources.

Already have Logos 5? Sign up to learn about educational resources that will help you use Logos for ministry!





30 Awesome Quotes from Charles Spurgeon

SpurgeonIn slightly less than 58 years, Charles Spurgeon, the British Baptist preacher, wrote and preached the hundreds of sermons that made him one of the most influential preachers ever. Mark Driscoll called Spurgeon, one of today’s most quoted preachers, “The greatest Bible preacher outside of Scripture.” The elegance of his arguments makes them memorable.

Whether you’re a casual reader of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening or a scholar using Logos 5 to search the 86-volume Charles Spurgeon Collection, you’ll find wisdom in the following 30 quotes from the Prince of Preachers himself.

Did we miss any important quotes? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Ambition: Our meat and our drink is to do the will of him who sent us.
  2. Atheism: Atheism is a strange thing. Even the devils never fell into that vice, for “the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19).
  3. Authority of the Bible: If there be anything in the church to which you belong which is contrary to the inspired Word, leave that church.
  4. Neglect of the Bible: There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingers.
  5. Teaching of children: Where the plow does not go and the seed is not sown, the weeds are sure to multiply. And if children are left untrained, all sorts of evil will spring up in their hearts and lives.
  6. Purpose of the church: Not for yourself, O church, do you exist, any more than Christ existed for himself.
  7. Compassion: I am certain that to preach the wrath of God with a hard heart, a cold lip, a tearless eye, and an unfeeling spirit is to harden men, not benefit them.
  8. Christ’s death: Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior
  9. Fear of death: Dying is the last, but the least matter that a Christian has to be anxious about.
  10. Discipleship: If persecution should arise, you should be willing to part with all that you possess—with your liberty, with your life itself, for Christ—or you cannot be his disciple.
  11. Faithfulness: I know of nothing which I would choose to have as the subject of my ambition for life than to be kept faithful to my God till death, still to be a soul winner, still to be a true herald of the cross, and testify the name of Jesus to the last hour. It is only such who in the ministry shall be saved.
  12. Holiness: If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you. It is simply painted pageantry to go to hell in.
  13. Holy Spirit: All the hope of our ministry lies in the Spirit of God operating on the spirits of men.
  14. Hope: Christ always preached doctrine that was hopeful. While he denounced self-righteousness, he would turn round and say, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). If he ever had a frown on his brow, it was for the hypocrite and the proud man. But he had tears for sinners and loving invitations for penitent ones.
  15. Jesus’ name: This is the one unbuttressed pillar on which all prayer must lean. Take this away, and it comes down with a crash.
  16. Joy: The greatest joy of a Christian is to give joy to Christ.
  17. Love for Christ: Come, Jesus, come into my heart, and let thy treasures be mine forevermore!
  18. Mercy: God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God.
  19. God’s patience: We have heard in these days a blasphemer stand on a public platform and say, “There is no God, and if there is a God,” taking out his watch, “let him strike me dead in five minutes.” When he still found himself alive, he argued that there was no God. The fact was, God was much too great to be put out of patience by such an insignificant wretch as he.
  20. Perseverance: I protest that if you take final perseverance from me, you have robbed the Bible of one of its crowning attractions.
  21. Neglect of prayer: Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell.
  22. Power of prayer: You can be omnipotent if you know how to pray, omnipotent in all things which glorify God.
  23. Preaching: When I cease to preach salvation by faith in Jesus, put me into a lunatic asylum, for you may be sure that my mind is gone.
  24. Pride: Pride is the devil’s dragnet in which he takes more fish than in any other, except procrastination.
  25. Resurrection: The resurrection is a fact better attested than any event recorded in any history, whether ancient or modern.
  26. Satan: He can make men dance upon the brink of hell as though they were on the verge of heaven.
  27. Slander: The first sin which came into the world hardened man’s heart in a most terrific manner, so that he dared to excuse himself and even to charge God as being indirectly the author of his sin, by giving him the woman (Gen. 3:12).
  28. Suicide: That crime of all crimes most sure of damnation if a man commit it willfully and in his sound mind, I mean the crime of self-murder.
  29. God’s wrath: If there be a man before me who says that the wrath of God is too heavy a punishment for his little sin, I ask him, if the sin be little, why does he not give it up?
  30. Worship: All places are places of worship to a Christian. Wherever he is, he ought to be in a worshiping frame of mind.

 

All quotes from Spurgeon, C. H. 2,200 Quotations: From the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon: Arranged Topically or Textually and Indexed by Subject, Scripture, and People. Ed. Carter, T. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1995.

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Still haven’t upgraded to Logos 5? You can save up to 20% on a base package. But hurry—introductory discounts expire February 4. Upgrade now!