What to Do When an Apostle Won’t Return Your Calls

steveRungeThe use of language, whether it’s Greek or English, spoken or written, is a true art form—perhaps the only one we practice every day. Instead of choosing colors from a palette or notes from a scale, we choose from a list of vocabulary, grammar, and linguistic devices in order to create meaning. The possibilities are endless.

This variety gives our speech and our writing vibrancy, but it can also cause confusion. How often do we stop and ask, “What did you mean by that?” Even though we practice the art of language every day, our messages are not always received as they’re intended.

When reading the New Testament we need this clarity more than ever. When we come across a confusing passage, we can’t exactly pick up the phone and ask an apostle, “What did you mean by that?” However, we can analyze the linguistic devices they used, and this can help us understand the New Testament authors’ true intentions.
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Get the Most out of Logos with Logos Academic Training

49558With a research tool as powerful as Logos, having a guide show you how to use it to its fullest potential is a must. More valuable still is having this guide available down the road—when you really need it.

In LT161 Logos Academic Training, certified trainer Morris Proctor teams up with Mobile Ed to show you how to use Logos 6’s new tools and essential features to do the research you need, whenever you need. In addition to the training videos, you receive word-for-word transcripts that integrate into your Logos library. So when it’s late at night, your deadline is tomorrow, and you can’t remember how to find all of the places King David is quoted in the New Testament, just search your library and you’ll find a video like this waiting to help you.

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Learn Greek and Hebrew without Going (Back) to Seminary

Many pastors who attend seminary find that the traditional approach to learning Greek and Hebrew does not work for them. First-year courses usually focus on memorizing charts, paradigms, vocabulary, and more. The overwhelming amount of memorization causes many to quit before reaching their end goal: learning how to use Greek and Hebrew to interpret Scripture.

Even after making it all the way through their original-language coursework, many pastors find that years of ministry slowly chip away at the paradigms and rules they worked so hard to master—leaving only a vague recollection of declensions, tenses, and grammatical constructs they spent years (and thousands of dollars) struggling to retain.

This is a frustrating situation—why memorize something you’re not going to use? In this video you’ll hear the story of a student who experienced these frustrations and how that inspired the creation of the Mobile Ed courses Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew with Logos 6.

The New Approach to Learning Greek and Hebrew

LA_151-161_310x335These Mobile Ed courses eliminate the need for memorization. You’ll learn the same grammatical concepts you’d study in your first year of seminary, but you’ll jump right in to how to use those concepts to interpret Scripture.

Because the courses are a part of your Logos library, you’ll learn how Logos’ language tools and resources can do the heavy lifting for you so you can focus on your exegesis. Instead of memorizing complicated paradigms, you’ll focus on understanding Greek and Hebrew in a practical way that helps you interpret the Bible.

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Save $400 when you get these courses on Pre-Pub. Pre-order now!

How to Become a Sermon Architect

mobile-ed-cm103-invitation-to-biblical-preaching-ii-preaching-biblical-sermons“Building a sermon is kind of like being an architect,” says Dr. Kent Edwards. “[If] you travel around the world, you’re going to see that there are many different styles of buildings. . . . Architecture is remarkably different, but there [are] certain basic rules that every architect has to follow. If they ignore those rules, the buildings will collapse.” Preachers are like architects in this way, says Edwards. “There’s no universal way to organize a sermon, but there are principles that have to be followed.”

In this clip from CM103 Invitation to Biblical Preaching II: Preaching Biblical Sermons, Dr. Kent Edwards describes one of these essential principles that every sermon must follow:

To get more training from Dr. Edwards on how to preach effectively, order his courses Invitation to Biblical Preaching I & II, or get them at a discount as part of the Preaching and Discipling Foundations Bundle.

Is God the Origin of Evil?

mobile-ed-david-w-baker-old-testament-bundleLast week we had the privilege of working with Dr. David Baker in the Mobile Ed studio, filming a few of his upcoming courses on the Old Testament.

Dr. Baker is a highly respected Old Testament scholar and prolific author. Some of his works include The NIV Application Commentary: Joel, Obadiah, Malachi and the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch.

Dr. Baker answers the question “Is God the origin of evil?” by explaining the context of Amos 3:3–8 in this video from OT232 A Survey of Amos, Joel, Obadiah, and Malachi:

Watch more video clips from Dr. Baker’s two-course Mobile Ed: David W. Baker Old Testament Bundle, and add these courses to your library today!

Jeff Struecker: From Black Hawk Down to Army Chaplain and Author

In a recent episode of the Mobile Ed Conversations podcast, former US Army chaplain Jeff Struecker discussed his journey in the Army Rangers and the call to ministry he received the day after he was involved in the battle that the film Black Hawk Down is based on. His two-course Chaplaincy Bundle is now available on Pre-Pub.

Get training on the chaplaincy

jeff-strueckerIf you’re thinking about becoming a chaplain or want to gain new skills and theological training from an on-the-ground perspective, consider Struecker’s two-course Chaplaincy Bundle from Logos Mobile Ed.

In these courses, you’ll learn about the unique role of a chaplain and how to minister to those around you most effectively. Struecker draws from both the truth of Scripture and the reality of his experiences on the battlefield. He also shows you how an incarnational ministry can start—even if you’re the only Christian around—and how it can be sustained.

Pre-order the Mobile Ed Chaplaincy Bundle today and get over 40% off!

Engaging Our Culture with Exodus: Gods and Kings

There has been a recent influx of successful Hollywood films based on biblical stories. Last year’s Noah and the more recent Exodus: Gods and Kings have been popular at the box office, but controversial among Christians for their departures from the biblical stories they are based on.

Dr. Tremper Longman explains more:

Realize the opportunity

While these films may not accurately reflect the Bible, they do provide unique opportunities to engage our culture. Asking “What did you think of the movie?” is almost always a good bet for starting a conversation. In the case of the Exodus film, the question provides a great opportunity for talking about the biblical story with non-Christians, and yet how many of us take advantage of it?

One problem may be that we ourselves don’t understand the stories of the Bible as well as we’d like. We may wonder, “What if they ask me a question I don’t know how to answer?” or “What if they know more than I do?” or “What if I say something stupid and look like an idiot?” The release of Exodus: Gods and Kings should inspire us to dig deeper into the biblical story in order to understand the Bible’s context and message more fully so we can communicate that to our friends and neighbors who have seen the movie.

Get prepared

mobile-ed-ot306-book-study-exodusOne resource that will help you better understand the message of the book of Exodus is Dr. Tremper Longman’s Mobile Ed course OT306 Book Study: Exodus. Dr. Longman is professor of biblical studies at Westmont College, author of over 25 books, and an excellent biblical guide. He takes you step by step through the events of Exodus, then explains how these events connect to Jesus’ life and ministry in the New Testament. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the real story of Exodus—and how it points to Jesus.

While Exodus: Gods and Kings overlooks and misrepresents key aspects of the biblical story, it also presents opportunities for us to share with others who God is and what his plan is for his people. After all, we are part of the same story.

Save $150.00 when you pre-order Tremper Longman’s Mobile Ed course on Exodus!

Get 50% Off Bristol Classics!

BristolClassicsCultureandHistoryBundle(179-vols.)Since spring, you may have noticed volumes from Bristol Classical Press showing up on Pre-Pub every week or so. We planned to release these works of classical literature, philosophy, archaeology, and ancient history over a number of months but couldn’t wait any longer—now, all 179 volumes are available on Pre-Pub!

For two weeks only, you can also get an additional discount on top of the normal Pre-Pub pricing on selected products. This type of discount is rare, so don’t miss your chance to take advantage of double savings!

The biggest discount, though, comes with the Bristol Classics Culture and History Bundle. With this collection, you can get all 179 volumes and take 50% off the regular price. Collections like these are the fastest and most affordable way to build your Logos library.

What you’ll get

The Bristol Classics Culture and History Bundle includes some of the latest and greatest editions of the classical works that formed the intellectual context for early Christianity, as well as interpretation and analysis from today’s top scholars.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s included:

  • Philosophy: Get firsthand exposure to the foundational philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, and others as you explore their dialogues and treatises in the original Greek and Latin, survey how they’ve been interpreted historically, and learn about their indelible impact on every person thereafter who asked “why?”
  • Poetry and drama: Experience the glittering Greek and Latin poetry of the ancient masters of verse—including the epics of Homer and Virgil, the tragedy of Sophocles and Aristophanes, and the lyrics and laments of Horace and Ovid.
  • History: Read the earliest Western historiography with the artful prose of Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, and others as they tell the tales of how Greek and Roman borders were drawn and redrawn through the centuries.
  • Archaeology and sociological studies: Access the latest contextual insights into these texts, and see how these profoundly influential works fit into the ancient societies of Athens, Rome, and Constantinople—setting the course of all subsequent Western art, philosophy, and historiography.

Why Logos editions are better

In addition to the extra space on your bookshelf and cash in your wallet, these Logos editions provide additional layers to your study and research. Dive into the Greek of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War using Logos’ language tools or read it side by side with the both the English and line-by-line commentary. Get cultural context using the Timeline to see what other events in history were happening at that time. Does the commentator’s reference to Herodotus pique your interest? Click the reference to jump to that exact section of Herodotus’ work—no page flipping required.

Remember, the two-week discount ends August 28. After that, prices will return to the normal Pre-Pub prices. To get the biggest discount, place your pre-order for the Bristol Classics Culture and History Bundle today!

Tips for Choosing a Church Curriculum

david-c-cook-bible-lesson-commentary-2014-2015With fall right around the corner, many pastors and church administrators are finalizing their plans for which curriculum to use for their adult Sunday schools, small groups, and even Sunday-morning preaching. For those that are still weighing the options, we’ve outlined some guiding questions and practical tips to save you time.

Suit your beliefs and needs

First and foremost, does the curriculum you’re considering line up with your church’s mission, vision, doctrinal beliefs, and culture? Will it provide growth where you need it most?

Be aware of your buying tendencies. Just because something is the least expensive—or the most impressive—doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your church. Before you buy, set aside time to pray and to seek wisdom from other leaders in your church.

Should I choose uniform or age specific?

Do you want separate curriculum for the adults, youth, and children? Or do you want everyone studying the same material?

Many publishers and denominations create curriculum that follows the International Sunday School Lessons (ISSL) / Uniform Series, a six-year study plan covering all major Bible themes. A few of the most popular include the Standard Lesson Commentary (15% off on Pre-Pub) and the David C. Cook Bible Lesson Commentary (21% off on Pre-Pub).

Uniform curricula make it easier for parents to take what they learn at church and discuss it with their kids, since everyone studies the same material. On the other hand, curricula that are age specific can help pastors focus on what their groups need most at their stage in life.

Still can’t decide? Use both: follow a uniform curriculum and let your youth and children’s pastors customize it as needed.

What about media?

studies-in-faithful-living-patriarchs-collection-complete-church-curriculumWhat types of media would make the teaching more effective and easier to understand? How much does it cost your staff to create this kind of media? Would your church members like the option of learning on their smartphones or tablets?

Premade videos, infographics, and presentation slides can save hours of prep time for pastors, as well as that part-time graphic designer / intern / youth leader who always seems a little stressed. Small group handouts and bulletin inserts also help keep people engaged, especially those with different learning styles or disabilities.

Whole-church curricula like The Studies in Faithful Living series take it a step further, providing pastors with sermon outlines, key points in the text, exegesis, and more, in addition to the media mentioned above.

Whether you choose a uniform or separate curriculum, or something packed with media and pastoral resources, remember the leaders who are teaching it. They can always use your prayers, encouragement, and most likely, a hot cup of coffee!

 

What other tips do you have for selecting a curriculum that fits your needs?

The Ministry of Happiness

The Paradox of HappinessToday’s guest post is by René Breuel, author of  The Paradox of Happiness and founding pastor at Chiesa Evangelica in Rome, Italy.

Happiness is a G-rated theme

People say happiness is for kids. For naïve, simplistic folks who buy into easy steps and who have not yet bumped against the complexities of life.

I disagree. Happiness is a serious, vital theme, especially for pastors and Christian leaders. It’s a theme begging for Christian reflection—the word holds within itself a whole cosmos, because our understanding of happiness is our understanding of life. It is a token of our soul, a window into our worldview, and the surest sign of what we prize and what we live for.

I’ve been rather unhappy about our current understandings of happiness. Not only does someone reflecting on happiness today feel dumbed down—“buy this product,” “get this gorgeous,” “follow the seven magical steps”—but (and here I get really worked up) there seems to be no real Christian alternative. Christians have just bought into our consumer society’s definition of happiness without thinking it through critically, and have substituted the self-help steps to happiness with Christian terminology. Rough edges are smoothed and spiritual language is sprinkled, but the approach is still the same: self-centered, self-serving.

Is there an alternative Christian understanding of happiness?

I went on an experiment. Could a Christian understanding of happiness actually spring out of our core beliefs about reality? And could this alternative be not just well-meaning, but really happy, happier than any other alternative?

It was a fascinating experiment. I went back to Jesus and to what I feel is his key insight into life—that we gain life when we lose life, and that we do so when we deny ourselves and take up our crosses to follow him. The result of that reflection is my book, The Paradox of Happiness. And with the book comes a wish: I hope readers come out of the book less worried about their own happiness and, paradoxically, happier than before. I hope they live serenely and joyously because they are less self-oriented.

We don’t find happiness when we try to fulfill our desires—we find it when we stop looking for it and start focusing on serving others. Happiness according to Jesus is generous and unexpected: by letting go, we find; by giving, we receive. Happy are those who share their happiness.

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Begin your journey to true happiness. Download The Paradox of Happiness today.