To be a Christian in the first century was to be a person awaiting Jesus’ return (1 Thess 1:9-10). How sad, therefore, that throughout church history this defining value of apostolic Christianity has so often gone missing. Which gives special reason to rejoice that Intersections of Faith and Culture, a twice-yearly magazine published by Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, devotes its current issue to the theme “Prepared for Christ’s Return.”
A dozen articles (including a very informative interview with yours truly) prompted me to ask Director Scott Sager and Co-director Jenna Schrader of Lipscomb’s Department of Church Services if they would send a complimentary copy of the current Intersections to any gracEmail subscriber who requested it — AND THEY AGREED TO DO IT. To get your copy, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the current issue (Summer 2015) of Intersections as mentioned in gracEmail.
(SHORTCUT: copy the sentence immediately before this one and paste it into the email as your message.)
COFFEE WITH PAUL
Twelve days ago, very early in the morning, I received an email with a single sentence so full of excitement it almost ran right off the page. The email came from Dr. Gary Collier, and this is what he wrote: “One project that I have been working on for years finally got finished this morning at 3:55 AM Eastern time.”
Gary’s project is a unique Bible study series that he calls “Coffee With Paul” (CWP). This material is both imaginative and responsible, thought provoking and also practical. Gary describes CWP as “an exercise in the art of biblical conversation.”
I first saw this CWP material in 2009 when still in an early stage of development, and I was blown away by what I saw. I immediately wrote Gary a note of commendation in which I said: “Gary, this CWP is the most amazing thing I have ever seen! If it turns out to be even fractionally as good as it sounds and looks, it has the potential of revolutionizing Bible study, bringing unbelievers to Christ and waking up a sleeping church.” Today, six years later, my initial opinions remain unchanged.
If the concept of “coffee with Paul” strikes a positive chord somewhere within you — or, if these brief remarks simply leave you scratching your head — I strongly encourage you to go to: biblestudytips.com and enjoy a seven-minute video, allowing you to see Gary face-to-face as he makes it all crystal clear.
If you have not seen it already, pay a visit sometime to the website: www.Biblical-Literacy.org (you will want to click on LESSONS heading at top of page) and prepare to be overwhelmed. This is the treasure house of the Sunday morning class taught by Mark Lanier at Houstons Champion Forest Baptist Church. Were not talking light and fluffy here, folks. This is serious study — prepared, packaged, and presented by Mark Lanier, a God-gifted man who sees himself as a steward who is required to faithfully manage what really belongs to God.
Lanier wears many hats, and he accepts responsibility for them all. He is the author of InterVarsity Press bestseller Christianity on Trial; a lay scholar with a degree in biblical anguages; and builder/patron/and likely chief user of the world-class Lanier Theological Library, Lanier is also regularly ranked among the top few trial lawyers in the USA, yet those who know him find him personable, humble, and self-effacing. It is obvious that he takes all his work seriously, though not himself.
The class website includes a variety of materials on numerous topics — through the Bible, church history, life and teaching of Paul, and more. You can see, use, and often download lesson outlines, videos, full lesson texts, Power Point presentations, among other helps. And it awaits your visit at: www.Biblical-Literacy.org .