Boot Camp for New Believers

I have been involved in a Bible study with my small group, which unfortunately is disbanding because only four of us came on a regular basis and that includes the couple in whose home we were meeting. The whole church has been going through the Positive Action book Milk. We got into a discussion about what tools we would choose to further disciple a new believer. I put forth the suggestions of a good Bible concordance and a Bible dictionary as references, and to start a study working through John, Acts, and Romans, to cover the gospel, early church history, and a good foundation in doctrine. I was immediately shot down about the length of John and how it would be too intimidating for a new believer and we should start them out with a much shorter book, even if it is not as easy to understand so they would have a sense of accomplishment when they were done so soon.

That has frankly been sticking in my craw. That is not how we teach. Starting with something short but confusing so the student can feel good about finishing it rather than beginning with the basics and building a firm foundation? Is this how we welcome any newborn? Welcome to the world, have a steak? Is that how we train for any other endeavor? Is that how we start soldiers in any other conflict?

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12

The answer is a resounding, “No!” We start recruits out in boot camp, training them rigorously over and over again in the basics of what they will need to know and how to face the enemy. Ask any sports coach the same thing. Because Satan will look at the new believer and see nothing but fresh meat. We cannot, must not allow them to be turned into cannon fodder. Once we have led someone to the Lord, we become their spiritual parent. We can no more abandon them after that event than a natural parent can abandon his or her child. The relationship is an eternal one, bound by the Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ. We have become so egocentric that we forget inherent in every relationship is a reciprocity of responsibility. Ephesians 5:21 – 6:9 and Colossians 3:18 – 4:1 both emphasize this in showing the dual responsibilities of mutual submission as unto the Lord. We need to guide the newborn along into the corpus of the Truth with patience and long-suffering, letting him or her know that we are in this together for the long haul. Training together, fighting together, working together, serving together; serving each other and the Lord.

 

Positive Action also has Meat, Bread, and Fish study booklets available on their site. I remember Milk, Meat, and Bread from my teens, but I don’t remember Fish. I will have to check into them as I can in the future for personal study.

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Book Review: Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews (Innkeeper #2)

Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles #2)Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, Andrews spins a web of many threads into a complex tapestry that dazzles the reader and draws her in.
In this second installment of the series, Dina is playing host to a Peace Conference that no other Innkeeper would touch. Betrayals, manipulation on a Machiavellian scale, assassinations, and a culprit that had me slapping my forehead thinking that I should have seen it coming because all the clues were there.
The world building is meticulous and intricate. Cultures are diverse and well-developed with their own histories and consistent internal logic. I’m addicted.

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Thanksgiving 2015

Of all the things I am thankful for, my salvation must take the top spot, but where things fall from there is a turkey shoot. My cats, my relative health, my living conditions, my relative mental status, my comfort, my stability, my family, my friends, my rediscovered joy in cooking, my writing, my freedoms as an American. All these gifts from God that surround me and that I know could be taken at the blink of an eye, I am so thankful for.


William Bradford giving thanks at the first thanksgiving by Jennie Brownscombe.

There are some nice people bring me a Thanksgiving meal today since I don’t really have family to celebrate with. Brother #1 is probably working at the car dealership and Sister-in-law #1 wouldn’t go out if her way to come get me. Everyone else is out of state. I’ll probably do some phone calling later.

 


Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way?

I have seen this phrase many times in my life, as the title of Bible Studies, messages, and devotional speeches. There was also a book by this title that I saw as a young woman directed at male Christian leadership. Shoot, I’ve even passed it on as a meme myself. I was awakened this morning with a conviction by the Spirit of this attitude. In my essay on the Bible not being misogynistic, I made the comparison of the man being the captain of the team. This is not a team-building attitude, especially on a Christ-centered team. As believers and followers of Christ, we are admonished to:

  1. Build one another up –

     

    Romans 14:19 – “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

     

    Hebrews 10:24-25 – “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

     

  2. Bear one another’s burdens –

     

    Galatians 6:2 – “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

     

  3. Submit ourselves to one another –

     

    Ephesians 5:21 – Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

     

  4. Serve one another –

     

    Galatians 5: 13 – “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

     

  5. Admonish one another –

     

    Romans 15:14 – “And I myself am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”

     

  6. Love one another – so many, but this one sums up the motivation and the example the best –

     

    Ephesians 5:2 – “And walk in love, as Christ hath also loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

     

  7. Grieve not the Holy Spirit –

     

    Ephesians 4:30 – “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

     

  8. Have the mind of Christ –

     

    Philippians 2:5-8 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The last is the most important. Christ was not a dominating leader. He had the mind and attitude of a Servant. He was the King of Heaven and came to earth to die for our sins. He was “made lower than the angels“. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane, yet said, “Not My will.”

 

So let us say instead, “Father, lead us. We will follow Christ and we will get out of the way of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us.”

Book Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1)Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Introducing the concept of Inns, semi-sentient, symbiotic waystations that absorb energy from the presence of guests to provide a magical safe haven for them; this book is a wonderful start to a new series by one of my favorite ‘authors’, a husband-and-wife tandem team writing under the name of Ilona Andrews. (If you haven’t already, check out the Kate Daniels series.)

Dina DeMille is an Innkeeper, as were her parents. After a fruitless search across the Great Beyond to find them and their missing five-star (on a one-to-four scale) inn, Dina is asked to take on the dormant Gertrude Hunt. Struggling to awaken the potential of the Inn, Dina, her magical ‘Broom’, her dog, Beast (a Shih Tzu Chi), and their single permanent guest (a bloodthirsty, genocidal, interplanetary tyrant in asylum) run into werewolves, vampires, intergalactic assassins, and a too-inquisitive local cop. Some light romance that is part of the story but doesn’t overwhelm the integrity of the whole.

I immediately bought the second eBook, Sweep in Peace, upon finishing the first.

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Chicken Salad

My friend (Facebook counts, right?), Cedar Sanderson, will post on her blog a feature she likes to call “Eat This While You Read That”. Cedar will get recipes from other authors that they like and/or feel will pair well with one of their books. She prepares the recipe, with instructions, commentary, and pictures, and tells a little bit about the author’s work, especially the book that goes with this recipe. Need I mention that Cedar is intimidating as all get out? Newly remarried, mother of two, digital photographer, full-time graduate student taking a double major, *and* a professional author. I even reviewed one of her books here.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a recipe of my own that may go well with reading my blog. It’s my own spin on the old classic, chicken salad.

Ingredients:

    2 6 oz. pkg. of chicken breast strips (I get the southwest seasoned for more flavor)

    ½ diced jumbo red onion

    1 diced bell pepper (Pick a color, any color! I most recently used orange, but I’ve used red, green, orange, and purple.)

    4-5 stalks celery, also diced

    1 3.5 oz. pkg. bacon bits

    ½ 16 oz. bottle Peppercorn Ranch dressing

 

Directions:

Chop chicken, but not too finely. I like to know I’m chewing on something, not a sandwich made with baby food.

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl.

Refrigerate in an air-tight container.

Serve wrapped in small flour tortillas.

 

There you go. CJ’s colorful, flavorful chicken salad.