• You don’t have to travel very far from home to discover someone with a different “worldview” than yours. While traveling in Asia, I learned quickly that we all “see” life differently. As cities in the United States become increasingly global, your chances of being surrounded by those who share your worldview becomes increasingly slim. And… [Continue Reading]

    How the story of the Scriptures keeps our spiritual eyesight in check
  • Some years ago, my husband and I spent time traveling across Southeast Asia. And while we were there, God gave us some thrilling opportunities to share Him with some local friends. But the more these opportunities arose, the more I realized I needed a comprehensive tool to help me communicate the gospel. I needed something… [Continue Reading]

    3 ways viewing Scripture as a story overcomes worldviews
  • Story is sort of a buzz word these days. Everyone from mega churches to Christian conferences to non-profit do-gooders are hopping on the “story” bandwagon as a way to describe reality – and beckoning for you to join them. Discover YOUR story. Share YOUR story. We need your story, too! But what does that mean,… [Continue Reading]

    The Story of Scriptures – dismantling a buzz word
  • Hannah Anderson’s new book, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image, is an exercise in theological application. However, I wouldn’t give this book to a new believer. Instead, I would give it to them and then invite them to read each chapter with me. Here’s why. In our churches, we are often… [Continue Reading]

    You are Made for More

How the story of the Scriptures keeps our spiritual eyesight in check

How the story of the Scriptures keeps our spiritual eyesight in check

You don’t have to travel very far from home to discover someone with a different “worldview” than yours. While traveling in Asia, I learned quickly that we all “see” life differently.

As cities in the United States become increasingly global, your chances of being surrounded by those who share your worldview becomes increasingly slim. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

So, what is a worldview? Apologist Norman Geisler says you can think of your worldview like a pair of lenses through which you view and interpret life.* Your past experiences, cultural values, and personal beliefs all form your worldview.

Just like a regular pair of glasses, our cultural lenses impact what we “see” and how we see it.

That means when we open the Scriptures, we read it with a certain perspective – a pair of lenses – based on our worldview. Our worldview impacts the way we “see” Scripture – the way we read, interpret, and apply it to our lives.

And here’s the important part: very often, our lenses don’t line up with reality. If I’m wearing a pair of colored lenses, they will color or tint everything I see, and that may or may not actually represent the truth.

Have you ever been driving down the road and had your breath taken away by the colors of a sunset, only to realize that you had polarizing lenses on? The tint of your lenses colored what you saw.

Spiritually speaking, we need to check our eyesight to ensure the way we’re viewing Scripture aligns with what’s really there.

Because in our culture today, there are some common lenses we wear to read God’s Word. And increasingly, our worldviews – right here in America – are becoming devoid of God.

Here are three common perspectives used to view the Scriptures in our culture today:

WORLDVIEW #1: I WANT TO BE BLESSED

If I believe that money and material gain are the ultimate forms of success, then I will only view the Bible as helpful or relevant unless it gives me what I want. Those parts of Scripture that ask me to be selfless or sacrificial will not apply to my life.

Worldview 1 - I want to be blessed {Hive Resources}

With the “I-want-to-blessed” lenses, the God of the Bible becomes my concierge, and his job is to bless me. And when things don’t go my way and my future seems uncertain, my faith is rocked to the core. I believe God to be untrustworthy or unloving.

WORLDVIEW #2: I WANT TO BE HAPPY

If I believe that it’s my inalienable right to be happy, then I’m going to view everything in the Bible according to that filter.

Worldview 2 - I want to be happy {Hive Resources}

I won’t be concerned with being holy, as much as I will be focused on getting my way. I will pick through the Scriptures for passages that affirm my lifestyle and choices, and I’ll throw out the parts that make me squeamish like suffering, or worse, God’s Wrath!

With the “I-want-to-be-happy” lenses, the God of the Bible becomes my cheerleader, and his job is to make me feel better about myself, to inspire me, to lift me up when I’m down. When I’m faced with struggles, I move onto a religious system that assuages my conscience.

WORLDVIEW #3: I WANT RELIEF

If I believe that my internal hurts and pains are the most important thing in my life, then I’ll view the Bible as a way to get relief.

Worldview 3 - I want relief {Hive Resources}

With these lenses on, I am not sinner in need of redemption, I am a broken individual in need therapy. So, I will gravitate to those parts of Scripture that center on love and exclude those parts that speak of sin.

With the “I-want-relief” lenses, God becomes my therapist, and his job is to heal my internal pains and conflict.

According to author and scholar David Wells, this is the most prevalent cultural context with which we approach Scripture today. In his book, God in the Whirlwind, Wells refers to this lens as “Therapeutic Deism” – it’s a filter that focuses on God’s nearness (his immanence) to the exclusion of his otherness or holiness (his transcendence).

But the problem with these “God-is-my-therapist glasses” is not only is it a partial view of God, it’s dangerous! Because when we wear these lenses we become worshipers of our own comfort, our own well-being.

Each of these lenses share two common elements. First, none of them do justice to the purpose and beauty of the Scriptures.

Second, they all share the same problem: the wearer becomes the center of the universe. When we wear these lenses to view life, Scripture, reality, our eyes are pointed in the wrong direction. Our eyes are trained inward instead of upward and outward.

That’s why we must continually check our spiritual eyesight and take off any “lenses” or worldviews we might be wearing that misrepresent that truth.

Unless we get our eyesight checked out and train our eyes to adjust, we will never learn the Word, understand it, apply it, and reap its benefits and blessings from knowing its Author (transformation, peace, love, joy, fulfillment, and more!).

So, we must train our eyes to see the Scriptures clearly, but how do we do that?

We must train our eyes to see the whole story of the Scriptures – not just parts of it. Next week, I’ll tell you just how to do that!

In the meantime, check out the first post in this series: 3 ways viewing the Scriptures as a story overcomes worldviews.

How are you viewing Scripture? In times of trouble, which of these three worldviews is the most tempting to wear?

*For more info about worldviews, see Norman Geisler and Peter Bocchino’s book, Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith.

3 ways viewing Scripture as a story overcomes worldviews

Seeing the Story of the Scriptures {A Hive Resources Series}

Some years ago, my husband and I spent time traveling across Southeast Asia. And while we were there, God gave us some thrilling opportunities to share Him with some local friends.

But the more these opportunities arose, the more I realized I needed a comprehensive tool to help me communicate the gospel. I needed something ‘big picture.’ I needed to share with them the overarching story of the Scriptures.

Why? Because knowing God’s story – the Ultimate Story – the Meta Story – is the only way we can know and understand our own life stories.

But, I had a slight problem.

Knowing God’s story  is the only way we can know and understand our own stories {Hive Resources}With no previous exposure to the gospel or the God of the Bible, I knew my new-found friends would never come to faith if I just jumped into the story of the Bible in the middle – if I started by introducing them to Christ.

That’s like jumping into The Hobbit in the middle of the story – when Dragon Smaug destroys Lake-town. If you began the story in the middle, you’d miss being introduced to the unlikely burglar, Bilbo Baggins.

You’d miss learning how he was drafted into an adventure with 13 dwarves and a quirky wizard. You’d miss Bilbo’s creepy encounter with the wretched Gollum from whom he steals the prize of a mysterious magic ring – a ring that spawns a trilogy of other books.

You’d miss all of that!

Pick whatever story you’d like – Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games - the result is the same. If you jump into an epic tale in the middle, you miss crucial parts of the story.

I knew I couldn’t do that with the Bible – the most important story of the universe.  I knew I needed to lay some groundwork before introducing my friends to Jesus.

I needed to share the whole story of God, because God’s story changes everything. It changed me, and it changed them.

Teaching my friends the story of God changed them in three ways:

God’s story filters our worldview

The story of God better equipped my friends to filter their culture and worldview through the prism of God’s Word. It helps me do the same with my mine.

God’s story helps us filter and evaluate what ideas and beliefs on which we’re basing our lives are man-centered and need to be removed.

That’s how God’s story changes things; it helps us see clearly that we are not the true Hero of our personal stories, but rather, our stories center around the King.

God’s story strengthens us for adversity

The story of God better equipped my friends to stand strong in adversity.

Each of us has past pains in our life – betrayals, abandonment, financial regret, emotional scars and even physical suffering. But God’s story for the world helps us cling to the promise that our present circumstances are not meaningless. What is wrong in our lives isn’t because of bad luck, but because of sin.

Knowing God’s story for the world means we can trust that God had a plan to deal with that sin. God’s story means we can trust that we aren’t stuck in our stories – things won’t always be this way. God’s story means our life stories have a good end; a good King is coming to make everything right.

Part of our story has yet to unfold.

God’s story teaches us to perceive Truth

The story of God better equipped my friends to hear from God rather than relying on their emotions.

Despite enjoying a democracy, many of us are still ruled by a ruthless dictator – our emotions. Our emotions tell us that whatever we feel at the moment represents truth. But our emotions can deceive us because they originate out of deceived hearts.

Knowing God’s story for the world means we can know Truth – with a capital T! – truth based on fact and evidence in God’s Word.  God’s story for the world roots our stories in Truth because it introduces us to Truth in the person of Jesus Christ.

God’s Story changes everything. It changes how we view reality. It helps us cling to hope in the midst of suffering, and it helps us filter out parts of our worldview that don’t align with Truth. I know, because it changed me, and and it changed my friends.

Do you view the Bible as a story? How does that impact your everyday life? Would love to hear from you!

The Story of Scriptures – dismantling a buzz word

Seeing the Story of the Scriptures {a Hive Resources Series}

Story is sort of a buzz word these days.

Everyone from mega churches to Christian conferences to non-profit do-gooders are hopping on the “story” bandwagon as a way to describe reality – and beckoning for you to join them.

Discover YOUR story. Share YOUR story. We need your story, too!

But what does that mean, really? What’s so great about my story, anyway? And why do you need me to share it with you?

If we’re not careful, our overuse of this buzz word will ensure it becomes exactly that – a tall tale with little to do with reality – at least reality as defined by the Scriptures.

This Spring, I spoke at several women’s conferences on understanding the “story” of the Scriptures. After having a few people ask for my notes on this subject, I thought I’d share them here.

Here’s a sneak peak at what this series – Seeing the Story of the Scriptures – will include. We’ll answer the following questions:

  • What makes the Bible a story?
  • What is the story of the Scriptures?
  • What keeps us from seeing the story of the Scriptures?
  • How you can see that story from any passage?
  • Why is this story is so important?
  • How do you teach kids the story of the Scriptures?

This buzz word isn’t all bad, but it only packs a punch if kept in line with biblical principles. So, join in on this series. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, check out some of my other ongoing series: Missional Motherhood and The Stacks (my summer reading list).

Enter to win a copy of the new book Made for More by Hannah Anderson (Hive Resources)Plus, you still have time to enter to win a copy of Hannah Anderson’s new book “Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image.

Enter here before midnight tonight.

 

You are Made for More

The Stacks - Summer Reading List to keep you grounded in God's Word {Hive Resources}

Enter to win a copy of the new book Made for More by Hannah Anderson (Hive Resources)

Hannah Anderson’s new book, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image, is an exercise in theological application.

However, I wouldn’t give this book to a new believer. Instead, I would give it to them and then invite them to read each chapter with me. Here’s why.

In our churches, we are often guilty of leading our women only to the “pink” passages of Scriptures, the author says (think Prov. 31 woman and Titus 2). The result? Christian women lose their footing as they stumble to live up to standards of biblical womanhood. The solution? Help women discover their identity in Christ as his “image bearer.”

The concept of the imago dei (image of God) is basic enough to the biblical storyline, but fleshing it out for a woman’s walk is a monumental task that few theologians have dared to undertake … or undertaken successfully.

Made for More by Hannah Anderson {Hive Resources Review & Giveaway}Primarily because there is no one single passage that clearly outlines what women look like when they image God. Instead of focusing on passages that specifically address biblical womanhood (i.e.:  2 Tim. 2, 1 Cor 14, 1 Pet. 3 ), the author turns to the comprehensive testimony of Scripture and what God’s image means for all humanity.

Anderson centers her book on God’s character and activity as:

Love

Grace

Wisdom

A Servant

One

Sovereign

When we live as the humans God intended us to be – called “imago dei living” – we are never more like him. We become, in the author’s words, “fully human” reflecting his character and activity to a watching world for his glory.

What I liked about this book

The author frames the question of the application of the imago dei outside of the context of gender, yet still arrives at many of the same conclusions to which complementarians would agree.

And while some complementarians might quibble with Anderson’s simplistic historical descriptions of first and second-wave feminism, I believe they would affirm the central thesis of her book: biblical womanhood, above all, should start with the Savior. 

The author’s clear warning of the imminent danger in choosing alternate identities. Alternate identities promise freedom and happiness, but they always end in captivity. Anderson shows how this historic myth of “superficial authenticity” – perpetuated since Eve picked up that forbidden fruit in the garden – has robbed women throughout time of the blessings of living out their true identity as an image bearer of God.

The author’s gentle nudging for women to be life-long learners. Anderson exposes the false dichotomy our culture places on equating education with a career. Whether you work inside or outside the home, God intended you to be a student. This is a welcome challenge for Western women to set aside intellectual laziness and chase knowledge, for when we do, we image God who is Wisdom personified.

The author’s correct understanding of true humanity. Humanity is not simply being born human, but rather walking in “imago dei” living. When sin corrupted the image dei within us, we became less than human. Jesus, as the human par excellence, shows us what God intended for us in creating us as human beings, and when we bear his image, we begin to become fully human once again.

The author’s ability to boil down theological truth into application - particularly as it’s fleshed out in unequally yoked marriages, sinful life patterns, and the everyday monotony of diaper changing and laundry duty. The real work of Anderson’s book, however, can be glimpsed in her rich footnotes.

Dear Mrs. Anderson, please continue to write for women who desire to know Christ first and foremost in our lives. And while you’re at it, we’d like some more of that rich footnote action in the form of some companion articles!

I’d also like to express my gratitude to Moody Publishers for being one of perhaps two Christian publishers to give voice to new evangelical female writers. In a world of theology whose voice is decidedly male, we need strong female voices who are successfully modeling how to combine critical thinking with a commitment to the authority and relevancy of the Scriptures.

Want to win a copy of this book? Moody is giving away one copy to a lucky Hive Resources reader! US Residents only. CONTEST CLOSED. Winner announced below.

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Missional Motherhood: How to connect the gospel with justice ministries

Ministry Monday MISSIONAL MOTHERHOOD {Hive Resources} #missionalmotherhood

I cut my journalistic teeth on writers like Mark Kelly, who brought to light stories of God’s work in dark and dangerous places on the global mission field.

I’d been reading Mark’s pieces for years when I finally met him in a convention press room. Surrounded by veteran reporters, it took me a full day and a half to muster the courage to speak directly to him. And when I finally addressed him, I tried to play it cool. “Hey, do you know if there is a Starbucks around here?”

Yes. Out of all the things I could have asked this career global journalist, I asked the man for directions. DirectionsFacepalm!

Journey into Justice

Journey into Justice - Required Reading for #MissionalMotherhood {Hive Resources}Since my lame moment in time, however, I’ve discovered one thing about Mark. While I was busy glorifying his day job, he was even busier glorifying Someone else.

Since his press days, Mark has gone on to create a “kingdom justice” org (Multiply Justice) that fights to bring the gospel to bear on the whole person – a ministry forged from the stories of broken people and broken places he encountered on the mission field.

This summer, Mark released the eBook Journey into Justice: Redemption, Salvation, and God’s Mission to Restore Justice – a  culmination of his journalistic experience and missionary heart.

This book isn’t just for people interested in justice ministries, nor is it solely for those who love missions. Journey into Justice is for all believers who desire to see God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Every missional mother needs to read this book, here’s why.

A book for every missional mother

The book connects the dots between the gospel and true biblical justice. So, if you’ve ever wondered what social ministries have to do with spiritual realities, you need this book!

Justice is God's creation experience shalom {Hive Resources} #missionalmotherhood

The book explains what biblical justice is. In fact, the book is truly a biblical theology of justice, tracing the larger theme of justice throughout the Scriptures beginning with God’s first kingdom in Genesis and culminating in his new kingdom in Revelation. Above all, social justice is about God’s kingdom and his original intent for the people living in it.

The book offers full and accessible definitions of popular terms – mercy, justice, repentance, transformation, faith, etc.  He carefully roots these concepts in the full context of the biblical story.

How justice and the gospel connect {Hive Resources} #missionalmotherhood

This book is about redemptive relationships – with God and with others – as Jesus’ disciples walk in his ways and multiply themselves. Each chapter offers real-life stories of the transformation that comes from God’s justice and the people who pursue it. So, Journey into Justice isn’t a book to brow-beat you into adding another item to your “spiritual check-list.” It’s a book to challenge you to return to the King.

So, Mom. Before you’re tempted to jump onto another bandwagon or buy that bracelet to fund another justice ministry, be sure your heart is aligned to the One who brings peace first.

Missional motherhood is about more than a different way of shopping; it’s about a different way of living.

Jesus IS justice - Journey into Justice {Hive Resources}

If you’re wondering how to walk with integrity and pursue God’s “kingdom justice,” this book will get you started.

Right now, you can read Journey into Justice for free. Or, make a donation to the humanitarian aid group Baptist Global Response, and Mark will email you a copy of the e-book. 

The Stacks: Summer Reading for Women of the Word

The Stacks - Summer Reading List to keep you grounded in God's Word {Hive Resources}

With homeschooling behind us for a while, I’ve started compiling my own Summer Reading List. And while the twins will be most dismayed to discover Mom wants to read books without marauding pirates and magic tree houses, I think you might be interested in some good books that have come across my desk in the past few weeks.

Here’s a preview of what’s on my Summer 2014 Reading List:

The Word of the Lord {Summer Reading List at Hive Resources}The Word of the Lord: Seeing Jesus in the Prophets (Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament) by Nancy Guthrie

I am excited to begin this study after I close out my personal studies on the Psalms. It’s written by a solid teacher of the Word who sings at making difficult truths plain.

This study is really geared toward a group dynamic, but I think it will read well for individual women who long to see how prophets like Hosea, Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel prepare us for the Messiah.

 

Give Them Grace {Summer Reading List at Hive Resources}Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson

A few years ago, a mentor and friend recommended this book so much she handed me her copy. And while I perused it, I haven’t finished it from cover to cover.

With the twins entering into a new dynamic (school years), I suspect I need the truths of this book more than ever.

Co-written by one of my favorite biblical teachers (Elyse Fitzpatrick) and her daughter, I look forward to learning lessons on how to apply the gospel from women of the Word who are also mothers.

Commentary on the Psalms by Allen Ross {Summer Reading List at Hive Resources}A Commentary on the Psalms Vol. 2 by Allen Ross

The past year and a half, I’ve journeyed through the Psalms in my personal study using various devotionals and commentaries. This last week, Kregel sent me a note that this treasure was on its way to my house, and I can’t wait to receive it.

And since I don’t own the author’s first volume to this study, I just added it to my Amazon wish list. (Hint hint, husband, if you’re reading this!)

 

Exploring Grace Together {Summer Reading List at Hive Resources}Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family by Jessica Thompson

When I got this little gem in the afternoon post, my heart did a somersault.

Short and sweet, this devotional includes 40 stories about boys and girls who struggle with everyday sorrows and sins germane to life. Most importantly it shows how the gospel intersects with those troubles and bringing victory and joy.

While some it may be over my 5-five-year-olds’ heads, it is my goal to read these devotionals before bedtime with the twins so that we can all grow in the grace of the cross.

The King in His Beauty {Summer Reading List at Hive Resources}The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments by Thomas Schreiner

This year, one of my favorite biblical theologians released this title, and I was lucky enough to grab it up when my sister-in-law sent me an Amazon gift card for my birthday.

The first chapter alone has proven the book is well worth its hefty cover price, so I can’t wait to continue reading and discover how the author traces the story of the King throughout the rest of the Scriptures.

 

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin {Summer Reading List at Hive Resources}Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin

I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the gallery copy of this book by TGC contributing writer Jen Wilkin. I am excited to share it with you in a few weeks.

In this book, Jen provides women with a crash course on understanding and applying the Scriptures without the backup of interpretative aids – a skill most women I know wish they possessed with more confidence!

 

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more about these books. Happy Reading!

What’s on your reading list this Summer? I’d love to hear from you!

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