Chasing After the Heart of God

Jennie Allen is a Bible teacher who is passionate about inspiring a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. Raised in a Christian home, Jennie heard about God her entire life but not until high school did she see her need for Him. Since that time she has been teaching groups of girls and young women about her God.

Jennie’s DVD-based Bible studies are uniquely relational, interactive and dig deep quickly. Her first study, Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free was released at the end of 2011  Her latest Bible study is entitled Chase: Chasing After the Heart of God (Thomas Nelson), and it focuses on the life and psalms of David.

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The Line

One question I often get asked is: where is the line for being a Christian or not? 

You’d be surprised at how often I get asked that question.

Some people focus on a specific point and time for a decision to follow Christ. I certainly think that any decision of that magnitude should be the watershed in your history….and a hard to forget. But for some, they don’t really remember that “point”. For some it’s more gradual.

One seminary professor put it this way: “Everyone has to cross the Mississippi River to be a follower. You’re either on one side or the other. But the Mississippi River is narrower at some points than at other points. Some step over. Others ride a boat.”

I agree.

But the real problem today is that few actually knows what constitutes the “Mississippi River” of faith. Few know where the line lies. So here’s a simple way to remember:

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Who's Waiting for Your Kids?

Who’s waiting for your kids?  In a few short years, they will leave the safety of your home and church and head off to college.  Who will they meet?  What ideas will they encounter?  What moral choices will they face? 

For most adults, it’s been quite a few years since they’ve set foot on a college campus.  Let us bring you up-to-speed on who and what is waiting for your kids: 

  • Oakland University psychology professor Todd Shackelford, offers class PSY-315 entitled, “Evolutionary Psychology,” where he provides an evolutionary explanation for how religious individuals come to “hold and to have beliefs for which there is no evidence.”
  • Yale, Brown, Harvard, and other U.S. universities sponsor an annual on-campus “Sex Week,” where porn stars and sex workers lead various activities and workshops.
  • Zeta Psi frat boys at Yale University hold up signs reading, “We Love Yale Sluts,” while surrounding the Yale Women’s Center on campus.
  • In February 2011, Northwestern University professor J. Michael Bailey brings two sex workers onto campus for a “live demonstration” after class.
  • According to a 2006 study by sociologists Neil Gross of Harvard University and Solon Simmons of George Mason University, there is a much higher percentage of professing atheists and agnostics (26%) among the ranks of college professors than the general U.S. population.  In addition, 51% of professors described the Bible as “an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts,” while only 6% of college professors said the Bible is “the actual word of God.”
  • According to the Institute for Jewish and Community research, a survey of 1,200 college faculty, more than half have “unfavorable” feelings toward Evangelical Christians.
  • Almost half of full-time college students in the U.S. binge drink or abuse drugs at least once-a-month.
  • In 2006, the Secular Student Alliance, had 50 student-led atheist clubs on U.S. college campuses, but by 2012, there were more than 300 clubs nationwide.
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Blacks & Atheism

Within African American culture, it is widely know that Christianity is the main religion, culturally speaking, for African Americans. Yet, how do other religious practices such as atheism, Gnosticism, and even unbelievers get dealt with? How does a Black atheist navigate a culture with such strong religious mores? Check this video clip out below—from the National Black Programming Consortium and internet series on Black people Don’t:…-- as the conversation continues on issues such as these. Fascinating stuff!

 


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Why the Dead Sea Scrolls Matter

The Dead Sea Scrolls are among the most significant artifacts of the Ancient Near East. In this special article that first appeared online at the Baptist Press, Benjamin Hawkins shows how the Dead Sea Scrolls speak to the reliability of the Bible. The Dead Sea Scrolls are currently being exhibited at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Hawkins is a PhD. student. The Scrolls are also on display in New York City in a magnificent display presented by The Franklin Institute.

When a Bedouin shepherd discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel in the 1940s, few people immediately understood their importance. After taking the scrolls back to his camp, this shepherd left one of them on the ground to be torn apart by children, while one person reportedly used another scroll fragment to wipe a baby's bottom.

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I Dreamed a Dream: What Book Can Explain Jesus?

I dreamed last night that a friend I have been praying for finally became interested in Christianity. He asked me, “What’s the best book I can read to understand Christianity?” I was puzzled. At first, I thought, Mere Christianity, only to realize that Mere Christianity is better suited for a new Christian or someone who needs to become more serious about their faith. Then I was troubled. I didn’t have an answer.

My friend had asked me the question because he had recently heard me pray. While I was praying, he realized how much Jesus means to me and desired to believe—but wasn’t convinced yet—that there could be more to life. I assumed, in my dream, that the prayer made him realize that I actually believed that I was having a conversation with God: not just that I was petitioning, but that someone on the other side heard me, listened, and spoke back.

The Spiritualist

 

Groups of People: followers of Jesus

·         A follower is by definition someone who has given hist/her life to follow Jesus and has put Him first. This assumes a measure of passion for Christ.

Group 1: The Experientialist: Lives looking for goose-bumps in every moment – in song, in prayer, in camps, and in relationships.

Group 2: The Spiritualist: Lives trying to conjure up a supernatural experience in the name of a supernatural God on terms that make them feel special.

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Are Bible Chapters and Verses Inspired?

David Capes, one of the scholars and writers for The Voice, a new Bible translation that reads like a story with all of the truth and wisdom of God's Word, answered a question about Bible verses and chapters. Are they inspired?

We recently had a fan of The Voice Bible email us to say that we had left out a verse.  He told us to look at Acts 19 and see that there was no verse 7.  My first thought was, “that’s impossible.” You see we had about a dozen people checking and rechecking those kinds of things.  At one point I counted 14 levels of review from start to finish.  My second thought was, “I better check this out!”

Well, I have slept several times since we finished Acts and couldn’t remember exactly what we had done.  Frank Couch and I looked at the text—we were together at the Justice Conference in Portland at the time.  As I turned to Acts 19, it became clear to me what we had done.  We combined Acts 19:1 and 19:7 because there is a single detail in what is traditionally known as verse 7 which makes better narrative sense early in the story. Note too that we put a footnote at the bottom of the page to indicate why we made that editorial decision.

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Why God...He in Scripture?

David Capes is the Thomas Nelson Research Professor at Houston Baptist University. He is the author of numerous publications and is one of the top scholars and writers for The Voice, a new Bible translation that reads like a story with all of the truth and wisdom of God's Word. Recently Dr. Capes was asked why the translators of The Voice used masculine pronouns to refer to God?

When it comes to pronouns, English provides three options: masculine, feminine, and neuter.  Think of it this way.  It is either God…He or God…She or God…It.

Well, you can rule out the 3rd option because “it” is used with impersonal antecedents. We don’t use “it” to refer to persons; we use “it” to refer to things. Remember too our theme is built around the idea of “the voice” that has been and continues to speak. Things might make a sound but they don’t have a voice. Only a person has a voice and the Christian Scriptures are clear that God is not an impersonal force or thing; God is a person.

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Halfway Isn't Half

We have now completed our first grouping of five:

Groups of People: non-followers of Jesus

·         A non-follower is by definition someone who has not given his/her life to follow Jesus.

Group 1: The Antagonist: will negate any kind of possibility of God to fit his/her own framework of possibilities.

Group 2: The Spiritualist: believes in every kind of supernatural possibility – ghosts, energy, reincarnation, etc.

Group 3: The Disinterested: never really thought about God and spends a lot of time trying not to think about mortality, God, or the meaning of life.

Group 4: The Moralist: believes that as long as they are good and people don’t actively hurt one another then God is irrelevant (if He/She exists then they will be good enough, and if not, then the world is a good place).

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