Lessons from the Apostles:

How God Uses All Types of People to

Change the World

 

Excerpt from the Introduction

    

Jesus selected twelve ordinary men that He used to change the world. They were not exceptionally talented, highly respected, or powerful men. None of them were educated religious scholars. Other than Judas Iscariot, they were mere Galileans who did not impress anyone.

In fact, they were not necessarily even men of great faith when Jesus called them and set them aside as apostles. He frequently chided them for their lack of faith, and He often seemed frustrated at their behavior. They tended to argue among themselves, vie for special recognition, make bad decisions, and falter in their faith in Christ. They ran away when Jesus was at His neediest; they slept when He asked them to pray; they denied even knowing Him when things got tough.

           

But Jesus turned each of them into an unstoppable force for truth (that is, all but one). The story of the apostles is a story of transformation—the transformation by Jesus of a rag-tag group of unqualified men into faithful servants who risked and gave their lives to impact the entire world for Jesus Christ. And it is this story that has meaning for us today because, while we may view the apostles as spiritual giants, they were in reality very similar to us. They did not become world-changers because they were special or had unique spiritual and mental abilities. Their effectiveness resulted from the transformation Jesus accomplished in their lives (except for Judas Iscariot, who refused to let Jesus transform him).

 

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Lessons from Solomon:

Finding True Success in Life

 

Excerpt from the Introduction

    

While everyone desires success, each person’s definition of what it looks like is often distinctly different. A quick search on Amazon.com for books on “success” reveals hundreds of thousands of titles, each of which describes success in various ways. Some help their readers to achieve financial and monetary success by sharing investment secrets “guaranteeing” them to become millionaires in only a short period of time. Others point out the steps necessary to succeed in one’s business goals, weight goals, athletic goals, friendship and relationship goals, and all sorts of other goals—all attainable if we simply put into practice the advice offered by these success gurus (which, of course, requires us to purchase whatever program they are offering).

But true success in life goes beyond the realization of a transitory and short-lived goal. Career goals, financial goals, physical goals—all these types of goals are good and important, but they do not provide a result that guarantees a lasting and eternal joy, peace, and contentment in life that so many people lack. Solomon achieved those things, but he lost them. True success is having an abiding joy, peace, and contentment in life and not losing them before we get to the end. How can we achieve that kind of success, and how can we hang on to it? That is what we will learn from Solomon’s life.

Throughout this book, I have identified the lessons we can learn from Solomon’s good and bad examples in succinct statements called “success lessons.” These will be useful instructions we can apply in our own quests for true success.

 

The Bible Study Notes Series -

First Two Volumes Available!

The Bible Study Notes series provides a verse-by-verse look at the books of the Bible using an outline format that gives readers a succinct and easy-to-read explanation of Scripture for use in their personal Bible studies and devotionals or in preparation for teaching or leading a class or discussion group. The Notes series includes insights into the meaning of Scripture as well as practical application for daily life, along with discussion questions that can be used for class discussion or personal study. 

The first two books of the Bible Study Notes Series cover the New Testament books of Ephesians and Jude - available in paperback and eBook formats. 

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Everything We Need:

Bible Study Notes on the Epistle to the Ephesians

 

Excerpt from the Introduction

Christians have unlimited spiritual wealth at their disposal. Paul told the Ephesians we have "every spiritual blessing in Christ." In other words, when we receive Jesus Christ as Lord, we also receive all of the spiritual blessings God offers and everything we need in order to live life as God intended. Yet many Christians still choose to live defeated, empty lives as though they were spiritual paupers. The letter to the Ephesians is a clarion call to all believers to live their lives in a manner that is consistent with who we are and what we possess in Christ.

Part of the Bible Study Notes Series

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Contending for the Faith:

Bible Study Notes on the Epistle of Jude

Excerpt from the Introduction

Today's headlines reflect a world in moral chaos and disarray, not only in secular society but also in the Christian church. Christians are bombarded daily with challenges to their faith, some of which come directly from those who oppose Christianity and some indirectly from the cultural influences and viewpoints that are inconsistent with and hostile to the teachings of Christian scripture.

 

From a believer’s perspective, it may seem the world has never been further from God. But almost two thousand years ago, early Christian believers faced similar threats to their faith, grappling with contradictory teachings over Christian doctrine and struggling to live out their faith in a manner consistent with that doctrine.

 

Enter Jude. As an itinerant preacher and pastor, Jude travelled among several of the churches of the first century. He was startled by news that those churches were besieged by false teachers who were leading them away from the truth of God’s grace and enticing them to live in a manner inconsistent with God’s commands. In his letter, he urged believers to fight against these false teachings, to oppose those who were trying to deceive them, and to contend for their faith.

In our time, there is no more relevant message for Christians than the message of Jude. As believers, it is essential we understand what we are fighting against and how to respond to those who attack the basic doctrines and teachings of the Christian faith.

Part of the Bible Study Notes Series