Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Don't believe the title page...

"Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." —Luke 24:27 (italics  and bold mine)

Jesus thinks the Old Testament is about Him.

Do you?

"For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding 'Yes!'” —2 Corinthians 1:20

The Apostle Paul thinks all the Old Testament promises are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

Do you?

How might Jesus and Paul (and the other New Testament writers) help you to see the Old Testament in a new, fresh way?

Let's face it: Twenty-first century Western Christians don't seem to naturally gravitate toward the Old Testament.

Yet, the New Testament writers themselves deeply loved and deeply valued the Old Testament.

The Apostle Paul writes, "All Scripture is inspired by God [literally, God-breathed] and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work." —2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Ironically, when Paul talks about "All Scripture" in the above passage, he's talking about what we know as the Old Testament. Don't believe me? Check out 2 Timothy 3:15—the preceding verse to the above quoted passage: "You [Timothy] have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus." Exactly what "Scriptures" existed when Timothy was a child? That would be what we know as the Old Testament.

Where is this kind of passion and appreciation for the Old Testament today?

I dare you to answer that question.

Here's why most people who claim to be Christians will never read the whole Bible...
When one sets out to read the whole Bible, he/she will spend most of the time in the Old Testament. Hence this is often the first big hurdle in reading the whole Holy Bible.

But we unnecessarily run into a mental road block before we even start to read.

It's that word "Old" in front of the the word "Testament" on the title page (see picture above). Too often the connotations of the word "old" are things like "passé" and "not relevant" and "boring." Even before we begin reading the Bible, the word "old" puts a very unhelpful lens on the way we read and interact with the God of the Old Testament (who, by the way, is also the exact same God of the New Testament).

(FYI: The Bible is the God-breathed Word of God. The title page is an invention of man—like chapter and verse numbers and the various paragraph headings throughout the Bible. I'm not necessarily saying any of these are wrong. I am saying that they are often not very helpful. And this brings us back to the title page with the words, "Old Testament.")

So what? Why is all of this important?

I contend that you will never fully understand the New Testament without a working knowledge of the Old Testament.

In other words, the greatest commentary on the Bible IS the Bible.

As followers of Jesus, the Old Testament must inform our understanding of the New Testament and the New Testament must inform our understanding of the Old Testament. This is sound hermeneutics.

So here's a crazy idea...

Instead of calling it the "Old Testament," what if we called it the "First Testament"? (Can you come up with a better idea? Please share it!)

At least this would be one less mental road block to engaging God via ALL of the Bible.

No matter how hard we try to ignore it, the First Testament is critically important to understanding Jesus and the rest of the New Testament. Need more proof? The resurrected Jesus Christ said this to his disciples: "Then he said, 'When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures." —Luke 24:44-45 (italics mine)

Wait for it.
Yep. You guessed it. When Luke speaks of Jesus opening their eyes to the "Scriptures," he talking about the whole Old Testament.

May Jesus open our minds to understand both the First Testament and New Testament Scriptures—so that we might know and love God more.

Related Posts...
The Next Time Your Read Leviticus
* 23 minutes from my soul to yours
* 15 minutes a day that will change your life forever


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Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Bible verse no one ever celebrates

I feel sorry for this verse.

No one memorizes it.

No one puts it into a book of precious Bible promises.

No one paints a mural of this verse for the youth room at church.

No one takes a verse like this and puts it on one of those fancy sunset backgrounds for all to see.

Until now.

And as for the truth of this verse, consider how Jesus has the crazy habit of taking someone who is just drifting along in the flow and pattern of this world—then transforms him/her through His Gospel—and then sends him/her back into the world to live in an exact opposite way they used to live.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." —Romans 12:1-12

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Falling Plates: Your Story and God's Story


(If video doesn't appear above, go here.)

The story of humanity is brokenness.

The story of God is restoration.

For more about how God's true story intersects with YOU and your life, go here.


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Sunday, January 10, 2016

God is love AND more...

If we only emphasize the attributes of God that we understand and enjoy—like His love, ironically, we end up creating a god the Bible doesn't substantiate.

According to the Bible, God is love, but He's also disturbingly holy. He's both (and way more).

As much as that truth is NOT cool, trendy, or politically correct, it's consistently how God portrays Himself throughout the entire Bible.

Unsettling... ain't it?

But this is precisely my point. He's God. We're not. Therefore, we'd better learn to live in the tension of who He says He is... or end up in serious theological error... with eternal ramifications.

Virtually every heresy begins with a misconception of the nature of God.

"Watch your life and doctrine closely."
—Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16


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Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Purest Form of Worship...

Our understanding of "worship" should never be limited to 30 minutes of singing before a sermon.

Yes, sing your heart out to the Lord at church.

But there is more to worship. Way more.

When it comes to worshipping Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, you don't merely sing with your lips.

You sing God's truest song with your life—all of your life.

The purest form of worship is obedience.

Psalm 101

A psalm of David.

I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.
    I will praise you with songs.
I will be careful to live a blameless life
    when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
    in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
    anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
    I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
    and stay away from every evil.
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
    I will not endure conceit and pride.
I will search for faithful people
    to be my companions.
Only those who are above reproach
    will be allowed to serve me.
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,
    and liars will not stay in my presence.
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked
    and free the city of the Lord from their grip.

More about how ALL of life is an act of worship:
* Everyday Mission Field
* Why every Christian is in full-time ministry
* Volunteers are never just volunteers
* Training for volunteers to live all of life as worship
* Our best resource for volunteers
* Our best resource for pastors


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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Starting 2016 Right: Your invitation to the life God has always wanted you to have...

Would you like a better, stronger relationship with God in 2016?

By far the single most important thing I did in 2015 that helped my relationship with God was reading through the Bible—with some friends.

News Flash: A better, stronger relationship with God will not happen accidentally.

This is YOUR invitation to invite your friends to take a life-changing AND guilt-free Bible reading adventure together in 2016.

1. Here’s WHY you probably won't do this. (Just keeping it real.)
5. Here's a story about what God can do if you dare to try in 2016.

So, WHO needs to do this with you this year?

Share this post with them right now.


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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thanking God for 2015, Pumped about 2016!

(Picture above)Thank YOU for praying for us last week as we got two days with those who are leading disciplemaking movements around the country. We had a very productive time together. Stay tuned for the results!

Here's how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries as 2015 comes to a close and 2016 begins...

1. Year-end Missionary $ Support
Please pray for a strong year-end of $ support for Cadre Ministries and its missionaries.


2. Celebrate what God did in 2015!

3. Laugh at us or with us. Your choice.

From our hearts to yours, THANK YOU for stopping by and reading this post! We thank God for friends like YOU.

We are YOUR disciplemaking missionaries.

Bill, Stacy, Emily, Billy, Aubrey, Josey, Libby, Sadey, and Ivy

How God Answers Your Prayers for Us!
What God did in Illinois because of your prayers! THANK YOU!
What God did in Missouri because of your prayers! THANK YOU!
What God did in Wisconsin because of your prayers! THANK YOU!
What God did in Colorado because of your prayers! THANK YOU!

We need YOU to join our prayer team!
We are missionaries with Cadre Ministries. About 2-3 times a month, I'd like to send you a short email with details about how you can say a quick prayer for us. If you are willing to say a quick prayer for us 2-3 times a month, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. THANKS!


Because of God AND the prayer and financial partnership with God’s people like YOU, we are able to take Jesus-like disciplemaking, equipping, and encouragement to thousands of people in hundreds of churches and ministries each year! That's what Cadre Ministries has been about for over 12 years now. God is at work and we love being along for this, crazy, fun, and fruitful ride.

But make no mistake about it: We couldn't do Cadre without friends like YOU.

Would you prayerfully consider joining our financial partnership team on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis starting now?


From our hearts to yours, thank you for prayerfully considering our request.

Bill, Stacy, Emily, Bill, Aubrey, Josey, Libby, Sadey, and Ivy

FYI:
* Send a check to Cadre Ministries, PO Box 278, Sycamore, IL 60178 and attach a note for "Allisons." Cadre Ministries is a recognized 501(c)3 not-for-profit ministry and all donations are tax deductible.


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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Monday Funday: Star Wars, Jesus and Christmas

For some, Christmas comes this Friday. For others, it came last Thursday.

On a more serious note...
would you please pray for us?


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Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Merry Cadre Christmas

Thank YOU so much for tracking with Cup O' Joe with Bill. I thank God for you. I really do!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving AND Christmas, here are eight links that range from the seriousness of the Christmas story to just plain fun and silly. I take Jesus seriously. Myself? Not so much. 

Enjoy and feel free to share this post with others.

1. Christmas and the BIG Story of God (video)


A Merry Cadre Christmas to you and yours from the Allisons, your disciplemaking missionaries serving Jesus with Cadre Ministries.


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Sunday, December 06, 2015

Keeping-It-Real Allison Christmas Letter 2015

Laugh with us... or at us. We don't mind. Unlike other Christmas letters, we think you'll be very encouraged when you read how crazy and ridiculous our family really is. And that is our goal in writing the annual Keeping-It-Real Allison Family Christmas Letter. We hope to make your heart smile and that you feel better about yourself and your family when you're done reading. Honest. The best way to read this letter is to go here. Or you can click on any image to enlarge for reading. Thank you for reading Cup O' Joe with Bill and giving us the opportunity to encourage you. Feel free to share this with others.
We serve as disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre Ministries. If you're willing to pray our family and ministry, please email me your complete mailing address and I'll send you our family's missionary prayer card to place on your refrigerator! For more info about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries, go here.
There. Now go enjoy the holidays with your relatively functional and normal family.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Yeah Baby! God, YOU, and Cadre!

We thank God and you for being the wind in our sails. After all, we are your disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre Ministries. As you read our update below, please take a moment to thank God with us. The best way to view this is to go here(Or you can click on any image below to enlarge for reading.) Thank YOU for stopping by Cup O' Joe with Bill. You make my day.
Would you please pray for us? We are disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre MinistriesWe need you. About 2-3 times a month, I'd like to send you a short email with details about how you can say a quick prayer for us. If you are willing to say a quick prayer for us 2-3 times a month, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. I'd be glad to pray for you too.
We need you. We couldn't take any of part of this Jesus-like disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give $ to Cadre. We need you. You make our ministry powerful and possible. Every expression of partnership breathes life into our souls… and enables us to do the same for many others! For more information about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries, go here. To make a secure online tax-deductible donation, go here.  Cadre Ministries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry.

For up-to-date ways you can pray for us, go here.