Sunday, June 17, 2018

Adventures in Bad Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics in the News...
When Government Officials Quote the Bible (6/21/18)
Hermeneutics is the science and art of correct Bible interpretation. It's a science because it involves guiding principles, rules, and methods. It's an art because the more one uses the guiding principles, the more skilled he/she may become at interpreting the Bible well. Of course the goal of hermeneutics is "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

And make no mistake about it:
The goal of rightly dividing the Word of truth is to know and love God so much that it fills your entire being and overflows into loving people(See 1 Timothy 1:5-6.)

Note: If your approach to interpreting the Scriptures makes you arrogant and less loving of people, you're doing it wrong.

Sometimes a great way to understand what something is, is to understand what it is not. (Note how John does this when trying to explain the nature of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:3-5.) Hence, this post will be an ongoing adventure in bad hermeneutics.

Warning
Many of these examples of less-than-stellar hermeneutics below are simply for fun—illustrating absurdity by being absurd—and, hopefully, make a point in the process. (See picture above.)  If satire and sarcasm are two words you know not of, abandon this post now! You have been warned.

However, if you like to smile, laugh AND think deeply about God, the Bible, culture and life, this post is especially for you. Enjoy.

Adventures in Bad Hermeneutics...
* God wants me to spend winters in Phoenix.
* Road rage in the Bible.
* Tickle me Esau.
* God is love, love, and only love.
* "Christian" pick up lines.
* Knowing the Bible and missing God.
* I feel sorry for this Bible verse.
* God loves everyone I love and hates everyone I hate.
* I love God for the benefits, not for God himself.
* The Old Testament is not germane to us today.
* Woe to you when all people speak well of you.
* Why read the Bible when you can just see the movie?
* The biblical approach to finding a mate.
* A story you wish was from Babylon Bee but sadly it's not.

Now that you know what NOT to do, you might want to explore this FREE video course on hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics in the News...
* When Government Officials Quote the Bible (6/21/18)


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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Albania: What God did in and through us...

(In case you missed it, here's the fun backstory on this post.)
Because of our flights, I am happy to report that I had coffee in three different countries—France, Italy, and Albania—and it was fabulous coffee in each country. Mostly, coffee was just expresso in small cups (see center and right above) or a cappuccino (left). Yes, I purposely avoided Turkish Coffee. Been there. Done that. Got the coffee grounds in my teeth to prove it.

Here's WHO we invested our lives in—and received so much love and encouragement from—while we were in Albania. It's a beautiful mix of Albanians and Americans who aspire to love God, love people, and make disciplemakers.

As soon as we got settled, we started disciplemaking training with Albanian ministry leaders. Thanks to all who $upported this disciplemaking adventureYour support helped to send me, encourage missionaries, AND cover the cost of training materials! We are so thankful for your partnership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Over the first several days, we did two different Cadre disciplemaking training experiences: 1. From Disciples to Disciplemakers and 2. Ministry Is Relationships.

After developing and doing training across the USA for many years, it was a dream come true to do Cadre training in another country and culture. I was told by people who had experienced our training that it would be perfect for this occasion in Albania. I think it was. To God be the glory!

One of my greatest joys on this Albanian adventure was watching my dear disciplemaking friend, Crazy Pastor Steve (CPS), do Cadre's disciplemaking training. Why? Because it's disciplemaking multiplication. What's better than doing disciplemaking training yourself? Helping someone else live it and share with others.

We even baptized one of our team members in the Ionian Sea!

That moment when what you're eating is looking at you. In case you're wondering, our meals were very Mediterranean. And yes, I ate it (except the head). It was delish.

The rest of our time was about living out a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life—with each other as a team—and in the various villages in the mountains of Albania.

For example. these kids live in a village where there is no Gospel witness. Every week the ministry we partnered with travels to these kids up in the mountains of another village. The kids were waiting for us to arrive. The woman center-right in the pic above became a disciple through the ministry we worked with—and now she's leading the ministry in this village. Exactly. That's disciplemaking.

Ministry/missions isn't something we do TO or FOR people. It's loving God and loving people and making disciplemakers. It's not a program

Yes, we worked with orphans. One of the beauties of the Gospel is how God places us in spiritual families. We saw God's people living out God's heart for these kids and it was inspiring.

We invested a lot of our time living and sharing the Gospel and disciplemaking on the soccer field. Our dear disciplemaking friend, Cole Espenschied, of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, led the way for us! 

We've been friends with Cole and his family from the beginning of his time in Peoria. Cole has participated in the Peoria Area Leadership Community (PALC). Another of my greatest joys on this mission trip was seeing Cole take Jesus-like disciplemaking and translate it into a hands-on training experience called Doing Sports God's Way. If you love Jesus and sports and want to see how these two can fly together, contact Cole!

Where you find Jesus-like disciplemaking, you'll find churches being planted—like this one above. I know. It's a crazy idea.

We experienced disciplemaking friendships in homes. We did multiple home visits. Yeah, I know. Not very Western, is it? But that's just one reason I love Eastern culture. Hospitality. How important is hospitality when it comes to the Gospel and disciplemaking? In the Bible, one of the requirements for being a church leader is hospitality.

Not going to lie. We drank a lot of coffee. I'd say 3-5 times a day we engaged coffee. And coffee engaged us. Interesting. I never saw a single "to-go" cup anywhere. In Albania, coffee isn't really about just coffee. It's about slowing down for community and friendship. Living and sharing a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life can happen over coffee if we dare to slow down a little.

This just may be the best mission trip I've been a part of. Why? 
1. We did Cadre training that came out of disciplemaking friendships in the USA.
2. I didn't do all the training. (That's multiplication.) 
3. We aspired to live the training all day long wherever we went. 
4. Consequently, we were a loving community on a disciplemaking mission. This community included wonderful disciplemaking missionaries on the ground in Albania and many nationals.
5. Did I mention the coffee?

Thank you for reading all the way to the end—and praying for us! You are God's wind in our sails and we thank God for you.

"...Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I've commanded you." 
—Jesus, Matthew 28:19

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
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Sunday, June 03, 2018

Breaking Good News...

(Click any image to enlarge for viewing and reading.)
Would you please pray for us? About 1-2 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 be on our email prayer team, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. We'd be glad to pray for you too.
Can you help us? We couldn't take any of part of this disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give $ to Cadre. 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 Missionaries, go here.  Cadre Missionaries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry and donations are tax deductible.
For up-to-date ways you can pray for us, go here.

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Ten Days of Prayer...

Click image to enlarge for viewing (and praying).

As you read this, we are making our way to Albania—or already there.

If you missed it, here's the story of how God made all this happen

We are going to Albania to encourage and equip our disciplemaking friends and to be encouraged and equipped by them as well. Just like the Apostle Paul said to his friends in Rome, "When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours." —Romans 1:12

Would you please pray for us RIGHT NOW?

Here's how you can pray for us EACH DAY while we're in Albania, May 26-June 4, 2018...
(Click image above to print, or go here.)

And just in case you're wondering, your $ partnership in our disciplemaking adventures here and abroad is much needed and deeply appreciated. We couldn't be Cadre Missionaries without friends like you! Through YOU, God makes Cadre Missionaries possible and powerful for HIS glory!

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

We LOVE Small Town Pastors and Churches...

I had so much fun bringing a Word of encouragement to about 500 pastors, wives and ministry leaders from over 30 different states at RHMA's Small Town Pastors' Conference! I contend there is no such thing as "small" church.

Why do we love small town pastors & churches?
Disciplemaking like Jesus requires robust relationships—i.e., disciplemaking friendships—and the small town church is poised to lead the way in this movement.

Instead of only counting attendance this week at church, try counting disciplemakers.

Related Post...
* How YOU Can Encourage ALL Pastors
* True Stories of Encouraging Pastors
* Small Church, World-Wide Impact

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
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2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Boom! Drop-the-Mic Moments in the Bible...

The Apostle Paul drops the mic.

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
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2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
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Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Peoria Area Leadership Community Ongoing (PALCO)... a Disciplemaking Learning Community

(Click any image below to enlarge for viewing.)
The Peoria Area Leadership Community Ongoing (PALCO) is growing group of disciplemaking friends from a wide variety of Gospel-centered churches and ministries who gather together to study, live, and share the disciplemaking genius of Jesus.

We never lecture when we gather as PALCO. There's a reason we have groups of 3-5 gathered around round tables with out Bibles open. We call it havering


 Some came all the way from Galesburg, IL.

We explored how Jesus, disciplemaking and servanthood are the essence of what it means to be a leader. Then we unpacked this a little more. We came to this conclusion and affirmation: Whoever initiates this IS the real leader. Such a great time of havering and disciplemaking friendship!



PALCO: Where disciplemaking friends gather to live out Romans 1:12.

Our disciplemaking friend, Derrick Smothers of E3 Connection in Nevada shared his story of ministry burnout and how God has restored him. If you missed this and you need encouragement, go here.

Thank you God for disciplemaking friends and the encouragement and equipping that comes from the Holy Spirit via those friends.

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

On leading movements...

On March 22, 2018, The World and Everything In It had a fascinating report on how Christianity is thriving in Viet Nam. At the end of the war in 1975, the estimated number of Evangelicals was about 160,000. Since then it has multiplied nearly ten-fold (1.6 million).

Why? How? Who?

When asked to describe the remarkable growth of Christianity in Viet Nam, the reporter, June Chang, explained that after the war when the Communists took over, churches were closed and a lot of the pastors were put into prison. Some pastors who had connections to the U.S. left on U.S. military planes.

This created a crisis as the remaining Christians in Viet Nam were without leaders. However, Chang says, despite the onslaught of persecution and the lack of leaders, Christianity began to grow in Viet Nam—especially the first ten years when there was no communication with the outside world.

Stop.

Think about this for a moment.

How can a Gospel/disciplemaking/church-planting movement start, grow, and multiply without identifiable "leaders" and "leadership"?

We are told "Everything rises and falls on leadership"—right? That is conventional wisdom these days.

But what about this example in Viet Nam?

Seriously. What do you really think?

No. Don't keep reading. Answer the question above first. I dare you.

Here's a question that came to my mind as I pondered what God is doing in Viet Nam: What if we've missed who the real "leader" is in a Gospel/disciplemaking/church-planting movement?

To chew on this some more, go here and here.

If you really want to get your leadership head messed with, go here.
(I dare you.)

And if you're still puzzling over who is the real leader in any true movement of God, take a moment to ponder the depth of Larry Norman's understanding during the early Jesus Movement of the 60s and 70s...

"A reporter came up to me and asked me if I was the leader of the Jesus Movement, and I said, 'No. Jesus is.' Then they said, 'Well, someone said that the Jesus Movement started in your living room.' To which I responded, 'Well, if it did, I wasn't home at the time.'"
Larry Norman, circa the early 1970s

Hope you're smiling.

For The World and Everything In It report on the growth of the Church in Viet Nam, go here. (It starts at about 20:28).

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
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2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Can we really trust the Bible?

This is such a good and important question.

Whichever way you answer, this question has incredible—some might say eternal—ramifications.

So let's get the discussion started!

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 7 PM, the movie, Fragments of Truth, is showing for one night only in a theater near you.

Whatever you do, don't just watch the movie!

How cool would it be if you invited (and maybe even paid for) your family and friends (of all sorts of spiritual persuasions) to join you for the movie—and then went out for ice cream (or whatever) to discuss the question: Can we really trust the Bible?

That's what we're going to do.

What are the ramifications if the Bible is NOT trustworthy?

What are the ramifications if the Bible IS trustworthy?

What are you waiting for? Contact your family and friends and invite them. (Share this post with them.)

To find the nearest movie theater near you (type in your zip code) and to purchase tickets online, go here

Sunday, April 08, 2018

You can't make disciples from a stage...

(Ironic, ain't it? I'm preaching from a stage. Keep reading.)

Making disciplemakers is a strategic way to invest one's life. Making disciplemakers with the next generations and those who love the next generations is even more so. Think about it.

Disciplemaking is the only thing worth my short life because it's the way to bring God maximum glory. It's why I've hovered around the next generations and ministries like Timber-lee for years. 

"Bill, I was just at Timber-lee and God really spoke to me. I am a believer and I LOVE GOD. I have been following him and sharing my faith, but I never really had my parents help me. So when I got back I went up to my dad and told him that I love him. And what I had learned. Then I asked him to do the 21 Day Challenge through the Gospel of John with me. He was so happy!! I also am I a group chat with one of my friends. We are going to video chat every day after we read to talk about what we are learning together. I thank you so much for teaching us!! P.S. some of our friends do not believe that we added into the chat. We are going to help each other minster to then. And be disciples for Christ!" —a student

"You have simply no idea how much of a blessing you were to our youth this weekend. They can't stop talking about how they heard God speak so clearly through you. You have an incredible gift and I am extremely challenged by your knowledge of the Word and how God is using you. Such good stuff! Thank you for the resources and will definitely look into seeing about the training you do. Always love learning and growing! Thanks again Bill."
Laura Burke
Director of Junior High, Calvary United Methodist Church, Normal IL

It's so much fun to encourage and equip youth leaders because they are disciplemakers.

And because of friends like you who pray for us and $ partner with Cadre Missionaries, we get to do this ministry as a family! We thank God for you!

You can't make disciples from a stage. That's why we spend time WITH students and youth leaders in between sessions. I contend that this time off the stage is just as important—and many times more important—as anything that happens on a stage. Here's why this is true.

Yeah, but does anything that happens at a camp really last more than a couple of days? Here's a fun and crazy story. This young lady in the blue-ish hair was at Timber-lee with me the year before this year. She told me that last year she took the 21 Day Challenge to read one chapter a day through the book of John for 21 days with her friends. And, after she finished reading the Gospel of John, she never stopped reading until she had read through the entire Bible. God is transforming her life! She wrote me saying that those closest to her "have pointed out daily that I seem to be a new person—stronger and ready to face demons in my path instead of falling prey to them." It turns out, God's Word is enough.

This is from a student. This makes my day.

"Thanks for bringing God’s Word to our students in such a relatable way. I really saw hearts open in powerful ways."
Pastor Greg Lynas
Hope Evangelical Free Church
Associate Pastor of Student Ministries and Young Adults, Roscoe, IL

Here's a picture that screams, "Disciplemaking friendship" over the years!

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness." —Psalms115:1

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.