New seminar (under development)

drawingAs part of my work with Hope For Life/Herald of Truth, I’m developing a new seminar for churches. I’ve been doing the “Christ and Culture” seminar for several years and would like to have something else to offer as well.

I want to do something that will address a need felt by many churches and do it in a practical way. I’ve decided to focus on how to get church members’ focus outside the building in order to get outsiders in. I want to look at analyzing the community in general, the neighborhood around the church, and each member’s immediate neighbors. I plan to talk about how a church can make itself more open and inviting to outsiders. I want to look at the topics of evangelism and discipleship.

What do you think? What topics do you think your congregation would want to see addressed? What items do you yourself see as important?

I’ve got a working title, but would definitely be open to suggestions on that as well.

Image courtesy MorgueFile.com

New book: A History of Churches of Christ in Cuba

Cuba history book coverI’m pleased to announce that A History of Churches of Christ in Cuba is now available. Tony Fernández and I worked on this information over the course of several years, and it’s nice to see it in concrete form.

Any history of the churches in Cuba is going to be incomplete at this point. There are too many stories that can’t be told yet.

I’ll also mention that I made an appeal for information last year at a meeting of people who work in Cuba. Only one person sent me anything. Because of that, I’m sure that some people from here in the States will not have received the mention they would have liked to have. If so, I’ll hope they’ll send me info for the next edition!

Anyway, the book can be purchased from the Herald of Truth website. You can find it on this page: http://www.heraldoftruth.org/resources_books/a-history-of-churches-of-christ-in-cuba

Visiting Yazoo City

hflThis past Sunday, I was privileged to present a Hope For Life/Herald of Truth presentation at the Yazoo City Church of Christ in Mississippi. I had spoken with the preacher at that church, Trey Henry, about the possibility when I saw him at the Harding Lectures. He was gracious enough to speak with the other church leaders and arrange for the visit.

We think it important to let people know what we are doing in our ministry. That’s why we’re willing to visit churches at no cost to the congregation. If people are going to support us, they need to know what we’re doing with the money they give us. That goes for those who are already supporting and those who are merely considering it.

Hope to get to visit your church sometime!

November 2014 Trip to Honduras

Preaching at BaxterThe weekend before Thanksgiving, Steve Ridgell and I traveled to Honduras for a Hope For Life/Herald of Truth campaign. I mentioned a few months ago the passing of Rigoberto Vargas, who was not only our Central American field representative, but was also in charge of our Honduras campaign. We missed Rigo in a lot of ways on this trip.

Leopoldo Villacorta stepped up and tried to handle the things that Rigoberto would have done. Not having worked with us on a campaign before, there were many things that he didn’t know about how we carry out a campaign. Yet God worked in the midst of our miscues; 14 people were baptized into Christ during the time we were there.

IMG_2700The Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa was a great help. Not only did they loan us their amphitheater for a combined service on Sunday, but dozens of their students canvassed the neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa, distributing literature and inviting people to the campaign. Local Christians did the same, inviting friends and neighbors to be a part. And the harvest came as a result of many people working together.

As often is the case during such events, I remembered Jesus’ words to his disciples:

“Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” (John 4:36–38)

That’s how it is for all of us who do campaign work. We get to enjoy seeing a time of harvest, but that harvest comes after much labor by many different workers.

Can I Tell You A Story?

Can I tell you a story?

That line probably got your interest. We like stories. We like to tell stories: stories about our grandkids, stories about our pets, stories about what happened on the way to work. Science has even shown that our brains react differently (more alertly) when listening to a story.

Stories work.

That’s the premise behind Steve Ridgell’s book Can I Tell You A Story? Steve takes the ideas that he has shared for years in his “Sharing Our Story” seminars and puts them down in book form. Not surprisingly, stories make up a significant part of the book.

Besides the book and seminars, Steve has also successfully used stories for years to teach people about Jesus, to counsel hurting Christians, and to encourage and edify the church. In the book, he teaches how to use stories to engage non-believers in discussions about the Bible, how to address the need for change in a non-confrontational way, how to enable new believers to share their faith with others.

Full disclosure: Steve is a colleague of mine at Hope For Life/Herald of Truth. We’ve written 3 books together (I let him go solo this time). In this book, Steve draws on many of the stories told in video on our HopeForLife.org website. 21st Century Christian has taken those videos, along with commentary from Steve, and put them into DVD form: Can I Show You A Story?

I encourage you to get Steve’s book and read it. I’d also encourage you to think about having Steve come to your church for a seminar. His stories can create new stories for the people of your congregation.

Click on the image below to read a sample from Steve’s book:

Sample Pages

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book, but was not asked to write this review nor do I receive financial compensation for any books or DVDs purchased.