Preparing for Christmas

christmas-wreath-1Within a few short weeks, pine and holly will be adorning front steps, carols will be coming across the radio and plans for yearly family gatherings will be in full swing. Christmas is right around the corner.

Christmas is a great opportunity to share the good news of who Jesus is and what he accomplished on the cross. The story of the baby in the manger can be an open door to share the full story of his actual identity and purpose. Why not prepare yourself to share the gospel this Christmas with your family, friends and neighbours?

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Salvation comes to a woman in China

Another story of a life transformed through the power of the gospel!  

Evelyn*, a missionary in China writes: 

“Would you tell me some Bible stories?” Lin* asked.  

While going to school in the States, she had been exposed to some Christianity, and she was interested in learning more. I suggested that we go through the book, The Lamb, as a way to reach this searching heart. After going through the book together with me in three separate sessions, she received Christ as her personal Savior!  

One question that she asked, when she heard that God promised to someday send a Savior was, “Why doesn’t He do it Himself?”  

It was so exciting to take her through and show her from Scripture that He DID do it Himself!  

We now use this book very effectively to introduce the promised Savior to those who show interest in this very needy country.”

Praise God! When newcomers to the Bible, like Lin*, encounter God by journeying through the storyline of Scripture, the Holy Spirit reveals truths about God’s holiness, our sinfulness, Jesus’ provision, and that there is salvation for everyone who believes.  

Would you be prepared and available to share Christ with someone who asked you to tell them some Bible stories? Be ready! http://www.goodseed.com/beready/ 

 

(*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

Video: Babel and religion

Babel. When we hear the word, most of us think of a tall tower or confusion of languages. But just what was going on at Babel? Was it just a large-scale building project? As this clip from By This Name reveals, it was actually an example of man’s religious efforts to please God.

“The issue at stake wasn’t about following a religion. Rather, it was about trusting a person–the LORD himself. It was not how hard one worked to win God’s favour, but whether someone trusted the LORD as one would trust a friend. It wasn’t about manipulating God to get your way, but having a personal friendship with the Creator of the universe. Trust was the issue.”

By This Name, Page 113

By This Name has a video component consisting of 66 clips in which author John R. Cross teaches key concepts during the chronological journey through the Bible. These short video clips include visual aids (like the Tabernacle, Passover, altar, etc.) to help bring clarity to the story. They also take the viewers to key sites in Israel, Egypt and Jordan to provide historical and geographical context. We present a selection of these video clips. All of them are included with By This Name, either on DVD or accessible online.

Cody’s story: Jesus has changed my life

Cody grew up in a house where God didn’t really exist. He had great parents who taught him things like “don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t steal, show respect to others, respect your elders…” However, the family never went to church. The name of God was never spoken. Though Cody endeavoured to live a respectable life, he was ignorant of the true Source of right and wrong.

Then Cody met Julia. It didn’t take long before the two were married, and shortly after, Julia started a new job. She came home the first day and talked about how great everyone was at her new workplace. One person’s name seemed to stand out in particular. Her name was Liz and, “Wow! She is so nice!” were Julia’s words.

Liz began mentoring Julia at work and, after a while, wanted to get a small group together with Cody, Julia and a few others. The purpose would be to study the Bible. Cody’s instant response was an adamant “No!”

Time went on but whenever Julia talked to her husband about the opportunity, he was still resistant to the idea. When she asked why, Cody told her, “I don’t need to go to a Bible study or growth group or attend a church to have a relationship with God.” Looking back, Cody calls that “the biggest cop-out lie” he’s ever told!

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20th Anniversary of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus

It’s amazing the sort of impact one book can have. 20 years ago, in 1997, the book The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was published. At the time, author John R. Cross and the men working with him had no idea that it would be the catalyst for a global ministry and how many people would come to faith in Christ through it. It was just one book with a simple message: a straightforward, systematic presentation of the gospel from creation to the cross.

The writing of The Stranger was drawn from decades of missionary experience of those working among tribal people in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. These tribes, previously unevangelised and ignorant of the Bible’s message, responded well to a chronological presentation of the gospel. So well, in fact, that whole villages were putting their faith in Christ, without the age-old problems of syncretism and “rice Christians.” When the Bible was presented from creation to Christ, it made profound sense. The people would understand and believe. Lives were transformed.

But was it only tribal groups who responded so well to the creation-to-Christ method? What about the Western world? As John and his colleagues interacted with people back home in North America and around the world, they realized that some of these people were just as ignorant of the Bible as the tribal people. They knew nothing about God. They didn’t understand who Jesus was and why he came. We live, for the most part, in a post-Christian culture.

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was, in a sense, an experiment. It was a book that used the same method that had proven so effective with tribal groups—a chronological approach to explaining the gospel—except this time for the Western world. It was designed so that it could be given away or used to guide people to a clear understanding of the Bible. But would it be relevant and effective?

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Video: Built to preserve life

Just how big was Noah’s ark? Was it actually seaworthy and large enough to hold all the animals listed in Genesis? As this clip from By This Name reveals, the ark was extremely sturdy and specially designed to preserve life. God’s means of salvation is always sufficient and perfect.

“God was going to judge sin. But whenever YAHWEH brings judgment, he also provides a way to escape.”

By This Name, Page 103

By This Name has a video component consisting of 66 clips in which author John R. Cross teaches key concepts during the chronological journey through the Bible. These short video clips include visual aids (like the Tabernacle, Passover, altar, etc.) to help bring clarity to the story. They also take the viewers to key sites in Israel, Egypt and Jordan to provide historical and geographical context. We present a selection of these video clips. All of them are included with By This Name, either on DVD or accessible online.

Video: Two offerings

The story of Cain and Abel is a familiar one, but do we realise its significance in the big picture of God’s redemption? Just why was Cain’s offering rejected? What made Abel’s offering so special? In this clip from By This Name, we learn about the significant difference between the brothers’ two offerings.

“God was pleased that Abel had faith in him. Because Abel trusted YAHWEH, the LORD accepted Abel as one would accept a friend.”

By This Name, Page 93

By This Name has a video component consisting of 66 clips in which author John R. Cross teaches key concepts during the chronological journey through the Bible. These short video clips include visual aids (like the Tabernacle, Passover, altar, etc.) to help bring clarity to the story. They also take the viewers to key sites in Israel, Egypt and Jordan to provide historical and geographical context. We present a selection of these video clips. All of them are included with By This Name, either on DVD or accessible online.

Lonely international student finds hope in the gospel

Chunhua’s* knowledge of the Bible was spotty at best. As a little child in China, she remembered her mother talking about Christianity, but she had no grasp of what it meant to have a relationship with God. This all changed when she came to Canada as an international student.

The experience of living in a foreign country was one she had looked forward to for years. But when the excitement and novelty wore off, Chunhua found adjusting to the new culture and language difficult. She was lonely, having never been away from her parents before.

It was at this critical juncture of her life that she met a group of exuberant Christian young people who ran a ministry on campus for people like her. They were about bringing college students together in meaningful and supportive friendships, all the while introducing them to the message of the Bible. As part of their get-togethers, they would show the Videobook of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus and they invited Chunhua to join them.

At first, Chunhua hestitated to commit, but the friendliness and sincerity of her new friends finally won her over. She started watching the DVD series together with other international students. She loved what she learned.

Chunhua discovered that, as a result of what Jesus did on the cross, she could have a relationship with God as her kind and good Father. This meant everything to this young girl living alone in a foreign country.

She shared after: “I have been able to establish a more solid understanding about the Bible and Christian belief. The DVD filled the gaps in my knowledge framework about the Bible and helped make sense to me of how the world operates.”

Speaking of the video sessions, she says, “Without it, there would have been no possibility for me to start seeking Christ and establish my own belief.” Now, as a result of the welcoming friendship of her Christian friends and their faithful witness, she understands and believes the gospel.

What a testimony to the great opportunity we have to reach into the lives of international students and immigrants! If you want more ideas of how to do so, as well as other testimonies, check out our full-length article How GoodSeed tools can help you reach International Students.

(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

Video: God’s justice and love

Is God a God of justice? Or is he a God of love? Many people think that he is one or the other, assuming that justice and love are contradictory, but as this clip from By This Name reveals, this is not the case.

“Both qualities of his character are equal: God is not more loving than he is just. Since YAHWEH always acts in a way that is consistent with his perfect nature, he will always express both attributes equally.”

By This Name, Page 89

By This Name has a video component consisting of 66 clips in which author John R. Cross teaches key concepts during the chronological journey through the Bible. These short video clips include visual aids (like the Tabernacle, Passover, altar, etc.) to help bring clarity to the story. They also take the viewers to key sites in Israel, Egypt and Jordan to provide historical and geographical context. We present a selection of these video clips. All of them are included with By This Name, either on DVD or accessible online.

 

This study brought it all together!

It is always such an encouragement to hear how believers are strengthened in their faith and understanding of the Bible through chronological resources. Janie’s* testimony is an example of this. She was a participant in a recent Worldview Rethink study led by two of our staff and wrote the following email to express her thanks.

It is with great pleasure that I look back to our study, By This Name… Raised in the church, my whole life revolved around Christian activities. I was well taught all the Old Testament stories, believed in the authenticity of the Bible, had accepted Jesus as my Saviour, and knew the presence of God in my life.

There were years when I did not live my faith, and was ashamed of my behavior, but I was never ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Never did I feel abandoned by God, rather that I had abandoned Him, or tried to. We know how He draws us back.

I entered this study with many precious gems of Biblical knowledge knocking around loose in my head. This study brought them together as gems in a single piece, pointing our way to eternity.

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