[BOOK REVIEW] Supernatural

[BOOK REVIEW] Supernatural

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Do you really believe what the Bible says?

This is the opening question for Dr. Michael S. Heiser’s new book, “Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World And Why It Matters.” His book is dedicated to discussing the strange, and often troublesome, passages of the supernatural that most pastors ignore in their preaching. Examples include:

  • God takes counsel with heavenly beings on who will deceive the king Ahab (1 Kings 22:19–23).
  • God keeping fallen angels in chains (Jude 1:6).
  • Jesus proclaiming the good news to imprisoned spirits (1 Peter 3:18).
  • “God presides in the heavenly council; in the assembly of the gods he gives his decision.” (Psalm 82:1)

If you are fascinated by the supernatural, but confused by what passages like this mean, then Dr. Heiser’s book is for you. But, this is more than just a novelty book, as Heiser asserts,

[T]he truths presented in this book have everything to do with our understanding of who God is, and how we relate to him, and what our purpose is on earth (pg. 23).

To that end, Heiser ends each chapter with a series of practical applications for these difficult passages.

This is not to say the book is without some controversy. For example, regarding the Creation account where God proclaims, “let us make man in our image (Gen. 1:26),”  Heiser concludes the “us” in this passage is not the “Trinity” as many Christians conclude, but God’s heavenly council. Heiser writes,

Supernatural-SocialShare-612x612-2His heavenly host—his council. He’s not talking to the other members of the Trinity, because God can’t know something they don’t (pg. 23)!

What Heiser writes is in line with what most early commentators from Philo on taught, but diverges from what many contemporary scholars and pastors teach.

Given the breadth of content Heiser covers in Supernatural, it is worth reading. It is easy to digest and most Christians will find it helpful in addressing some of the most difficult passages.

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Review Disclaimer

Dr. Miller was a former Logos Employee from 2010 through 2011. He was provided a free copy of the product for review purposes. Dr. Miller is also a published author with Logos Bible Software.

[REVIEW] Proclaim Presentation Software

[REVIEW] Proclaim Presentation Software

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Proclaim is Cloud connected software that equips teams in churches of every size with the integrated media tools necessary to enhance the Sunday worship experience. Proclaim is a product of Faithlife which is owned and operated by the same folks that develop Logos Bible Software. In 2012, Logos jumped into the church presentation market offering a tool they hoped would fill the gaps left open in existing software offerings. You can brush up on some of the competition HERE, but below let me point out some of the features that make Proclaim worth your consideration.

Useful Features

  • Unlimited use on any number of computers with just one subscription.
  • Mac and Windows compatible.
  • Purchase comes with $1,000 worth of media in a growing database of resources.
  • Conveniently connects to CCLI SongSelect, Planning Center Online, Graceway Media, and Logos Bible Software.
  • Proclaim Signals allow for interactive services from people on mobile devices.
  • Control presentations from a mobile device or tablet with the Proclaim Remote.

Special Features

In addition to the many useful features listed above, there are a few unique features worth mentioning.

Sermon Recording

As a church planter, I know first-hand that getting the right tools and the people trained is a challenge. In most cases, to create a podcast or get the sermon audio on your website typically means purchasing a series of separate programs for recording and editing along with additional hardware.

In this recent video, I outline some of the best audio/video recording hardware and software options for creating a studio for under $500.

And once you get all your tools together, you still have to hope your sound team remembers to start the recording on time. And once everything is recorded, it still takes a few hours for a volunteer to edit and upload the sermon.  Proclaim aims to solve this set of problems by integrating recording into their software using “Sermon Audio Cues.”  What this means is that the computer tech. tells the software when to start recording and as soon as the corresponding slide is displayed, the software begins to do the work. You can set up multiple start and stop cues with relative ease.

Once the sermon is over, you can add all the details right inside Proclaim, trim the audio and publish directly to the Faithlife server which synchronizes all of your sermon slides for viewing. You can even export the audio for your iTunes podcast. All-in-all, Proclaim is a relatively simple solution for a church that does not have a large technical volunteer or support staff.

The only caution I offer is that when you put all your technology eggs in one basket, one glitch means everything is impacted. So if Proclaim crashes and your slides go down, it also means your sermon recording goes down as well. So depending on your situation, you may want to set up a redundant recording system.

Scaled Pricing

Proclaim can be purchased through a monthly plan that is scaled based on the size of your church’s congregation. This is a great benefit to church plants and smaller churches who may not have the upfront money to pay for everything upfront.

  • 1-99 = $19.95/month or $199.95/yr
  • 100-199 = $24.95/month or $224.95/yr
  • 200-499 = $29.95/month or $249.95/yr
  • 500-999 = $34.95/month or $274.95/yr
  • 1000-1499 = $39.95/month or $299.95/yr
  • 1500-2499 = $44.95/month or $324.95/yr
  • 2500+ = $49.95/month or $349.95/yr

One Caution

I wont classify this as a negative, but just a cation to any church meeting in a place without internet or WiFi connectivity. One of the convenient features of Proclaim is outlined on their website as follows,

“Your team can arrange song lyrics, announcement slides, and sermon notes from anywhere. One On Air license allows you to install Proclaim on as many computers as you want (Mac or PC).”

The Cloud connected solution is a fabulous solution to a common problem for keeping multiple volunteers coordinated, but the live broadcast of the services means that Proclaim works best in a building that has a strong and reliable WiFi network.

While an internet connection is needed to sync presentations between computers, once synced, presentations are stored locally and will not be disrupted if the internet goes out mid-service. That being said, for a church plant like mine, which meets in a building that does not have any Wifi, some features such as remote control, are not available. If you are in this situation, you definitely want to try it out first to ensure you can live with these inherent limitations.

Overall, I give Proclaim 4 out of 5 stars. Try Proclaim using their 30-day free trial and judge for yourself if ti is the right solution for your church.

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Review Disclaimer

Dr. Miller was a former Logos Employee from 2010 through 2011. He was provided a free copy of the product for review purposes. Dr. Miller is also a published author with Logos Bible Software.

Get grounded in WORD: a Bible study on Psalm 119

Get grounded in WORD: a Bible study on Psalm 119

My good friend, Lyn Smith, has just published a new book titled, “Get Grounded in WORD: a Bible study on Psalm 119,” which serves as “a catalyst for knowing God, WORD inspires you to grow deeper and serve stronger in Jesus’ name.”

As the materials suggest,

Confident godliness comes only one way – through a consistent, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This six week study, with video downloads, will nourish your soul and give your faith deep roots.

Dig into Psalm 119, and discover the strengthening power of God’s Word.

Designed to be done by individuals or groups, the book contains study and discussion questions. Teaching videos to go with the book are available for purchase at www.lynsmith.org. While structured as a six-week study, it contains 22 meditations so it can also be used as a personal devotional.

Below are some quotes from the book that may inspire you to use it …

Peace comes when we understand that we are thoroughly known and absolutely loved.

 

God is the best one to open ourselves up to because His responses will always be right and filled with love.

 

Our job is to stay at His feet, to bask in His presence, and to let Him fill us.

 

Praise becomes a habitual response of our spirit and soul to His magnificence.

 

Because God’s Word cannot and has not failed, it has been the foundation of millions, if not billions, of lives.

Click on the image below to get your copy today.

WORD website header 2

If you have not read Lyn’s blog before, here is a short bio.

lyn_smith_bioLyn Smith is a Bible Activist who is passionate about God and His Word. She teaches Bible studies, speaks at conferences, and writes. Lyn has co-authored two books: The LeadHer Challenge and Think 4:8, a collaborative effort with Tommy Newberry. WORD is her latest release. Lyn lives with her husband and three children in Oklahoma.

Logos 6 is Here… Which Package is Right for You?

Logos 6 is Here… Which Package is Right for You?

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For the past couple months I have had the chance to work with the new Logos 6.

What’s New

Logos 6 offers a host of new features and tools for language study, Bible study, research into ancient cultures, and literature. However, the most amazing part of Logos 6 are the host of new visual tools that help teachers of the Bible better communicate the content to a broader audience.

I could write a lot on this, but instead of reading about it, watch this short video which shows a lot of the new features in Logos 6.

Recommendations

If you are new to Logos, you may be overwhelmed with all the options, books and features. You can check out each package for yourself at anytime, but to make it simple, here is my recommendation for which package is right for you.

Personal Study and Devotion = Bronze

If you are someone who wants to dig deeper into the Bible and sites like Bible Gateway just don’t provide enough, then I recommend starting with Bronze. Some of the important features here are listed below.

  1. Atlas (first set of maps)
  2. Cultural Concepts
  3. Before and After: Ancient and Modern Biblical Archaeological Sites
  4. Virtual Tours: Narrative Character Maps
  5. Beitzel Photo Library
  6. Logos 6 Maps, vol. 1 (English)
  7. Logos Stock Media
  8. Logos Media Archive
  9. Faithlife Study Bible Media

Bible Teacher (pastor or professor) = Silver

For anyone who regularly teaches the Scripture in either a Sunday School or college/university, the Silver package offers some tools beyond the Bronze that you will come to rely on.

  1. Ancient Literature tool
  2. Atlas (2 volumes)
  3. Clause Participants Section
  4. Propositional Flow Outline
  5. Logos 6 Maps, vol. 2 (English)
  6. Artifacts from the British Museum
  7. Preaching Theme Slide Art
  8. The Cultural Context of the Bible

Bible Student and Language Study = Gold

If you are a Seminary student or professor with an interest in ancient languages, then Gold is the best package for you.

  1. Atlas (includes all 3 volumes)
  2. Logos 6 Maps, vol. 3 (English)
  3. Sense Section
  4. Textual Variants
  5. Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible
  6. Online Textual Variants Manuscripts
  7. Textual Analysis Tools: Form and Structure of the Psalms (Psalms Browser)
  8. Textual Analysis Tools: Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible (Proverbs Browser)
  9. Lexham Glossary of Semantic Roles

Also, be aware that Logos offers a 30% academic discount to anyone who is a student or professor so be sure to call and get the best price when you order.

Baptism In The Holy Spirit 2 Volume Collection on Logos Bible Software

Baptism In The Holy Spirit 2 Volume Collection on Logos Bible Software

In the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Collection, J. R. Miller seeks to heal the division in the body of Christ caused by ambiguity, bitterness, and denominational rivalry in understanding the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Miller explores Scripture and church history, seeking to unify Christians through understanding of the promise of Christ’s baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The Logos Bible Software edition of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit Collection enhances your study with innovative research tools. Scripture passages link directly to your preferred English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Powerful topical searches help you find what other authors, scholars, and theologians bring to this conversation.

BUY IT @ Logos.com!.

If you don’t own Logos Bible Software, you can still order the print copies through Amazon Author’s Profile.

2001 Tweetable Quotes

2001 Tweetable Quotes

I love a good quote. Over the past 15 years I have collected my favorites and now I tweet them out on a regular basis through @jrmiller777. But for those who don’t like to take their smartphone into the bathroom, I wanted to offer a more traditional way to enjoy these quotes… thus an actual book with pages you can turn (unless you bought the Kindle version and then you are out of luck).

From Mark Twain to Margret Thatcher, the diversity of quotes in this book is sure to entertain, challenge, and inspire you. Most quote books are organized into categories, but make for very boring reading. This book is different because all the quotes; from Poets, Musicians, Theologians, and Philosophers, have been randomized so every time you pick up the book you will find fresh inspiration.

BUY IT @ Amazon.com!.

or

BUY IT for Kindle!

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