Okay, here is where the real fun gets started in our tournament of Bible books. Yesterday’s play-in games eliminated two books. Haggai looked like it had a shot for a while, but eventually lost to 2 John (59% to 41%). 3 John, on the other hand, never had a chance, losing badly to Ezra (15% to 85%). With those two out, the field of 64 is set, and we’re ready for the main part of the tournament to begin.
As a reminder, for every round that you participate in, you increase your chances of winning UP TO $150 WORTH OF COMMENTARIES from IVP or Zondervan, and you can also win a number of other great books about the Bible from IVP, Eerdmans, Crossway, and Baker. All you have to do is vote for your favorite Bible books in each round.
Although voting is now closed on the play-in games, I’m going to leave voting open on the random questions/predictions until the Round of 64 is over. Remember that each of those questions that you predict successfully will earn you another chance to win a prize. So get your votes in before Monday.
Use the link below to cast your votes. Let the voting being!
- Why Pope Francis Excites (Most) Evangelical Leaders: Pope Francis has drawn much attention for being the first pope to come from the ranks of the Americas and the Jesuits, as well as take the name Francis. But evangelical observers highlight other reasons for enthusiasm for yesterday’s precedent-setting election. (Also check out Running the Numbers behind Pope Francis’ Election.)
- Multisite Church: Come-and-Get or Come-and-Give? What about multisite churches? Let me say that I know some really bad ones… they fit all the stereotypes. But, I know some good ones, too. I’ve preached at several that were on mission, raising up leaders, and doing great ministry.
- Are Successful Women Really Less Likable Than Successful Men? Humans tend to be opposed to changes in the status quo until they are forced, through experience, to see that change isn’t such a big deal.
- God’s Love Supreme: The Arrival of Jazz as Christian Worship Music: Some American churches have brought improvised jazz into the sanctuary because of its prayerful, stirring power; others, because it attracts attendees who might otherwise skip church.
As I announced earlier this morning, we’re hosting a tournament of Bible books this month. The idea is to pit all 66 books of the Bible against each other and vote on our favorites. Winners move to the next round until only one remains. At the end of the tournament, we’ll be giving away books from IVP, Zondervan, Baker, Eerdmans, and Crossway to those who participated. Participating in each round increases your chances to win some of these books, so stay tuned.
The Play-In Games
This is the opening round of the tournament, and it has two sections. First, we have two “play in” games. Since there are 66 books in the Bible and only 64 spots on the bracket, we need to eliminate a couple of books right out of the gate. Here are the contestants:
- 2 John vs. Haggai
- 3 John vs. Ezra
Voting is now closed.
Second, you’ll have the opportunity to cast your vote on how the tournament will unfold. We have six questions, and you’ll receive an additional chance to win some of our free books for every question you answer correctly.
That’s right. I am announcing a tournament, complete with winners, losers, a champion, and lots of prizes. March always brings a frenzy of tournaments. But I’m not aware of anyone who hosts a tournament for the books of the Bible. And that seems like a tragic oversight. So we’re going to fix that by pitting all sixty-six books of the Bible against each other in a grand competition to see which is our favorite. We’ll pair books of the Bible against each other, and you’ll get to vote on your favorite. Winners advance to the next round until only one remains.
To make things interesting, we have some great prizes to give away for those who participate in the tournament. We have two main prizes that we’ll give away to two lucky winners: commentaries from Zondervan and IVP. (A huge thanks, by the way, to each of these publishers for participating. Greatly appreciated!) That’s UP TO $150 WORTH OF COMMENTARIES for each grand prize winner! If you are chosen as one of the winners, here’s what you get:
- Do countries lose religion as they gain wealth? The world’s poorest nations are also some of its most religious – but does that mean religion can’t flourish in a prosperous society?
- What Classic Spiritual Discipline Needs the Most Renewal Among American Christians? Three leading Christians on growing in Christ.
- The Next Bible: The long term implications of the app—if we can see what we hope we can see—are a generation of the most biblically literate people in history. We don’t just want to stop the decline in Biblical literacy; we want to reverse it.
- Quitting Time: The Pope Retired. Should Your Pastor? Most pastors aren’t dreaming of retirement. A 2009 study of Church of Christ pastors, for example, found that only 1 of 4 had plans for full retirement; more than that said they didn’t plan to retire at all.
- Why We Need a Slower Internet: It’s the out of control Web. The oh my god there’s so much stuff and I can’t possibly keep up Web. It’s the spend two dozen times a day checking Web. The in one end out the other Web. The Web designed to appeal to the basest of our intellectual palettes, the salt, sugar and fat of online content Web. It’s the scale hard and fast Web. The create a destination for billions of people Web. The you have two hundred twenty six new updates Web. Keep up or be lost. Click me. Like me. Tweet me. Share me. The Fast Web demands that you do things and do them now. The Fast Web is a cruel wonderland of shiny shiny things.
- Quo Vadis? Reflections on the Shape of the Church to Come: In his act of resignation, Pope Benedict reminded us that the true head of the church is Christ. This is not a pious formula but a profound act of faith. In difficult times it can be tempting for the church to become enthralled to anxiety about its success or survival. When it does this, it shows itself no different from other human institutions.
- Where Are the Honest Atheists? That godlessness might be both true and terrible is something that the new atheists refuse to entertain, no doubt in part because they want to sell books — and greeting cards do a brisk business.
- Is the “modesty movement” harmful to women? Many Christians are less positive about the modesty movement, and some have even asserted that the movement isn’t theologically mature and may even be harmful to women. Modern modesty advocates, they claim, end up doing the very thing they want to prevent: objectifying women and their bodies.
- Enough Feisty Princesses: Disney Needs an Introverted Heroine: Movies like Brave imply that to be strong and independent, a girl must be outgoing and have a fiery personality. To be brave, she must wield a sword and dive into battle. This kind of extrovert is admirable, but can she be relatable to girls who are naturally more reserved and thoughtful, yet brave in their own way?
- Rising Stress Boosts Clergy Depression: Experts say debt, public opinion and other factors boost chances for depression in clergy.
- Is the Future of Church Planting Bi-Vocational? So yes, we absolutely need to develop bi-vocational strategies to reach our cities. Our church is beginning to discuss the implications of this for us. For too long, we’ve relied on one strategy. However, the answer is not to replace one “one-size-fits all” strategy for another, but to expand it.
- Can you preach expositional sermons in poor, uneducated areas of the world? Should we be teaching our people more biblical narrative and maybe having a more interactive approach from the pulpit in our housing schemes and council estates? In a word, no. Here’s why.
Since this is the season when many begin looking at seminaries and trying to decide which one to attend next year, I thought it would be fitting to repost my advice on how to go about choosing a seminary. This is a difficult and important decision. Unless someone tells you that you have to go to seminary X or they will shoot your dog, you have to sift through a surprisingly large number of schools, weighing things like cost, location, theology, personal fit, and mascot quality. That’s a lot of work.
So I’d like to help. I’ve been in the seminary world for a while now, and I’ve helped students wrestle through this process many times. Some will try to make it far more complicated than it needs to be. Using the right method and a few carefully thought-out steps, here’s how to make this life-changing decision more manageable.
- Solidly Reformed, Strikingly Small: I know Reformed churches in Brazil that are dynamic, growing, evangelistic, missions-minded, and relatively large. But they are exceptions. By “small churches” I’m referring not only to size but also to vision and involvement in evangelism and missions.
- New Atheism Is Dead: For while he still has his fans and admirers, Prof Dawkins has been preaching to the choir for some time, and the choir shrinks as embarrassed followers slink away from the scene. New Atheism has finally had its day.
- The Future of Today’s Christianity: Christianity Today stands squarely in the evangelical tradition of the faith. We believe this is worth reaffirming precisely because of the way the word evangelical has become debased in our time.
- It’s a big, fat myth that all scientists are religion-hating atheists: Whether or not you think science is wonderful, the stereotype of all scientists being atheists is unrealistic. There is, however, a special dance