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J.J. Turner, Ph.D.

 

READ ANY GREAT BOOKS LATELY? [ ] Yes [ ] No

 

Years ago if I had written this article I would have titled it Christians Are Reader. My experiences now with some Christian, which include leaders and preachers, reveal a lack of reading. Talking to bookstore managers confirm that men aren’t buying books like they once did, and the books they are buying now are “fluff and puff”—shallow content. The good news is that women are buying more books, thus the rapid increase in the publishing of books designed for ladies.

     Men aren’t reading because they don’t have time, as some claim. They have time but they spend it on computer websites, IPad, cell phones, social media, video games, watching TV, etc. Homes which once had bookcases filled with books that were read, now are filled with pictures, plaques with sayings, and a few unread classics; even Bibles.

     I confess that I am writing this article with a bias. I am a readaholic! When I am asked, which I often am, what’s the greatest thing you learned during all your education? I answer quickly, “The greatest thing I learned in school was in the first and second grades. I learned how to read.” Reading opened up the whole world to me, from A to Z. It created an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I average reading a couple of books each week on a variety of subjects, obviously, the Bible is always first on my daily reading list.

     Some books, such as novels, I read simply for pleasure, others I read take me into academics subjects. Some cause me to examine my politics and cultural involvement. Some create a spirit of debate as I doubt and challenge content. I mark in books and take notes. I use quotes and illustrations from books I read. Books of humor help me to loosen up with laughter. Books on Bible subjects challenge my exegetical skills as I search to see if “those things are true.”

     A lack of desire to read as well as a lack of reading skills is showing up more and more in Bible classes and public assemblies. Some children have a reluctance to attend Bible classes because of a fear of being asked to read. Men decline to read Scriptures because of poor reading skills. Many ties those who read in public mispronounce simple words, mumble, read too rapidly, etc.

     The literacy level continues to drop in our country and is evidenced in congregations. In a post by Reading By Phonics.com, under the title Top 10 Reasons Why Kids Can’t Read: The Not-So-Shocking Reading and Literacy Statistics, the following results were given:

Did you know that 67 % of all grade 4 students in

The US cannot read at a proficient level? According

To the National Assessment of Educational Progress

(NAEP), 34 % cannot achieve the lowest basic level

Of reading skills. Unfortunately, it’s not just the

Americans that have reading problems—this is really

A global issue, at least in all major English speaking countries:

*43% of Canadians are considered semi-illiterate

*42% of students in the UK leave school without

achieving a basic level of functional English

                 *33% of year 5 students in Australia do not meet the

                   benchmark literacy skills

     Since the Bible is a document to be read, it is obvious that a person must know how to read in order to know, learn and practice what God has commanded. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth” (John 8:32). Want to hear something that is surprising? It is amazing how many Christians, even leaders and preachers, who have not read the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.

     The Bible emphasizes the reading of Scripture:

1.      1 Timothy 4:13, “Till I come, give attention to READING, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

2.      John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they  which testify of Me.”

3.      Acts 8:30, So Philip ran to him, and heard him READING the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are READING?”

4.      2 Timothy 4:13, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the BOOKS, especially the parchment.”

5.      Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he who READS and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep those things which are WRITTEN in it; for the time is at hand.”

6.      Ephesians 3:3, 4, “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which when you READ, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).”

7.      1 Peter 1:10, 11, “of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ Who was in them…”.

8.      Acts 13:15, “And after the reading of the Law and Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, ‘Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on’”.

9.      1 Thessalonians 5:27, “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be READ to all the holy brethren.”

10.  Matthew 19:4, And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not READ that He who made them at the beginning, ”made them male and female”’”?

     There is no question nor doubt that the Bible ought to be the number one priority on our reading list. In the early years of our nation, when school was conducted in church buildings, the Bible was the major textbook for learning to read and write. In time the function was turned over to the government, which now makes it criminal to read or pray in public schools.

     We need to start a revival of reading in the church. It needs to start with the leaders. Since the Bible places an emphasis on reading, why can’t we teach our youth, and older members, how to read? The sequence is simple: First, we learn to read and second we read to learn.

     What we are reading shows up in our lives. Emerson wrote, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” Jim Rohn was right when he said, “The book you don’t read won’t help.” And Margaret Fuller was on target when she said, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” “It is what you read when you don’t have to,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

     Think about these words of Ray Bradbury: “There are worse crimes than burning books, one of them is not reading them.”

 

I encourage you to take a few minutes and browse in my book stores listed on this site. You will find numerous subjects that will edify, educate, and contribute to your growth in Christ.

 

    

 

In 1937 an Italian, Carlo Collodi wrote the Adventures of Pinocchio, the story of a puppet carved by the old wood-carver named Geppetto. The puppet is brought to life by the blue fairy, who promised Pinocchio he could become a real boy if he proves himself “brave, truthful and unselfish.” As he meets various characters he lies and his nose grows longer. Through the year the name Pinocchio was become synonymous with lying.

     In recent years the media has created an award called the Pinocchio Award. It is awarded through checking the statements made my politicians, scientists, and other disciplines to document the facts as true or false. Based on the perceived seriousness of the words or issues in question, facts are checked for accuracy and truthfulness; then an award ranging from one to four, with four being the most severe is awarded.

     In order to continue placing a high and godly value on truth and truth telling –“Buy the truth and do not sell it (Proverbs 23:23)—take a few minutes and honestly respond to the following observations about yourself:

 

YOU MIGHT BE A CANDIDATE FOR A PINCCHIO AWARED IF . . .

 

  1. …you stretch the truth
  2. …you bend the truth
  3. …you twist and torture the truth
  4. …you pervert the truth
  5. …you deliberately change the truth
  6. …you refuse to acknowledge the truth (cf. John 8:32)
  7. …you refuse to stand for the truth (don’t want to be involved, “leave well-enough alone”)
  8. …you refuse to support the truth (keep silent, argue against it, etc.)
  9. …you deliberately deceive people (pattern of lifestyle, hypocrite, etc.)
  10. …you intentionally reject the truth (afraid of the consequences)
  11. …you hurt others by lying (out of anger, dislike, protect self, etc.)
  12. …you make dishonest gain or acquire a position by lying
  13. …you have secret and clandestine behaviors
  14. …you lie under oath, on contracts, about taxes, etc.
  15. …you trick people with misinformation (“half-truths”, concealment, lies, etc.)
  16. …you cannot stop lying—pathological personality issue (need professional help, etc.)
  17. …you continually make a joke out of the truth (try to dilute the effect of truth)
  18. …you avoid exposure to truth (don’t want to hear it)
  19. …you justify telling a falsehood or a lie (“Don’t want to hurt feeling,” “best for them”, etc.)
  20. …you cannot discern error from truth (cognitive disability)
  21. …you never, ever admit you are wrong nor made a mistake (a form of narcissism, pride, etc.)
  22. …you have a secret agenda you are hiding or pushing
  23. …you are contradicting God’s word—THE TRUTH (John 8:32, 36).
  24. …you don’t like to be around persons who stand for the truth or tell the truth
  25. …you keep silent when you should speak up for the truth (may be interpreted as supporting)
  26. …you pervert God’s word to prove or sustain your position or beliefs
  27. …you mix truth with error—just enough to get by or pass inspection (know how to play system)
  28. …you attack a person’s character when he or she tells the truth (“can’t trust them”, “liar”, etc.)
  29. …you had rather be “liked” than known as a “truth teller and supporter of truth”
  30. 3…you want to impress others and stay in good with them (“keep friends at all cost”)

 

 

 

If you are wearing a wedding ring or own a wedding ring, you have a continual reminder of the wedding promises you made to your spouse. Think about this fact!
 
The wedding vows you swore when you married, if they were the traditional ones, had these sobering words: For better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health… until death parts us. These vows made it clear that there may be some challenges ahead in your marriage. But for some reason you may seem surprised to discover the vows are prophetic. Wedding vows do come true!
 You hold in your hand a small book that is powerful enough to turn an unhappy marriage into a joyful and re newed adventure. As the title says there are 101 dynamic marriage promises in this book. This is more than just a list of nice promises one may take or leave. These are promises that every married couple or couple thinking about mar riage, need to take seriously.
 
I have been married to the same woman for more than 50 years. Like most marriages we have had our ups and downs. I wish, however, I had known and applied these 101 promises early in our marriage. The good news is it’s not too late.
 Whether you have been married one day or decades, you need to look seriously at these promises. If you are engaged or contemplating marriage in the future you would be wise to begin making some of these promises now; as well as knowing what some of the promises are you need to make once you are married. Knowledge is power only if used properly.
 
This list of 101 marriage promises has grown out of my own marriage, 48-years of ministry, counseling married couples, pre-marital counseling, earning a master’s and doctorate in counseling, teaching workshops and seminars, and writing several books on marriage, family, and parent ing. I am pleased to share these promises with you I believe if these promises are made and kept every couple can experience Brownings’ promise, Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be.
 
101 Marriage Promises Cover ArticleIf you are serious about having a successful and happy marriage, this book is for you. If you are not, please pass it on to someone who is serious.
 
Why yes, you can read it if you are only curious.

DEFINITION:

     Webster: “a religion that is considered or held to be false or unorthodox, or it members.”

     Theological: “In the context of traditional doctrines and practices of biblical Christianity, a cult is a group that believes and practices beliefs that are contrary to the (1) Divinity, (2) eternal existence (3)incarnation, (4) virgin birth, (4) exclusive saviorhood, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Plus many other teachings and practices that contradict the Bible (e.g. 66 books).

21 CHARACTERISTICS OF A CULT:

     A cult associated with “Christianity” may be identified, according to basic definitions, by one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. Usually identified by a human founder: (1) Joseph Smith, (2) Charles T. Russell, (3) Mary Baker Eddy, (4) Ellen G. White, (5) Sun Myung, (6) Jim Jones, (7) Ron Hubbard, (8) Hare Krishnas, etc.
  2. Members are taken though a psychological indoctrination (“brain washing”).
  3. Their belief system is characterized by closemindedness and a superiority complex.
  4. Members tend to be antagonistic and rejecting of others who don’t share their beliefs.
  5. A high level of intolerance toward any position, doctrine, or practice not like theirs.
  6. Most cults were founded by persons—men and women—who claimed to receive divine authority, revelation, and appointment by God or angels. Some claimed to be God or a god.
  7. Most cults are apocalyptic believing in the future there will be some cataclysmic, Armageddon, or other major event that only faithful members will survive, etc.
  8. A cult member will usually stop studying with you if you don’t readily accept their teachings or ask questions they cannot or don’t know how to answer. They are always right, you are always wrong.
  9. Most members accept organizations teaching without questioning. Usually afraid to question.
  10. There is usually a national headquarters that controls members and practices.
  11. There is usually a magazine, book, Bible translation, radio and TV programs to propagate teachings.
  12. Beliefs are propagated by outreach and “evangelism” efforts (door-to-door, street corners, etc.).
  13. Members are required to participate in various programs—disciplined if don’t.
  14. Members support with time, money and participation.
  15. Some cults emphasize a strong ethic and morality; some just the opposite. Some are inconsistent.
  16. Some practice “anti-government” and “anti-medical” behavior (Reject all holidays, blood transfusion).
  17. Have a form of discipline, shunning, and shaming of “unfaithful” members.
  18. They have members, like all groups, who aren’t faithful to teachings and practices.
  19. Members are isolated and prohibited from marrying or dating a “heathen”, “unbelievers”, etc.
  20. Bring reproach on the simplicity of the Gospel, worship, and Divinity of God, etc.
  21. Perpetuate behavior that brings “persecution” proving they are right and approved by God.

READ: Galatians 1:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Romans 1:14-16.

When most people hear the word capital they think of investing in gold, silver, shares of stock, investments in company's startups, and so forth. These are some of the various ways of gaining assets that yield rewards and income over a period of time; usually over a long period of time. There are, however, other forms of capital that a person may invest in and gain continual assets. Education is one of these capitals. Time, effort and money spent in educational pursuits are investments in human capital. Investment in educational capital will never result in a loss. You cannot be separated from the knowledge, values and skills in the way you can be separated from your physical and financial assets. Lifelong education produces lifelong results. Education in ministry is one of the most important capital investments you will ever make as a servant of God.
 
Worth is a key word that is related to capital. Continual investment in education increases your worth as a minister and member of society. Because of your continual investment in education capital you are able to stay ahead of the ever changing curve in culture, ministry methodologies, and personal challenges. Doctrine doesn't change; methodologies do.
 
"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "you will never grow." This is in harmony with Paul's statement in 2 Timothy 2:15, as translated in the King James, "Study to show thyself approved unto God." This is not a onetime pursuit; got my diploma or degree, and now I'm set for life. It is our continuing quest to "grow up into the fullness of the measure of Christ" (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16). Nothing is sadder than a man who thinks he knows it all, while life and opportunities are passing him by.
 
Almost daily we hear the research stats relative to the monetary gains from a high school diploma, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees. This makes sense because the more you know, the higher your skills, and the variety of experiences you have gained raises your chances of advancement in life; even in ministry.
 
Many professions require continuing education units every year in order to stay qualified. This is an investment in education capital. Unfortunately the church doesn't require such continuing education of her ministers. This may be why many ministers seem to be content with remaining status quo. They are wondering why their yesterday training in methods isn't producing fruit today.
 
I am not a prophet but based on what I have seen, and am presently seeing, the church is fast moving toward requiring higher levels of educational capital of the ministers they hire. As the level of educational capital increases in the pew, it will be required in the pulpit and classroom. Right or wrong-this is reality. Even if this wasn't true; the minister should want to be a lifelong learner.
 
There are four basic areas that make up the whole (synergism) of education capital relating to ministry. These are the fields that must be addressed in a relational manner in order to insure a balanced result:
  1. Continual growth in knowledge (cf. John 8:32; 2 Timothy 2:1- 3; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 1 Timothy 2:15).
  2. Continual development of skills needed for a balanced ministry; this includes methodologies to address a changing world.
  3. Continual development of character (i.e. Integrity, ethics, morals, etc.): "into the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-16).
  4. Continual passion for the ministry and growth in Christ-"fire in the bones" must continue to glow (Jeremiah 20:9). Passion is the driving force behind acquiring education capital.
There are numerous ways to invest in education capital: reading, attending seminars and workshops; study groups; watching media presentations, and so forth. The possible limitation of these is they don't require work. This is why a sound academic program, such as the MBS provides an excellent opportunity to invest in education capital.
Before you would invest in any physical investment opportunity for capital gain, you would investigate it thoroughly. Right? You need to do this also relative to our online MBS offering at the World Bible Institute. Does the education offer meet some of these requirements?:
  1. Does it have a solid, well-managed portfolio (curriculum, faculty)?
  2. Is the plan diverse (requires research, study, participation, etc.)?
  3. How regularly do you have to invest (study habits, deadlines)?
  4. Is it affordable (how much does it cost, how may I finance it)?
  5. Will it pay continuing dividends (in my ongoing ministry)?
  6. How flexible is the plan (may I enroll at any time)?
  7. What are the rules (qualifications for enrollment, etc.)?
  8. May I complete the program in my present ministry?
  9. Is the program delivered online?
  10. Are required books and course materials easy to acquire?
These are but a few of the observations that will help you decide on how, when and where you will continue your lifelong investment in education capital. DO IT NOW! Investment in education capital will pay dividends the rest of your life.
J.J. Turner, Ph.D.
Chancellor, World Bible Institute
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