...thoughts expressed here are not necessarily final.

March 7, 2005 The Art of Believing by Anthony

I have participated in all kinds of evangelism training programs throughout the years. I suppose I see their value but I have always preferred a more natural, turn-the-conversation- towards-Christ approach. I have been through Ladder Witnessing, a seminary course under Dr. Grey Allison, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association training as a counselor and Counselor supervisor, Joe Aldrich's Lifestyle Evangelism approach (in several iterations), Evangelism Explosion, and now the FAITH acronym is the method of the moment. As long as they are scriptural, I think they are all great. One that I have seen in action and been unimpressed with is the simple ABC approach becoming popular in pulpits now.

The "Admit, Believe , and Confess" approach is all fine and good if the hearer has ears to hear and the understanding to unpack the meaning of those scripturally charged words.

So here is my foray into acronym mnemonics for the emerging church. The goal is to unpack the major concepts of saving faith.

The ART of BELIEVING. The approach is threefold and encompasses the initial as well as the ongoing process of receiving and believing. Saving faith is not only a once for all time event- it is dynamic, holistic, ongoing and living and persevering,..and therefore not particularly linear in nature, as in ABC...

Acknowledge, Agree

Acknowledge that you cannot earn salvation by your own deeds.

Agree with God that the work ( Life, Death and Resurrection) of Jesus Christ is his only provision for your salvation.

Receive, Repent

Receive the free gift of salvation paid for by the death of Christ

Repent- turn away from your own way of doing things.

Trust, Treasure

Trust in Christ's atoning work to set you free from sin and give you an new life.

Treasure Christ- value Him and ascribe him proper worth as the most important person in your life- and in all of life.

On this basis you are placed in Christ and His Spirit lives in you- and your salvation becomes an ongoing process- this is made real day by day as you:

Adhere to Christ as Lord of your life.

Rely on Christ to be your righteousness.

Transform- this comes as the indwelling Spirit of Christ renews your mind and conforms you to think like Christ.

The Bible says that if you are In Christ, you become a new creation. You are now God's workmanship, His poiema, His masterpiece- in-the-works. You have great value as a work of art. intrinsically as God works the good, the true, and the beautiful into the canvas of your life, and because of who made you- the greatest masterpieces come from the hand of the greatest artists.

So turn from trying to write your own story, to letting God set the plot. Turn from trying to make something meaningful from the scribbled lines of your life. It is impossible for a pot to form itself on the wheel, but in the hands of the master craftsman, you can become a vessel of noble purpose today...

Comments, questions, critiques, shortcomings?

Of regional Civil War Interest:

I recently picked up a copy of The Battle Rages Higher at Borders. It is a history of the Fifteenth Kentucky Infantry; see http://www.fifteenthkentucky.com/. I knew it had been in the works several years ago, but I was glad to find it so widely distributed. It turned out to be excellent reading and extremely well researched. I applaud the author on his work!

I have collected articles and historical bits from the campaigns of the 15th since I discovered the letters of my great-great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Foster some twenty years ago in the University of Kentucky archives. They brought a part of my history to life in a dynamic way. The almost forty letters of Ben Frank and his brother John L. Foster afford quite a degree of color commentary on the day to day life of soldiers, and this is put to good use in this work.

Left: Cpl. Bejamin Franklin Foster

example 1 _______example 2

From the site :"Jenkins's groundbreaking book is based on primary research from soldiers' letters and diaries, hundreds of contemporary newspaper articles, official army records and postwar memoirs. Along with the story of the regiment as a whole, Jenkins also includes an extensive biographical roster of the individual soldiers, enabling researchers to confirm family connections to soldiers and identify their specific contributions to the war. The Battle Rages Higher offers greater insight into the motivations of those who would choose to fight their brothers and neighbors. "

Mohler on "A Generous Orthodoxy"

Article here. The book's title looks both promising and inspiring. Brian D. McLaren's new book, "A Generous Orthodoxy," is sure to get attention, and its title grabs both heart and mind. Who wouldn't want to embrace an orthodoxy of generosity? On the other hand, the title raises an unavoidable question: Just how "generous" can orthodoxy be?

Spare change check

A dime that was minted in 1894 was auctioned off for $1,322,500. Why should you care? Reportedly, there's still 10 dimes from that year floating around.

'The Passion Recut' Contains Less Violence

Erin Curry, Baptist Press

In an effort to appeal to a wider audience including those kept from viewing The Passion of The Christ because of its depictions of brutal violence, Mel Gibson is releasing a tamer version of the film March 11 called The Passion Recut. Gibson has edited at least six minutes out of the original film and is substituting different camera angles to show less blood and gore in the graphic scenes of the torture, scourge and crucifixion of Christ, according to The Dallas Morning News. The subtle changes will emphasize the sacrifice of Jesus rather than just the suffering, he told the newspaper. Even with less violence, the MPAA still gave the new Passion version an R rating. The film's production company, Icon Productions, has opted to release The Passion Recut without a rating. The Passion Recut will be carried in theaters on 500 to 750 screens nationwide beginning just before Easter.

Film critic Michael Medved said the Academy shut out one of the year's biggest box office hits and instead nominated for the major categories a list of films that "went out of their way to assault or insult the sensibilities of most believers," notably Million Dollar Baby with its portrayal of assisted suicide as heroic and Kinsey in its depiction of sexuality without limits.

Research Indicates Teens' Faith Typically Just Skin-Deep

Jim Brown and Jody Brown, AgapePress

A new survey finds a good number of American teens are religiously active, but not very well-educated in their faith -- resulting in a shallow religiosity. The four-year National Study of Youth and Religion was conducted by 133 researchers and consultants led by sociology professor Chris Smith of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A third of the teenagers said they were consistently involved in religious organizations and practices. Another third said they were "somewhat" involved. However, Smith says that religiosity tends to be very shallow. "A lot of Christian teens really had not much at all to say about who Jesus was, what grace was," the researcher says. Even though they said they believe in God and [that] faith is important, they have a hard time explaining what they believe and how faith makes any difference in their life." Smith describes many teens' religious knowledge as "meager, nebulous, and often fallacious." Smith says teens are still being mightily influenced by the religious lives of the parents, so parents should be challenged to play a leadership role and feel authorized to be parents. Full results of the study can be found in Smith's new book titled "Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers".

Study Finds 'Believers Do Not Train Their Children' With Faith in Mind

The faith commitment of born-again parents made surprisingly little difference in how their children were raised. That's the conclusion by The Barna Group (TBG) in its latest study, which looked at the outcomes parents are most eager to achieve in their children, the qualities they believe are most important for parents to have in order to be effective, and some of the critical choices and tradeoffs they make in their child-rearing efforts. Released Monday, the survey of 707 adults who are parents discovered that "having a significant faith commitment and an identifiable set of religious beliefs was mentioned by just one out of every five parents as an ingredient required for parental success." The most important outcomes parents are devoted to helping their children experience was getting a good education, with four out of every 10 parents (39 percent) listing that as their top priority. Helping the child to feel loved was the second most frequently mentioned outcome (24 percent), followed by enabling them to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ (22 percent). "Only three out of 10 born-again parents included the salvation of their child in the list of critical parental emphases," TBG president George Barna noted. "For that emphasis to not be on the radar screen of most Christian parents is a significant reason why most Americans never embrace Jesus Christ as their savior.

Adrian Rogers, Retiring At Bellevue, Honored By Friends From Near & Far

Tim Ellsworth, Baptist Press

Over the weekend, Bellevue said an emotional goodbye to its pastor after 32 years of service. When Rogers became Bellevue's pastor, the church had 8,739 members. Today it has more than 29,000 members. Rogers is heard in more than 150 countries on more than 12,000 television stations and 2,000 radio stations on his weekly program, "Love Worth Finding." He is a widely published author and has been a key leader in the Southern Baptist Convention's conservative resurgence. Rogers served as SBC president for three terms at a time when conservative Southern Baptists needed their most capable leader. But Rogers also is a spiritual leader outside Southern Baptist circles. He has visited with U.S. presidents and other leaders. Thousands on Friday night celebrated Rogers' pastorate at Bellevue. Thousands more on Sunday morning heard Rogers preach his last sermon as pastor of the Memphis-area congregation. And on Sunday night, the throngs gathered to bid a final farewell to their beloved leader. They honored Rogers for being a good shepherd, a faithful preacher and a wise servant of God. They honored him for his devotion to his family and as a denominational statesman. And they honored him for his tireless efforts which have helped Bellevue become one of the largest churches in the world.

The Empire Strikes Back

Hoping to regain some of its luster in a market dominated by the iPod, the company that brought us the Walkman is coming out with a big lineup of portable music players.


Who wants to Live Forever?

Have people stranded on a deserted island for a reality show? Did that already. Eating bugs and doing crazy stunts? Done that too. Hooking people up for a relationship that's bound to fail? Yep. So what's next? Apparently, a new show is in discussion where people will be confronted with mortality, thus inspiring them to make "dramatic changes in their lifestyle." Who Wants to Live Forever will be a Fox production ...


Fear of flying

Remembering those eagles wings
Crested mountains I have viewed
I want to fly there once again
Mounting up, my youth renewed.
To rise above my circumstance
To free me from the pit
Instead of lofting towards the clouds
Trembling, here I sit...

For even though I have wings,
I am still afraid to fly
My fear of heights binds me to earth
And keeps me from the sky
You gave me wings to fly with
Give me grace to soar
Give me wind to glide on
Horizons to explore!

Open my eyes so I can see
The vistas in my view
Take me over the mountains
And let me fly with you.

Let me glide on currents
That take me ever higher
Calm my fear of the unknown
Deepen my desire
You gave me wings to fly with
Give me grace to soar
Give me wind to glide on
Horizons to explore
Open my eyes so I can see
The vistas in my view
Take me over the mountains
And let me fly with you.

Anthony Foster March 9, 2005

Good for the Heart

15 minutes a day may benefit cardiovascular system Updated: 6:21 a.m. ET March 8, 2005 WASHINGTON - A daily dose of laughter may be good for the heart because, like exercise, it makes blood vessels work more efficiently, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.


Robots creator interview

Think of Chris Wedge as a suburban superhero from his rival Pixar's The Incredibles. He spends his days creating new worlds. Now the 'Ice Age' pioneer tests his limits with an overarching, silly 'Robots' joy ride  


Truth-Telling is Stranger Than It Used to Be

Part Three   [Editor's Note:  Scroll down for Parts One and Two]   Postmodernism represents the unique challenge facing Christianity in this generation. See March 3 link.


Remember smellovision?

It's baaack! Israeli scientists have resurrected the idea, if not the technology at


The original is at http://web.uflib.ufl.edu

along with Odorama by John Water (Polyester, "ODORAMA" technology, 1981)

Speaking of special effects, what's up with the Narnia film?

JoBlo Interview with Effects Supervisor Dean Wright

http://narniafans.com/?id=188 Thanks to Larry for this link!

Eugene Petersen interview in the new CT-Spirituality for All the Wrong Reasons

Eugene Peterson talks about lies and illusions that destroy the church. He says some things you might disagree with, all the more reason to read it...


It's very dangerous to use the language of the culture to interpret the gospel. Our vocabulary has to be chastened and tested by revelation, by the Scriptures. We've got a pretty good vocabulary and syntax, and we'd better start paying attention to it because the way we grab words here and there to appeal to unbelievers is not very good.


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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/