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Never Stop Believin’

Jonathan Cain By Jonathan Cain

Editor’s note: Taken from Jonathan Caine’s new memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’, this post captures Jonathan’s reflections about former lead singer and co-song writer Steve Perry, with whom he wrote many of Journey’s iconic hits.

There are two ways to look back on the canvas of your life. You can let the dark mistakes and misfortunes cover the bright moments and miracles, or you can let the colors emerge and brilliantly cover the old. I try to do the latter, especially when it pertains to those to whom I’ve been closest. Steve Perry is one such person.

There are many “what ifs” and “should’ve beens” when one looks back on the days in Journey when we waited for word from our lead singer, but there are also the songs we had created. There have always been the songs. Pieces of us put into melodies and threaded together by expressions of love and longing and hurt. So many of these musical pieces have stood the test of time.

When Steve Perry needed a break from Journey after Raised on Radio, there was unfinished business between him and me, just as there had been between John Waite and me. Bad English spelled the end with Waite, as Trial by Fire did with Steve Perry. At least in some ways.

We wrote “When I Think of You” about the passing of Steve’s mother, and I couldn’t help but think of my father as we worked on it. I can focus on the fact that even though it’s one of my favorite ballads, it was never performed live with Steve. Yet I choose to reflect on the majesty of the song, how it put some hope into the world, as did many of our other tunes. I witnessed this hope firsthand when I performed “When I Think of You” at a funeral for a friend from church. As I sang it, I thought of Steve’s wonderful mother.

One of the last songs we wrote for the new album was the title song “Trial by Fire.” Perry said he wanted to write a song about the “jars of clay” passage in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:6–7: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

In so many ways, that was Steve Perry’s life story right there. It’s his “Where have you been, Steve?” song. I think he had finally come to realize how blessed he truly was, and it wasn’t because of his precious mother. He had sung all those songs to her, yet ultimately it was somebody else who wanted his attention and thanks.

This all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

I understood what Steve Perry was talking about, especially since I had come to realize I had spent my life making music for my father—and he was no longer here.

What about me, Jon?

God was telling us something. It wasn’t about our amazing talents or how hard we worked. It was how much Steve and I were blessed, and how Journey had been blessed for many years. Those songs we wrote truly were treasures in jars of clay.

Steve finally got this. It took me a little while before I did too.

While I was wondering what was going on in Steve’s mind when he refused to move, I think God was wondering the same thing about me.

Being in the studio once again with Steve Perry, at work to reclaim our magic, I already knew some important facts about life.

You have to be prepared. You have to keep going down the road ready to jump when your time comes. That’s what I had done my whole career, from moving to Hollywood to deciding to write songs to listening and studying and pondering and trying this and that and wondering what sound or song might work.

After Steve Perry called with the idea of getting Journey back together, I jumped because I was ready. We were excited to see the songs come effortlessly. It was what we loved to do. Every single song we created was like the ones before—written with the desire to create a classic.

As we talked, Steve said something quite profound, something he said often: “Timeless music takes time.”

We both took our craft very seriously. We considered the songs we had written with Neal Schon to be timeless. We never worried about the critics. We wrote to the hearts of those in our audiences who sang our songs with us night after night.

It’s one thing to write hits. But what would it be like to write one that could last for years and even decades?

All I knew was that good songs had to have certain qualities. They needed to go somewhere and take the listeners on a voyage. They had to have a sense of hope, even in seemingly hopeless situations. That’s why the world loves them.

Steve Perry could take a good song and take people along on a trip. He could take a melody and make it soar. This was the beauty and magic of Journey—to take a tune that meant something to people and make it majestic.

Timeless music does indeed take time.

It’s like a father who plants seeds in his children and then waits, watching them take root and then grow. A father waits and hopes, and he never stops believin’.

________

Don't Stop Believin'Taken from Don’t Stop Believin’: The Man, the Band, and the Song That Inspired Generations by Jonathan Cain. Click here to lean more about this title.

From One of the Greatest Bands in History Comes a Reminder to Never Give Up Hope. In this long-awaited memoir, complete with color photographs, songwriter and keyboardist Jonathan Cain takes us on an odyssey from center stage with Journey when all America was listening to songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfully,” and “Open Arms,” to his hope and faith today. He tells of the thrilling moments when the music came together and offers an inside look at why Steve Perry left and the extraordinary story of their gifted new vocalist, Arnel Pineda.

When Jonathan Cain and the iconic band Journey were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cain could say he had finally arrived. But Cain’s journey wasn’t always easy – and his true arrival in life had more to do with faith than fame.

As a child, Cain survived a horrific school fire that killed nearly 100 of his classmates. His experience formed a resilience that would carry him through both tragedy and success. Moving from Chicago to Sunset Boulevard, Cain never let go of his dreams, eventually getting his big break with Journey – and writing the songs that would become the soundtrack of a generation.

Don’t Stop Believin’ is an epic story of one man’s dream that takes you from playing old-country songs at an Italian Deli in Chicago and his experiences with a warm, encouraging father who died too soon, to suddenly writing mega-bestselling songs with some of the most talented musicians and performers ever to take the stage of some of the world’s largest arenas. The song “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the most downloaded song of all time, and is one that has been covered by major television shows and adopted by a whole new generation.

Through a wonderful retrospective of music that takes us right to the present, Jonathan Cain reminds us of the melodies and lyrics that serve as milestones for our biggest dreams as they call us to never stop believing.

Jonathan Cain is a musician best known as the keyboardist and lyricist for the world-renowned band Journey, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His acclaimed worship album, What God Wants to Hear, is filled with personal songs about his faith journey. Jonathan and his wife, Pastor Paula White, live in Apopka, Florida.

Bible News Roundup – Week of April 15, 2018

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Why We Should Read Lesser-Known Versions of the Bible
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Bibles Dating Back to 13th Century To Go on Show in Norwich, England
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Bible Society of Namibia Completes Translating the Bible Into Khoekhoegowab After 14 Years
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Call to Reintroduce Bible Studies in Namibia Schools Grows Louder
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Final Miracle Brings Indigenous New Testament Recording Home to Central Australia
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Bible Society Australia is Launching The Invisible Book Video Contest
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Quiz: Do You Know These Obscure Facts in the Bible? 

25 Extremes of the Bible

What’s the largest assembled army in the Bible? What’s the longest book in the Old Testament? Or, here’s a really challenging one: What’s the longest word in the Bible?

How well do you know the “extremes” in the Bible? From the Old Testament to the New, this quiz tests your Bible trivia knowledge. All answers were collected with the King James Version in mind, which doesn’t effect most of the questions, but there are a few that are made easier with a good knowledge of that specific version.

The quiz itself, though quite difficult (well, I think it’s difficult), is 10 questions long. But, it comes to you as part of Bible Gateway’s celebration of its 25th Anniversary. At the end of the quiz, you can choose to sign up to receive the free and complete list of 25 Bible trivia extremes. It includes verse references, because context is always important, even with facts that you’re just using to impress your friends.

Take the quiz below to see how you do—and challenge your friends and followers to beat your score!

 

 

Mental Health and the Church: An Interview with Stephen Grcevich, MD

Stephen Grcevich, MDWhat barriers do churches encounter when they try to welcome and include families of children, teens, and adults with common mental health conditions or trauma? How should churches structure ministry for those diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, attachment issues, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and other difficulties?

Bible Gateway interviewed Stephen Grcevich, MD (@drgrcevich) about his book, Mental Health and the Church: Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders and Other Common Mental Health Conditions (Zondervan, 2018).

Buy your copy of Mental Health and the Church in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Why did you need to write the book?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: Too many families I encounter through my work struggle to enter into the typical activities that take place at church. There’s been no broadly accepted ministry model for churches to follow if they want to be intentional about including children and adults with mental illness at church.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, How to Achieve Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: An Interview with Peter Scazzero]

Why should churches care about mental health inclusion ministry?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: Persons with mental illness by far and away represent the largest segment of the disabled population, not just in the USA but throughout the world. More than 50 million Americans experience at least one mental health disorder on any given day.

Our attitudes toward persons with mental illness have negatively impacted the perception of the church among outsiders. According to one survey from LifeWay Research, 55% of USA adults who don’t regularly attend church believe that persons with mental illness aren’t welcome at church.

In the book, you suggest that the culture of the church contributes to mental health-related disability. How is that possible?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: Three ways in which mental illness differs from what we typically consider the focus of disability ministry at church is that it tends to be episodic, hidden, and situation-specific. People with common mental conditions may be very successful in a number of areas in life, but struggle greatly to meet certain cultural expectations at church. Examples include persons with social anxiety or persons with conditions associated with sensory processing differences.

Why is church participation often so difficult for individuals and families affected by mental illness?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: The inclusion model we present in Mental Health and the Church is grounded in the recognition of seven common barriers to church participation for persons with mental illness. These barriers include:

  • Stigma
  • Anxiety
  • Executive functioning
  • Sensory processing
  • Social communication
  • Social isolation
  • Past experiences of church

Why is mental illness so stigmatized in the church?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: The Nouthetic counseling movement emerged in the church during the 1960s and ’70s as a reaction to psychological theories and approaches to mental illness that appeared in many ways to be in conflict with traditional understandings of Scripture, especially behaviorism and the moral relativism that runs throughout Rational Emotive therapy. According to the Nouthetic view, as articulated by Jay Adams, mental illness in the absence of a clear organic cause is a manifestation of personal sin. That view still holds significant influence in many of our churches.

What are unique challenges of attending church for someone with an anxiety disorder?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: People with anxiety are “hard-wired” to overestimate the level of risk in new situations. They often fear acting in a manner that will result in embarrassment or humiliation when subject to the scrutiny of others. Consider some of the different ways that might play out at church:

  • Someone visiting a new church for the first time
  • Joining a small group where transparency and self-disclosure are expected
  • Someone with agoraphobia who can’t find an open seat near an exit
  • Someone with contamination fears associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder when the congregation is encouraged to greet one another with handshakes and hugs.

What do you mean by executive functioning and how is it an impediment to church attendance?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: Executive functions are cognitive abilities involved in modulating other abilities and behaviors. Our capacity for self-control, our ability to apply what we learn at church in real life situations, the ability to self-regulate our emotions, to set priorities, to manage time, and to learn from our mistakes all depend upon our executive functioning capacity. The Bible clearly associates many of these attributes with spiritual maturity. Executive functioning capacity is diminished in the presence of a wide variety of mental health conditions.

Parents of kids with executive functioning weaknesses are often judged at church. A parent from my practice once said, “People in the church think they can tell when a disability ends and bad parenting begins.”

What can churches do to help?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: The inclusion model we put forth in the book suggests seven broad inclusion strategies, easily remembered by the acronym “TEACHER:”

  • T: Assemble an inclusion TEAM
  • E: Create welcoming physical ENVIRONMENTS for ministry
  • A: Focus on the ACTIVITIES most critical for spiritual growth
  • C: Develop a mental health COMMUNICATION strategy
  • H: Offer practical HELPS to families both inside and outside of the church
  • E: Offer EDUCATION and support to families affected by mental illness
  • R: Give RESPONSIBILITY for the ministry to the people of your church

Why can’t people with mental illness be served by existing disability or special needs ministries?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: People with mental illness are reluctant to self-identify. They’ll flee any ministry that might draw attention to their differences. What they want most is to be treated like everyone else.

There are two important principles of an effective mental health ministry strategy:

  • It’s a mindset, not a program
  • A well-designed ministry strategy will benefit everyone in the church, not just individuals and families with mental illness.

What should people do if they feel called to launch such a ministry at their churches?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: First, approach your church’s senior pastor or senior leadership to gain their support. If they say no, consider the ways you can develop a personal ministry to individuals with mental illness within your sphere of influence, using the strategies shared in Mental Health and the Church.

What does Key Ministry do and how are you prepared to help churches through this process?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: Key Ministry (@KeyMinistry) helps connect churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. We’ve created several resources specifically for churches looking to implement a mental health ministry initiative:

How does the Bible speak directly to the topic of mental health?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: Many of the figures who played major roles in advancing God’s purposes throughout history as described in Scripture wrestled with thoughts and emotions we might associate with mental illness from a 21st century perspective.

Consider the prophet Elijah: fearful and exhausted, praying in the wilderness for God to take his life (1 Kings 19:3-5).

Or the many places throughout the Psalms in which David describes, anxiety, hopelessness, and despair, accompanied by signs and symptoms frequently associated with depression (Psalm 6, Psalm 13, Psalm 38).

Or Jeremiah, the “weeping” prophet (Jeremiah 20:14-18).

Or the Apostle Paul, who arrived at the point where he despaired of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:4-8).

I find it remarkable that so many of people who were used by God throughout Scripture to perform great works experienced periods of intense distress and adversity while serving God that would likely be indicative of mental illness today.

What biblical principles are foundational for properly relating to people with mental health issues?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: I think the story relayed in the book of Job is a wonderful illustration of important biblical principles around caring for others impacted by mental illness. In addition to the incredible relational and material losses and physical suffering Job experienced, we get a detailed picture of his overwhelming mental anguish in chapter 30.

One key principle we recognize in Job is that personal righteousness doesn’t offer protection from suffering, including the suffering associated with mental illness. A second principle is that we may never understand in this lifetime God’s purposes in allowing ourselves to experience a particular type of suffering. Job never found out from God why he had to endure all he endured. The story also illustrates the importance of reflecting the true nature and character of God as we support others experiencing mental illness.

Many well-meaning Christians have unintentionally caused great pain and driven people away from the comfort and support of the church through their insistence that mental illness is necessarily the result of a lack of faith or a failure to recognize or repent of some personal sin. Scripture is clear that mental illness is sometimes a result of personal sin: King Saul, Nebuchadnezzar, and the episode involving King David in Psalm 38 serve as examples. Nevertheless, it’s incredibly presumptuous of us to assume we can discern God’s purposes in someone else’s distress. We need to be very careful before concluding that someone’s mental state is indicative of a spiritual problem as opposed to a medical condition or disorder involving the brain.

One additional principle consistently on display throughout Scripture is that godly men and women turned to God for comfort during times of mental anguish or distress. Is it possible that God allows us to experience such distress because our discomfort serves as an impetus for drawing us into a closer relationship with him?

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: Only one? I’m going to pick two for the purpose of this conversation. Let’s start with John 9:1-3: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Jesus challenged the common understandings of disability throughout his earthly ministry. On any given day, in excess of 50 million children and adults in the USA experience symptoms of one or more mental health conditions. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if the church became more intentional about welcoming and including them for the purpose of sharing the gospel with them and making them disciples? What if their mental health disability brings them to a place where they might use their gifts and talents to honor God and fulfill his purposes?

The other Scripture passage is Mark 2:1-12, describing the actions of the four friends of a man with paralysis who cut a hole in the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching out of their determination to get their friend into Jesus’ presence. What are we willing to do to get our friends and loved ones impacted by disability into the presence of Jesus—persons with physical, intellectual, developmental, emotional or behavioral conditions that make it difficult for them to experience Jesus through the ministries of a local church?

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Stephen Grcevich, MD: I’ve found Bible Gateway to be an indispensable resource for my writing and personal study. I struggle to memorize Scripture by chapter and verse, but remember specific themes or key words in the context of larger passages. The ability to quickly locate a larger passage of Scripture or a specific verse quickly through Bible Gateway’s search function in multiple translations is very valuable. People with a broad range of common mental health conditions, including ADHD, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders may struggle more than others with specific memory tasks and functions. The availability of a resource like the Bible Gateway App helps them to more fully participate in Bible studies and other Christian education activities.


Mental Health and the Church is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Dr. Stephen Grcevich (MD, Northeast Ohio Medical University) serves as the founder and president of Key Ministry. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who combines over 25 years of knowledge gained through clinical practice and teaching with extensive research experience evaluating medications prescribed to children and teens for ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Grcevich has been a presenter at over 35 national and international medical conferences and is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

In his role as president of Key Ministry, Steve serves the primary vision caster and spokesperson for Key and plays an important role in Key’s efforts to develop collaborations with church leaders, professionals and organizations both within and outside the disability ministry movement. He is responsible for strategy and oversees the implementation of Key’s ministry plan. He regularly blogs at Church4EveryChild and frequently speaks at national and international ministry conferences on mental health and spiritual development. He is the author of Mental Health and the Church.

Steve and his wife Denise live in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. They have two daughters – Leah is married, lives in Alabama and is in the process of applying to medical school, and Mira attends Belmont University and is majoring in psychology. Steve’s work serves as a distraction from the abysmal performance of Cleveland’s professional sports teams.

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How to Live The Bible — What Are the Ten Commandments?

howtostudythebible

This is the twenty-second lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.

Just released: A Book of Prayers for Kids by Mel Lawrenz (a perfect Easter gift for the kids you know and love).


“Do you believe in the value of the Ten Commandments?”

“Yes.”

“Do you follow the Ten Commandments?”

“Well… I try my best.”

“How many of the Ten Commandments can you name?”

(Blank stare.)

That is a conversation that might unfold almost anywhere.
How To Live the Bible Mt. Sinai illustration

There are few statements of life principle that have the historic influence of the Ten Commandments. Some churches have children memorize them, they come up all the time in literature, and they are sculpted on the north and south friezes of the pediment of the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, and in other official buildings.

Some would say that, if you want a moral foundation for all of life, you need look no further than the Ten Commandments.

What exactly are the Ten Commandments? And what significance do they have today?

They appear both in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, described as direct words from God to the people through their leader Moses. In Hebrew they are called the ten words (Hebrew: aseret ha-d’varîm). Later generations described them as commandments because they clearly were a summary of God’s order for life.

But context is everything when we try to understand a biblical text. The Ten Commandments are not merely ten laws dropped into history. They are not a list of top priorities. They certainly are not a formula for manufacturing personal righteousness.

These “ten words” were the central divine voice at a turning point in the life of God’s people. Several months after Moses led the tribe of the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, they were encamped at the site of Mount Sinai in a desolate wilderness. There God met them. There God spoke to the people through Moses. And there, at Mount Sinai, God established a covenant with his people. It was almost like the initiation of a marriage. Solemn words of commitment were expressed. The “Book of the Covenant” was given. The “blood of the covenant,” coming from animals sacrificed, signaling a most serious commitment, was sprinkled on the altar and the people. In the midst of a complex and awe-inspiring exchange between God and human beings, these ten words became a landmark expression of covenant life with God.

Exodus 20:1-17 says:

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

(A minor point: there is some disagreement as to how to divide up this passage into ten commands, which is why the numbering of them differs between Jewish, Lutheran, Catholic, and other Protestant traditions.)

Let’s begin with some basic observations.

First, this revelation begins with the character and the saving acts of God. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.” These are not ten abstract laws, or rules of behavior like we find in the Code of Hammurabi or the writings of Confucius. They are expressions of the moral character of God. They are about devotion, respect, integrity, and generosity.

Second, we should not let the formula “you shall not” make us think of the Ten Commandments as negative, limiting regulations. “You shall not” marks boundaries which keep us on the side of life, safety, and prosperity. On the other side of a “no” is an enlivening “yes.”

Third, the “ten words” are all about covenant relationships: humanity with God, and people with each other. The Ten Commandments define a lifestyle of harmonious relationships. They describe the good life, and the safe life.

[to be continued]

________________

Available now: Knowing Him: Devotional Readings About the Cross and Resurrection by Mel Lawrenz. Get it now.

________________

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Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, including How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

Why the Apostle Paul Is One of My Heroes

Choco De JesúsBy Choco De Jesús

The best example of someone who was called for more and constantly lived out of the more God had for him was Paul. His story amazes and inspires me. When I think I can’t do something or I have to do something I don’t want to do, I remember Paul and go back and read his writings again.

The dramatic encounter Paul had with God transformed him from Saul, the murderous persecutor of Christ-followers, into Paul, the fearless global preacher of the gospel. This powerful change is reason enough to admire him, but it’s not why I return to Paul’s life and writings again and again. The reason I love Paul so much is because he learned that to experience God’s more, we must focus less on ourselves. Life wasn’t about what was in it for him but what was in it for the kingdom. Because he was marked for more and called to more by God, Paul experienced contentment no matter what the circumstances of his life might be.

Writing to the community of Christians in Philippi, Paul concluded his letter by thanking the believers there for supporting him and his ministry, presumably with gifts of money, food, and supplies. But right after expressing his gratitude, he also made it clear that he was fine whether they were able to support him or not:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have
learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know
what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have
plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any
and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether
living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him
who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:11–13)

The guy writing this is the same man who endured shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment, earthquakes, and persecution for the sake of the gospel. We don’t know whether Paul had a cushy life before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, but we do know he definitely didn’t have one afterward. When you study Paul’s life, you discover he was the type of guy who didn’t question God when things went wrong. He embraced the storms. He didn’t doubt his faith when events didn’t turn out the way he wanted them to turn out. He always had a greater perspective of his life and his circumstances. He always knew that God was in control. He never lost heart.

Paul addressed people in all spectrums of life and tried to reach them right where they were. He could relate to wealthy leaders and to imprisoned slaves, to Gentiles as well as Jews, women as well as men. He wrote, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. . . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:19, 22).

I remind myself along with those in our church to remember Paul’s humility and willingness to relate to others, regardless of their differences. In our present polarized culture, we would all do well to follow Paul’s example. Our differences shouldn’t prevent us from respecting, relating, and reaching out to one another. Paul made this very clear: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Even though he could relate with everyone, Paul never compromised his convictions about God’s truth and the power of the gospel. Paul was sold out to God and loved people enough not to pull any punches. He was tired of the religion thing because he had already done that in his old life as Saul, and it only led to legalism and a performance-based faith that felt impossible to fulfill.

When he spoke, when he evangelized—whether in person or in his letters—he communicated with great passion, conviction, and sincerity. And Paul never told people what they necessarily wanted to hear; he told them what they needed to hear—reminding them of both their sinfulness as well as God’s grace and mercy.

Paul considered himself blameless until he met Jesus. Then he realized that none of us can follow God’s law perfectly and save ourselves. That’s why God sent his Son to die on the cross—because we could not pay the price, because he loved us so much. “For God so loved the world . . .” (John 3:16). Paul moved from life in the law to life in the Spirit. He learned to live by grace instead of works, to extend grace instead of holding people captive in legalism. He learned to let go of who he had been to become who God made him to be.

Choco De Jesús is senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church, one of the fastest growing churches in Chicago. A graduate of Trinity University and North Park Theological Seminary, De Jesús is sought after as a motivational speaker throughout the nation and abroad. In 2013, De Jesús was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He is an Executive Presbyter with the Assemblies of God Church. De Jesús lives in the Humboldt Park community of Chicago, with his wife, Elizabeth; they have three adult children.

New Children’s Bible Includes 1,000 Bible Quiz Questions: An Interview with Troy Schmidt

Troy SchmidtQuizzing can be a fun way to learn unfamiliar topics. That concept is now applied in a Bible specifically designed for kids ages 8-12.

The full-feature NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible (Zonderkidz, 2018) offers children a challenging experience as they delve into the Bible. On each page are quiz questions for readers to uncover answers in all the books of the Bible. Questions such as, “What did God create on the third day?” “What were the first clothes in the Bible made from?” “Who committed the first murder in the Bible?”

Buy your copy of the NIV Kids' Quiz Bible in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every dayIt also includes a pronunciation guide for difficult to pronounce names, like Methuselah (Meh-THU-sah-la), Japheth (JA-fifth), and Manasseh (Muh-NASS-uh). The Bible is the complete text of the New International Version (NIV) Bible translation.

Bible Gateway interviewed editor Troy Schmidt (@troyeschmidt) about the NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible.

What makes this kids Bible different from other Bibles?

Troy Schmidt: The NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible has a trivia question on every page of the Bible. With over 1,000 questions, it’s full of interesting information to stir a child’s curiosity about the Bible.

Most Bibles have something at the beginning of the book and on an occasional page here or there…but every page? This Bible was designed to interact with the child. It’s not something that will just sit on the shelf and collect dust, but be used to challenge and inspire a child to look through page after page of God’s Word.

What will this Bible teach children?

Troy Schmidt: The NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible will teach kids the facts about the Bible. It’ll create a curiosity about every page of the Bible, as kids search to find the answers. People know about the Bible and can maybe name a handful of books. It shows kids that there are interesting facts in all 66 books of the Bible.

Why should parents buy this Bible?

Troy Schmidt: Parents should always be looking for a way to get their child into the Bible so the Bible can get into their child’s heart. The NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible uses the quiz function to get them to turn to every page, discovering not only facts, but truths.

How should this Bible best be used to get the most out of it?

Troy Schmidt: Both kids and their parents will learn and discover while reading this Bible together. Let’s be honest, most parents admit they don’t know the Bible as well as they should. This Bible gives them a tool to self-teach while they teach their children. A parent should turn to a page, read a question, and let the child find the answer. This will create discussion and hopefully deeper understanding.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Troy Schmidt: Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Many times in my life I felt God had given up on me. But I leaned on this verse to remind myself that I have a purpose. This Bible is a dream come true and proved to me that I should never give up on writing. God’s plans are always best.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Troy Schmidt: I use the Bible Gateway App all the time. So easy to use and accessible because I have my phone with me all the time. As for Bible Gateway, it’s open all the time on my computer when I’m studying the Bible or writing about it. It’s helped me find the perfect verse in no time.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Troy Schmidt: We don’t just want kids to read the Bible. We want them to search the Bible for answers. Later in life when they’re in a tough place, it’ll hopefully be the Bible where they go to and discover a way out of darkness and into the light. I want the NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible to plant that seed and create a habit of seeking and finding when they open the pages of the Bible.


NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Troy Schmidt, editor of the NIV Kids’ Quiz Bible, is a writer with credits in publishing, television, and video. Some of the highlights of his career include producer of The American Bible Challenge, writer of the Hermie & Friends series by Max Lucado, and writer for The Mickey Mouse Club. Troy is a campus pastor at First Baptist Church of Windermere, FL, where he has worked since 1997. He has written a number of books for children and inspirational books for adults.

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Watch This Video Tutorial for Ideas on How To Integrate Bible Gateway Features

Watch the brief tutorial video below that explains how you can easily utilize and integrate many of Bible Gateway's helpful features all at once!Bible Gateway has many free features to help you read and study the Bible. Some of those features may seem tricky to get the hang of. On top of that, you may have heard about our Bible Gateway Plus membership program that’s designed to seamlessly integrate your Scripture reading with a vast treasure trove of verse-relevant study notes.

It can all start to seem a tad overwhelming if you’re not used to the site. And maybe even if you are!

That’s why we created this brief tutorial video explaining how you can easily utilize and integrate many of those features—all at once! We want you to feel comfortable using Bible Gateway so that you can read and study the Bible in the way that best fits your needs. And if you’re a member of Bible Gateway Plus, we want to enable you to develop a clear understanding of the material available to you that enhances your Bible learning even more!

So, enjoy this video, and don’t forget to check our our Bible Gateway Plus page!

(Note: you may want to toggle the resolution to an HD setting in the YouTube window for best image results.)

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Cherishing the Bible’s Complexity Using Sidebar Study Notes in Bible Gateway Plus]

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Understand Your Bible Better: How to Use Commentaries, Study Bibles, and More at Bible Gateway]

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New Minister’s Bible Includes Clergy Resources for Life Events

Buy your copy of the Minister’s Bible in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

The new Minister’s Bible from Thomas Nelson (@NelsonBibles) uniquely equips busy pastors for every occasion, with sermons, readings, outlines, and prayers.

Click to enlarge this image of the Minister’s Bible resource section with thumb index[See Bible Gateway’s Resource Page for Pastors]

Available in both the King James Version (KJV) and New King James Version (NKJV) Bible translation Comfort Print® fonts, it’s the only Bible to contain the complete text of the bestselling Nelson’s Minister’s Manual, which is conveniently set between the Old and New Testaments. A single thumb index at the middle of the Bible offers quick navigation to the Minister’s Manual. These Bibles are designed to help pastors and church leaders meet the needs of those in their congregations.

[Sign up to receive the KJV or NKJV Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway]

[Read the King James Version (KJV) Bible translation on Bible Gateway]

“The Minister’s Bible is a one-stop resource for church leaders,” says Daniel Marrs, publisher, Thomas Nelson Bible Group. “Covering a wide range of pastoral care situations—including weddings, funerals, communion services, baptisms, and various counseling situations—this is the perfect daily companion for those who’ve dedicated themselves to being ready to meet the needs of God’s people.”

[Read the New King James Version (NKJV) Bible translation on Bible Gateway]

Buy your copy of the Minister’s Bible in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Features of the Minister’s Bible (website) include:

  • Complete text of both the trustworthy and beautiful King James Version (KJV) and New King James Version (NKJV) Bible translations, perfect for devotional and worship settings
  • Exclusive KJV and NKJV Comfort Print® fonts for easier reading
  • Comprehensive collection of pastoral resources, located between the Testaments—prayers, sermons, outlines, and more
  • Sewn, lay-flat binding to ensure easy, one-handed use
  • Three satin ribbon markers to quickly navigate between favorite passages and resources
  • Elegant, durable, understated covers, appropriate for any ministry setting
  • 9-point print size

The Minister’s Bible is available with all black text or red letter editions, in bindings of genuine leather, leathersoft, and ebook.


The Minister’s Bible is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


About the KJV
In 1611, the King James Version Bible, also known as the Authorized Version, was published. Revisions made at Cambridge in 1762 and at Oxford in 1769 standardized the text, ensuring that the King James Version would remain immensely readable for generations to come. Today, more than 400 years since its initial publication, the bestselling King James Version Bible continues to inspire, encourage, and strengthen people from all walks of life. The KJV is considered one of the most influential and beautiful works of literature in the English language and continues to be the favorite translation for millions of Christians.

About the NKJV™
Commissioned in 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 130 respected Bible scholars, church leaders, and lay Christians worked for seven years to create a completely new, modern translation of Scripture, yet one that would retain the purity and stylistic beauty of the original King James. With unyielding faithfulness to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts, the NKJV translation applies the most recent research in archaeology, linguistics, and textual studies.

About Comfort Print®
Comfort Print® is an exclusive new family of fonts expertly designed to allow your eyes to relax as they flow smoothly along the lines of text. To learn more about the new Comfort Print® fonts, visit www.ComfortPrintBibles.com.

About Thomas Nelson
Thomas Nelson is a world leading publisher and provider of Christian content and has been providing readers with quality inspirational product for more than 200 years. As part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the publishing group provides multiple formats of award-winning Bibles, books, gift books, cookbooks, curriculum and digital content, with distribution of its products in more than 100 countries. Thomas Nelson, is headquartered in Nashville, TN. For additional information visit www.thomasnelson.com.

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