New book! Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus

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West to East and Back Again (Updated)

Pastors, here’s a creative idea. Choose a Christian book to incorporate into a sermon series (4-5 weeks), and make copies available to church members. At the end of the series, invite the author to come and speak. After the service with the author, host a potluck with a Q & A discussion time about the book.

That’s what Discovery Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan has been doing with my new book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus in their series called “West to East and Back Again.” On Sunday, July 15, 2018, they invited me to speak at their 10 AM service. In my talk I reflected on what I learned in the writing of the book, especially about the great commission and my own WEIRDness.

You can listen to Pastor Paul Sausser’s messages at the links below. He is also well-read on Jewish context and has traveled to Israel, and adds many of his own contextual insights to his messages about the book.

Repacking Bags: Tools for the Journey (Luke 24:13-27)

Biblical Thinking: Pictures and Clans (Mark 3:1-6)

Biblical Thinking: Community and Grasshoppers (Numbers 13:31-33; Isaiah 40:12-13)

Reading about the Messiah: In All of Scripture (Psalm 119:11; Luke 20:9-19)

My own talk is here:

Putting Myself into Perspective (Matthew 28:18-20) (The first 8 minutes is prayer for church needs, so you may want to start about 8:13.)

Highlights from Speaking in the UK & Netherlands

What a delightful time I had traveling to the UK and Netherlands June 7-21. I spoke to a total of nine audiences, around 80 – 100 typically, always a few more than the organizers expected. A few folks came from quite a distance. I hadn’t traveled in either country before, so I enjoyed encountering these new places too!

I first led a seminar weekend at Oak Tree Anglican Church in Acton, a suburb of London. My host was Pastor Tim Sudworth, an avid reader of “contextual” insights on the Bible. This youthful, innovative church is situated in a former fire station, and they still have the fire pole! Along with giving some lessons from Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus, I taught on Jesus’ use of Jubilee imagery from Isaiah 61 to describe his ministry.

For a little sight-seeing we took the “Tube” into downtown London to visit Buckingham Palace and watch the changing of the guards. The queen’s flag was flying so we knew she was there, but alas, we didn’t pay her a personal visit.

They also treated me to “high tea” at Fortnum and Mason’s, a high-end department store. They thought that since I write about understanding the Bible in its cultural context, it was appropriate to learn about English culture while I was there. (I felt like I needed to…