A Fresh Look at the HCSB Translation [Video]

I love this new video from the Broadman & Holman Publishing Group about the HCSB. They highlight the primary reasons why the HCSB is the most readable and accurate English translation available.

Some Highlights

  • More than 100 Bible scholars from 17 denominations (What!? Not just a bunch of Southern Baptists?) gave several years of their lives to this translation because they felt the advancements in archaeology, linguistics, and Biblical research were so significant that there needed to be a new translation (not just a revision).
  • Goal was to be the most accurate and readable Bible in the English language.
  • Most translations use the title Lord for God’s personal name. HCSB uses Yahweh over 600 times. Compare Isaiah 42:8 HCSB vs. ESV. (What!? I never knew God had a name!)
  • The Greek word doulos is translated more accurately as “slave” over a hundred times in the HCSB (rather than the more common “servant”). Compare Titus 1:1 HCSB vs. ESV

Four Crucial Habits To Help A New Disciple Form On Day One

Visualize this scenario: You are at a coffee shop sharing Jesus with a friend. He puts his latte on the table and tells you he wants to turn from his sin and follow Jesus.

Once you’ve cleaned up the mess from the macchiato that just came out of your nose, you talk with him about his decision and you welcome him joyfully into the family!

So here’s the question: What now?

If you were only interested in a notch on your evangelistic belt then you might be tempted to outsource this new disciple’s growth to a church program.

If you don’t have time to make disciples then you might just give your new brother a book and send him on his way.

But, if you are serious about fulfilling the Great Commission by making disciples who make disciples, then you need to be intentional about this moment.

In fact, there are four habits that you need to help your new brother (or sister) form before he (or she) pays for your coffee. (Okay, maybe you should pick up the check this time.)

Prediction: Bryant Wright Will Be The One To Rebrand the SBC

I had the opportunity to share some thoughts about the SBC name change task force over at my friend Mark’s blog today. The post is about the task force that the current Southern Baptist Convention president Bryant Wright established to study a name change for the SBC.

I predict Bryant Wright will make this happen because of the timing, the current climate of the SBC, and the people that are a part of the task force. In the article, I share several reasons why I believe Wright will succeed in rebranding the SBC even when others have been trying to do it for half a century.

I also share my top five reasons why I think it’s important that Southern Baptists rebrand. For example,

Reason to Rebrand #1 Half of all Southern Baptists live in 5 Southern states. That won’t change until ‘Southern’ is no longer part of our name. Our name cultivates an “us vs. them” mentality that immediately puts up walls in other areas.

To read the whole post head on over to Mark’s blog.

What do you think about a potential name change? Is it necessary? Will Southern Baptists lose anything by rebranding after 166 years of history? Even if you’re not a Southern Baptist, I’d love to get your thoughts.

Using Email Auto-Responders To Turn Church Shoppers Into Members

I ran across a Church Marketing Sucks post by Amanda Gagnon entitled How to Use E-mail to Bring Back New Visitors.

Amanda writes:

The trick is creating something called a follow up series: a set of auto-delivered e-mails sent to new subscribers, designed to get visitors comfortable with your church. Follow ups are easy to create if you use an e-mail marketing service that provides pre-designed e-mail templates. You can just drop your content in and specify how many days you’d like to go by between messages.

Then every new visitor will receive all the details you’d like to share about your church. That is, after you get their e-mail addresses.

She then goes on to explain a few key strategies for collecting emails from first time visitors, what you might include in a series of auto-responders, and how to ask subscribers if they’d like to continue receiving emails once the series is over.

Benefits of an email auto-responder system

There are a lot of benefits to setting up an email auto-responder system for your church:

The Hardest Place On Earth To Be Like Jesus

I will never smile like this at the dentist

I hate the dentist’s office.

Notice I said I hate the office and not the dentist. My dentist seems very nice. I’m pretty sure she didn’t become a dentist so that she could torture me.

That’s just a guess.

All I know is the dentist’s office is the hardest place on earth for me to be like Jesus. Of course, that’s assuming we could know how he would act since I’m pretty sure he never had to endure a cleaning or a root canal.

For my part, I generally walk into the dentist’s office grumpy and it usually just gets worse from there.

The last time I went to the dentist’s office, the visit was especially frustrating. I got there 15 minutes early and they finally called me in 20 minutes late. I thought I had allotted enough time for some other things I needed to do that morning but the chances of me getting out of the dentist’s office in a timely manner were looking grim right from the start. (There’s always somewhere else I need to be when I’m at the dentist’s office.)

So I’m grumpy. I’m annoyed. And to top it off, when I’m finally brought in, it’s a dental assistant that I haven’t met. It’s always amazing to me how they can ask questions to try and get to know you when it’s impossible to answer:

“Where are you from?”

“Mmmppffh!”

But it never stops them from asking more questions.

And then it happens. The dreaded question that’s going to make me feel guilty for the rest of the week:

Cultural Relevance: How to Engage Culture With Integrity

Me: "I've seen lots of movies. I must be relevant!". Hermione: "Huh?"

Is Christianity still relevant in a postmodern and pluralistic culture?

A lot of Christians pride themselves on how relevant they are. They do their best to understand and empathize with our culture.

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are misguided in their attempts to become more relevant. They watch lots of movies, wear the right clothes, sip expensive lattes, and immerse themselves in CNN and the New York Times thinking they’ve cracked the cultural code.

I love what Ed Stetzer says about “being missional”. He said, “Seems like everyone wants to be missional but when they say “missional” they really mean “edgy,” “innovative,” or “contemporary.”

We should connect with our culture but how do we do so with Biblical and personal integrity? Let’s look at three ways we think we are connecting (but aren’t) and one way to truly connect.

Three ways you might think you are connecting with culture, but probably aren’t

1. You are watching what they are watching

Watch more movies, that’s the answer! Right? TV and movies are like windows into the minds of our neighbors. They must be gifts from God!

That might’ve been a bit sarcastic but pop culture does have some value. Movies like Religulous show us how Christianity is perceived (or caricatured) and points out some of our own faults. Movies like Napolean Dynamite generate a cult following. TV shows often influence the way our culture thinks about sex and relationships.