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Prophecy Series Begins Soon!

February 5, 2011 in Announcements, Headlines, Twitters

By: Kyle McCallum

The stage is being set for the most cataclysmic events the world has ever seen— events the Bible promised would come.

The Bible presents more than 900 prophecies on the second coming of Christ. This is nearly three times as many prophecies regarding the first coming! God presents a clear picture of the world in its death throes.

Prophecies in Daniel, Revelation, Matthew, and other books paint a picture of a darkened world in the future. A world filled with unrest, disease, immorality, strife, and war. The Bible says that if the end times were not cut short by the second coming of Jesus, the world would literally destroy itself.

Never before modern times has this even been possible. Nuclear weapons make worldwide destruction not only possible, but a real threat. New diseases are springing up all over the third world and spreading. Recent economic trouble is also a threat to our normal daily life. The story of humanity is speeding towards a dreadful climax and a joyful conclusion.

The Bible has proved over and over again to be a reliable historical source. Hundreds of manuscripts carbon dated hundreds of years before Christ’s birth give specific details about the messiah’s first coming. Jesus was the only one to fulfill these prophecies and could only do so because he is God in the flesh.

Join us as we begin our series on prophecy titled “The Writing on the Wall.” Keith McCallum and others will investigate Biblical prophecy and its relation to modern-day events and prophecies that have already been fulfilled. In a world filled with uncertainty, the Bible provides hope. It’s easy to feel anxious or worried watching these events unfold in the news, but understanding prophecy helps to develop confidence in the Lord in the worst of times.

Some topics we will cover:

  • God’s kingdom come
  • A one-world ruler
  • The re-gathering of Israel
  • Christ’s first coming foretold
  • The last world war

The series starts Saturday, February 19!

IP Unites to Serve India Missions

January 29, 2011 in Headlines, Ministries

By Laura Brown

Barefoot pastor teaching the Gospel in India

As members of the body of Christ, we have the privilege of serving others in the Lord’s name. India Gospel League offers just such anopportunity. IGL’s goal is to facilitate heart change by bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to rural India through indigenous leaders reaching out to others in their own country. (www.iglworld.org)

IGL offers several different sponsorships to choose from, including Bible students, barefoot pastors, child sponsorships, and nursing students. All of these sponsorships are doable for any home church. For example, sponsoring a child is only $30.00 a month and for a home church of 20 people that is only $1.50 a month per person. More than 60 percent of children live on less than this amount every day. That is the equivalent of buying $5 pops at Circle K, one tank of gas, or about half of a foot-long sub. Can you spare things such as these for a lost child?

Identity Project is currently supporting two Bible students, D. Rani and K.M. Immanuel Dhass. $50 per month provides each with housing, food, and the education. They send us letters about their ministry, such as quarterly updates about what’s going on with them what they need prayer for, pictures, and even Christmas cards. It gives us college students a chance to give and appreciate what we have. It helps us realize that we are part of a body of Christ much larger than just in northeast Ohio, and that others around the world need our help.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners

Advanced Bible Begins 9/29

September 24, 2010 in Headlines

Everyone is excited about it! Read why!

Commonly known as “LTC”, or “Leadership Theology Class” (but really Leadership Bible Class) for graduates of Basic Doctrine, the class is especially vital for those engaged in teaching, leading and discipleship ministries.  In fact, it is a requirement for members of the DMT (Deacon’s Ministry Team) in our ministries—but only for those who never completed all the LTC courses before. For LTC grads, we will be launching some Challenge Groups soon.

The class begins at 7:30 pm, September 29th, and will be held every other Wednesday for six sessions. Keith McCallum will teach the first week, but this year we are adding Joel Hughes, Mark Michalek and Greg Morscher to the LTC teaching rotation.

The LTC teachers have been meeting for about five months, pouring over the history of theology and other advanced topics in preparation for teaching this class, so students should expect some delightful insights from this session of LTC. The rotation of teachers is a new approach, but is helping us to equip advanced teachers for advanced students.

The class obviously adds some burdens to everyone’s already-busy schedule, but without adequate Bible training, the work of Christian ministry can be quite fruitless and impotent. Spiritual authority is the result, in large part, of deeper biblical knowledge. We are so fortunate to see so many new believers coming out of the World System, and so many ministry opportunities opening up, but all this comes with a price—namely, the need for more competent teachers and leaders.

All students must:

  • Have a NASB with the side-margin cross-references and translation notes in the NASB.
  • Take teaching notes from Central Teachings (that is, teachable outlines).

So gear up, clear the schedules, do whatever is necessary to get your biblical wisdom built-up!

From Outlaw Faith to Monarch Faith

September 23, 2010 in Headlines

“Exactly what is ‘Outlaw Faith’?”

That’s the question I often get asked when talking about the difference between Traditional Christianity (yuk!) and Outlaw Christianity (hurray!). In response, I squint my eyes (usually from the smoke of my pipe, but sometimes to look real intimidating) and with considerable coolness, I ask, “You don’t know?”

“No, I don’t know.”

“Well,” I say, tapping my pipe thoughtfully, “that pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?” (And I return to squinting and puffing again.) Nine out of 10 times, that’s all I have to do.

Occasionally the obnoxious-type will keep pressing me…“What do you mean by that?

And for that person I would say, “Study the life of King David–then we’ll talk.” Again, this is hugely effective for 9o% of my stubborn “Outlaw Faith” inquiries.

But some will ask, “Why study David?” And others come back and say, “OK, I’ve studied David, so what is ‘Outlaw Faith’?”

So I know I’m in real trouble now. As a result, I’ve been studying David’s life now for about a month and headed down to Columbus to get a collection of teachings from my mother, who taught a series on David about 25 years ago.

The Columbus Connection

“There’s really no more than three teachings on David,” mom said. “After a point, it’s all about David killing people!” (What’s the problem with that?)

So I’m pretty dismayed, but still hopeful as I head south, because I know there’s more than three teachings on David, and maybe we can dig deeper and get past mom’s aversion to David’s warrior-ways. After all, he occupies about 30% of the Old Testament, so he’s the primary character in the Old Testament. Across the entire Bible, only the life of Jesus occupies more material. Three teachings!?

The next thing I know, I’m sitting in the emergency room with mom, waiting for service (for hours) for my bruised ribs, and we look at her David series…she has 150 pages of teaching notes!

Check it out--a beheaded Goliath is one of the many thrills in this series.

“You taught all this in three teachings?” I ask, amazed (with visions of the groans I receive whenever I go past 35 minutes in my Central Teachings—I could cover this material in three sessions if each session was 4 hours long!).

Mom shakes her head in amazement. “I’m glad you made me go through this. I forgot how much material I had here.” (She’s almost 90 years old.) She will be teaching a David series this fall in the 4 Challenge Groups she leads  in Columbus. So we spent four days pouring through her 150 pages of material and five books on David she has in her library. Now I’ve got more material than I need. All told, she had about 20 teachings on David’s life (which we will cut down, of course).

The Plan Takes Shape

The plan is to cover David’s life over the course of this Fall season, and there is plenty of good material to work from. Read 1 and 2 Samuel to see what I mean.

David’s life is really a great answer the original question, “What is ‘Outlaw Faith’?” We see the difference between David living as an outlaw, on the run and hiding from persecution by King Saul, for no good reason except that David trusted God, and Saul didn’t. The way he handled things often is not exemplary, but David had the right heart, according to Paul:

“‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’  Acts 13:22 (NASB)

David was unafraid of standing up for God, despite tremendous opposition and pressures that would scare even the strongest among us. Yet David held a courageous faith all throughout most of his life, until he settled into a successful reign as King himself. Then we see spiritual corruption compromising his courageous faith. I think the appropriate title for this study of contrasts is, “From Outlaw Faith to Monarch Faith,” and it really helps explain the spiritual weakness so typical in American Christianity.

We at NeoXenos obviously are not immune from settling into the comforts and compromise of Monarch Faith, because we live in a world of great prosperity. Christian Tribalism is perhaps the greatest blight on the face of modern Christianity. The Christian Tribal Family Unit is a hotbed for self-indulgence and a very self-enclosed, self-protective world which cares little for the plight of outsiders. We love to build our own little kingdoms. The greatest problem with such a quest for security is the loss of God’s security which only comes through faith and dependence on Him, not from the strength of our own human kingdom. God’s Kingdom operates by principles and powers completely different than our petty human kingdoms.

The study begins in October (10/2), and should prove to be not only insightful, but hopefully very dramatic. Each week will be another story of blood, gore, victorious faith, God’s love, chopped-off heads, dismembered bodies, and many of the elements that will compete with the best of Prime Time television.

XSI: Sign Up Now!

May 23, 2010 in Headlines

If you don’t sign up, you’ll be frustrated like Neil Brooks in this photo when you can’t get the NeoXenos discount anymore!

KEITH McCALLUM TO VISIT WEST COAST

March 3, 2010 in Headlines

The new & improved Keith McCallum

Elaine Stedman, Pastor Ray Stedman’s wife, calls Keith McCallum “the Firebrand from Ohio.” He will be flying out from Columbus to San Francisco the third week in March.  Keith has been on the forefront of Christian radicalism for thirty years. You can read more about him on his magazine’s web-site link and a little about his plans to visit the West Coast at link. I’m looking forward to meeting him and am planning to drive down to the Bay Area when he flies in – probably with Lambert Dolphin at PBC (Penninsula Bible Church) the church Ray Stedman led for close to thirty years.

Please be in prayer for his visit. Keith’s vision closely corresponds to mine.  He too has been touched deeply by the Luke 14 vision; however, instead of calling those who attend the the supper “the dispossessed,” he calls them the “disestablished” – and includes not just the “down-and-outers,” but students as well – calling them the “unestablished” – meaning persons not yet invested in the “here and now.”  We both place little stock in the “established” – meaning persons who are deeply invested in the “here-and-now” and have, therefore, little interest and little time for the gospel. Keith has played a pivotal role in raising up a church that ministers to almost five thousand persons in and around the Ohio State campus in Columbus. (I’m looking forward next year to Cal, my alma mater, thrashing Ohio State in football.)

Ready to Zing?

July 27, 2009 in Headlines

One of several protoypes for the KSU student ads

Let’s pray to get the fires started!

Does anyone have some matches?

A lighter?

How about a blowtorch?

Let’s start praying the ’09 school year will have more ZING than last year! Remember last year:

Way to go! Is it even possible for 2009 to be more turbulent?

Way to go, NeoXenos! Is it even possible for 2009 to be more turbulent?

Are you ready if He answers our prayer?

We removed “the wraps” off the NeoZine and CBS.org Web sites, and even RevolutionaryJoy.org is quasi-functional as a decent welcome mat!

Why does it matter? Because we want to launch this year with a clear message and light some fires in this dark corner of the planet: Jesus Christ combats religion with a Revolution-of-the-heart!

But we need more voices speaking up!

Can you stop by the NeoZine.org and post some Xenos-style comments on the articles, please? It would help so much to add just one or two thoughts, and they don’t have to complicated or profound. We are ready to invite public participation and build a base of subscribers. There is so much awesome material ready to publish, and much of it from our talented and witty Bloggers at NeoBlogs, too.

The Love Ethics and Scarlet Thread sections are next.

The CBS Grand Opening!

Tom Smith and Bryan Bassett worked tirelessly on the all-new CBS.org Web site to get it ready for returning students, and they also need your help and comments at their site.

Soon we will run a few ads in the KSU student newspaper to grab Christian students looking for a Revolution, before they get chomped by the jaws and teeth lurking in KSU classrooms, Frat parties, and Emergent churches!

We need another serious prayer session as we head into this school year–and we’re going to do it in a couple weeks, so keep posted!

In the meanwhile, go check out NeoZine.org and the CBS.org!

Twitter Me Timbers!

June 19, 2009 in Headlines

Get the Twitter scoop – sign up for Twitter and follow RevolutionOfJoy and  NeoXenos to get updates!

RevolutionOfJoy at Twitter

Revolution Of Joy at Twitter

So what’s the diff?

  • NeoXenos Twitters about Basecamp and NeoXenos-specific events; things of little interest outside NeoXenos.
  • RevolutionOfJoy Twitters about the NeoZine & RevolutionOfJoy.org Web sites, articles, updates, etc., and is (hopefully) useful for those not in NeoXenos itself.

Ready for a Non-Retreat Retreat?

February 5, 2009 in Headlines

Our meeting room - Greg wanted the pink flowers.

The Fiscal Support Team normally meets this weekend to “Review, Plan, and Pray” (RP&P).  But, “Things just ain’t the same ’round here,” someone recently said about NeoXenos, and they’re so right!

We’re spending two days in RP&P, beginning February 6th (this Friday), and ending Sunday morning. So many ministries, so much growth, so many changes, and yet so little time!  Yet by the end of the weekend everyone should get at least a good picture of what God’s doing here, if not a clear picture.

Many conversations will swirl around this area over the weekend, for sure. Got kids? Bring it on! We're lining up some babysitters.

Lessons from Veggie Tales

Phil Vischer, the Veggie Tales man.

Phil Vischer, the founder of Veggie Tales, provides an excellent framework for our discussions (listen to his cool lecture online). Phil rose to great international prominence through Veggie Tales and the ministry he built around it. But then his business crashed, and he landed in a one-man office sitting alone, day after day, for over a year, wondering what happened. He was so full of vision! Where did it all go?

He once lived by this passage:

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…  Proverbs 29:18

After the business collapsed, he was so defeated. Why did God give him such a powerful vision for ministry, only to end in such disaster? “How could God stand back from something that was doing so much good, and watch it collapse?” he wondered.

[callout style='float: left']Quick Links: Hotel Accommodations, Veggie Tales Speech used, below.[/callout]

For a year he struggled in failure until he finally figured out Proverbs 29:18 — he understood it incorrectly.  It didn’t teach that we should devise a “vision” and push it, the way a business might create a vision for a product line. The word really is “revelation,” as in “God’s revelation.” And there was his problem: he was pushing Phil’s vision, not following God’s revelation. The verse actually reads, “Where there is no revelation, the people are drawn away.”

Phil’s story is a marvelous description of what we face here at NeoXenos in 2009. Our vision for this ministry is really quite paltry and unimportant compared to God’s revelation about this ministry. Phil quotes C.S. Lewis on the issue: “He who has God plus many things has nothing more than he who has God alone.” What a sober reminder of what makes life work!

And this is the task before us for this FST Non-Retreat: not to create a vision or great plans for our future. Rather, we need to understand what God is revealing about our ministry, how God has been leading us, and thus our future comes into better focus. Frankly, we’re forced into a position of “planning without plans” in this ministry, because everything we’ve seen and experienced in the past year has been largely unanticipated, but certainly not unwelcome!

It’s all very exciting, but do we appreciate why it’s working so well? Certainly it isn’t any human genius at work here.

Great Expectations

The minigolf course is an essential tool for planning sessions.

The approach for this year’s retreat is very open-handed, asking for God’s revelation. Much has already been given, quite generously. But do we appreciate it, and can we articulate it? This is the challenge for leaders and workers in every ministry this weekend. We’re starting over at NeoXenos — but not really, because we’ve already started something, or perhaps it’s better to say God has already started something, and we’re playing catch-up.

Can we survive another year of so many changes and new directions? Yes! We should pray for something so great! Having tasted the excitement of God’s revelation like this past year, it’s impossible to return to plotting our own course, no matter how exciting our vision may be.

Here’s the lineup and proposed approach for this FST Non-Retreat:

  • Friday, 8 pm – Keith and Mark lead us into a Bible study to grasp two major currents that are carrying us along: Meetings Without Boundaries, and Dangerous Christianity. Hopefully we will have the “Battle for the Bible” DVD available for understanding an historical framework for these two currents.
  • Saturday, 10 am – Brief summary of discoveries from the recent retreat with the Sphere Leader’s Under-shepherd Ministry (SLUM). This includes some radical material from Roland Allen’s famous books, “Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?” and “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church.” Then a brief overview of our financial picture by spiritual hit-man Greg Morscher, so we can make some financial pledges for the upcoming year.
  • Saturday day & afternoon – for some, just plain fun; for our ministry groups, the opportunity to talk and prepare for the evening’s presentations; for one-and-all, a period of badly-needed, carefree fellowship (without demonstrators outside, perhaps).
  • Saturday 7pm – ministry group presentations and reviews.
  • Sunday ??am – A surprise that will be remembered for some time to come! (Led by Joel & Co.)

This is a Non-Retreat Retreat because we are in fact pushing forward this weekend to break new ground and rejoice together as a fellowship over the great advances the Lord has brought us!

BE SURE TO LINE UP YOUR OWN HOTEL ROOM! You may not think so now, but you’ll find yourself growing less and less inclined to leave the Holidome once you get there! There’s not only a vast pool, but also miniature golf, ping-pong, pool tables, and many other countless distractions and ways to enjoy the Non-Retreat!

Read more about it and get the details from our Talk Line!

Grab a bed while available! BE SURE TO ASK FOR THE $70 XENOS PRICE! And no jumping on the beds!

Joy to the World!

December 24, 2008 in Headlines

Rockin the Rusty Nail with some real joy!

Did you know “joy” is used almost 200 times in the New Testament? Did you know “joy” is the most frequent word used in the Bible to describe Christian life?

Christians are truly God’s “Joy to the World,” like we saw at the “2008 Christmas Gala.” It was a record-breaking celebration of joy with almost 200 people! A contagious enthusiasm called “joy” filled the room (especially evident in dancing later). I think our Gala rocked more than any office party, and without the liquor! (Well, liquor was available at the Rusty Nail but I didn’t see anyone guzzling it. Did you?)

We lost our meeting place, a newspaper reporter was there investigating us (but he seems to like us), we still don’t know where or when we’ll meet again, and yet it was truly a Gala Christmas affair, by all accounts. How can anyone explain this, unless they understand the history of Christianity?

The Christian Legacy of Joy

Almost 200 people came to the Gala!

From the beginning Christian history is littered with the same unconquerable joy, like these people: “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials!” (1 Peter 1:6). The same weird thing happened when the officials “called in the apostles and had them flogged,” but “the apostles left the high council rejoicing!” (Acts 5:40-41).

Did you know “joy” is unique to Christianity? It’s not taught or held in esteem by any of the world religions, which makes sense: our joy comes from the freedom of knowing God’s grace. But man-made religions are all about good works, earning salvation, great self-effort, and very somber, dark rituals. Buddhism extols a state of serenity through severe discipline, and its “serenity” is really the absence of joy (and all other emotions). Islam is a severe religion and is spread by warfare, not joy. Jehovah Witnesses are much like the early Puritans who forbade all celebrations by law, and Mormonism is equally strict and full of foreboding. Isn’t it tragic when people think Christianity is just like the others?

Young and indomitable faith

It’s amazing to meet a stranger who turns out to be a Christian. Suddenly “joy” fills the conversation! I saw this recently with Yife Gao, a Chinese Christian from Craig Smith’s new Bible study at Akron University. (View their hot video online!) Yife came to America in August and barely speaks English, but we had such a blast, I can only describe it as “joy”. (Other diners at Panera bread wished we weren’t so joyous, I think!) But it was sweet to meet a baby Christian born in the outlaw home church movement in China. Those poor Christians have every reason to feel oppressed and depressed, but instead the home churches are a thriving, joyous movement, now 100-million strong and causing much embarrassment to the atheist communist government. Yife’s parents are communists, so they treat him like a traitor, and yet losing his family didn’t faze his joy in Jesus Christ!

[callout]View all the Christmas Gala pictures here >>[/callout]When a Christian is bored or depressed, a spiritual problem is surely stealing that Christian’s joy. Maybe they’ve grown distant from good Christian fellowship, or maybe alienated with Jesus for some useless reason. (Why run away from someone who really loves you?) But joy should be an over-riding constant in a Christian’s life, because it’s a “fruit of the Spirit” just like love (see Galatians 5:22). There may be varying degrees of joy, because we certainly aren’t always “leaping with joy”, but a healthy spiritual life is marked by the confident optimism of Christian joy.

It’s more natural for Christians to be filled with joy (“And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” - Acts 13:52), despite oppressive circumstances (“I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction!” – 2 Cor. 7:4). Paul’s letter to Philippi was written during his long imprisonment, but it’s called “The Letter of Joy” because “joy” appears more often in this short letter than his other writings, even the long ones.

Oh the Joy of 2008!

Our own (unscientific) poll shows that 60% of us said 2008 “was a rockin’, cheese-handling jamboree spritual poop-flingin roller coaster of ecstasy”, and another 25% called it “Amazing! I grew like a kid in puberty minus the B.O.” Nobody felt bad about it. (See the full results and Talk Line feedback.)

Aside from silly polls, the evidence is clear that morale is not only high, but spiritual growth is occurring on a scale never before seen in NeoXenos. Consider how many people are taking the initiative to launch this wide variety of ministry efforts:

  1. We launched and maintained an inner-city, after-school program with South Street in January.
  2. We started a new KSU Bible study in August that continues to grow.
  3. We started the “Western Ohio Enterprise” Bible study for three colleges near Toledo.
  4. We started a new Akron University Bible study for international students, and it looks good.
  5. We grew another 20-25% at CT.
  6. We started a Discovery Group among Stow neighbors.
  7. All our existing ministries lost their experienced leaders to these new ministry initiatives, but new leaders and teachers suddenly appeared from within the groups!

And every week it seems someone is sharing about yet another person meeting Jesus Christ, especially since this Fall. All this energy cannot originate through human devices, and certainly it isn’t our great organizational skills at work: it is the spiritual life of Jesus Christ working through many different people in many directions.

From Whence Commeth Indomitable Joy?

What a great question that is! Why are Christians so joyful?

Progressive Dinner festivities

I always knew Christian joy is sparked by the Holy Spirit dwelling inside a grateful and responsive heart, like this: “At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, ‘I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…’” (Luke 10:21) But until our own recent “afflictions”, as Paul calls them, Christian joy in the midst of persecution was perhaps a bit theoretical, for me.

Now I see it, and I see why joy is so tightly-coupled with Christian persecution: it is the elation of the heart released from tangled thorns: “The one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22) The Kosmos suffocates spiritual life with a mountain of counterfeit hopes and dreams, and it’s so dreary to live by “the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” (Col. 2:8) With persecution we reach the end of our hope in such bland living, and reach instead for “the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

At least, that’s what I saw last weekend at the Rusty Nail.