Author Archives for Cierra Loux

Team-Oriented Ministry

December 13, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Ministry is not something that we do alone! Learn about team-oriented ministry from 1 Thessalonians. The content in this blog is taken directly from the Story of God Bible Commentary. PAUL’S TEAM-ORIENTED MINISTRY Paul’s opening in his letter to the Thessalonians demonstrates something important about ministry. It is never done by one person. Although Paul may be the primary person in this tripartite ministry team, there is much that he would have been unable to accomplish if he did not also have the support and assistance of Silas and Timothy, his fellow missionaries. This type of support is evidenced in many of Paul’s letters where he mentions those who assist him — people like Prisca and Aquila (Rom 16:3), Urbanus (Rom 16:9), Timothy (Rom 16:21; 1 Thess 3:2), Apollos (1 Cor 3:5, 9), Silvanus (2 Cor 1:19), Titus (2 Cor 8:23), Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25), Eudoia, Syntyche, and Clement (Phil 4:2–3), Aristrachus, Mark, and Jesus Justus (Col 4:10–11), Demas, Luke, and Philemon (Phm 1, 24; see also Col 4:11). When you take stock of the number of Paul’s ministry companions and all that he accomplished with them, you realize he had a lot of help. THE DIFFICULTY OF LEADING A SMALL... View Article


New! Verse of the Day Graphics

December 11, 2017 7:00 am Published by 15 Comments

We’ve had the option for our users to receive Verse of the Day notifications for awhile now. We know that it can be a great reminder to get into the Word and to spend time thinking about the Lord. Now, we’ve been able to add something new to this already well-loved feature on iOS devices.  Let’s check it out. WHERE TO FIND IT All you need to do is open the main window and tap “Verse of the Day.” If you have your apps set-up to automatically update on your phone, you’ve probably already seen this! If you haven’t updated yet, you’ll need to do so. HOW TO USE IT There’s much more you can do with Verse of the Day than simply read the verse. Tap “Read” to be taken to the passage in context in the main window. Tap “Share” to share the Verse of the Day on social, in a text, or anywhere else. Lastly, tap “settings” to customize this feature the way you want. VERSE OF THE DAY SETTINGS Inside the settings, you’re able to select your preferred translation and turn on verse delivery. You can even choose what time you want to receive the notification... View Article


The Satisfied Life – Psalm 91

December 7, 2017 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Life can be difficult and dangerous, but in the Psalms we see God’s faithfulness to us through the difficult and dangerous times. This excerpt, taken directly from the BE Series Commentary by Wiersbe, walks us through Psalm 91. Even when life is dangerous, in God we can have a hidden, protected, and satisfied life. BE Exultant – Book IV, Psalm 91 The previous Psalm focuses on dealing with the difficulties of life, but the emphasis in this psalm is on the dangers of life. The anonymous author (though some think Moses wrote it) warns about hidden traps, deadly plagues, terrors at night and arrows by day, stumbling over rocks, and facing lions and snakes! However, in view of terrorist attacks, snipers, reckless drivers, exotic new diseases, and Saturday-night handgun specials, the contemporary scene may be as dangerous as the one described in the psalm. The saints who abide in Christ (vv. 1, 9) cannot avoid confronting unknown perils, but they can escape the evil consequences. Moses, David, and Paul, and a host of other servants of God faced great danger in accomplishing God’s will, and the Lord saw them through. However, Hebrews 11:36 cautions us that “others” were tortured and... View Article


A God Who is Everywhere: Omnipresence

December 6, 2017 7:00 am Published by 17 Comments

Our God is not bound by space and time. This characteristic is called “omnipresence.” Although it is described in the Bible, the word “omnipresence” or “omnipresent” won’t be found in there. So, how do you learn what the Bible has to say about this characteristic of God? WHAT IS OMNIPRESENCE? Our God is omnipresent. Systematic theologians use this term frequently when discussing God’s incommunicable attributes—the attributes that we, humans, can never participate in. We can be loving like God to an extent. We can be holy like God to an extent. But we cannot become omnipresent. That means, it can be difficult for us to comprehend God’s omnipresence. We can try our best to describe it… but in the end, it’s a concept that we cannot fully-communicate: hence, incommunicable. Thankfully, the Bible gives us lots of great examples! I grabbed all the verses from the Olive Tree Bible Threads resource that refer to omnipresence for you to read. VERSES ABOUT GOD’S OMNIPRESENCEBut will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. — 1 Kings 8:27May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. — Psalm 20:2You have searched me,... View Article


Look Inside the BE Series Commentary

December 4, 2017 1:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

This set brings the 50 volume Old Testament and New Testament BE Series Commentaries together with all the life-changing truth of the Scriptures combined with the personal wisdom of one of America’s best-known Bible teachers, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe. He was a pastor at Moody Church in Chicago and served for ten years as General Director and Bible Teacher for Back to the Bible. Currently at age 88, he has written over 80 books. Wiersbe has spent his life contributing to the spiritual growth of the church, and that passion is reflected in this series. WHAT’S INSIDE THE BE SERIES? Whether you are a pastor, teacher, or layperson, now you can study the Bible in easy-to-read sections offering biblical insights and personal application. The Be Series contains: Dr. Wiersbe’s trustworthy historical explanations and insights on the entire Old and New Testaments Introductions and outlines for each book of the Bible Clear, readable text which is free of academic jargon Questions for personal reflection or group discussion LET’S TAKE A LOOK INSIDE! The BE Series Commentary will follow along as you read the Bible. It has helpful questions for discussion and deeper thinking. You can easily navigate between all 50 volumes. There are outlines,... View Article


Warm Up with Devotional Reading

December 4, 2017 7:00 am Published by 3 Comments

Once upon a time, Olive Tree didn’t have devotional reading plans. This meant that, when you wanted to work your way through a devotional, you had to find it in your library and get yourself to where you last stopped reading. But now, with a few improvements, devotional reading in the app is an amazing experience. After this blog post, you’re going to want to warm up by the fireplace with Max Lucado’s Grace for the Moment or C.S. Lewis’ A Year with Aslan. 1) WHAT ARE DEVOTIONALS? When looking at enhanced devotionals on olivetree.com, you will quickly see what sets them apart from simple reading plans. These are well-crafted, thought-out devotional books that you might think to buy at a bookstore. They all contain great content meant to encourage and inspire you. Some devotionals pick a certain passage of Scripture to talk about each day. Meanwhile, other devotionals may be topical. On our website, you will see familiar names like Ann Voskamp, Sarah Young, Franklin Graham, and Brian Simmons. You could start on a year-long devotional plan or work through a 40-day plan with your family. 2) WHAT ARE ENHANCED DEVOTIONALS? This is where our addition of reading plans really... View Article


3 Resources for a Starter Library

November 28, 2017 1:30 pm Published by 5 Comments

We hear this question a lot: “What are some great resources to get me started with the Olive Tree Bible App?” We’ve decided to share our recommendation because there might be others asking the same question. So, here are 3 resources for a starter library! 1) STUDY BIBLE WHAT MAKES A STUDY BIBLE USEFUL? If you’ve ever opened-up a paper version of a study Bible, you know it looks a little different than a regular copy. At the bottom of each page there are notes that give deeper insights to the passage you are reading. These notes aren’t difficult to understand or highly academic, like a commentary would be. Instead, a study Bible provides you with tidbits of information to enhance your Bible reading along the way. WHY GET A STUDY BIBLE FOR THE OLIVE TREE BIBLE APP? First, at Olive Tree, we sell you the study Bible notes. What does this mean? If you purchase the ESV Study Bible, you will receive two resources: the ESV (which we offer for free) and the study Bible notes. If you open the notes in the Resource Guide, they will follow along with your Bible reading in the main window. COOL TIP! You... View Article


The Greatness of Forgiveness

November 27, 2017 11:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

What does Matthew 18 teach us about forgiveness? We’re giving you a huge peek inside the renown Preacher’s Commentary because we love what it has to say! THE NATURE OF FORGIVENESS The nature of forgiveness is a most profound aspect of reconciling grace. Forgiveness is never easy; it is hard. It is the most difficult thing in the universe. Forgiveness means that the forgiving person as the innocent one resolves his own wrath over the sin of the guilty one and lets the guilty one go free. To forgive means that one genuinely loves, and this love can move beyond the issue to the person, and that one cares more about the person than about what he or she has done. Forgiveness liberates. Forgiveness frees the person for the options of living. Our refusal to forgive is a power play that limits the offender, that holds the guilty “under one’s thumb,” or power. But such forgiveness is always in relationship, hence the condition of repentance. It is not a package that one accepts and runs away with. It is only known in reconciliation. THE NEED FOR FORGIVENESS Following a sermon which I had preached in a meeting in western Pennsylvania,... View Article


Life Lessons: Ephesians 2:1-22

November 27, 2017 8:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

SITUATION The Ephesians forgot what God did to save them and to make them a part of his Body. OBSERVATION God’s mercy plucks us from the destruction of our countless sins and places us in Jesus Christ’s righteousness. INSPIRATION When I read a verse like Ephesians 2:4, I feel I have discovered God’s roadblock on one’s way to hell—[But God’s mercy is great.] He is so rich in mercy that none need perish, but individuals must come to God in his appointed way. I adore the mercy that had lovingkindness, pity and compassion on me. . . . Let me give you a modern illustration of mercy in action. One day, a Christian named Paul went into a coffee shop, sat on a stool, and ordered his lunch. When he began speaking to the man next to him, he realized that Fred was in deep spiritual need. After sharing the gospel with him, Paul arranged to meet him again. It was at the second meeting that Fred was converted. Then Paul began to disciple him on a one-on-one basis, and Fred grew in grace and in knowledge of the Lord Jesus. But it wasn’t long before Fred learned that he... View Article


When Thankfulness is Hard

November 23, 2017 11:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 WE HAVE SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR It’s Thanksgiving — a holiday centered on family, being grateful, and eating lots of food! At an event like this, it isn’t too hard to think of things to be thankful for. Mashed potatoes are totally on my thankfulness list. . . also my aunt’s mac and cheese. Yum, yum, yum. Coming up with something to be thankful for should be even easier for Christians. There’s one huge item at the top of our thankfulness list: our reconciliation with God. Jesus came to earth to die so that we might not only know God, but spend eternity with him in perfection. That’s worth rejoicing over, even if we had nothing else to be thankful for. BUT SOMETIMES IT ISN’T EASY Sometimes I read Philippians 4 and I feel so pumped up, like a football player right before going out on the field. I reminisce over Jesus’ life and the ways God... View Article