Author Archives for Cierra Klatt

In the World, Not of It

March 20, 2018 7:00 am Published by 4 Comments

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. —John 17:15-16 NIV IN THE WORLD, NOT OF THE WORLD How are God’s people supposed to engage the broader culture around them? There is much confusion around the topic of cultural engagement. Whereas some Christians choose to ignore culture, others rail against it. And others are seduced by it. The Bible calls us to engage the broader society while retaining a distinctive Christian identity and purpose. We need to think deeply and clearly about what it means to engage secular, pluralistic culture, especially in our work. Many Christians are confused about how and to what extent they should engage the world. For this reason, discussing cultural engagement requires humility and submission to God. We need to realize that if we do not think carefully about how to engage the culture, we may succumb to the ways of the culture that are not pleasing to God when we decide to engage it. Pastor and theologian Tim Keller explains: “The reality is that if the church does not think... View Article

Confidence in God

March 19, 2018 7:00 am Published by 26 Comments

“Confidence in God” is an article found inside the NLT Study Bible—a fantastic resource for anyone in the earlier stages of Bible study. God gave Nehemiah favor in the eyes of a mighty Persian king so that the king responded favorably to all of Nehemiah’s requests (1:11; 2:8, 18). Nehemiah then had the confidence to present his bold plan to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and the people of Jerusalem responded positively, believing that God was able to give them success in rebuilding the walls (2:20) and to protect them from their enemies (4:4-5, 9). THEY CONFIDENTLY CONTINUED IN THEIR WORK… …in spite of opposition because they knew that God fights for his people and frustrates the plans of the wicked (4:14-15, 20). When the walls of Jerusalem were finished, Nehemiah recognized that the entire difficult project was completed only because of God’s help (6:16). The book of Nehemiah vividly demonstrates that God is all-powerful and able to accomplish his will, both in individual lives and in nations. Nehemiah’s prayer in ch. 9 focuses on praising God for his sovereign and powerful acts: God created the heavens and earth (9:6), called Abram from Ur, and gave the land to Israel... View Article

5 Twisted Scriptures

March 15, 2018 7:00 am Published by 36 Comments

Have you ever had a conversation about Christianity with someone, and they use the Bible to support an unbiblical concept? It can be confusing and shocking when they’ve twisted Scriptures! Apologetics, the study of defending the faith, works to provide not only a correct interpretation of the passage at hand, but an understanding of why it was misconstrued.  The Apologetics Study Bible Notes contain a list of these passages, along with further information for your study. We picked five twisted Scriptures to share with you: 5 TWISTED SCRIPTURES DANIEL 8:14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.” “Daniel’s prophetic 2,300 days have interested many throughout history who have sought to predict the date of the Lord’s return. By interpreting each day as a year, William Miller, a Baptist pastor from New York, calculated that Christ’s second advent would take place between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. As the date approached, a wave of excitement and expectation swept across America. Thousands of Christians from mainline churches, convinced of the accuracy of Miller’s prognostication, joined with the new adventist movement. Many of these “Millerites” sold their property to wait anxiously... View Article

An Ancient Perspective on the Beatitudes

March 14, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Learning from ancient Christians is priceless (here’s why). But it can be difficult to find out what they each had to say about a specific passage of the Bible. Not only did they write A LOT, but their thoughts are scattered in commentaries, diaries, sermons, and even random fragments that we found over time. However, the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS) did the hard work for us! They compiled rich quotes from the most well-loved ancient Christians and organized them by book and verse. It looks like this: So, now we can easily go verse-by-verse through the Beatitudes and see what Augustine, Jerome, and Origen had to say! What a time-saver. Here are our favorite quotes from this resource, covering Matthew 5:3-7. MATTHEW 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” JEROME Free Humility, Not Forced Poverty, Is Blessed: This is what we read elsewhere: “He shall save the humble in spirit.” But do not imagine that poverty is bred by necessity. For he added “in spirit” so you would understand blessedness to be humility and not poverty. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” who on account of the Holy Spirit are poor... View Article

Why Should You Read Books by Ancient Christians?

March 13, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

Not too many people loved reading Hamlet or Wuthering Heights in high school. Why? The language was confusing! Older literature takes time to understand due to cultural nuances, idioms, and unfamiliar vocabulary. This can be a huge deterrent for reading the works of ancient Christians. Reading translations of Augustine’s or Origen’s work will take a lot more time and care than reading this blog—but it’s worth it! Here’s are two reasons why. REASON #1: HERITAGE There’s a reason websites like exist: we love knowing where we came from. Our ancestors shape us (for better or worse) and it can be fascinating to uncover their pasts. Learning about conquered trials is inspirational. Discovering habitual sins is insightful. Listening to their advice is respectful. Through the past we learn to not make the same mistakes and instead, utilize our God-given strengths to keep growing. This is the same for the Church. We are one family! Paul makes this extremely clear. We are adopted into God’s family, heirs of His promises, and one body with other believers—and that includes believers from thousands of years ago. It would be foolish to neglect the rich history of Christianity, only studying works from the past... View Article

You’re Called to Be an Apologist [VIDEO]

March 12, 2018 7:00 am Published by 16 Comments

WHAT IS AN APOLOGIST? The words “apologist” and “apologetics” stem from the Greek word apologia. This word means “defense” or “answer.” It appears 17 times as either a noun or verb in the New Testament—including 1 Peter 3:15-16: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (NIV) Although we have made apologetics its own area of scholarly expertise, we are still held accountable to be prepared to give an answer. Not all of us will write lengthy books like Lee Strobel or give mind-blowing presentations like Ravi Zacharias. But, we can all do our part to soak up the knowledge of these apologists, learning to share this information with those we come in contact with. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be able to answer someone’s questions about the “reason for the hope that you have”? APOLOGETICS WITH DR. BILL MOUNCE 4 AREAS OF APOLOGETICS There are differing opinions of the... View Article

5 Common Inner Crises Christians Face

March 9, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[a] will worship God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:11-12 NKJV When Moses heard God call him to the task of liberating the Israelites from Egypt, he questioned his ability to carry out the assignment. Each of his excuses exposed an inner crisis: A CRISIS OF IDENTITY When Moses asked “Who am I?” (Ex. 3:11), it seems he had already settled on an answer: I’m a nobody. Though he was a Hebrew by birth, he had been rejected by his people forty years earlier (2:11-14) and he had no reason to believe they would now accept his help. And though he was an Egyptian by upbringing, Moses had a reputation for rebellion and murder, leaving him little or no influence among Egyptian royalty. Finally, he was a Midianite shepherd by vocation, and shepherds were considered an abomination by the Egyptians (Gen 46:34). Like many people today, Moses likely struggled due to his background... View Article

3 Time Management Tips

March 7, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Here are 3 time management tips to help you be more efficient as you study the Bible. USE THE STUDY CENTER AT FULL-FORCE The Study Center has four tabs: Resource Guide, Parallel, Notes, and Lookup. Have you discovered how to take advantage of these tabs all at once? Here’s our tip: Use the Resource Guide as you normally do. Use it to jump between commentaries, maps, outlines, and more. But, use the Parallel tab to keep that other resource you know you REALLY want to use open. It could be a commentary or study notes. Or, you could use this tab the traditional way, keeping another translation available at all times. Then, open up a fresh note in the Notes tab and get to typing! You can quickly copy and paste what you find into a note to save for later. Also, you can search through your notes to remember what you learned in the past. Lastly, use Lookup to search for topics. You want to know more about Berea, so search for it! We’ll show you what information you have in your dictionaries and concordances. KEEP YOUR NOTES ORGANIZED Can’t stress this tip enough: stay organized! You can create... View Article

Jesus’ Leadership Mantra

March 5, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

The Bible has a lot to say about leadership—especially in the Gospels. So, resources like the NIV Leadership Bible Notes are great tools for helping you process these passages and apply them to your own leadership style. In Matthew 20:20-26, Jesus makes one of the most profound statements on being a great leader, clearly defining his view of power. The four steps below, taken directly from the NIV Leadership Bible Notes, will assist you in this effort: MATTHEW 20:17-19 “Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!'” QUESTION ONE Reread the passage and envision the scene. Imagine the disciples and Jesus walking along on their way to Jerusalem. What mood does the paragraph in verses 17–19 cast on the scene? MATTHEW 20:20-23 “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her... View Article

Be Noble: Studying Scripture Like the Bereans

March 2, 2018 7:00 am Published by 6 Comments

“As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” — Acts 17:10-12, NIV It can be very difficult to know what is true and what isn’t. I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all the fact checking that is required of us in 2018. We are CONSTANTLY receiving new information: articles shared on Facebook, opinions on Twitter, advertisements on Instagram, books, movies, app notifications… the list goes on and on. The Bereans weren’t unaware of the pressure to have correct information. With the news Paul and Silas were spreading about Jesus, everyone was on edge. The Gospel challenged the current thought trends on religion, politics, socioeconomics, and more. So, choosing sides was a lot more threatening than picking Democrat or Republican. This decision was Religious Rulers versus Jesus, Rome versus... View Article