People are Vulnerable to Love

From Dave Black Online:

People are vulnerable to love. That’s one of the points Becky emphasized with the middle schoolers today. She told the story of a Muslim man in a small village in southern Ethiopia whom she had outfitted with a pair of non-prescription reading glasses. When he left the church compound he told the leaders, “Never have I seen such love as in this place.”

Continue reading People are Vulnerable to Love

On Leadership

From Dave Black Online (10/21/09):

Okay, okay, I’ve been writing a lot these days about leadership in the church, and you’ll probably quit reading when I say I’m going to offer my thoughts on what a good leader looks like. But here goes anyhoo:

1) Leaders should be enablers. Their task is to equip and empower others for works of service (Eph. 4:11). Their ministry does not center around themselves or their pulpits.

2) Leaders should be examples. That is the clear meaning of Heb. 13:7 and (I am certain) of Heb. 13:17 as well. They realize that Christian education is essentially likeness education (Luke 6:40). Like father like son, like pulpit like pew.

3) Leaders should be able to teach. In Ethiopia, this function is frequently delegated to an “evangelist” who is brought in from the outside. The New Testament teaches that all elders are local, and that each of them must be able to teach. Again, teaching is done not only by words. But regular instruction in the Word of God remains one of the most fundamental essentials of Christian leadership. (P.S. Teaching doesn’t necessarily mean a well-crafted 30 minute homily. Why not step aside from the sacred desk and allow some interaction as you teach, or at least a Q & A session?)

4) Leaders should be able to oversee and serve. This means they need to genuinely care for others. It begins with postnatal care. New believers must be helped to read the Bible. They must be given opportunities to discover their spiritual gifts. They must become a living part of the Body, not just a number or pew sitter. They need to be given chances to share differences and doubts. Good leadership is never threatened by intelligent followership.

My heart is to help the Ethiopian church to raise up such leaders in their congregations. See how totally pathetic I am. I just can’t get missions off my mind.

(Material from Dave Black Online is used by permission of Dr. David Alan Black, who is the author of The Jesus Paradigm and the forthcoming Christian Archy, amongst many others.)

On Love – 1+1=1

From Dave Black Online (10/21/09):

I had never noticed before how Paul’s discussion in Ephesians 5 climaxes in his quote from Gen 2:24, where he says that a husband and his wife are glued together in a binding and permanent relationship. So, if I follow Paul’s train of thought correctly, he shows how a husband’s love is (1) a sacrificial love (never a selfish love), (2) a purifying love (he helps his wife to be consecrated to the Lord), (3) a caring love (he is not to seek his own physical comfort, pleasure, etc. but hers instead), and — perhaps most importantly — (4) an unbreakable love. A husband would no more think of leaving his wife than he would consider tearing his own body apart. As Tracy said, Paul’s arithmetic here is profound: 1 + 1 = 1. And the pattern, the exemplar for us, is the Godhead — “I and the Father are one,” said Jesus.

Becky and I are one. Jesus and His Body are one. Just as Jesus will never leave or forsake His Bride, so Becky should know — she should really KNOW beyond the shadow of any doubt — that I will never leave her or forsake her. Does your wife know this? Does mine? When you see the faults in your wife, you are to keep on loving and forgiving her. Even should she be as unfaithful as Gomer, you should still keep on loving her, realizing that she has not offended you a fraction of how much you have offended God.

Talk about “love”! Talk about raising the bar! All of this teaches us an important truth about the Christian life, and that is that the Christian life is first and foremost about relationships — my relationship with the Lord, and my relationship with others. Once we men learn how to enjoy that kind of fellowship with our wives, show them that kind of love, and bear each others burdens in such a sympathetic way, will we be fulfilling our vocation as husbands.

(Material from Dave Black Online is used by permission of Dr. David Alan Black, who is the author of The Jesus Paradigm and the forthcoming Christian Archy, amongst many others.)

Blogging/Essay Contest – 21st Century Church

Energion Publications will host a blogging/essay contest.  Entries are open immediately and will close November 2, 2009 when Dr. David Alan Black’s new book Christian Archy is released.  Judging will take place during the first week of November, and winners will be announced by November 16.

To enter, simply write an essay in answer to the question: What should a congregation following Jesus Christ in ministry look like?

If you are a blogger, post the essay on your blog and link back to this post, then also e-mail just to make sure.  We will add your post to the list of those participating.  If you are not a blogger, e-mail your essay in either Word document or Open Document Text (OpenOffice) format to and indicate in the e-mail that you are entering the 21st century church contest.

Entries will be judged in the following areas, with each area receiving a score of from one to ten:

  1. Biblically rooted
  2. Historically aware
  3. Complete
  4. Clear and Concise
  5. Overall impression, including appearance, discussion generated, and anything one of the judges wants to include

Note that 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 may conflict in the approach of some people.  That is why there will be three judges, who come from different theological traditions:

Alan Knox (The Assembling of the Church), a doctoral candidate at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Geoffrey Lentz (, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, FL, doctoral student at Drew University, and author of The Gospel According to Saint Luke: A Participatory Study Guide.

Elgin Hushbeck, Jr., author of Evidence for the Bible, Christianity and Secularism, and Preserving Democracy, (all from Energion Publications), and owner of Aletheia Consulting, Inc.  Elgin is a member of a Christian Reformed congregation.

Each judge will rate the entries independently.  One of our copy editors will also rate the essays, but that rating will only be used to break a tie.  Judges will not consider whether or not you use or quote from Energion Publications products or web sites in your post.

The prizes are:

First prize – Free copy of The Jesus Paradigm + two other Energion Publications books, with a $25 gift card for Barnes & Noble

Second prize – Free copy of The Jesus Paradigm + one other Energion Publications book, with a $15 gift card for Barnes & Noble

Third prize – Free copy of The Jesus Paradigm with a $10 gift card for Barnes & Noble

(If you have previously received and reviewed a copy of The Jesus Paradigm you may choose any other book in our catalog as an alternative.)

All other participants get the joy of participating in the discussion, and hopefully a fair amount of link love.  All posts regarding this contest will be cross-posted to, and you can comment/link there to enter as well.  Feel free to participate in the discussion even if you don’t want to enter the contest.

Note: All prizes will be awarded.  Prize winners have no obligation to Energion Publications other than the necessary steps to enter the contest.  Judges will be instructed to disregard use or non-use of Energion Publications books and web sites in judging the entries.

Knowing God in the Furnace

From Dave Black Online:

Today I’m taking Becky back to UNC Hospital for her second round of chemo. I’m asking God to spare her this time from the excruciating pain she had after the first go-round. Like the three men who walked in fire in the book of Daniel, I’m convinced that God is able to deliver from the furnace. “But if not,” Becky and I will not bow to the gods of doubt and despair. Sometimes God delivers from the fiery furnace. Sometimes He delivers in the fiery furnace. Either way, we are never alone. The Judge of the earth always does what is right, and oftentimes we get to know Him better in the furnaces of life than anywhere else. The Christian is not a cog in a machine. God cares for each of His children, and He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond what we ask or think. At the king’s order Daniel spent the night with lions, but it was Darius who had the insomnia. Our God is able to deliver us. [emphasis mine]

Please be in prayer for Dave and Becky as they minister to the rest of us even in their own times in the furnace.

(Quotes from Dave Black Online are used by permission.  Dave Black is the author of The Jesus Paradigm and this site is maintained by its publisher, Energion Publications.)

New Review on A New Covenant

Lionel Woods concludes:

I highly recommend this work. Dave Black sets out to show us that Jesus’ Paradigm isn’t what the world deems valuable. For us Christians (disciples/followers) we have to sit down with our ledger and attempt to reconcile it with Jesus’ commands, wherever there is a variance we are to fix it. Much of what Dr. Black talks about will have to come through the grace of Jesus; however, Jesus himself says “whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you”. That is when we ask with His heartbeat, mostly I have asked with my own. Thanks Dave for a wonderful challenge.