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NIV Faithlife Study Bible Review

To remember

  • opening the NIV Faithlife Study Bible a brief article/insight touching on a common concern and if not, one of life’s most important questions that go through a person’s mind about why God allows suffering in the life of a believer.
  • chapter numbers = emboldened blue
  • commentaries + notes = on a light gray background in fine but very readable text size on some key verses separated by a thin green horizontal divider below the biblical text
  • book titles = against a gray colored background bearing an introduction, background, outline and specific themes to be expected within the text
  • Insights/articles color coded in gray + gold and the bible

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Preceding articles

Bible, curiosity, and the NIV Faithlife Study Bible

The NIV Faithlife Study Bible Is Now Available

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MODCONSPIRACY

What caught my attention upon opening the NIV Faithlife Study Bible was a brief article/insight touching on a common concern and if not, one of life’s most important questions that go through a person’s mind about why God allows suffering in the life of a believer.

Filled with insights and helpful information that can steer a new believer or the seasoned believer alike into a deeper understanding of God’s Word, it is complete with maps, beautiful and colorful illustrations, various historical timelines, diagrams and family tree and genealogies of key characters in each book that gives the reader an in-depth look of the text which more than satisfies and keeps the curious mind engaged.

The chapter numbers are in an emboldened blue. The commentaries and notes are written on a light gray background in fine but very readable text size on some key verses which is separated by a thin…

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Gallery

Bible, curiosity, and the NIV Faithlife Study Bible

When looking at a Study bible we always should remember that the notes never are part of the bible, but they can be an asset to help us think about certain matters or to give some extra insight.

When going for a Study Bible people do hope to find it being filled with insights and helpful information that can steer a new or more seasoned believer alike into a deeper understanding of God’s Word. We expect it to offer us enough historical insight complete with maps, beautiful and colourful illustrations, various historical timelines, diagrams and family tree and genealogies of key characters in each book that gives the reader an in-depth look of the text which more than satisfies and keeps the curious mind engaged.

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To remember

If we could only transmit some degree of curiosity about God and His Word to nonbelievers then we would have a seed planted in their hearts, and they would try to find a way to water that seed of curiosity. And of course, curiosity about the Bible can only be placated by studying the Word of God.

NIV Faithlife Study Bible (Zondervan, 2017) called to become one of the most appreciated and valuable study Bible in the following decades = multiple reasons for that

  1. offers thorough notes + commentaries in every chapter.
    abundant, illuminating and constructive notes always helpful to understand passages that are not always clear to us.
  2. full with tables, charts, and images = help to better understand what is being said in a given passage
    Figures + other graphic resources in full colour extremely helpful for personal study

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Preceding: The NIV Faithlife Study Bible Is Now Available

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Ayuda Ministerial/Resources for Ministry

niv-fsb-blogger-bannerThe first character that comes to my mind, when I put the terms Bible and curiosity together, is the Ethiopian eunuch. In Acts 8:34 we read: “The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” (NIV). The preceding verses tell us the eunuch was reading the Book of Isaiah the Prophet and that he went to Jerusalem to worship. We can infer this man had a high level of curiosity about God and His Word, and the result was that the eunuch was saved and baptized that day on his way home.

Salvation is by grace, period. However, there are plenty of passages in the Bible that make it clear God rewards those who seek Him (e.g. Heb 11:6). Then, we can conclude that the element that must be always present, in anyone trying to meet  and know God, is curiosity. If…

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Shunning amidst a crisis

Regularly people can find instead of the usual sports fans or concert goers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses descending on regional arenas in Sunday best.

The agenda for this year’s series of conventions focus on some of the more controversial aspects of the faith that bring sharply into focus some darker period of our guestwriter’s life when she/he (on the photo we see a she) faced the harsh reality of wanting to leave the religion in which she was never baptised as this would have meant that instead of just fading away, she would now be ‘disfellowshipped’. But her not being part any more of that religious group may perhaps brought her to use some words which should not be part of the language of a Christian. Therefore we apologise for those words which some youngsters also use like they have no meaning at all, or which they use simply to ad more strength to what they want to bring over, though it weakens their saying and shows more their frutstration.

The hyperbole rebel who last year decided to stop watching TV, particularly the news as she/he felt it just injected her with sludgy negativity. Not only are the only things that are reported hate-filled acts of violence or tragedy, but as a socially savvy gal, it was so clear that there was another agenda being fueled just by the way things were reported or certain people were interviewed or the way some people or groups were discussed. {Welcome y’all}

She/he writes

I would like, through this blog, to remind people that just as you do not know who is under that cat suit, you don’t know who is under that burka or under that Paul’s Boutique bomber jacket. We all have stories. We all have a context and there are many things that unite us all including inner strength, love of family and friends, loyalty and the sheer joy of a sugary donut first thing in the morning. {Welcome y’all}

The person who knows that the antithesis to fear and disgust is exactly that love  {#Prayforenlightenment} when she sits with her coffee and thinks about her parents who will be at that moment sitting in the morning session of the Jehovah’s Witness Convention ‘Remain Loyal to Jehovah’, she looks at that group of which her entire extended family on both sides are in that religion, save for the few who have been ‘led astray’ over the years and she has watched cousins who were baptised shunned by their own parents; an act of cruelty and emotional trauma that has no let-up – not even in times of great celebration, such as family weddings, or great sadness, like terminal illness and death, both of which she has witnessed.

She says she knows from her new found ex-JW friends that the title belies messages about shunning and she wonders what will go through their heads as they watch the videos and listen to the talks about what a worthy thing that is.

What a demonstration of your faith; to cause yourself the pain of separation. To voluntarily cut off your own loved ones. What martyrdom. Job-like. {Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get punk rock}

It was with a grimy horror that she learned about the topic of this year’s Regional Conventions, being held across the UK, which open with the importance of shunning non-believing family members as a means of ‘Staying Loyal to Jehovah’.

The act of shunning, which is to completely disconnect and reject all association, is upheld as a virtue.

She writes

My tragic observation and experience of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they close down this emotional listening and only channel into the Watchtower frequency. All explanation for why they feel pain is excused and placated by the meetings, the Watchtower, the assemblies and each other through their exclusivity. Otherwise, what possible explanation could there be for a reasonable person to voluntarily cut off contact with their own child? The pain has to go somewhere, and when stuck in a high control religion which discourages freedom of thought and experiential learning, the pain returns in a loop as misguided zeal. ‘Suffering for love’ the insightful Jamie Catto calls it. It’s present in the very make-up of Christianity; if you suffer, you are just like the Christ! Go you! {Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get punk rock}

For non-Jehovah’s Witnesses that shunning looks incredibly contradictory to the teachings they always get to hear at the door. It might be interesting to hear how those faithful to the organisation consider their attitude worthy of a Christian and how they are brought to accept such an attitude of excluding others, even own family of having contact or conversation.

Day 1 of the convention

video showing a young Jehovah’s Witness, ‘Sonja’, questioning her faith 1 (one of her inalienable human rights) +  she starting a sexual relationship with a non-Jehovah’s Witness.

all sex outside of marriage considered a grave sin = act results in her disfellowshipping from the congregation and shunning by all members, including her own parents > complete rejection lasts for 15 years

As an ex-Jehovah’s Witness herself, the writer can vouch for the pernicious and damaging effect shunning has on families.

shunning = emotional blackmail => psychologically damaging

shunned person = indoctrinated with idea = their choice to take path of sin + reap consequences of withdrawal of love + affection from those closest to them

Watchtower HQ showing Jehovah’s Witnesses holed up in an underground bunker whilst the ‘Great Tribulation’ (the pre-curser to Armageddon) rumbles away outside

When the Jehovah’s Witnesses descend in droves to gather at stadiums around the country, local press are typically supportive of the influx of well-mannered families who bring income to the local economy and clean up meticulously after themselves, but this is unhelpful surface observation of a religion with something altogether more sinister worth talking about.

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Preceding articles:

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

The Picture of the Governing Body

The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder

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The Hyperbole Rebel

Jehovah’s Witnesses promote shunning of family members amidst child abuse crisis

If you happen to have been anywhere near any big stadia this summer, you may have noticed that instead of the usual sports fans or concert goers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses descending on regional arenas in Sunday best. You may not know much about the cloistered religion, but they hold to a brand of faith that contains ideas that may surprise you – in the same way stubbing your toe on a doorframe first thing in the morning might surprise you – and the agenda for this year’s series of conventions focus on some of the more controversial aspects of the faith that bring sharply into focus some darker period of my life when I faced the harsh reality of wanting to leave the religion.

It was with a grimy horror that I learned about the topic of this year’s…

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The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder

He himself sat on several judicial committees and was more than once involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.”

In sharing his experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that he did as an agent of what he now realizes to be a rather malicious publishing company he lifts up the veil for the unknown to non Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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To remember

Watchtower has created a rules-based religion

break one of their rules [breaking rules of a sexual nature (sex outside of marriage)] = invite you to such a judicial committee

secret book titled, “Shepherd the Flock of God” = regular Jehovah’s Witnesses not allowed to see

 

basic Star Chamber trial > elders= prosecutors + judges

accused = considered guilty > faces them alone = no support + no representative >> exception of minor children can have parents present + married women can have husbands present

Nobody ever invited to a judicial committee unless elders have some sort of proof or reason to believe the individual is guilty => to determine the appropriate punishment.

 

  1. individual reproved privately
  2. public reproof => congregation will severely limit any association with someone who has been reproved =  “disfellowshipping light.”
  3. disfellowshipping => friends and family will begin to shun until (or if) reinstated. The fourth, which is almost unheard of, is that the committee realizes that no offence worthy of disfellowshipping is committed, and the judicial committee is cancelled.

times when a sin is considered to be so serious that a plea of repentance won’t be accepted

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Preceding articles

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

The Picture of the Governing Body

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JWVICTIMS.ORG

“Hi, this is Brother Elder, and I’m calling to invite you to a judicial committee.” That statement is feared by every one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in many ways it drastically affects the choices they make in their life. Why is that the case? Simply put, the results of the judicial committee can cause all of your friends and family to shun you. A scary prospect indeed! So why do people get invited to a judicial committee and how do they work?

Myself, I served as an elder as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for almost 10 years, and I sat on several judicial committees. I was involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.” I am now sharing that experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that I did as an agent of what I now realize to be…

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The Picture of the Governing Body

Crasizag is a blog that wants to document a family’s journey from what she calls a cult, but what we would consider more a denomination. It is namely very difficult to get in that congregation of believers but very easy to get out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It seems she has not had “a bright and happy past” in that organisation, because she is now looking forward to a better “future”.

Is it Asiza (?) whose purpose is

to help people to think for themselves, so they have the freedom to make their own decisions and to give them the love and support they need while on their personal journey’s. To encourage, to strengthen and to inspire them to live their best lives.

that is something every person should do, believer and non-believer.

Lion - M.L KingThe birth of her baby boy changed her life and he taught her about real, unconditional love.

He was a scrap of humanity but in just existing he took my heart, expanded it and helped me understand completely that there can Only be unconditional love for your children. From that point on I knew that no matter what happened I would Always love him and I could never ‘cut him off’ just because of not believing what I believed. {For my son} (editorial note: the shouting with capitals has been removed and replaced with only one capital: by only & always)

In a way that brings us to “shunning of people their own children” which seems to happen by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and which is not only shameful and needs to stop, it is also an unchristian act. But we must know that shunning is being used more as a social control mechanism. Such social control mechanism are used most commonly in small tight-knit social groups to punish those who violate the most serious group rules.

When your child, no matter what age has done something wrong -surely that is when they need their parents the most, they do not need to be exiled and ignored! {For my son}

Whatever children may have done wrongly, even when it would be murder, parents always have to take care of them and should show them their love and protect them against those who could do them harm.

the writer of the above mentioned blog and of this guest-writing came to leave the Witnesses for good, whilst

a great deal revolved around the love for my son, and wanting a different life for him. {For my son}

she writes.

For her

A parents love should reflect how God loves us, not this conditional love that the Witnesses teach, but an all encompassing love and acceptance that cannot be denied.

Leaving has made it possible for our son to have a normal life. A life full of family, friends, joy, and new experiences, without the rules of the Witnesses isolating him from the world around him.

With her husband she writes her blog, where both share their experiences so that other’s can also see there is most certainly life after the Witnesses!

More life and more love than you can ever imagine.

we hope they found out, as well coming to the knowledge they still can keep to the same faith, loving Jehovah and giving their life to Him, instead of giving it to an organisation.

She writes

One of my reasons for leaving – I was dealing with my own memories of child abuse, and during that process I was increasingly sensitive to other’s stories. I read them and shared their pain, one of those stories was Candice Conti, another was the write up in the UK about Gordan Leister and the shocking behaviour of the elders in that case. These articles scratched open a lot of wounds, and forced small cracks into massive ones. I keep on researching paedophilia in the congregations and found the Silent Lambs website, I read Barbara Anderson’s story and Bill Bowen. Suddenly the reality was so ugly that it was hard to look at it, and it was one of the reasons why I had to leave the Witnesses. I could not in good conscience stay associated with them. My heart would not allow me. I could no longer say I was a witness without cringing inside. I felt dirty, degraded and a liar. To rectify that I left, with my head high. Yes, it was scary – the Witness lifestyle was literally all I knew, but having a clear conscience and knowing my young son would be safer out of their clutches gave me strength, and still does to this day. My love for my son is another huge reason I left, but that I will leave for another post.

Lippincott doriangray.jpgComparing the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the moral fantasy novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde has been bouncing around her head for some time. She writes

It occurred to her that

if we were to find those metaphorical portraits of the Governing Body our eyes would scorched by the vile filth there portrayed.

She asks us to imagine the portraits of the Governing Body members, the so called faithful and discreet slave

They have been complicit in death, sexual abuse, in fact every abuse we know of, lies, hypocrisy, shame, fearmongering, guilt inducing their members, controlling their members very lives. Why? All to maintain their power, their money, their empire.

When she looks at the JW and their organisation she writes

To understand a bit better why jw’s think as they do about those that leave, think of it this way. Instead of using the words, disfellowshipped, excommunicated – use the words treason and traitor. No matter what your reasons are for leaving, no matter how justified, no matter how reasonable, those that leave are traitors to them . Being a traitor they can call you whatever they like, they can think you the lowest of the low, simply because you decided you no longer wanted to be part of their delusion. {The usual thing with diaries}

She and her husband both waked up at the same time and by doing so they were lucky to have a real support to eachother,

though it doesn’t always work out that way. If one of you has already woken up and the other is still in deep – well that is where some real mental gymnastics find their true calling. {Taking off the ‘blinders’}

We can imagine that many have problems by accepting that the Governing Body are not God’s spokesmen, because they have been told so for many, many years, and never have seem questioned it thoroughly.

Craig explains from here:

“Trying to reason with someone with blinders on is like bashing your head against a brick wall. They cannot see the fact that they cannot see. One of things that I always loved about my wife was her intelligence, but when it came to the Jehovah’s Witnesses she refused to use it.

… The Witnesses see everything good is for Jehovah, and evil is not for Jehovah, the real world you have to learn to live for yourself and think for yourself. Being honest was not encouraged by the jws. If you were honest you would have to question their decisions, because even God says in the Bible, ‘test me’, the jws say ‘obey me blindly’. I could never accept that.

Trying to open her mind was exceptionally difficult, eventually I had to back off and just lay some seeds so that she would think for herself and trust her own intelligence would prove true. When she did finally wake I was there to support her. Eventually that is what happened, but it wasn’t me that done it, it was the birth of our son. I was full of hate for what they were doing to my wife, but never for my wife! It was sad, the woman I loved was being completely subverted by bullshit that didn’t care about her.” {Taking off the ‘blinders’}

For them they came to see that

If you strip away the ‘spiritual aspect’ of the Witnesses all you have is a corporate pyramid scheme. As long as you don’t scratch the surface  – ask too many questions, their product looks amazing, but under examination its full of holes, it doesn’t make sense, and like a virus its designed to take control of your thinking and tear you away from normal society, to hammer you into another drone to join the ranks of the other drones who have done the same. {How important is that JW image? Part 1}

The writer also came to question

What is the most prevalent news item regarding the Witnesses now? Child abuse. Why can’t they simply acknowledge they have a serious problem? Even the Catholic Church have acknowledged their guilt and are working with the authorities. Why can’t they just change the disgusting two-witness rule? Adhere strictly to reporting to the authorities and letting the professionals take over? I think that it all comes down to their hard maintained squeaky clean image. They will deny, lie and otherwise ‘spin’ whatever they have to because their corporate perfect image is the most important thing to them. Sadly, even death, torture, rape and thousands of molestation cases cannot out weigh the importance of maintaining that image. {How important is that JW image? Part 2}

richard-m-nixon-quote-dont-try-to-take-on-a-new-personality-it-doesnt[1]and she came to see where there is a big danger in the organisation’s focus or saying

Well there it is, anything that comes from the publications and the platform or personal counsel from elders means you have to listen to it and apply it, doing otherwise means you are NOT a full grown Christian and are DISLOYAL. {New personality or cult identity?}

It is that fear of being disloyal that may make many not dare to question.

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Preceding articles

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

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Additional reading

  1. A visible organisation on earth
  2. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude
  3. Jehovah Witnessess Making sure all records relating to child molestation are in harmony
  4. Jehovah’s Witnesses Shunning ex-members adverse effects on family relationships
  5. Parenthood made more difficult
  6. Growing rift between observant parents and their children
  7. “Prayer 2” – Child Abuse
  8. Not an easy decision to make
  9. Pope Benedict will hide
  10. Last day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI
  11. Responsibility for children who were molested by clergy
  12. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers
  13. Remember there’s a light in the next day
  14. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life

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Further reading

  1. As I walked out one summer’s morning
  2. Having Fun at Jehovah’s Witness Convention
  3. Pedophilia amongst the Jehovah’s Witnesses
  4. Jehovah’s witnesses pedophile policy
  5. The Watchtower Punished: Society loses legal battle over child abuse case
  6. “We will decide who is a predator!” – New Watchtower Instructions to Elders on Child Abuse
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses Child Molestation Victims seek justice
  8. Barbara Anderson’s Anecdotes
  9. Why Watchtower shut down JWsurvey.org for over 24 hours
  10. The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out
  11. In their own words: Candace Conti and Rick Simons speak out in their 2013 interview videos
  12. Watchtower files reply brief as Conti appeal continues
  13. Kathleen Conti breaks down during emotional SNAP presentation
  14. Kathleen Conti supports new bill for victims of child abuse
  15. Candace Conti speaks out at RNA 2013 conference
  16. Resiliency
  17. If child abuse were a disease, we’d see urgent action. Our culture must change : Guardian.
  18. Chicago Non-Profit Seeking To Prevent Child Abuse And Neglect
  19. The Goddard Inquiry is not the answer to survivors pain
  20. Empty Chairs: Much more than a story of Child Abuse. Excerpt here.
  21. New Zealand judge who headed an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in Britain has quit
  22. Housemaid saga: Questions for Madam
  23. Did God make her leave?
  24. Jehovah’s Witnesses Instructed to Brutally Kick Their Own Children Out of the Family If They Disobey the Religion
  25. The Shunning
  26. The Watchtower Steps Up Their Demands to Shun, Even Family
  27. The Loaded Language of the Watchtower – Part 1 … Shocking Where We’ve Heard This Before
  28. The Loaded Language of Watchtower – Part 2 … How Words Became an Easy Means to Scapegoat Runaway Slaves
  29. Shunning amidst a crisis
  30. Jehovah’s Witness Shunning Video Depicts Torture as Acceptable
  31. In Shocking Public Discourse, Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Told to Shun Inactive Members, Even Parents!
  32. Bigmouth Strikes Again
  33. When Leaving Religion Costs You Everything…
  34. The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder
  35. Cult or Not a Cult?
  36. Finding the Way
  37. An Audacious Proposal
  38. Review of talk at “Remain loyal to Jehovah” 2016 convention of Jehovahs Witnesses
  39. Behavior Modification Is Alive And Well In The Scientology Conflict – Horrifyingly So
  40. Them and Us Mentality
  41. community
  42. Is The Church Really Clueless?

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We Chose Freedom

This idea of comparing the Governing Body to the book “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde has been bouncing around in my head for some time. It occurred to me that if we were to find those metaphorical portraits of the Governing Body our eyes would scorched by the vile filth there portrayed.

If you are not familiar with this book, here is the plot from Wikipedia:

—Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian’s beauty; he believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for the new mode in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life.

Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses…

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Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Typical preaching work of Jehovah's Witnesses ...

Typical preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses Português: Trabalho de pregação típico das Testemunhas de Jeová (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It sounds so strange “trying to get her hours in as it was the end of service year.” Jesus asked us to go out into the fields, into the world and to preach the gospel. That bringing Good News did not have to tear us down or exhausts us so much that it would become a burden. Christ came to this earth to liberate us from the chains of this world. That means also taking away our bondage with worldly organisations.

Where do JW get it from that in a certain year a regular pioneer would need to put in a total of 840 hours? In this world were every body has to work hard for a living those 70 hours a month look quite a lot. though it might depend how you look on it; Does it conclude all sorts of preaching? One can witness all day around at work, on the streets, in public transport … there are so many occasions that one can occasionally talk about God and His system.

untruthful - not expressing or given to expressing the truthWhat is the use of JW’s who would falsify their hours just too keep the elders off their backs. And would they not consider that lying or being untruthful? Not telling the truth is considered a lie and as such also a sin, according to the Bible. But when many people would do such a thing this would give a false picture to the elders and the organisation. Because then they would have the impression that what they ask is possible to do by the majority.

English: Chart of active Jehovah's Witnesses b...

Chart of active Jehovah’s Witnesses by year. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Just imagine if a quarter of a congregation of say a hundred members are giving in fake hours, how much of that yearly report is pure fiction? Are they faking their hours out of malice? No, its out of fear because they don’t want the elders to start boring their eyes into them wondering what is wrong.”

It is totally wrong to think

” You cannot be a Witness and not preach pretty much,”

Preaching and witnessing have nothing to do with quantity but all with quality of talking about God, His commandments, His promises and His sent one, the salvation which is hanging above our head, not by the amount of hours we spend knocking at doors, but by the way we behave and treat others and keep to God’s commandments.

When people do have to bring in a report every month to prove their ‘field service’ it looks more like they do not trust their congregation of being devout witnesses. No where in the Scriptures is indicated that elders should monitor the ‘spiritual health’ of the flock in such a way. Never has Jesus done such a thing.

When it is out of fear that Jehovah’s Witnesses go out to witness

because they don’t want the elders to start boring their eyes into them wondering what is wrong.

than their motivation is wrong and than all what they are doing is to no avail, because God only wants us to honour Him out of love for Him and not out of love for man or fear for man. We never should fear man, but fear more God.

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Preceding articles:

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

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We Chose Freedom

502014136_univ_pnr_lg[1]

I’m not looking for the usual answer  that they will probably repeat to you verbatim. “Because Jesus did”, or “we are only following Jesus’s example”.

Let me tell you a little memory of mine about a Jehovah’s Witness regular pioneer. I will call her R in my story, she was a friend of mine, in fact she was one of the first friends I made in the congregation when I was still ‘in’. She regular pioneered for years straight out of high school, she  worked part time in order to make sure she could still be in full-time service. Her one ambition (if I may say so) is that she wanted to go to Bethel. At that time the South African Bethel hardly ever took in single sisters, so she did finally get in by marrying a bethelite. Roughly seven years later she left bethel with her husband and is…

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Lifted Hands During Worship… Wait Is That Even Biblical?

A husband, a worship leader, who calls himself also a child of God constantly in pursuit of His heart, has a lot of ideas kicking around inside his heart and head and he enjoys sharing them with others.

He is currently a full-time worship leader and producer at Liquid Church in New Jersey just outside of New York City, having 5 locations and around 75 worship team members who play all across the state at their various campuses.

As a graduate from McNally Smith College of Music in 2012 with a Bachelors of Music degree in Guitar Performance his interest goes also to music and from that point of view his blog Children of pursuit is to open up some things he has learned through his  journeys in the church about worship, music, leadership and anything else really.

On one of his blog articles he warns for the danger just to pick some enjoyable songs or music for fun.

As worship leaders its very easy to pick a whole bunch of songs that are fun for us.  “Hey, we haven’t done that in a while” or “This song has an awesome guitar part”.  That can work at times but have you ever wondered why sometimes a song feels right but another time the same song feels… wrong. {5 ways worship leaders can create more engagement}

Every time when we re confronted by newly produced  ‘church music‘, and when we buy it, we should be listening to every song and check if the text is according to biblical Truth and giving praise to the ‘right person’ as well that it would not distract the people or carrying them away from the main part of the service. we always should wonder how it does fit in the service of that day.

The wrong set can really hinder engagement in your set and also hinder you as a leader leading that set.  A good worship set always creates movement, flow, and space for people to experience God. {5 ways worship leaders can create more engagement}

He writes

I have played worship sets before where when I was done and off stage realized I never really had that break through moment because the set never had a space for it. {5 ways worship leaders can create more engagement}

and concludes

There is no perfect formula for a perfect Sunday morning set, you will have to get to know your church and also lean on the holy spirit for direction as well.  Other than that the obvious advice is, don’t do too many new songs, but don’t hammer them with the same old songs either. Don’t pound them with too many fast songs but make sure things still stay exciting and joyful.  Find a happy medium with your song selection. This one can be harder than it sounds, but when its on your radar you are on the right track and engagement with change for the positive. {5 ways worship leaders can create more engagement}

Too often people forget the service their joining in at one or another denomination should be about worshipping God and studying His Word.

It is all about an attitude to be present in the heart, a state of mind, which should be willing to come as close as possible to God.

English: Healing Service

Healing Service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not about doing like all others do. So if a person does not feel to bring up his hands high up in the air, he should not? When people would feel it would not be appropriate to such a thin in a particular service, they should not. The same about saying “Amen” or giving a voice to approving something. When you are at a gathering where there are more people who do so or where it looks all right to do so, you may do so; but when it does not feel right do not do so and do not interrupt the speaker(s).

What is important when going to a particular worship service is to feel the atmosphere at that place and to behave accordingly, always having in mind that God should be the focus of everything.

According to the blogger there are many instances in the bible where the scriptures reference that act of a person lifting their hands in prayer and worship. He also points out to David and his psalms were is mentioned about upraised hands as an evening offering.

David was one of the earliest worship leaders we know of and that’s why so many worship songs borrow language directly from the Psalms.

In our services those psalms are often used. For us it is best to use the Words God has provided Himself for our education and for prayer and meditation.

They are powerful, honest and so vulnerably and beautifully written.

The psalms also are given us as an example and we get such a sense of who David was just by reading through his numerous cries to the Most High Divine Creator.

David lifted his hands in times of deep prayer and worship, he also danced, clapped and shouted.

In Scriptures we do have many examples given where music was offered to honour the Most High. From those writings people also may have the impression that expressions of praise are important to God as well as expression in worship being crucial.

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Preceding articles

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

Our views on Christian Worship Music

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Additional reading

  1. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  2. On the Affirmation of Scripture
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 14 Searching the scriptures
  4. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church
  5. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  6. What Jesus sang
  7. What is important?
  8. Music and young people in Christadelphia
  9. A small rant…music, young people and Christadelphia
  10. Art and other taboos
  11. Performing music

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Children Of Pursuit

If you have ever been into a church service during worship, chances are you have seen people lifting up their hands during the musical worship portion of the service.  When the chorus of the song everyone knows drops you see the hands fly up; but why are they doing this?  If you have been to multiple churches in your life you have probably noticed that some churches might even have more of this activity than others do.  Why are these people lifting up their hands during the music as if there is some sort of magical thing that happens?  Is this in the Bible?  What are they trying to accomplish by making me feel uncomfortable?  Don’t they know their hands are right in the way of the lyrics screen from where I am standing?  Hello, trying to sing here… your hand is flapping dangerously close to my eyes, thank you… move it over sister…

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