Newest Bible Studies: Prodigal Perspectives, Keep Climbing, & Why Jesus?

One thing I love about being a writer for our Bluefish TV Bible studies is the faith journey I get to take in the process of writing. It’s often that I’m experiencing something on the topic I have to write about (crazy how that works out).

Prodigal Perspectives with Chris Seay is a study that blew me away in the process of writing. I had never truly studied the Parable of the Prodigal Son within its proper context and culture. I was amazed at how in my life, I have been both the elder son and the younger son and that I’m in desperate need of the Father and his grace. The dramatic monologues performed by actor Jason Hildebrand are so powerful. This study is my favorite this year. You’ll have to take a look at the trailer to see what I mean (click on the purple title).

Keep Climbing with Todd Phillips. In the time-frame I had to write the leader’s guide, I was going through a few mountains of my own in life: my Dad’s surgery on his brain tumor and the difficulties of being sleep deprived with a newborn baby while being heavily involved in full-time ministry, work, and my husband’s schooling. It was neat to see how God helped use what I was going through to write the study. I’m not so sure I could have written it the same without going through those trials.

Why Jesus? with David Nasser is a study that David himself wrote and that myself and our publisher Jackie edited. It was filmed on the streets of Israel and answers the tough questions people about Jesus and why they should follow him. I don’t really have words to describe this study because it’s just so amazing.

It’s rare that really any of our team knows the exact impact that our work has on people’s lives, but that’s probably a good thing. The impact is up to God. It’s his kingdom and his work. We just get to be a part of it. And that is what makes it all so awesome.

Man on the Street: Who is Jesus?

crossFor Bluefish, we recently did some man on the street interviews here in Dallas. The interviews will go into our upcoming youth series about the tough questions we have about Jesus with David Nasser. I’m working on host copy (the words that our host will say to introduce segments in the series). Mac Powell with Third Day is going to be our host (I’m a big fan). Mac and David are good friends and have done a lot with the Glory Revealed album together.

Here are some of the comments we got off the street:

Our question: Who is Jesus?

I don’t really have an opinion of Jesus I believe that religion was created to control the masses.

He was a dude lived back in the day pretty awesome he had a beard.

Jesus is a person that existed that continues to enrich the lives of people everyday.

I think that he is a pretty cool guy he had a peaceful philosophy I think he’s misinterpreted by a lot of people.

He is the Savior of this world.

I don’t know because I don’t really believe in him so I don’t really think anything of him.

I mean he could have been a real person I mean I am sure he was I mean I am sure he was just good at what he did or something.

I kind of feel that Jesus is a modern day scapegoat.

Jesus is God I think, yeah, I just learned that.

Jesus was a man from what I figure.

He was just kind of a guy with a really unique positive message that kind of gave a lot of people a lot of hope.

He probably existed but I don’t believe he was the Son of God or anything.

Who is Jesus? is the one question that we all must come to terms with. Our destiny depends on who this figure in history was. What sets Christianity apart from any other religion is the Resurrection. If all Jesus did was live on this earth, claim to be God, die on a cross, but never rose from the dead (to prove He was God), our faith would be pointless.

The resurrection proved that He was God. Josephus, a Jewish historian, wrote about it. Archeology proves it. Over 500 eye witnesses after his resurrection proves it. Disciples who turned from cowards to courageous leaders for the gospel proves it. Prophecy upon prophecy fulfilled proves it. The list goes on.

We just simply cannot get away from dealing with Jesus and what he means for our lives. He was either a Liar, a Lunatic, or was Lord as C.S. Lewis coins it and it’s a choice we have to make. Is Jesus fully God and did he die on the cross for me to save me from my sins? Do I believe that God loves me unconditionally, right where I’m at?

Who do you say that He is?

Thoughts on the Faith Forum at Saddleback- David Nasser

 I was reading David Nasser’s most recent post today. The issue (of when life begins) has been on my mind and heart constantly as I research these two candidates and where they stand on the sanctity of human life. I’ve talked about this with my friends, Jay and Julia, and Jeremiah. It’s an issue in my mind that just cannot be ignored. I figured I would post what David wrote as I agree with everything he says. So here it goes:

Thoughts on The faith Forum at Saddleback, with McCain and Obama: (David Nasser)

Before I get started I want to make sure that you understand that I am not endorsing either candidate. I’m not trying to tell you who to vote for. I will however go on record to say that you should get out and vote. Make your mark.

Saturday night’s Faith Forum at Saddleback has been swimming in my mind, my heart, and on my tongue since the moment it aired two nights ago.

First of all, I want to declare a winner! The winner of the forum is…(drum roll please)…

Rick Warren. Whatever you think of Rick, his mega church, or even more mega selling book, you’ve got to give him points for asking questions that were both revealing and timely. Rick did a great job of asking the kind of questions that everyday people want to know the answers to. He was also fair and gracious to both candidates. Hats off to you Rick… Now, if we can just convince him to get rid of the goofy Hawaiian shirts…

There is so much to discuss here, but as you might have guessed, what got me blogging was the question about when life truly begins, and the candidate’s stances on abortion. Don’t get me wrong, everything they talked about was important.
Their heroes? Important.
The war? Important.
The economy? important.
The education of our children? Important.
The responsibility to care of the needy in the world? So-so important.

But to me the plight of the unborn, is still the most important.

Why? Because every other decision that a president makes flows out of his core belief about the sanctity of human life. Not just the sanctity of life for an already born adult, but for those in a mother’s womb as well. This is not just a pro-life stance, but what many conservative evangelicals like myself like to call a “whole-life stance.”

Here are the facts, no matter what your opinion:
1. Although abortions are on a decline in the past few years, almost every third baby conceived in America is aborted.
2. Since 1973 (Roe vs. Wade), when abortions became legal in the United States, there have been nearly 46 million abortions to date. This is not to mention the illegal, and untraceable abortions now more frequent because the abortion pill.
3. Most scientists, Christian or not, agree that some form of a “new living” cell begins at conception.
4. Combine these facts with the belief of billions of people that abortion is the termination of that “new life”, and you can see why this is a searing hot topic to say the least.

So here are a few thoughts on each candidate’s response to Rick Warren’s question.

John McCain:
The question was: At what point does life begin? His answer: “At conception.”

I know his voting record on pro-life issues before the forum. I know that he was in favor to uphold the ban on partial birth abortions. It’s also important to note that I also know that, unlike me, McCain approves of embryonic stem cell research. I fail to see the difference between a parent who discards an unwanted or leftover in-vitro embryo, or an unwanted embryo in a womb of a mother. While I recognize the urgent need for stem cell research in the fight against such things as Parkinson’s disease, I see adult stem cell research as the only ethical choice. Is a human embryo a human life? If so, when is it OK to kill a human embryo for any reason?

Barrack Obama:
The question was: At what point does life begin? His answer: Basically, “I’m not sure… I’m pro-choice, because I believe that women make this decision with much thought and serious consideration. I want to see abortions reduced by offering better options.”

Rather than taking potshots at his “above my pay grade” comment, I will pose a question instead. Let’s say that no one really knows when life begins. Let’s say that none of us can really ever be sure. Let’s just say the question is above everyone’s pay grade. Since we don’t know, Senator Obama, could it be that we MIGHT be killing babies through abortion? Aren’t you admitting that they might be alive, by saying, “I don’t really know?”

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the FDA approved a drug that we think might be killing millions of people. It’s a highly controversial drug that many people disagree about. Let’s say no lab really knows for sure whether the drug is safe or not. All we know is there is a valid argument on both sides that this drug could or could not be lethal. Would you be OK with allowing this kind of Russian roulette game go on as the president? Would you say that since you don’t know if the drug is really killing people or not, that we should continue to use it? How is that not a pro-death stance?

I heard both men profess Christ as their Savior, and I heard both men stress the need to stand against the innocent killings in places such as Darfur and Rwanda. I heard both men say that 150 million orphaned children need a home, and that this great nation must rise for the oppressed. But, I also heard both men agree that evil exists. What greater evil can there be than the holocaust of 46 million innocent children in our nation alone?

Our prayer:
Oh Lord, we repent. We repent for the lack of tears, the lack of shouts, the lack of passion, and most of all, the lack of vigilant prayer for the unborn. Revive this land, Lord. We are a desperate people in need of you. We pray for our leaders, both present and future. Break their hearts for the things than break Yours. We don’t need a king, Lord, we already have one. You are it. We need You.

Youth Series’ off to the Press

This past week, our production team just finished reviewing and editing the DVD’s and leaders guides for the new 2009 Youth Ministry kit that will release August 1. After all the editing and reviewing, the kit is now off to the press. A lot of filming, producing, graphics, and writing went into the series so to celebrate Brian treated our entire team to some good Mexican food!

The 2009 Youth Ministry kit includes teaching from Marcus Goodloe, Sean McDowell, and David Nasser. Marcus Goodloe and Sean McDowell’s teaching was filmed in LA and David Nasser’s was filmed in Rome. All three of these leaders are extremely gifted and they really meet youth where they’re at.

This will actually be our third year working with David Nasser. Having the opportunity to go to Rome and film David’s teaching was a life-changing experience for our crew. David always had wanted to teach on the life of Paul in Rome as well so it worked out perfectly.

In the next few posts, I’ll be writing on what I learned in writing the Paul in Rome series alongside of David Nassser’s teaching. God really spoke to me about a lot of things as I was researching, reading, and writing the series. I’ve learned truths I’ve never seen before in a whole new light. I can’t wait to share them with you.

Our prayer is that all of these series will truly impact this generation of youth and that they will be challenged to live out their faith radically in a culture that is in desperate need of Jesus Christ.

Paul in Rome Writing Project

 I was asked today by Phil, our director of production and Jackie, our Senior producer if I would write the leader’s guide curriculum that goes with our upcoming video series on the Life of Paul in Rome with teaching from David Nasser. The study is geared for youth and will release August 1.

I feel very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to write on this video series and reach teens in this way. One, I love that it is based in Rome and is about the life of Paul. Two, I am a huge fan of David Nasser. He spoke often at Liberty University when I was a student there and the Lord always used him to speak to me. I also love that he is scripturally-focused and has a heart for the next generation. Third, of course I love that Bluefish is behind it all. Our producers have worked really hard on it.

I am excited to start plugging away at this in the upcoming weeks.

 

Bible Study for Youth Groups with David Nasser and Bluefish TV is filmed in Rome

 A few weeks back, David Nasser and some of our crew returned from an unforgettable journey retracing the steps of the Apostle Paul to help teach youth groups across the country.

Our last project with David Nasser, the I AM youth group series with David Crowder and Chris Tomlin led our Director of Production, Phil Warner to ask about potential project ideas brewing in David’s mind. David said, “I’ve always wanted to teach in Rome.”

David’s response was taken seriously and our production crew and David packed their bags for a 7 day shoot in Rome, Italy. Rome would be the teaching location for the new Bluefish TV 2009 Youth Ministry Kit.

Standing on the streets of Rome, David taught about the cost of discipleship at the Tre Fontana (the three fountains) which is now a monastery and the supposed spot where Paul was beheaded. He taught about the “Roman Road” on the actual Roman Road (the Appian Way). He spoke on grace at the Scala Santa (The Church of the Holy Steps); the steps in front of Pontius Pilate’s house in Jerusalem where legend believes Jesus stood when was condemned to the cross.

David’s favorite segment was at the Roman Forum. He walked among the ruins and deteriorated remains of what at one time was the “center of the world.” David taught that no matter how powerful a nation may be it is never indestructible. “Ancient Rome can serve as a real warning for modern day America. Rome was the fashion, entertainment, military, and social capital of the world at one point (much like the U.S. today). But the one thing that brought Rome to its knees was its own arrogance,” says David.

 David’s teaching is scripturally focused. He motivates youth groups to venture deeper into God’s word and further investigate Roman culture. The 2009 Youth Ministry Kit for youth group leaders with David Nasser is Bluefish TV’s first teaching series in Europe. It is scheduled to release August 1. You can watch for release details at bluefishtv.com.

If you’d like to explore and purchase other Bluefish TV Youth Ministry Bible studies, visit the following youth studies: Teens Vs. Parents with Mark Matlock, Sex. Dating with Michael and Hayley DiMarco, and Revolution with Doug Fields.

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