Thinking Out Loud

July 27, 2015

The Heavens Are Telling: A Review of Story in the Stars

The Story in the Stars

Several years ago I was made aware of First Century Foundations, the ministry of Joe Amaral. Joe and his wife Karen are based in Canada; their ministry is very similar to that of America’s Ray Vander Laan. Both are committed to help people see the life, teachings and miracles of Jesus in the context that his Jewish audience would have seen, heard and understood them. Although I had some early exposure to Ray, it has been Joe’s teachings which most recently have helped me learn more of this type of content, which truly makes the Gospels come alive. In addition to books such as Understanding Jesus and What Would Jesus Read? they lead tour groups to Israel on a regular basis.

So it seemed only fitting that the man who has helped so many see so much of what we miss in our hurried scripture readings wearing Western-mindset glasses should turn his attention to the many astronomical references in the scripture which can be equally overlooked. (Perhaps it was the natural next step, since Joe takes his telescope everywhere.)

“Can you direct the movement of the stars–binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion?
 -Job 31:31 NLT

He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The LORD is His name.
 -Amos 4:8 NASB

Story in the Stars is a DVD/BluRay combination which does leave you scratching your head in wonder at the detail that we’ve missed. Even the twelve signs of the zodiac, which is anathema in conservative Evangelical quarters, are rich in relevance when interpreted through a Biblical lens.

But the real payoff in this 41-minute documentary is a section at the end which gets into signs occurring in the heavens relevant to Jesus’ birth — a better understanding of what drew the Magi to the Bethlehem stable — as well as his crucifixion, resurrection and second coming. Having been in the audience for several Story in the Stars live presentations, I can say that this video only begins to whet your appetite for this topic, and as I said above, it serves to warm you toward an area that has been off limits for many church people. Perhaps it’s the similarity of the word astronomy to the word astrology that throws Christians off the trail.

Story in the Stars is available for purchase or download at StoryInTheStars.com and at Christian Bookstores who can order copies through Elevate Entertainment via Send the Light Distribution. It’s a great introduction to a topic that many of us might never have considered. A companion coffee-table book is also available; and even though it’s not about astrology, the move or the book make a gift and conversation-starter for someone who has that passion.

 

 

January 11, 2009

Blog Updates

lynxMedia Section

In the lynx links section today I’ve added two new listings under “Media.”  The documentary on Lonnie Frisbee has been covered here before, but today we’re also adding a link to a Canadian documentary that deals with “fringe” churches.    Here’s how I described it in an e-mail this week:

one-size-fits-all2Some of you may have heard Joe Manafo speak at the Canadian Youth Workers Conference.   Joe is part of an alternative church plant in Sarnia called theStory and founder of Thinkerlabs. He has recently completed a 43-minute DVD documentary called One Size Fits All? – Exploring New and Evolving Forms of Church in Canada …   The documentary covers church plants in every province except Newfoundland.   You can learn more at  http://www.onesizefitsall.ca/ The price is $24.99 CDN and we’re carrying these to support Joe’s efforts both at film making and research, hoping that you’ll want to do the same.

If you’re one of my local readers, we picked this up for our bookstore; if you’re reading from anywhere else you can order it from the website.   Unfortunately, I didn’t ask Joe to include a “demo” at this stage, but you’ll find some sample clips on the website.

This Just In:

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.   (Interesting that three of those are colors, since there’s also no way to really describe color.)   Break into groups of three or four and discuss.

linksMore About Lynx Links:

I also added a couple of new blogs to the links today.   What I’m always looking for is something that is generally Christ-focused (or at least church-focused, or Bible-focused) on a day-to-day basis, with frequent new posts, that is not too dry or too deep for the average person, visually engaging, and not solely of interest to professional clergy, and not too Twittery (i.e. self-focused).   Got suggestions?

ESV Study Bible clarification:

Jon Rising, who blogs at Word and Spirit sent me this the other day and I thought I should share it:

Tim Challies does not agree that the ESV Study Bible is strongly Reformed in its theology. Here is what he blogged:

esv-study-bible“…The ESV Study Bible, on the other hand, offers a wider or less-defined perspective. Where the doctrine is clear and undisputed among Evangelicals, so too are the notes. But where doctrines are controversial and within the area of Christian freedom or disputable matters, the notes tend not to take a firm position, even when the author or editor is firmly in one camp or the other. Whether this is positive or negative may well depend on the individual reader.
To satisfy my curiosity, I opened my NIV Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, MacArthur Study Bible and ESV Study Bible and compared their notes on several areas of controversial theology—end times, predestination and spiritual gifts. None of these Bibles offered notes that were unbiblical so I was left looking for the differences in perspective.

In general I found that theMacArthur Study Bible offered the most defined position. This makes good sense as it represents the position of a single individual. This was followed by the Reformation Study Bible which offers the position of many individuals but each of them drawn from a very consistent theological position. The ESV Study Bible came next, offering a charitable but open view on most of these issues. The NIV Study Bible seemed almost to shy away from some of the issues.

So while it is clear that the ESV Study Bible is not distinctly Reformed in its position, neither is it Arminian. It is not cessationist or continuationist and is neither amillennial nor premillennial. In fact, it seems as if it emulates the parent who tells one of his children to cut the last piece of cake in half and the other to choose the first piece. In many cases a person from one perspective wrote the notes while a person from the other perspective screened them. This ensures the notes maintain both charity and some degree of objectivity in those areas of dispute.”

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