Think About Faith. An Update From Douglas Jacoby.
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5 May 2014

     Our last update came from Miami. Today I bring you warm greetings from Los Angeles. Vicki and I have been taking in the 71st Pepperdine Bible Lectures: nearly 200 thought-provoking lessons by a wide spectrum of speakers, from John Ortberg and Rubel Shelly to Randy
Harris and Walter Brueggemann. Teachers need to be taught too, so for me this is an important annual opportunity. (And it's free.) I need to think more biblically about grace, God's grandeur, and living authentically.Hearing from men and women outside my own immediate fellowship brings fresh perspectives. Their teaching exposes inadequacies in my thinking. They also remind me that I'm too easily distracted. Instead of losing myself in God, I lose myself in my work. (Ever have that problem?)
     My own offering at Pepperdine was a class called 88 Gospels—or 4? (Which Gospels “Made the Cut,” Which Didn’t, and Why). We uncovered the enormous differences between the genuine gospels and later apocryphal pretenders, and exploded the common rumor that the books included in the New Testament were chosen by pure politics or ecclesiastical conspiracy. Does this sound academic?

New material @
     "Academic" material isn't just for scholars. It can be highly practical, informing us as we share the Christian message with others and respond to the counter-claims and half-truths of the world. This is one of the principal purposes of my website. With this in mind, Q&A 1332 addresses the recently hyped Jesus' wife papyrus. Q&A 1331 examines whether the Bible records the exact words of speeches and conversations. There's also a podcast on the difficult passage "and so all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26). Should we expect an end-times mass conversion of national Israel? Last, I've made numerous updates to the New Testament chapter notes, especially on Mark and Romans. Check in at the website to benefit from all the new material.

From Alaska to Nicaragua
     In the past month I've had the honor of speaking at Georgia Tech (Atlanta I love campus ministry), Anchorage (the University of Alaska and the Great Land Christian Church), and Malpaisillo, Nicaragua.
      What impresses me about these distant locations Anchorage and Malpaisillo is the evangelistic fervor of local disciples of Christ. Neither group relies on cold-contact evangelism, yet each has a strong culture of outreach and has experienced considerable growth. Each leadership group is "out of the box" (highly innovative and adaptive) and relational (loving, humble, connected).

     In Anchorage, the university flew me in to present classes on Christianity & the Paranormal and Church History 1450-1550, even providing translation for the deaf. The Sunday service was very well attended (several hundred), and followed by a fellowship meal. If you ever get the chance, visit this faithful outpost of disciples. You'll be deeply encouraged. As for the northern lights which I'd hoped to glimpse (a previous newsletter) they were above us and they were intense. Unfortunately, the sky was too cloudy to afford a clear view. Sometimes the glory is not absent just concealed.
     Malpaisillo is the pueblo where my brother and his wife live. Sheep, Not Goats, their brilliant ministry, promotes the gospel while creating much-needed jobs in a community of 8000. I preached the Easter message in Spanish. At least I think it was Spanish. The crowd of 150 was gracious, giving, smiling perhaps bemused by the linguistic sincerity of the visiting gringo. After a night with a friend in Managua (the capital), I was on the way home.

     In the Middle East (next week) I will definitely rely on an Arabic translator. Besides Jordan, I have the chance to speak in Oman and the United Arab Emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Another brother will accompany me to Jordan (in addition to speaking in Kuwait and the UAE).
     As always, thanks you for your support. If you're new to this ministry, maybe you can help to fund our foreign book donations? Click and scroll down for specific current and future needs.
     Wherever I travel, my aim is to make people think about faith. I cannot do this alone, and I truly appreciate our collaboration and teamwork.

In Malpaisillo, Nicaragua. Andrés, local minister and dynamo
of the congregation, stands in the center of the group.

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