Seminary Dropout 68: Jordan Seng, Author of ‘Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries

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Joining me on the show today is Jordan Seng. Jordan is pastor of Bluewater Mission in Honolulu, Hawaii, and a speaker on issues related to healing & prophetic ministry, church planting and missions, worship, and small groups.

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Jordan’s book is ‘Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Supernatural Ministries.

From the interview:

  • How did you come to experience supernatural ministries in your life?
    It happened frequently in college. The real story is this. I grew up as a believer not in a believing family, not in a church going family. I actually had some babysitter introduce me to Lord, when I was quite small and my family moved around a ton when I was a kid. We were actually running from the law and hiding under assumed names which is another story. But one thing was I didn’t get much church community and church acculturation. My view of collective Christianity came just from reading bible stories. So when Jesus called his followers, as I saw his helpers to do ministry, it always had a huge supernatural component preaching that the kingdom of God is here. In other words they should make stuff happen, and then heal the sick, heal the blind, cast out demons. I just thought that was the way it worked. So, I was open to supernatural experiences from a very young age, and had some from a very young age. I also assumed God speaks directly to his followers, and so I began having dreams and listening in my little prayers. And then, when I got to college that was the first time I really got the privilege of having fellowship in any way. I eventually stumbled into church that was doing some supernatural ministry.

 

  • Why is it not that we can’t YouTube miracles and see somebody genuinely healed or start walking or something like that? Why don’t we see it where we are today?
    Christian history so thoroughly peppered with miracle stories. So that was a tension for me. It doesn’t seem that the people around me are doing this stuff, but everything I read tells me how important it is. So what’s the deal? Why miracles are seen plentiful in history and but not plentiful in places that I frequent. That was actually an important question for me when I started learning about supernatural ministries. What I discovered and is my take on it, is that supernatural ministry is hard to deal with. It takes sacrifice, it takes commitment in a way natural ministries do not. So what we see in church history breakout and miracle seasons or sometime you see as revivals and then fade out. Miracles have never been absent from the church. But they have never been universal among churches either and has always been a little bit here, a little then, a little now and my explanation of the variability has to do with the effort required not only just to get into supernatural ministry but to sustain it over time. I call it miracle work because it turns out the miracles actually take work. But you want people to invest sacrificially and tell them to be supernatural people, which is really unpopular today. What we like is very reasonable spirituality that is not too humiliating. Miracles have never been absent and I think a person is dedicated to searching out supernatural Christians, will always find them. And in fact if you google, YouTube miracles you can find videos of people getting healed. Somebody send me a YouTube link from ministers that I trust and they are to be trust worthy.

 

  • If you Wikipedia ‘Ouija Board’ those things have been tested out in scientific laboratories. Why has the scientific community not investigated prayer and healing?
    What I find is that a scientific community occasionally investigates but not very well. The example a lot people know about is has to do with efficacy of prayer for hospital patients. There is a new study. Which uses a double blind study, where a hospital patients are selected to be prayed for. And you have prayer groups that pray for them anonymously. The scientific investigators investigate outcomes if prayers has improved human health, and actually the result of the studies are very impressive to neutral. My gripe with those studies is that they are not actually measuring supernatural study as Jesus demonstrated or taught. There is no quality control on people trained. The law of faith plays the large part in the success of miracles, we see that in Jesus stories. Faith moments count.

 

  • What does participating in supernatural ministries do in the life of a believer?
    Sometime people who chase super natural experience can get wrapped up in emotionalism but people who do super natural ministry they try to use supernatural power to help other people, to heal people, to free people from other demonic depression. 
    Supernatural Christians are world changers and if you don’t teach people and demonstrate they can do the impossible they will be hesitant.

 

  • “Faith makes miracles more likely. Faith is environmental. Testimony is great way to increase faith and built the sense of expectation and to change the impossible into the possible. Faith is extremely powerful. “

 

  • “One of the thing we need to recognize about the universe is that God partners with us to get things done. This is just a key principle of reality in kingdom of God, and we understand that about all ministries we consider normal.”

 

  • “To do supernatural ministry is other worldly. We have to come up against a lot of friction to do it, we become very odd people. Supernatural power within us tends to be sacrificial and it also requires a lot from our life to do it powerfully and to sustain it for a long period of time.”

 

  • If someones doesn’t have a background doing supernatural ministry where can they start?
    There are so many resources available. Tons of online resources. What I would encourage you do to more than anything is to TRY. One practical bit of advice to churches to groups of people, I will encourage you start small until you get testimonies. So you have a small group that does healing ministry. And once they get healing stories then you can do a congregational service. Start small, get a few stories and then go big.

 


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Seminary Dropout 67: Jesse Carey of Relevant Magazine & Podcast

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If you’ve read Relevant Magazine you’ve probably read something written by Jesse Carey and if you’ve listened to the Relevant Podcast you’ve laughed out loud at something he’s said.

Jesse joins me to talk about said magazine and podcast, also journalism, and being star struck when he met Lebowski himself, Jeff Bridges.

 


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Top 3 Posts of 2014

austin fischer3.) Seminary Dropout 029: Austin Fischer… Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed

Podcast episodes generally don’t attract as much views as a blog post (mostly because they are generally consumed directly from iTunes, Stitcher, etc.), so it’s big feat for one to become the 3rd most viewed post. Obviously the Calvinist/Arminian topic is still a hot one, and Austin adds a wonderful contribution to that conversation.

 

 

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2.) 5 Lessons Learned through Foster Care to Adoption

It doesn’t hurt my feelings a bit that the second most popular post in 2014 was a guest post. It’s well deserved. My friend and fellow blogger Kenneth Camp shares what he’s learned in his experience of foster care and adoption.

 

1.) 5 Ways To Be Unsatisfied With Your Church

This was actually posted in 2013 but some other publications picked it up and it’s become by far my most read post. I’m curious what your thoughts are on what’s happening in churches that made this the top post – was it anger, agreement, or something else?

Top Christian Books of 2014

Same as last year. A more accurate title would be “Top Books I’ve Read in 2014″, because this is solely based on my opinion, and because my criteria was that I had to have read it this year, but not all of the books were necessarily released this year. Also, it’s important to note that, yes, most of these books were written by Seminary Dropout guests, which may seem self serving, but honestly just reading the books of SD guests (which I must do to conduct the best interviews possible), leaves me little additional time for reading anything else.
Note: All links to books are affiliate links.

Now, on to the good stuff…

9. The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows (The Apprentice Series)

This is the first in a series of 3 books by James Bryan Smith. They’re somewhat devotional in nature, but don’t be fooled, these are not airbrushed light-hearted thoughts for your day. As James would say, it’s ‘soul exercise’, and he’s not lying, but more accurately it’s soul power-lifting, and yet the reader need not be a ‘super-Christian’.
Here’s my talk with James.

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8. Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence & A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace

These are two great books on Christian non-violence that came out this year. Although they’re on the same subject both books approach the subject very differently. While Brian Zahnd takes more of a personal approach describing his own journey as well as some philosphical arguments for Christian non-violence, Preston Sprinkle examines and deconstructs scripture to make a compelling case for CN-V. The pair are very complimentary.
My interview with Preston here & Brian here.

7. Fail: Finding Hope and Grace in the Midst of Ministry Failure

If you don’t know, working in ministry is hard. Broken relationships, moral failures, and a being left a shell of a human being, this is experience of too many working in our churches today. Sometimes the hurt is self inflicted but many times it’s not. There are far too few resources available for pastors and ministers. J.R. Briggs shares his experience of starting a Fail Convention for ministers to gather and talk about their failures.
Check out my interview with J.R. here.

 

6. The Shack

I’m late to the party, I know. I’m a contrarian so when The Shack first came out I assumed it was awful since every Christian I knew loved it. However many years later I heard Paul Young being interviewed on NPR and I liked what he had to say. I read The Shack, cried, and then invited Paul on Seminary Dropout.
Check out my interview with W.M. Paul Young here.

 

5. Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

Hannah More had a fascinating life in an interesting time period. She was jilted three times by her fiancé, once at the alter. Her friends were a veritable who’s who of famous brit’s of the time. She was an abolitionist when most people looked the other way or were adamantly against the abolishment of an industry that contributed such a signification percentage of their countries economy. Hannah More based this conviction in her faith is Christ. It’s a good story with a great author. Karen Swallow Prior’s writing won’t let you put this one down.
My interview with Karen Swallow Prior.

 

4. Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed: Black Holes, Love, and a Journey In and Out of Calvinism
Acts 29 churches, The Gospel Coalition, and the Christian best-seller list, Calvinism is ubiquitous in the evangelical church & culture today. What’s an Arminian or Open Theist who is passionate about Christ to do?! Not to worry, Austin Fischer has us covered. Austin was once a die-hard John Piper reading calvinist, but then everything changed. Austin is transparent in telling his story. He’s also generous to those he’s disagrees with. If you’re a die hard Calvinist, a radical Open-Theist, or just searching, read. this. book.
Here’s my interview with Austin.

 

3. Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

Slow Church is about the McDonaldization of the church and what it’s doing to us, some dangerous ramifications of the church growth movements, and why efficiency in the church may not be a good thing. I don’t normally use this word to describe books, but I’ll say that this book is important. If you’re frustrated with church as you’ve known it, read this book. If you’re not frustrated with church but wonder why those around you are, read this book. I’ll offer a serious word of warning here: be careful not to judge your own church because it’s not a ‘slow church’, even the transition of becoming a slow church, will be slow. Be patient with your clergy, and church members. A good first step is reading this book alongside them.
For a small taste of what Slow Church is about, listen to my interview with the authors Chris & John.

 

2. Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future

Elizabeth Esther has quite a story. Raised in a fundamentalist Jesus cult, Elizabeth spent her adolescence proclaiming judgement in the streets and preparing for the apocalypse. GEW is a case study in good intentions evolving into a thirst for control, and might have stopped there if Elizabeth Esther weren’t such an apt writer, but she is, and so it also feels like a best-selling novel. The story stands on it’s own, and then you remember it actually happened.
Listen to my interview with Elizabeth here.

1. Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart

Segregation was banned 1964, and yet here I sit in 2014 and our churches still look like a pre-civil-rights relic.
This is just one of the gems from DiC that has stuck with me:

‘…most people don’t see homogeneity as a problem as long as it’s not motivated by explicit prejudice.’

If I had to guess, most people would like their churches to be more diverse, but find it quite acceptable for them not to be. The diversity Christena Cleveland proposes isn’t just racial, but also economic, and theological.

If you haven’t picked up on it, this book might ruin you to homogeneous church. Let it.

Hear my interview with Christena here.

 

What books are on your list?

I Need Your Story!

I’m about to start a new project, it’s gonna be BIG and I need your help!

It can be a story about you or someone you know. The only two qualifications are that the story has to be about someone showing love, compassion, or selflessness, and you don’t mind it being shared in public if your story is chosen. It can be a big or small. We all have at least one story we can share and I want to hear yours!

Send your story in 200 words or less (you can fill in the details when/if your story is chosen) to shane@shaneblackshear.com.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Seminary Dropout 66: Austin Channing Brown, Exploring Civil Rights Sites, Sacrificing a Dream Home, & the Role of the Church

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My guest today is Austin Channing Brown. Austin collaborates with various Christian ministries who are moving forward a vision of racial reconciliation and socioeconomic understanding. She also works as a Resident Director and Multicultural Liaison for Calvin College. Whether speaking, training, facilitating dialogue or planning strategies, Austin loves the messy work of reconciliation.

You can find Austin’s blog at austinchanning.com.


 

 

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The folks over at Logos Bible Software asked me to review their new Logos 6 software, so here it goes:

Some of you may be aware of Logos Bible software. Logos has recently come out with Logos 6. The folks at Logos gave me a copy of Logos 6 and asked me to review it, and here is that review.

The word that comes to mind when I play around in Logos 6 is ‘exhaustive’. You can use this software for the rest of your life with no updates and still never get through all of the content. This is essentially a biblical studies doctorate in a box.

If you’re a pastor or someone who gives sermons fairly regularly then this is a no brainer, you absolutely have to get this program. If you’re a seminary student or even someone who just wants to study the bible more in depth then I can’t think of a single better tool to invest in.

Just to run through a few features of Logos 6; it’s got interactive maps -there’s this amazing tool where you can see a picture of a present day sight of a biblical landmark, then you can swipe over that picture to reveal a rendering of what that landmark looked like in biblical times, there are tons and tons of language tools in Logos 6, even if you’ve studied ancient Greek & Hebrew you probably don’t speak it fluently, you probably can’t look at a any random work in the text and translate it with all of the subtleties and nuances, but Logos 6 can! Logos 6 also contains other texts besides the bible such as extra biblical texts, commentaries, and words from important historical figures within Christianity. There are even graphics for sermon notes, and they look good!
Logos 6 has several different versions. There’s a standard version and versions specific to different faith traditions including Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentacostal & Charismatic, Reformed, and Seventh Day Adventist. Beyond that there are packages of all different prices to meet anyones needs and budget.

Some might be intimidated at the price of some of the advanced versions, but when you calculate the virtual library of information you’re getting, the cost is well worth it, and if those versions are just too much for you (information or cost), then the basic version is affordable and you can upgrade at any time.

If you purchase and use the code: BLACKSHEAR6 at checkout you’ll get 15% off and a portion of your purchase will go to support Seminary Dropout. 

Go to logos.com/blackshear for more info or to purchase.


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Seminary Dropout 65: Josh Butler, Author of ‘Skeletons in God’s Closet’

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Josh Butler is a pastor at Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon.  He oversees the church’s city ministries in areas like foster care, human traffichikng, and homelessness; and develops international partnerships in areas like clean water, HIV-support, and church planting. Butler is also a worhsip leader who enjoys writing music for the life of the church.

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Is God a sadistic torturer? Coldhearted Judge? Genocidal Maniac?

‘The Skeletons in God’s Closet’ debunks society’s caricatures of God.


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Another Pretty Big Book Giveaway!


 

Thanks to Renee Goodwin, elaaronbrandt, a_person_one_of_many, WaltHarris, & Stephofcourse for leaving ratings & reviews on iTunes recently!

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Another Pretty Big Book Giveaway! (over)

Update 2: It turns out that the first winner lives in Switzerland (How cool is that?!?), and after calculating the astronomical shipping costs to send 10 books he offered to let me draw another winner. Thanks for being a good sport Ralph and I’ll put a Seminary Dropout T-shirt in the mail for you soon.

So after drawing again, the final winner of the contest is: Sam Blair!

UPDATE:

Just like last time.

As a podcaster and blogger I receive TONS of books in the mail. Most are review copies I’ve requested for possible interviews, and some are just books publishers are promoting. Also, as a podcaster and blogger, I have a small house, and those books are taking over. Thus, it’s contest time. I’m not saying it’s a ginormous book giveaway, but it’s a pretty big book giveaway. These are quality books too. Some are new, some are old and a few have some markings and illegible notes in them I made while reading. I wish I could keep them all but ya know, the small house thing.

One lucky winner will received all 10 books shown below!

To enter simply subscribe to Seminary Dropout in iTunes, and leave a comment, any comment, in the comments section below. Remember, you must subscribe to Seminary Dropout in iTunes AND leave a comment. I thought about requiring a screen shot showing your subscription, but that’s too much work so subscribing is on the honor system. Yes, you could cheat the system to win a bunch of books about Jesus, but… seriously?!

Ok good luck! Entries will be accepted until Tuesday December 16th at midnight. I’ll announce the winner here the next day.IMG_0078.

Seminary Dropout 64: Karen Swallow Prior, Author of Fierce Convictions

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Karen Swallow Prior is a Professor of English at Liberty University inLynchburg, Virginia.

She is a contributing writer for Christianity Today, The Atlantic, In Touch, and Think Christian. Her writing has also appeared at Comment, Relevant, Books and Culture, Fieldnotes, The Well, and Salvo. She has spoken at numerous writing conferences including the Festival of Faith and Writing and the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference.

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Dr. Prior’s latest book is Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More – Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist.

The enthralling biography of the woman writer who helped end the slave trade, changed Britain’s upper classes, and taught a nation how to read.

The history-changing reforms of Hannah More affected every level of 18th-Century British society through her keen intellect, literary achievements, collaborative spirit, strong Christian principles, and colorful personality. A woman without connections or status, More took the world of British letters by storm when she arrived in London from Bristol, becoming a best-selling author and acclaimed playwright and quickly befriending the author Samuel Johnson, the politician Horace Walpole, and the actor David Garrick. Yet she was also a leader in the Evangelical movement, using her cultural position and her pen to support the growth of education for the poor, the reform of morals and manners, and the abolition of Britain’s slave trade.

Fierce Convictions weaves together world and personal history into a stirring story of life that intersected with Wesley and Whitefield’s Great Awakening, the rise and influence of Evangelicalism, and convulsive effects of the French Revolution. A woman of exceptional intellectual gifts and literary talent, Hannah More was above all a person whose faith compelled her both to engage her culture and to transform it. -From the Publisher

 


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Thanks to Derek-Brent, Izzy Cool, & V.Vulpes for leaving ratings & reviews on iTunes recently!

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Seminary Dropout 63: Arleen Spenceley, Author of ‘Chastity is for Lovers’

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Arleen Spenceley joins me on the show with a better way to talk about sex, singleness, and chastity.

Arleen has a master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the same university.

On her blog arleenspenceley.com you’ll find posts designed to encourage critical thought about relationships and sex; to encourage readers who practice chastity; to provide insight into an alternative way of life for the readers who don’t; and to explore how American culture impacts Christianity.

 

Arleen is the author of Chastity is For Lovers

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