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I can remember in high school sincerely wanting to read my Bible. I had decided it was time to start, no more excuses. I sat down to read and within five minutes was overwhelmed with all the words, words, words. If you can relate to this experience then this class is for you. I will give you a simple and enjoyable way to study the Bible. I will show you how you can study on your own or with some friends. I hope to see you and help you get started on a lifetime of enjoying the Word of God.

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We often say, “God has a plan,” meaning that God has a personal plan for my individual life. But when we only talk about God’s plan for my personal life, we are not saying enough. To be sure, God has a plan for your life, but His plan for your life should never be separate from His plan for the whole world. As a member of God’s church, we need to locate our stories in God’s big story. God has a mission in this world, and He has enlisted you to be part of that mission. In this class we will talk about the Mission of God, what He has done and is always doing to restore this broken world. It is our belief that once we get excited about the Mission of God, the plan for our lives will begin to fall into place.

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The Bible is so old and we don't have the original copy so how can I trust the Bible in my hands? That's a good question and one that needs some answers. Another good question is: "There are so many different religions in the world and they say their sacred texts are true, too... what does this mean about the Bible?" And what if science seems to tell us that the Bible isn't accurate? What if science seems to tell us that the Bible was written only by humans and therefore outdated and full of errors? It is these questions that we will engage with this seminar.
I have spent many hours on my own and in my ministry engaging and researching these questions and others. Not because I love the library, but because these are the questions I am asking and these are the questions the college students in my ministry are asking. Join us in this seminar as we look at how and why the Bible is trustworthy. We'll engage how we can know historical events really happened, how your Bible came to be, and talk about the most common objections to the Bible as a trustworthy, accurate, faith-forming document. Bring your own questions, too!  

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Beyoncé says girls run the world, and I’ve also heard that girls just want to have fun. I wonder what God thinks about women? Does He value us? Does He want us to be strong? Would Wonder Woman and Jesus have gotten along? In a time of marches and movements, let’s discover what Scripture says about God’s view of women.

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No, that’s not a typo; it’s the actual title of the class. For years human beings have pondered the question, “Is there life after death?” Christians have said yes but have sometimes oversimplified it by saying, “Believers go to heaven; non-believers go to hell. End of story.” Is that really the end of the story? Could it be that the Bible teaches us there’s more? Could it be that there is a life after life after death? The answer is yes! The resurrection wasn’t just a really cool miracle that Jesus performed on himself. It was actually the beginning of a revolution. It was the deep magic, as C.S. Lewis said, that would cause death itself to start working in reverse. It is the promise of a hope that we hold fast to—a hope that one day Jesus will come back and bring heaven with him, down to earth, where we will live in the light of his glory and in the wake of his resurrection forever and ever. If this is true, then oh man, do we have a lot to look forward to! And I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I do too…so let’s talk about it.  

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No, that’s not a typo; it’s the actual title of the class. For years human beings have pondered the question, “Is there life after death?” Christians have said yes but have sometimes oversimplified it by saying, “Believers go to heaven; non-believers go to hell. End of story.” Is that really the end of the story? Could it be that the Bible teaches us there’s more? Could it be that there is a life after life after death? The answer is yes! The resurrection wasn’t just a really cool miracle that Jesus performed on himself. It was actually the beginning of a revolution. It was the deep magic, as C.S. Lewis said, that would cause death itself to start working in reverse. It is the promise of a hope that we hold fast to—a hope that one day Jesus will come back and bring heaven with him, down to earth, where we will live in the light of his glory and in the wake of his resurrection forever and ever. If this is true, then oh man, do we have a lot to look forward to! And I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I do too…so let’s talk about it.  

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Russ Whitfield speaking at RYM 2018 HSCO on the topic of "Scripture is Relevant".

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The things that we consume tell us a lot about who we are because what we consume reveals what we are passionate about. We consume things because we have a desire for something. We feel hungry, so we eat, but what happens when you are starving? You don’t just eat, you feast. You have an uncontrollable feeling to eat and any food in sight is just an answer to fill the void within your stomach in hope that you never have that feeling of hunger again. However, to consume means much more than just the things that we eat, but it includes the things that we watch or listen to. The biggest problem with that is that we may consume something we regret or something we shouldn’t have because we are simply trying to fill our stomachs or minds with something we are craving and to avoid the feeling of hunger. Because of this, we develop a burning passion for things to satisfy our cravings. This class will help define passion, desire, and consumption of all things. It will affirm that these emotions are given to us by God. These emotions can be and are meant for glorifying God by properly utilizing them in all that we do and how we pursue one another. We will also talk about how passion, desire, and consumption can be misused or mistaken as something that is wrong.

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Standing in the doorway to her new classroom her stomach tightens as the looks and whispers begin.... looking in the mirror all she can see are the flaws... sitting in church she wonders if the congregation would kick her out if they knew what she did last night... every day, everywhere, the voice whispers, “You are not enough; no one will love the real you; you are worthless.” This story sound familiar? How often has this voice bullied you, whispering ceaselessly until you believed what it said? What if I told you that wasn’t the only story out there? That there was another voice, another narrative, more powerful, more beautiful more true than anything. Come join me as we learn to listen, and ask, “Which one is the story of my life?”

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While for the first part of our lives we grow up mostly dependent upon our parents (or others) to meet our needs, as we get a little older we start reaching for independence. Something almost instinctive inside us longs for it and so much of our cultural and daily experience promotes it - independence. It’s in our history and part of what it means to “be an American”...for we celebrate our Declaration of Independence! To be sure, there is plenty of truth and health involved when you begin to grow into your own person and take responsibility for your life...your own thoughts, words, and deeds. However, as we do this we often begin to experience a great deal of stress and anxiety because we are all too aware of our weaknesses and limitations. In contrast, the Bible has a lot to say about our lives being marked with joy, peace, and purpose even though we are weak. Is it possible to become more independent and experience this joy and peace at the same time? Yes! Join us in this seminar as we consider how the quest for independence, without a proper understanding of what it means to be human, will actually restrict freedom, joy, and peace. For to be truly human we must remain dependent upon God through each and every day. Join us for some fun and encouraging content helping us better understand what it means to live in dependence!

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"You need to read your Bible!" How many times have you heard this or been given this advice?! While this is good counsel, oftentimes we struggle to read the Bible because it’s a hard book to read! The Bible is a collection of ancient books, from a different culture, spanning across history, and yet it is the very Word of God that reveals God to us, speaks to modern life, and is intended to change us from the insideout. Jesus Himself emphasizes in Matthew 4:4 that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” But how do we learn to “eat” this word that is intended sustain and change us? How can the Bible become for you the life-changing book that it is - revealing God to you? We need help, and we need guides as we desire to learn the ways of the Word. This elective class hopes to provide exactly that: guidance in the ways of the Word as you, by the power of the Spirit, try to make sense of Scripture - so that you might “eat," be satisfied, and share with others the “good food” you have tasted.

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Kurt Cooper speaking on the topic of "Scripture is Relevant".

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