This is a long entry but I think you will enjoy it when you are preparing your sermons.

Repost: 20 Scripture Twisting Techniques Up front I will acknowledge that this is a copy and past article I grabbed from the Fightingforthefaith.com website. Fighting for the FAith/Pirate Christian Radio is a podcast that takes the time to compare what people are saying in the name of God to the word of God. Its an excellent podcast, though I suggest that you come at with some pretty thick skin because it tends to be pretty forthright and unapologetic in its pursuit of proclaiming Bibli … Read More

via Youthguyerik's Blog

 I’ve spoken to some interesting people who are also bloggers.  One person confessed, “I’m a very private person.  However, I will blog things that I would never tell people face to face.” 

I believe it isn’t the medium–or blogging– that is to blame but the very intimate discipline of writing that may be the culprit.  Many novelists admit that they write about their own lives, their friends’ lives and their home towns.  It’s often been said by authors that you can tell the things with which they are struggling by what occupies their writing. 

Close exposure to the written word is an extremely seductive practice.  The more you deal with words; the more you believe that you can trust them.  Therefore, the more you do trust them. 

As a program director for a ministry called The Special Gathering, I’ve worked for almost two decades with people who are developmentally disabled.  I feel an acute desire to help our members who often are poor readers or who do not read at all.  Our ministry is not one of social work but classic ministry.  We disciple and evangelize persons who are mentally challenged.  I’ve made several observations.

  • Over the years, I marveled at how much the mentally challenged population relates to the published word.  Many people who cannot decipher a B from a Ω will stare for hours at the newspaper pretending to read. 
  • If you didn’t know, you would assume that they were reading the magazine they have placed on the table beside their lunch, because they have trained their eyes to scan the page as though they are carefully reading. 
  • Also, most mentally challenged people don’t want to admit that they cannot read.  They will calmly tell you they don’t know their phone number or their address.  They may admit other effects of their disability without any sense of shame but reading…that’s often different.

Christians and Jews are known as people of the Book.  For thousands of years, Jews have taught their children to read so they would be able to read the Torah.  From the early days of our nation, Christians founded our most prestigious universities.  Pastors and church members were the authors of public school so that every child could read the Bible. 

Because the written Word is so intricate in learning about the ways of God, I’ve sometimes wondered if God hasn’t put in our hearts a great attraction to reading and writing.  When I came to work within this population, I was fascinated with the interaction of mentally challenged people and reading.

Within the mentally challenged community, reading and writing is highly valued.  I learned very early in working with this ministry that it’s a good thing to never ask if a person can read or write.   I talk to them as though they can.  But inwardly, I assume that they can’t, until I know for sure.

Len quit coming to Special Gathering when we started using curriculum because he was so afraid that we would ask him to read.  Up to that point, I had no idea that he could not read because he was one of our most high functioning members. 

When I finally coaxed him back to our program, I handed out the new quarterlies and said,  “Now.  Do not read ahead.  In fact, I just want you to look at the pictures.  I’m going to tell the story.  I’ll read if there is a need.  You don’t have to.” 

Immediately, I saw the tension drain from Len’s face.  He came back every week.  Being up close and personal seems to be the position everyone wants when it comes to words.  After Len relaxed, he wanted to take his book home. 

What about you?  Have you seen an attraction for the written word in your program?  Have you found that your members have an acute desire to read?  How do you handle people who are not readers in your Bible classes?

I spend a great deal of time in my car.  It’s my office.  When there is no one I’d rather have lunch with other than myself, it’s my favorite lunch spot.  It’s the place where I get informed about the world and politics and the place where I memorize and study my Bible (via my tape or CD player).  I’ve spent hours studying Korean in my car.  It’s one of my favorite reading spots and the place where I listen to Christian music.  I prepared for praise and worship and for The Special Gathering Choir in my car, rehearsing the music for endless hours.  It is often my prayer closet where I speak loud and long to the Lord.

As you can tell, I spend at least three to four hours in my car almost every day.  Because The Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community is scattered up and down the East Coast of Florida, those of us who minister within this small sphere spend more time than we like to admit in our cars.  However, we’ve become pretty creative in our time management. 

In the mornings and late in the afternoons, I listen to National Public Radio for several hours.  In between, I listen to talk radio.  I feel this keeps my political equilibrium pretty much balanced. 

I now have a car with a CD player.  Therefore, I’m listening to my Bible.  I’m also finding that memorizing has come easier over the years and I’m having great fun memorizing parts of the Bible that for years I thought I couldn’t digest. 

Most of my life, I’ve wanted to learn another language.  My daughter-in-love is Korean.  So speaking Korean seemed a natural step for me.  When I had only a tape player in my car,  I found the repetitive playing of the tapes that I needed ruined them.  Therefore all my Korean tapes were soon destroyed.  Now, I’m excited to get some Korean CD’s that will hone my listening and speaking abilities. 

When I discovered Lemony Snickett via my six-year old granddaughter, the two of us enjoyed the perils of the children in their fictional adventure.  It was a wonderful together time though we were separated by more than a thousand miles.

Deuteronomy 6 explains that we are teach our children and talk about the ways of the Lord when we are sitting at home, “when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up.”  The great commission, I’m told, could better be translated, “As yougo into all the world…”  This gives me great comfort as I travel from Melbourne to Merritt Island to Vero to Fort Pierce.  With that in mind, as I journey from Indian Harbour Beach to Cocoa or Daytona or DeLand, I work at creative ideas for making my trip more productive.

Of course, I’m not alone.  There are millions of people who are busily moving from job site to job site each working day.  Keeping aware of the traffic and keeping close contact with the Lord is a balancing act.  Beside smearing ketchup and mayonnaise all over your best trousers, what are some of the creative and productive things you do in your travels?

Vero Bible Class

Teaching the Bible in Vero Beach

In the Special Gathering, we teach the simple essence of the Gospel,

Jesus loves me

This I know

For the Bible

Tells me so.

This is what our members understand and it’s the heart and core of the Scriptures.  In addition, every church and denomination agrees with this simple premise. As a parachurch ministry we understand that God commissioned the local church with the task of evangelizing and discipleship.  Therefore, we endeavor to not by-pass the local church but to become a part of the local church by asking to become a part of their budgets.   This strategy does force us to use the KISS theory (Keep It Simple, Stupid.) in all our teaching.  Nevertheless, it is amazing how much you can preach and teach in these small boundaries.

Below is an excerpt of a comment left on our June 29, Sermon blog.  I’ve included it for several reasons.  First and I admit it, I’m starved for comments.  While this blog is picked up by several national organizations each day to carry on their blogs, the other comments are few and far between.  Even though this a boiler plate comment that Rev. Billy leaves on many blogs to draw people to his blog, I’ve included it.

But there is much more.  The most important reason why I’ve included it is:  What Rev. Billy is espousing is the very thing that you need to avoid like the plague when teaching your members.  There are many rational arguments I could use to counter his beliefs.  For one, all the books he mentioned are an interesting read but they are riddled with mistakes.  There have been no factual mistakes found within the 66 canonized Scripture texts. 

However, back to the point.  The Special Gathering is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  We aspire to bring the gospel to our people who are intellectually disabled and then to train and disciple them.  However, there are developmental deficiencies that they face in any attempt to understand complex concepts.  An argument regarding the validity of the more than 600 Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts which exist but are excluded from the canon of Scriptures is not an argument that our members will understand or be of interest to them.  Therefore, it is an argument that we avoid. 

Here is the comment left by Rev. Bolitho: 

In the Protestant church only the 66 books approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1885, which today is known as the Authorized King James Bible, are allowed.

Fourteen other books, which were included in the original King James Bible, and 22 other books which were mentioned or quoted in the King James Bible, are not included today.

There was no specific list or accounting of all the books that made up the Bible until the commission of the first Bible by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century AD.

It is believed there were up to 600 books, taken out by the formation of Catholicism by Constantine; even one lost book is a great loss.

Also many do not know that the Apocryphal books were actually included in the King James translation until they were officially taken out by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1885.

My conclusion is that if these books mentioned by God’s people in the Bible, was good enough for them to read and to study, and to accept that it is the word of God, then I to accept that these other books mentioned in the Bible is the word of God. And to reject them would be a grave loss to me. But we do know that if man has any involvement in writing God’s Word, he makes mistakes and sometimes changes the Word of God, therefore we must always seek the Holy Spirits teaching when we are reading holy scriptures today, for the Holy Spirit will always lead us into all truth as Jesus said.

EVANGELIST BILLY BOLITHO

Christians and Jews have always been known as people of the book.  But most of the members of Special Gathering, a ministry within the mentally challenged community, do not read.  The Melbourne and Vero Special Gatherings have about 100 people who are developmentally delayed who attend each week.  We do classic ministry, evangelism and discipleship.  Because of their inability to read, I have a difficult time selecting different people each week to read the Scripture text. 

While some of our members can read the words slowly, there are probably only three or may four who are comfortable reading in front of a group.  Even the best readers must be prompted and given help.  So how can this small band of dedicated Christians be “people of the book?”

The early Catholic church faced the same problem in the early centuries.  Most of the people they evangelized were not able to read.  In fact, it is the Christians who have been the largest proponent to education over the generations.  It is considered essential to the Christian faith to understand the scriptures.  Growing in grace is deep wrapped in becoming a part of the Word of God.  However, the developmental disabilities of our members make this difficult. 

There are things which can be done, however.  My father was a brilliant man with an 8th grade education who taught himself to read, only after he became a devoted Christian.  He wanted to be able to read the Bible.  He used tape recordings of the Bible to help him.  He would read along with the Bible tapes.  He not only became knowledgeable about the Bible but a great reader.  

In the same way, we encourage our members to purchase Bible CD’s and listen to them.  The Dollar Stores have Bible CD’s for $1.  For Christmas this year, we gave all our members a Bible CD.  We encourage our members to get additional CD’s and listen to them.   The whole Bible on CD’s can often be purchased for a nominal price.

I have begun to incorporate one Bible verse each quarter as our Call to Worship.  In this way, they are exposed to an essential Bible verse 9 times a year.  One of our Bible teachers in Daytona took well over a year to teach his lower functioning members one Bible verse. “I will pray morning, noon and night.”  What a great verse to learn.  At first, I thought he was really wasting their time until the verse began to penetrate my spirit.  I came to love hearing his recitation of that verse.  Often, it comes back into my mind, reminding me of the importance of prayer and reminding me to pray.

What are some of the methods that you have used to teach your members the Bible?  Do you teach Bible verses or the principles of the scriptures?  Which do you think is more beneficial?

Someone has inquired through a search engine several times about a Bible for mentally challenged persons.  At The Special Gathering, we have found that The New Century Version is excellent for our use.  It is written on a fifth grade level.

There are some controversies regarding this translation; but the things which some people seem to find objectionable are the things which make it a good translation for our population.  It was originally published as a primer for teaching English to immigrants who had settled in the US.  There are concrete words and expressions that are beneficial for us.