I’ve entered a new decade of life since you last heard from me! Have you seen the “How it started, How it’s going” memes? Indeed, I experienced one of those “front number” change birthdays on August 1st – officially now 40. Similar to Saint Jerome, I must admit, I’ve always felt like an Old Soul! I enjoyed the day doing what I love – teaching God’s Word (this time at Bay Harbor Church) and spending the day with my family and dear friends in Northern Michigan, which included a boat ride on Walloon Lake and fellowship with friends around the best fireplace we’ve seen since Audrey and I lived in Oxford and visited the Cotswolds to celebrate my matriculation! Also, how do you like those Michigan lavender fields?! By the way, this email took me a minute to put together so thanks for reading it. J. Hudson Taylor said, “There are three stages in the work of God: Impossible; Difficult; Done.” I’ve lived this quote many times over in our mission with Christian Thinkers Society. God is faithful and I am reminded of that singular truth as I enter a new decade of life. In the spirit of “how it started … how it’s going” scroll to the end of the email to see one of my first “ministry” pics – youth camp, of course!
Christian Thinkers Society has been buzzing this summer and I write to share important links, ministry updates, and other ways in which God is using CTS to inspire, “Christians to think in believing and believe in thinking!” Next month, our Peace Shalom Tour begins (Ohio, Florida, see you soon!).
Last week, Lee Strobel interviewed me for his new television program “Investigating Faith” with Lifetable TV. I really enjoyed our conversation about my book Unimaginable and what the world would be like without Christianity. We discussed the undeniable ways in which Christianity is the greatest force for good on planet earth! Lee also asked me about Christian Thinkers Society, which was fitting, because Lee has been my friend and encouraging me in ministry since the early 2000s. At the beginning of the interview, I joked with Lee about how Audrey and I were his “uber” from the airport when he visited our church sometime between 2001-2004. We go back and I am thankful for his regular encouragement in my life and enthusiasm about Christian Thinkers Society. Please check out his new tv program, too!
It was a tremendous blessing to rejoin my dear friend, Bob Sprotte (the Bob Dawg – pictured far left), for the 2nd Annual Great Lakes Symposium on Christian Worldview in Bay Harbor, Michigan, at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts. The theme was: The Image Restored: What it Truly Means to Live Life in the Image of God. I’ve had the honor to partner with John Stonestreet and The Colson Center for Christian Worldview numerous times [at least four events including the Wilberforce Weekend, a pastors gathering QnA, also their webinar, their BreakPoint broadcast, and my podcast come to mind] and each time it gets better and better. I love their ministry and am thankful for the partnerships Christian Thinkers Society enjoys because we need as many ministries on the front lines as possible inspiring Christians to love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind. I also had the delight of becoming friends with both Dr. Kathy Kock and Dr. Matthew Sleeth – they are tremendous communicators and great people (so is John Stonestreet, who also spoke). All four of us shared insights on how to live like we belong to God…in a time when a lot of other identities are crowding in. Seats are limited!(Photo credit, Lily Faith!). Here’s a YouTube Link to watch the symposium. The title of my message was “Unleashing Peace” and the theme was “Take off those graveclothes” from John 11. Big thanks to the Bob Dawg for his leadership, love, and friendship in organizing such an outstanding outreach.
Here’s one of 23 slides I shared in my teaching at the Symposium:
My dear friend, Dr. Robert J. Morgan, interviewed me for his Robert J. Morgan podcast at the always beautiful Lanier Theological Library. I invite you to listen to our conversation here on the Robert J. Morgan Podcast. Dr. Morgan also interviewed Professor Craig Evans and me and I look forward to that podcast, too. Amazingly, later that evening, Dr. Morgan covered 3400 years of hymnody in his phenomenal lecture at the Lanier Theological Library. What a day!
Pictured below, John Stonestreet (The Colson Center for Christian Worldview) and I took questions from pastors and Christian leaders for nearly two hours. I love our pastors across the country and we have to take time to keep encouraging, resourcing, and equipping them! I’ve been asked for a recording of the session and would be happy to provide that in a future email as I do believe it was recorded. Dr. Kathy Koch was also in the audience and provided some exceptional answers to questions.
Below is a YouTube link to my birthday sermon at Bay Harbor Church. The best part was hearing Justin, our nine-year-old son, pray before I preached!
Have I mentioned yet Northern Michigan is pretty incredible during the summer? Family time and ministry time together were the best. The whole crew was with me and I always preach better when the Redhead is in the audience.
I was interviewed last week for this exciting series “Evidence of the Faith” with I Share Hope. Check out my presentation and others here. My topic was “Evil: Where did it come from?”
The whole family and I visited my publishing headquarters and we enjoyed seeing Dwight Baker, Rod Jantzen, and the amazing team at Baker Publishing in Ada, Michigan. I’m pictured above with Dwight Baker, the third-generation president of Baker Publishing Group, which his grandfather, Herman, started in 1939. Did you know the word Shalom appears 550 times in the Scriptures? I am excited my new book Unleashing Peace will show you how to experience God’s Shalom no matter what you are facing! We all need more of God’s Shalom (peace) and the Lord of peace is with us! I love partnering with Bethany House and Baker Publishing to provide content for Christian Thinkers everywhere!
Question: Who brings their whole family to publishing meetings at Baker Publishing headquarters? – I do.
Ministry life does not have to be dull! It certainly isn’t for CTS!
Speaking of publishing, I received the new paperback edition (Bloomsbury T&T Clark- Library of Second Temple Studies) of Scribes and Their Remains, which Craig Evans and I co-edited and both contributed two chapters – 352 pages! The principal theme of the book: the text as artifact.
As pictured below, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and sharing from my heart in a mentoring session with very impressive gap-year students.
As promised, this is how it started (pictured below)… youth ministry with my brother-in-law, Christian Newsome. He’s an awesome pastor and great guy. Those were the days. Little is much when God is in it!
Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.