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Bible

Bible, Church, Life

Interview with Marked Podcast

January 16, 2017

I joined Mary Margaret on her podcast Marked! We talk about the Bible, community, and mentorship. You can check it out here:

MARKED Lauren Green McAfee

We have an opportunity in trials to show who Christ is in our lives. @marymargaretc #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet My weakness is actually going to show Christ’s strength all the more. @LaurenAMcAfee #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet We can trust that God will use whatever we have to offer in the way that He intends for it. @LaurenAMcAfee… Click To Tweet My foundation had to be firmly planted in Scripture. @LaurenAMcAfee #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet We can constantly learn more from God’s Word. @LaurenAMcAfee #MarkedPodcast Click To Tweet
Bible, Culture, Millennials, Theology, Uncategorized

Theology Matters: Doctrine and Theology

October 7, 2016

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“Studying theology is just too hard. I’m not a scholar so it’s not for me.”

“Why do I need to know doctrine? I know God loves me and that’s good enough!”

“Theology is boring; I would rather read something more interesting.”

“Doctrine causes division.”

 

Have you ever had these thoughts? I know I have.

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My current reading has lead me to realize the importance of understanding doctrine and studying theology. I’ve been reading some books that emphasize this point: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin and Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin.

Doctrine and theology are words that some in my generation (millennials) may find divisive, yet on the flip side, we see a resurgence in the desire for greater depth in faith from millennials. (Recent study that shows youth and young adults value substance over style.)

Theology is “the study of God.” Our theology is shaped by how we view God from what we’ve studied (or from our lack of study).

Doctrine, which originates from the Latin word for “teach” (docere), means “what is taught.” Doctrine also can be about what is taught on a specific topic—such as the doctrine of salvation, gifts, worship, etc.

Theology matters.

Theology matters because it is the study of God, and there is nothing more worthy of our thoughts than God.

There is nothing more worthy of our thoughts than God. Click To Tweet

But theology also matters because it shapes how we live. Whether it’s how we vote, if we get married, how we handle our finances, how we view our work—our understanding of who God is shapes every area, whether we realize it or not. The more accurately we know God through his Word, the more effectively we can live out lives of genuine worship of Him.

 

Applying our minds to study theology and doctrine is worth it.

I used to think that if studying the Bible felt forced, then I should stop and come back later when my heart was in it. I thought it seemed fake, like going through the motions or checking off a box by studying, when I didn’t “feel” like it. I’ve changed my mind.

Mark 12:30 speaks of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yet in our world where feelings often rule our hearts, it is easy to make excuses for applying our minds to thoughtful study. Instead, we want to sit through a worship service that makes us “feel” connected to God or listen a sermon that makes us “feel” good. While these are good things, we also must have the balance of knowing God with our minds. Emotions ebb and flow, and in the moments or seasons when I don’t “feel” God near me, my world can be stabilized by the truths of what I know of God’s character—regardless of how I feel.

 

Transformation moves from the mind to the heart.

As Jen Wilkin helpfully says, “The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.”

In her book Women of the Word, Wilkin writes of the scientific community’s study of the mind-before-heart connection. When asked how to get more pleasure out of life, Dr. Paul Bloom of Yale University answered, “Study.”
A practical example of his point came from my love of coffee. I don’t enjoy coffee more by gulping down gallons and gallons of it. The enjoyment of coffee can be greater felt when I learn about coffee—how to appreciate it, recognize its distinct flavors, the different roasts, etc. Jen Wilkin puts it this way in her book:

Bloom has found that pleasure results from gaining knowledge about the object of our pleasure, not, as we might assume, from merely experiencing it over and over. Specifically, our pleasure increases in something when we learn its history, origin, and deeper nature . . . Finding greater pleasure in God will not result from pursuing more experiences of him, but from knowing him better. (p. 31)

 

Growing in theological and doctrinal understanding is a lifelong process. Take it in steps that are do-able for you. The best way to grow in these areas is to get into the Bible. Beyond reading the Bible, I find it helpful to read others’ writings about their study of the Bible or various areas of doctrine.

 

I’ve written a number of posts about how I engage in the Bible, and there are a lot of great resources that I link to in these previous posts. Maybe you’ll find something there to help you get started.

-LM

Here are the results of my twitter poll on Theology and Doctrine:

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Bible, Church, Family, Theology, Uncategorized

Six Ways I Engage with the Bible: Part 3, Additional Reading

May 23, 2016

When I was a freshman in high school, I vividly remember reading my first book on spiritual growth. I had grown up in the church, and been exposed to Bible teachings and Bible study for as long as I can remember. I was periodically reading the Bible on my own, trying to understand how it could help my high school struggles. But when I discovered books that could help my spiritual growth by expanding on spiritual disciplines and theology, I was hooked.

I’ll be honest. The motivation for reading that first book was out of a desire to impress an older guy at my school who had recommended it. Despite the selfish motivation, it had an impact on me. The book was Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. Cymbala is a pastor in Brooklyn, NY, and I actually got to enjoy lunch with his daughter Susan just last month! Meeting her and touring the Brooklyn Tabernacle (which the book is about) brought me back to those high school days when my passion for reading was set on fire.

When I read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, I was stepping out of my small context in Oklahoma City, and I was brought into the stories of how people’s lives were changed through the prayers of people in the church of Brooklyn, NY. I read stories of people with deep faith, despite difficult circumstances. It inspired me to want to strengthen my faith as well.

As I began reading Christian books, I loved them so much that I actually haven’t read anything but non-fiction since I graduated high school! It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I read an article by Dr. Russell Moore encouraging the reading of some fiction, and also my husband buying me the Harry Potter books for my birthday that brought me to read my first fiction book in ten years. I must say, I am loving the Harry Potter books—I have been such a fan of the movies, I figured I may as well give the books a try. Plus, I just went to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”™ in California, so the timing was perfect.

Getting back to the point though . . . . In reading various books, I have found that authors who have studied the Bible can provide me with deeper insight of my favorite book. Through good books, I benefit from others’ study of theology and the Bible. It also allows me to see how they understand and apply it in their thinking and lives. Hearing this additional perspective provides more opportunity to relate to the text of scripture.

Through the years, I have read a number of books by a variety of authors. Some have been good, and others were . . . well, let’s just say I wish I could get the time back that I spent on them. The experiences with those books can be helpful, too, though. As I read, I want to consider all of the author’s claims, and compare to what I know of the Bible to ensure that I am not absorbing bad theology. If I am unsure about something I’ve read, I usually discuss it with someone who I know can help me think through it. For me, I usually work through these questions with my husband and get his feedback. I am grateful to have a husband who is theologically trained and knowledgeable about the Bible. Discussing my questions with him is helpful, and I enjoy learning from my husband’s feedback.

Let me share with you my five favorite books for spiritual growth:

  1. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges

This is one of my all-time favorites. Jerry Bridges takes a look at the sovereignty of God, and his faithfulness, even when life seems unjust. I read this book during a difficult time in my family, and it was an incredibly helpful reminder that despite the broken promises or broken trust that I have experienced with people, I can trust God because he is perfect in keeping his promises.

  1. Humility by C.J. Mahaney

I love this book because I constantly need to push back against my pull toward pride. I was reading an article the other day that put it like this: “When you stand in the water at the beach you feel the persistent pull of the current. Regardless of how long you stand in that water the current will, with varying intensity, pull you. To deny or minimize it will result in potential bodily harm. Such is the case with pride” (Erik Raymond). Thus, I love this book Humility, and it helps me keep my pride in check.

  1. Knowing God by J.I. Packer

I read this book recently and found it a bit more practical than some of the others. Packer shares deep theological knowledge, but also conveys the realities of trying to live out the Christian faith in the day-to-day world. Knowing God is a classic. It was voted in Christianity Today as one of the top fifty books that have shaped evangelical Christians.

  1. Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper

In this book, Piper looks at fifty reasons found in the New Testament for why Jesus came to die. This is a look at the meaning behind the cross of Christ. It was a humbling book, as well as a reminder of many truths that often get overlooked. Each chapter is one page, so it is easy to read a chapter a day or use as a devotional.

  1. Radical by David Platt

This book helped shape and challenge me when it comes to my struggle with materialism. Radical is more than a book on materialism, though. The book is about following Christ, no matter what. There is a lot of discussion about material things that sidetrack us from being “all in” for God, but the book as a whole points to the life transformation that happens in every area of life because of the gospel.

These are just some of my favorites from what I have read, but there are so many more that I am sure I haven’t gotten to yet! For a few more suggestions, check out my friend Matt Brown’s list for what he thinks are the 5 best books on spiritual growth.

Do you have any recommendations? I would love to hear what your favorite spiritual growth books have been!

-LM

Bible, Museum of the Bible, Uncategorized

Six Ways I Engage with the Bible: Part 2, Devotionals

March 8, 2016

Photography: Esther MartinezHave you ever tried to understand something and just couldn’t get it, but then had someone else explains it from a different angle and it finally helped you make sense of a situation? I had this happen the other day.

A few weeks ago, Michael and I were grabbing dinner with our friends Luke and Diandra. After an incredible tasty dinner at my favorite NY restaurant, Jacob’s Pickles, we walked back to our apartment for some hot tea and began discussing our careers. My friend Luke began sharing about how he is courageously launching into a new career in venture capitalism. I do not know a lot about VC, and I am not savvy enough to understand the words he used to describe his field. A few weeks later I was with Diandra again and she began explaining VC in her own words. It finally clicked. I had just needed to hear a different perspective to make it connect. That is the way I often view devotionals.

In my first part to this series on how I engage with the Bible, I wrote about daily Bible reading. In this post I want to look at devotional books.

Devotional books provide an opportunity to see the truths of the Bible through someone else’s perspective. Seeing how the Bible has impacted another person often gives me new insights. Some devotionals have stories or anecdotes that encourage me to reflect on the Bible applied in various life situations. Others have a bit more depth and unpack a passage to create better understanding of its teaching or meaning. Among the hundreds of devotionals out there, I think that most fall into these three categories:

  • Personal stories that incorporate a biblical passage or theme
  • Thoughts about the Bible and its interpretation
  • Explanation or commentary of a passage from scripture

Reading a devotional can speak to the heart. I often have personal experiences or hear friends talk about a devotional that spoke right to the heart on a particular issue that was so relevant to what was happening in life. Since some devotionals have a reading for each of day of the year, it is easy to read through with a friend and discuss the material.

When I approach a devotional, I am adding this to my daily Bible reading. I do my daily Bible reading with a plan from YouVersion at night. If I use a devotional, it is usually in the morning to start my day with a reflection on scripture.  Devotionals are usually short, which makes them ideal for a little taste of encouragement or truth for the day. Because they are short, I often walk away wishing that I had more.

If you are not in the habit of spending time reading the Bible, then starting with a devotional book could be an easy starting point for getting bits of scripture in front of you every day. I encourage you to grow from that into more time actually spent reading the Bible, though, because nothing quite has the same impact as actually getting into the Bible directly! A critical question that has helped me achieve balance in my devotional reading is this: “How much time am I spending reading other people’s thoughts about the Bible, rather than actually getting into the Bible for myself?”

So, if you find yourself looking for a devotional, let me share my favorites! I have used all of these at one point or another. I am always open to suggestions though! Do you have a favorite?

Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon: Web, book or app.

My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers: Web, book or app.

Jesus Calling, Sarah Young: Book or app.

“Solid Joys,” John Piper: Web or app.

Ligonier Ministries, Daily Resources: Web or app.

Proverbs 31 Ministries, Devotions: Web or app.

The Duck Commander Devotional, Al Robertson: Books.

Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Jim & Cathy Burns: Book.

For the Love of God, D.A. Carson: Volume 1: Book / Volume 2: Book.

Fun Fact provided by Museum of the Bible: Did you know that what we now call devotionals is similar to “The Book of Hours” in the Middle Ages…Watch to learn more!

Bible, Life, Travel

Real Life vs. Social Life: #NoFilter

August 17, 2015

Social Life: We are living it up with amazing coffee and working in Denver!
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Real Life: Why am I making that horrible face? Anything for the artsy social pic.
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I think social media is really cool. I use it a lot. I think there are many benefits with social media. One thing I think is a downfall with social, though, is the ability for people to show what their life is really like. It is so easy to let your Facebook timeline to present the kind of life you want people to think you have. It is definitely tempting for me to put out the best image about my life and how I want people to see me. It’s human nature. Most of us want others to think well of us, and many of us are afraid of being really known in fear of being found out as uninteresting, broken, imperfect, etc.

I have to say, my feed is often filled with posts about the exciting adventures, cool travels, and the interesting people I get to meet. I am very grateful for the path God has brought me on, and grateful for his grace in my life. Nevertheless, I definitely am showing the highlights. We don’t always post the unappealing or ugly things that happen in our lives. We also don’t (usually) make posts about the average, everyday mundane things going on (unless it’s another picture of my coffee—which you know I love!).

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So, I’ll just go ahead and let you know that I am without a doubt imperfect, broken, often uninteresting, and more (or so much less). I am impatient with people when I am in LA traffic. I struggle with feeling entitled when boarding an airplane and I don’t get priority because I’m on an airline that I don’t have status with. I snap at my husband when I am stressed prior to going on stage or TV. I think more about myself than I should and not enough about others. I don’t look put together all of the time as much as I wish I did. And on and on and on.

What I love is the beautiful gift of grace from God that allows me to have peace in the midst of my mess. Anything I’ve done well, I can only credit to my heavenly Father. I am forever grateful that the Bible tells me that I am completely loved by him. This is one of the ways the Bible has impacted me. I love the Bible, and love that for a living I get to invite others to engage with this book.

Grateful,
-LM

Social Life: We are cute sisters bonding over donuts!
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Real Life: Feeling sick after these donuts.
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Museum of the Bible, The Green Collection, Uncategorized, Work

Rock the Desert 2015

August 11, 2015

When you are getting heat warnings on your weather app, but still spending 12 hours outside in the heat, you know you must be at Rock the Desert.

It is quite an event to behold. Thousands of people coming out to the desert in 100+ degree weather to watch Christian artists perform all throughout the day.

Museum of the Bible had the chance to be there as one of the sponsors, and we had a great time.

Some of the highlights of being a part of this event are pictured below.

First, we had to get our tent all set up, and it looked awesome:

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People loved our free photo booth:
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Including our team
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Our team did NOT like the dangerous fire ants. Three of us experienced fire ant attacks, and it was not fun. But all in all, we dominated those ants. #AntsWontWin #KristineisaBoss

We had to try very hard to stay hydrated. We gave out a ton of water to everyone that came through out tent. I personally drank about 50 bottles of Museum of the Bible water. The Museum has good water.
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Did a few interviews to let people know what we were doing at Rock the Desert. (Yikes! Live TV is always a little intimidating!)
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We were excited to see Building 429 come by our place!
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The stage was awesome.
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Until we had to go on it. Then it didn’t seem as cool, just a lot scary. (Michael owns the stage. I am working on it…)
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But we survived, and then we got to be backstage between Andy Mineo and Lecrae. So it was well worth it. (Those are two of my favorite artists!!)
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Mineo!
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Lecrae!
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Museum of the Bible gave away this amazing guitar signed by all the artists- and Abby was our winner!!
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After all the work, we got to sit and enjoy hearing Lecrae close out the weekend. It was very American. He sang “Welcome to America”, with fireworks going off in the background, a big american flag as the backdrop to the stage, and security officers listening from their horses. #Merica
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Thanks for having us, Rock the Desert! It was quite a memorable weekend. #LovetheBible

-LM

Bible, Museum of the Bible, The Green Collection, Work

More than a Museum

July 30, 2015

Can you remember what it was like to be at the beginning of a grand adventure, and not even realize it at the time? Maybe you were moving to a new state. Maybe your adventure was getting married. Or maybe you were taking the plunge and starting your own business.

Jumping into a new and unknown path can be exciting. When you having no idea what lies ahead of you, it can also feel daunting.

I embarked on a particular adventure a little over five years ago.

I was fresh out of college, a year into marriage, and eager to join my dad, Steve Green, on the unforeseen adventure of caring for artifacts that my family had started to accumulate. It was my first full-time job since I got my degree in Classics. I had no idea what stepping into this job would entail or what it might become.

If I had known then where we would be now, I may have thought twice before taking the job. Being involved in the process of building an artifact collection and a museum from scratch is a wild ride. A lot of work goes into building a museum. Not only are we building a museum, we are simultaneously building massive projects as essential initiatives of the museum. When I stepped into this new world called Museum of the Bible, we were two employees deep and a couple of thousand artifacts wide. Things have changed dramatically since then.

The collection started with just a few acquisitions in 2009. Within a few years, it became one of the largest in private hands. With the collection, came a path for founding Museum of the Bible.

It is challenging to communicate all that goes on under the umbrella of Museum of the Bible. Here is a quick overview of the four main buckets making up Museum of the Bible.

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  1. The Museum
  • This is a big one. If you have only heard a little bit about Museum of the Bible, then it is probably something involving our Washington, DC, site. In the fall of 2017, Museum of the Bible is opening a permanent museum just two blocks from the National Mall. And this is only two years away, so start planning ahead for your trip to DC because you definitely want to check this out! This museum is going to be top-of-the-line in interaction, technology, and engagement for people with various levels of Bible knowledge and all kinds of interests.

  1. Traveling Exhibits
  • We have a number of traveling exhibits under our belts already, and there are more to come! So far, our domestic exhibit Passages has been to six different cities: Oklahoma City (OK), Charlotte (NC), Atlanta (GA), Colorado Springs (CO), Springfield (MO), and, currently, Santa Clarita (CA). As far as international exhibits go, we have exhibited at the Vatican twice (2012 and 2014), and presented special exhibits in Israel, Cuba, and Argentina. You can follow Museum of the Bible on social media to see where we might go next—there are some awesome possibilities on the docket.

  1. Research
  • Research is integral to who we are and foundational for our work. Through the Green Scholars Initiative, we partner with established scholars, as well as new and upcoming scholars, and provide access to the incredible artifacts in our holdings for ongoing research and scholarship. Research of our artifacts is important because it allows us to understand better the collection, history, and the Bible. It is important for us to see excellent scholarship done with the collection, as well as mentoring young students as developing scholars. We currently doing research on about sixty projects, including studies on our Dead Sea Scroll fragments, the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, papyri, manuscripts, and more.

Education

  1. Education
  • Almost everyone agrees that education is important and beneficial to society. Museum of the Bible is no different, and desires to promote education. The book we display, research, and teach about has been a significant text for millennia. It is important to know this book in order to understand many things, like Western culture. For this reason, and more, we are creating a high school level curriculum about the Bible. This is a high quality, technologically advanced curriculum that is already being used in schools in Israel, and will go to many other countries in the future.

This is just a little glimpse into some of the highlights happening at Museum of the Bible. There are more projects going on that I don’t have time to write about now. If you are interested, you can follow me, or @museumofBible, for updates on these and other projects (including our recently announced archaeological dig!)

Expect to see a series of posts from me sharing more in-depth about these projects, and what excites me most about each one.

Stay tuned,

-LM

Bible, Museum of the Bible, School, Teaching, Travel, Uncategorized, Work

A tour of Ramat Gan, Israel

June 8, 2015

Me and Students

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a few schools in the Ramat Gan area of Israel. They have incorporated new Bible Curriculum into the schools, and we got to interact with the students and classes that have been using this material. It was a joy to hear from young people as they shared how this new curriculum was impacting their learning.

This Bible Curriculum incorporates new technology called Augmented Reality. Using Augmented Reality allows the students to digitally bring about another dimension of reality with a tablet as they go through their lesson. For students, adding a technological layer to their text-book is a game changer. It allows them to interact with the text, which in turn can help them learn and remember more.

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I got to hear from a high school boy who had been using this material for a few months. He said that using this curriculum with the technology component “provides the opportunity to bond with the Bible.”

Another student said “using the technology helps me better understand the Bible. Today we learned about Joshua, and I learned how it can relate to me today.”

I love seeing students connect and engage with the Bible in a new way through this curriculum and the augmented reality!

If you want to see the curriculum and Augmented Reality in action you can watch a video here. In this video, my husband Michael is showing a group of California students the same material that is being used in Israel.