Free Friday! Logged On and Tuned Out

vicki courtney, logged on and tuned outHappy Friday everyone! Today’s free download is Logged On and Tuned Out: A Non-Techie’s Guide to Parenting a Tech-Savvy Generation in honor of DotMom. Don’t forget to pray for all the moms at the event!

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Like most other adults my age, I prided myself on having mastered the task of sending and receiving e-mail, doing an occasional search for a product, and using Word to type my manuscripts. Anything beyond that would cause sweaty palms and increased heart palpitations. I was still part of the old school of thought that an accidental tap of the Escape key would result in the computer blowing up. I was content living my nontechie, ignorance-is-bliss existence—that is, until one afternoon when I received the wake-up call that would bring me out of my technological slumber.

When CNN and FOX News asked Vicki Courtney to discuss child safety and the Internet on-air last summer, the best-selling author who is popular among both teenagers and parents knew this urgent issue had to become the core topic of her next book.

For sure, gone are the days when kids were safe just as long as they were at home and under your nose. Today’s children can access the world from a growing number of portable gadgets, and depending on what they do with this ability, could potentially invite a world of danger into their lives.

Logged On and Tuned Out is a timely wake-up call to low-tech (tuned out) parents whose high-tech (logged on) kids use modern computer and cell phone technology like second nature. In simple language, moms and dads overwhelmed by today’s digital world will learn the imperative basics and checkpoints of instant messaging, text messaging, social networking web sites (MySpace, Facebook), chat rooms, and photo and video uploading. The book even has its own related web site where parents can download online safety contracts, get updated information about safety filters, and more.

Vicki Courtney is founder of Virtuous Reality Ministries, producing online content and hosting events across the United States for preteen and teen girls and their parents. She is the best-selling author of 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter and Your Girl as well as the ECPA Christian Book Award winners TeenVirtue and TeenVirtue Confidential. Vicki lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their three children.

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page. Have you read anything that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

Quick Tips – Narrow Your Search with Topic Explorer

The Topic Explorer in WORDsearch is a powerful tool that searches your entire library for a single subject in seconds. Instead of searching every word of every book for your search term, the Topic Explorer narrows your search by looking only at the the titles of articles and chapters that include or are related to your search term. Imagine searching the subject indexes of all of your books in an instant, and you’ll have imagined the Topic Explorer.

Let’s say we want to teach a lesson or create a sermon on the broad topic of “love.” First, we’ll click on the Topic Explorer icon to open the window.

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There are two different types of searches we can do with the Topic Explorer. The first and fastest type, “At beginning of topic,” looks only at the first word in our subject indices for our search term. The second and more thorough type, “Anywhere in topic,” searches every word in our subject indices for our search term.

Let’s look at how to get the shorter list first. To do this, we’ll follow these steps:

  1. Type “love” in the Search for: bar at the top of the Topic Explorer window
  2. Choose “At the beginning of topic” from the Find topic text drop down option
  3. Select a collection of books to search or choose to search all books
  4. Click the search button

As expected, all of our results start with the word “love,” because we chose to find only the index entries that begin with the word “love.”

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For the second type of search we can do, we follow the same instructions as above, but choose “Anywhere in topic” in step two, we’ll see a longer list of results. For example, our search results now include “Beloved Disciple,” “Brotherly Love,” “Family of Love,” and more. This is because we chose to find index entries that include the word “love” anywhere within them.

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When we click on the plus sign next to one of our search results, for example, the “Beloved Disciple”, we’re shown the book that includes the topic (sometimes there is more than one). From there, we can click on the entry in the book to read what the book says. If we want to continue reading a particular entry in a new window,we can click on the button “Open in new window”.

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The Topic Explorer defaults to sorting our results by Topic alphabetically, but we can also sort our results alphabetically by book title or book category (i.e., location). Another helpful feature within the Topic Explorer is the red level button. When we click this button and then expand a topic, book, or category, every sub-folder underneath that topic, book, or category will also be expanded, so we don’t have to keep clicking through the levels to get to our results.

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The Topic Explorer is one of our favorite features of WORDsearch, because it makes finding relevant material so easy and so efficient.

Have you made an exciting or surprising discovery because of the Topic Explorer tool lately? We’d love to hear about it in our comments below!

The Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit – Syncing Sermons

pastor/teacher's toolkit, wordsearch bible, sermonsSometimes, when creating a sermon, writer’s block hits, or the specific point you want to make seems to elude you, or you have trouble outlining your sermon. Have you ever wished you could see the opinion of another pastor on the topic you’re studying to help nudge you over the block?

WORDsearch publishes sermons from prominent preachers, and reading them can give you training from some of the best preachers in the world, past and present. Recently, we updated our published sermons to make them sync with Scripture. This helps you more quickly navigate to sermon content based on the Scripture you’re analyzing. This helps you see how the preacher divided up Scripture, and how they preached on that verse.

Let’s say I have my HCSB and Bible Knowledge Commentary opened and synced to Mark 6, where Jesus is rejected in Nazareth. In my commentary, I get background information about how far Jesus traveled to get to His hometown and who was with Him.  In verse 2 where the people ask, “What is this wisdom given to Him, and how are these miracles performed by His hands?” the BKC explains how their tone was disparaging and that they were offended. And that’s when writer’s block hits. How do I write a sermon about this?

Leaving my Bible and BKC open, I open up Wells of Living Water, a collection of sermons by Robert E. Neighbor. It immediately opens to Mark 6, because it’s syncing with my opened Bible. Here I find a sermon titled “How Unbelief Hindered Christ.” There are multiple parts of this sermon, with topics that could easily be split into a sermon series. Some of them include “Holding Jesus of Nazareth Down to a Human Genealogy,” “Making it Impossible for Christ to Do Mighty Works,” and “Marveling at Their Unbelief.” It also provides an illustration Neighbor personally used to help bring the point across.

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I can easily open up another set of sermons and navigate to Mark 6 to see if it contains any messages on that verse. Also, as I progress through Mark 6, the sermon follows along with anything it says about the verse I’m clicking on.

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Reading Neighbor’s words reinvigorates my enthusiasm for the text and fills me with fresh ideas on how to present it.  I decide I like the focus on the unbelief in these verses and how Jesus was not able to do any miracles in His hometown because they didn’t believe in Him. I craft my outline, add my ownl illustration of unbelief, and use WORDsearch to find other stories of how active faith allowed Jesus to do amazing things.

Scripture-synced sermons allows you to find great ideas by some of history’s finest preachers with the click of a button. As a result, your sermon prep time is greatly reduced. This is an excellent way to find fresh inspiration from renowned preachers and their sermons. And syncing makes it easier than ever to find just the material you’re looking for.

If you own any of these sermons sets already, simply go to Help, Check for Book Updates, then choose the sermons you want to update. This added functionality is free!

For more tips, don’t miss out on the other posts in the Pastor/Teacher’s Toolkit series, Bible Dictionaries and Bible Surveys.

Don’t Labor in Vain Day

Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain (Ps. 127:1, HCSB).

Most of us have worked hard to get where we are today. If you’re like my wife and me, you periodically reflect back over your years of laboring. In our case, we can hardly believe it’s been 43 years. I was in my second year of seminary in Scotland.

We had just enough savings between us to squeak through the year. By the time we got back to the States, I had decided not to pursue ministry as a profession but was unclear about what I would do as an alternative. We borrowed money from my mother for the first month’s rent and security deposit on an apartment. No furniture, no job, no prospects, and practically no money — our future was uncertain, but that didn’t seem to matter.

We sat on the floor of the apartment the day we took possession, looked around, and couldn’t have been happier. We were fueled by love, hope, and faith. We knew we’d be fine.

I wonder, if we were faced with the same circumstances today, would we be as confident and hopeful? What might we be thinking, feeling, and saying to each other? Maybe I’d be ashamed that I’d put us in such a position. Perhaps I’d be fearful about how to navigate out of that rut at the age of 67. We wouldn’t want to impose on our children for help. Would the tenderness and partnership between us still be there — enough to see us through? Or would we turn on each other, cast blame, and make matters worse? I’d like to think that enough love, hope, and faith are still there so that we’d be able to face those circumstances together and find our way through it with the Lord.

Thankfully, that’s not our situation. However, this forces some questions: Who has been building the “house” of our lives over the years? Were we? Was the Lord? Did we build it and invite Him in, or did He build it and invite us in? These are tough questions. It’s easy to rationalize that we were trusting Him for direction and outcomes — diligently doing our part to bang the nails with the hammer He gave us. The honest answer for me (my wife was and is better at this) is that there were times, even long stretches, where I “hammered” first and consulted later. There were other times, usually when I hit rough patches, that I asked my Builder-Foreman for assistance. He was always quick to respond, performing for or with me what I couldn’t accomplish on my own.

I suspect that, if you were to take a spiritual photo of the “house” of your life, it would be apparent who was building what at various points in the construction process. The better, more finished looking parts were the Lord’s craftsmanship.

The obvious do-it-yourself parts were your handiwork. Is it perfect? No. Could it have been better? Of course. If we all could retrace our steps and do it over again, knowing what we now know about His faithfulness and effectiveness, would we give Him more control over the building? You bet we would … hindsight. But here’s the thing — the house of our lives is still being built. What about the sagging ceiling in our marriages? The leaking basement in some of our family relationships? The cracked wall in certain friendships? The weakening support beams of health and finances? The broken seals in the windows of our earlier hopes and dreams? None of those are beyond repair or remodeling.

Labor Day commemorates the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. We take a day off from our labors to give tribute to those who have labored before us. I’d like to propose a new holiday. We can celebrate it on the same first Monday in September. We’ll call it “Don’t Labor in Vain Day.” This is when we bring in the Inspector, take that spiritual photo, get the report, and call in the Contractor of Contractors to come in and take care of business. There’s no telling what He’ll be able to do that day. He works wonders.

You may be in a season of life where what you’re facing has required you to recalibrate your game plan, make adjustments, change your expectations, and realign your priorities. Whatever your circumstances, He who numbers every hair of your head is able to do exceedingly more with the rest of your life than what you’ve been able to do under your own labor up to this point. That’s not an idle pipe dream. It’s a promise – His promise. Let’s remember that on this Don’t Labor in Vain Day.

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This article is courtesy of Mature Living.

Steve Silver is a retired business executive, the author of New Man Journey (newmanjourney.com) and the founder of Men’s Golf Fellowship.

Free Friday! 4000 Questions and Answers on the Bible

4000 Questions and Answers on the Bible, wordsearch bibleHappy Friday everyone! Today’s free download, usually $7.95, is 4000 Questions and Answers on the Bible by A. Dana Adams.

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  • Quick guide to learning about the people and stories of the Bible
  • Explanations of the Bible as the cornerstone of Christianity
  • Descriptions on how the Bible was written and compiled
  • Detailed listings of verses that contain the essence of God’s message and a helpful summary of each Bible book

4000 Questions and Answers on the Bible has led generations of Christians into a deeper knowledge of the Bible with an easy-to-use question-and-answer format. In addition to 4000 questions and answers, you’ll find sections on how to study the Bible, the Bible as a basis of religious belief, a short history of the Bible, and a new practical course in Bible reading. This book is educational, fun, easy-to-use, and a great reference for anyone seeking answers to their Bible questions!

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page. Have you read anything that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

How to Enjoy Even Deeper Discounts for Bible Tools Already On Sale

gift card, wordsearch bibleOver the next several weeks, WORDsearch will be releasing some outstanding new content for your digital library. Like we often do, these new resources will be offered at reduced prices for a short period of time. Today I’ll share a way you can enjoy an additional 17% off anything you purchase. You can do this by purchasing WORDsearch Bible Gift Cards. These are electronic gift cards for your WORDsearch account. For the next 14 days, we are offering our $120 gift cards for $100. Click here for complete details.

These Gift Cards put credit in your account for future purchases. These credits never expire, and this positive balance stays on your account until you’re ready to use it on any WORDsearch products. And, of course you can use these digital cards as gifts by emailing them to anyone, just like you would with an electronic gift certificate from other online services like Amazon.

Using a Gift Card on Any Purchase Saves You an Additional 17%
Through September 8, we’ve put our $120 gift cards on sale for just $100. That’s right. Spend $100 on a gift card (for yourself or anyone else), and what you’ve purchased will be $120 you can spend in the future. For example, let’s say you spend $100 for this $120 gift card. A month from now you might find a $200 commentary on sale for $120. Simply apply your gift card credit and it will be like you got your new commentary for half-off!

New Releases Coming That You’ll Want to Purchase with Gift Cards:
Because you subscribe to my weekly emails, I can give you advanced notices and ways of saving money like this. In the coming weeks, we are scheduled to release some highly-requested resources such as:

  • The WORD Biblical Commentary
  • Expositions on Prayer
  • Adrian Rogers Preaching Videos
  • The Ancient Christian Commentary On Scriptures
  • John Butler’s Sermon Starters
  • Pulpit Pages
  • And More!

Email a Gift Card and Bless Someone Today
When you purchase WORDsearch Bible Gift Cards, you’ll notice that within your shopping cart you’ll have the option to email your gift (with a personal note) immediately. Perhaps you know someone who uses WORDsearch or would like to start building an electronic library. Imagine his or her surprise to receive this unexpected gesture of your generosity. Just click here to get started. If you prefer to order by phone, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8367. We’ll be happy to set it up for you. But hurry. This sale on $120 gift cards is only good through September 8.

expositor's bible commentary, commentary, wordsearch bibleSale Ends Sunday on The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – 65% Off
There’s still time to save 65% off The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. The EBC is one of the most respected and consulted modern commentaries in print, with the 12-volume set retailing for $364.95. Through August 31, you can add it to your digital library for only $129.95. Contributors to this commentary on the entire Bible read like a Who’s Who of Bible scholars, with names like: Carl F.H. Henry, F.F. Bruce, Walter C. Kaiser, Bruce M. Metzger, Gleason L. Archer Jr., Gordon D. Fee, and many others. Just click here. Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898. Mention special offer 8367.

WORDsearch Lesson Sale Ends Monday
This Monday is your last chance to take advantage of the WORDsearch Lesson Sale. We’ve selected 16 of our best Bible Lesson packages and put them on sale to supply you with resources for your small group studies and Sunday school. You’ll also find these packages ideal for your own personal studies of the Bible and biblical topics. Click here to browse the Lesson Sale Collection. Or, call us at 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 8367.

In His Service,

Jim Baird