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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

LOL - Mark Altrogee

Mark Altrogee makes me laugh. Out loud. As in LOL.

For example, in December he had heart surgery. I know. Not normally the funniest thing you ever heard.

But this account of it sure made me laugh. Out loud. And read it to my wife.

And then this month he wrote a follow-up...in the form of a parody of American Pie.

Call me what dumb. Maybe it's not the most grown-up of humor.
But it makes me laugh. Out loud. As in LOL.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

[Matt's Messages] "Ministry in Macedonia"

“Ministry in Macedonia”
From Jerusalem to Pennsylvania: The Book of Acts
January 29, 2012
Acts 16:16-17:15

We are with the apostle Paul on his second missionary journey.

No longer is it Paul and Barnabas. It is now Paul and Silas as well as Timothy and, I think, Dr. Luke. And they are in where now?

Macedonia. “Ministry in Macedonia.”

In last week’s passage, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia (in what we now call Europe) calling to him in Troas, “Come over here and help us!”

So, Paul and his missionary team packed up and sailed across the Aegean Sea and landed in Macedonia.

And they quickly got to the place called Philippi where they went looking for a synagogue. They didn’t find a synagogue but they found some women seeking God. And one of them, a single businesswoman named Lydia became a believer in Jesus Christ!

The Bible says, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to” the gospel.

And Paul and his team took up residence at Lydia’s place. It became the base of their ministry in Philippi.  We know that he established a church there–we know because we have this little book in our Bible called Philippians. Read it this afternoon and see what Paul taught that little church.

But ministry in Macedonia was not an easy thing.

It wasn’t long before they faced major trials. Everywhere Paul goes there are major trials. Trials are the theme of Paul’s ministry!

Everywhere he goes, spreading the gospel, it isn’t health and wealth and prosperity, comfort and ease.

It is riots, prison, and crises.

Here in Philippi they get in trouble with the law for the first time.

Up till now, it’s just been mob violence. But now the law gets involved. And politics.

Because they are affecting commerce.

Acts 16:16.

“Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.’ She kept this up for many days.”  Stop there for a second.

Now, I know you know this story because Henoc preached it so well just a few weeks ago. But let’s think about it some more.

Think about this girl.  Think about what it must have been like to be her.

A girl in the ancient world.
A slave girl in the ancient world. She didn’t own anything, including herself.
Everything she made she made for her owners.

What a wretched word, “owners.”

And not only was she a slave girl but she had an evil spirit by which she predicted the future.

Her life was probably miserable in every way.

I can’t imagine.

And when Paul and Silas came to town, she began to follow them around.

And everywhere they went, she would yell, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

Why did she do that?

I don’t get the sense that she was trying to help Paul.

If so, this was help of a kind he didn’t need!

You don’t need the spirit-bound-slave girl to do your heralding if you belong to Jesus. It doesn’t help.

I get the sense that her tone was mocking. “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  Kind of a Bellatrix Lestrange kind of deranged wickedness, if you know what I mean.

And this behavior really gets on Paul’s nerves. V.18

“Finally Paul became so troubled [The NASB says that he was “annoyed.” That’s enough!.] that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her.”

Can you imagine?

What this must have meant for this young lady.

The Bible doesn’t say much more. I hope that she became a follower of Christ and was set free from her owners. The Bible doesn’t tell us.

But we know that she was set free of that spirit.

Unfortunately, this got Paul into a mess of trouble. V.19

“When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, ‘These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.’”

Notice how they cleverly bring politics and law into the matter when the real issue is money.

Money is, so often, the issue, isn’t it?

‘These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.’”

And, yes, they are upsetting our trade, as well.

But now they’ve drug in the authorities. What’s going to happen?

Notice that Paul and Silas are not given a chance to defend themselves. They are accused and then judged!  V.22

“The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.”

Stripped and beaten.

Flogged and fastened in stocks in the inner cell of a stinking Roman prison.

That’s what they get for freeing the slave girl of her demon.

And they respond as any of us would by complaining, arguing, crying, whining, calling their lawyers, making threats, and promising retribution.

Actually, no. They pray and sing in their prison at midnight. V.25

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

I’m going to make three points of application today, and here’s the first one.

#1. SING IN YOUR PRISON.

Two weeks ago, Pastor Henoc talked about this prison as our trials.

The difficult things that we go through in life.

Health trouble.
Relational difficulties.
Job problems.
Finances.

When things are not going your way.

Sing in your prison.

How could they do that?

I was sick this week.

Heather was sick this week.

It is not fun to be sick.

Especially if it’s not that bad. It was just a head cold. But it wiped us out and took us off of our feet.

The passage that came to my mind about this singing in your prison was 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks in ALL circumstances.”

It doesn’t say, “Gave thanks for all circumstances,” though there is probably a way to do that, as well.

But it says, “Give thanks IN all circumstances.”

There is always something to sing about!

No matter how painful the trial.
No matter how bad the flogging.
No matter how bad the prison.

There is always something to sing about in your prison.

Amen?

How could they do that?

They knew something.

They didn’t know how this story was going to turn out.
They didn’t know about the earthquake, I don’t think.

But they did know how the story of their lives was going to turn out.

They did know the gospel of Jesus Christ.

They did know about His teachings, His life, His death, and His resurrection!

They knew what He had promised.

And they believed it. They knew that the prison was temporary.

Even if they spent the rest of their first lives there.

They knew that this too shall pass.

Sing in your prison.

I loved how Pastor Henoc pointed out in verse 25 that the other prisoners were listening to them.

I’ll be they were, and no wonder!

“Why are you like that?
How can you sing in a place like this?
What do you know that I don’t know?”

People are watching us when we go through trials.

And how we respond will either draw them to the Savior or repel them away.

Sing in your prison.

The Lord heard their songs, and he brought an earthquake.

This is another one of those divine jailbreaks from the book of Acts.

The most powerful one.  V.26

“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.”

Can you imagine?

“The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.”

He might as well kill himself because he’s going to lose his life for losing his prisoners.

“But Paul shouted, ‘Don't harm yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.”

Do you see him trembling in your mind’s eye?

Not just how can you sing like that?
But why don’t you run away?

And why did all of these other prisoners stay here when the doors are open?

Why is God being so good to me?

And there he is kneeling before Paul and Silas and his body is shaking, trembling, and he asks the most important question. V.30

“He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”

I need what you have.

The slave girl said that you were telling the way to be saved.

I believe that now. What is it?

Is it become a Jew and be circumcised?  I’m willing.

Is it take on a new philosophy? I’m ready.

What is it that you know that I don’t?

What must I do to be saved?

“They replied (v.31), ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.’”

2. BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”

It’s that simple. It’s that profound.

Jesus died on the cross for your sins. He paid the debt you owed but could not pay. He paid it all.

And now He offers His forgiveness, His righteousness, and Himself to you at no cost.

Just believe.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.

That faith will change your life.

But you come as you are.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.

I say that to all of you here, as well. The only way that you could ever sing in your prison with any truth to it is if you believe and belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the word of the Lord to you today. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.

And that’s exactly what happened to this Philippian jailor and his household. V.32

“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God–he and his whole family.”

I love how he washed them, and then they washed him!

Baptized every one. They believed and were baptized, apparently that very night!

Have you believed and then been baptized?

We’ve seen that again and again throughout Acts. The order is belief then baptism. Belief then baptism.

Baptism is the outward sign of inner faith.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.  And tell the world with your baptism.

Now, what happens next is interesting.  Verse 35.

“When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: ‘Release those men.’ The jailer told Paul, ‘The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.’”

Apparently the authorities felt that a flogging and night in the pokey would be enough to stop these fellows from their rabblerousing.

They didn’t know about the earthquake, and they didn’t know what they really had on their hands. V.37

“But Paul said to the officers: ‘They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.’”

That’s interesting!  How come Paul didn’t resort to his rights as a Roman citizen yesterday?

I think it’s because not all Christians had those rights.

He didn’t use his Roman rights to get out of Christian persecution.

But now, he uses his Roman rights to protect other Christians. Do you see that?

What these guys have done is illegal, and they’re going to think twice before doing something like that again. V.38

“The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.”

We’re going to see things like this again and again in the book of Acts. Paul sometimes stands on his rights when he thinks that this will serve other Christians.

But other times he doesn’t stand on his rights if it doesn’t seem like it will further the Christian cause.

One of the things that Luke is trying to do, I think, in this book is show that Christianity, while making people nervous, is actually not a political threat.

I think that’s part of what’s going on in the next chapter.

Paul and Silas and Timothy (it appears leaving behind Luke) move on. V.1

“When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.”

Here’s a map.  Leaving Phillipi, passing through without establishing a church in Amphipolis and Apollonia. Landing in the capital city of Thessalonica.

Paul always goes to the Jew first. V.2

“As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’ he said.”

He takes the Old Testament, and he shows them how the Messiah was not just to be a great conqueror, but also a great sufferer.

Probably using Isaiah 53, right?

And then he says, “This Jesus I am proclaiming ot you is the Messiah.”  V.4

“Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.”

And we can read about that church and what they went through by reading our epistles of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. V.5

“But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.  But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: ‘These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.’”

Apparently, Jason is a believer who is housing them like Lydia did back in Philippi.

And he’s now in trouble because of being associated with Paul.

And notice how political they are again.

This time it’s the Jews. They have found some low-lifes and gotten them to riot out of jealousy and then claimed that Paul is fomenting a rebellion.

Is that right?

What about this accusation?  “They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”

Are they saying that?

Yes, but.

Yes, but his kingdom is not of this world.

Yes, there is another king and He does demand our first allegiance.

But, they are not planning a revolt. V.8

“When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go. As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea.”

It kind of seems like the bond they posted went with an agreement that Paul and Silas would leave town.

The city was too hot at the time and they had to get out of Dodge. V.10

“On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.” Again. Same game plan.

Open the Bible show the who the Messiah was to be. Proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah.  V.11

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

#3. EXAMINE THE SCRIPTURES.

Every day!

These Bereans didn’t just take Paul’s word for it. They were excited about the possibilities, but they were going to check them out.

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians [noble!], for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

I want you to do this for me.

Don’t just believe what I say. Check up on me.

Keep your finger on the text.

If they had to do it for Paul, then how much more should you do it here.

Don’t just say, “Pastor Matt says...”

I want you to be able to say, “The Bible says....”  “God says...”

That’s where the power is.

You know I believe that there has never been a better time to be the pastor of Lanse Free Church.

That’s what I’m going to say in my vision report at the meeting in just a few minutes.

There has never been a better time (in the last 120 years!) to be the pastor of Lanse Free Church.

God is up to so much among us. There is life and vitality and blessing in this church family.

And we’ll keep it if we keep examining the Scriptures daily and doing what they say.

But if we stray away from this word, then watch out. There will be trouble coming.

Let’s stay in the word in 2012.

Examine the Scriptures daily.

And believe and live out what we see there.  V.12

“Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. [But the trouble followed them here, as well.] When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.”

And that’s where we’ll leave them this week.

Next week, Lord-willing, we’ll pick up Paul’s ministry out of Macedonia and now in Greece itself.

In the ancient city of wisdom–Athens.

What is your key application point this morning for your life?

Maybe it’s this last one?

To examine the Scriptures.

Are you in the word?

Are you reading it, studying it, memorizing it? Internalizing it?

Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Your words came and I ate them. They were my joy and my heart’s delight for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty!”

We’re going to go in and eat a great meal in a second.

But we should be feasting every day on the Word of God.

Maybe your key application is the second one.

Believe in the Lord Jesus.

You are invited today to join His people by putting your faith and trust in what He did on the Cross on your behalf.

What must I do to be saved?

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

What a blessed assurance that Jesus will be yours by faith alone in Christ alone!

Trust in the Savior today.

Maybe your key application is the first one.

Sing in your Prison.

Whatever you are going through, and it may be horrendous.

There is always something to give thanks for in all circumstances.

And that thing is bigger than all of your troubles.

And it’s worth singing about!

"Perfect submission–all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest."

Even if we are flogged and in prison and unjustly accused.

And suffering.  I in my Savior am happy and blest.

Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

[Matt's Messages] "Flexibility in Ministry"

“Flexibility in Ministry”
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
From Jerusalem to Pennsylvania: The Book of Acts
January 22, 2012
Acts 15:36-16:15

This is the beginning of what we normally call Paul’s Second Missionary Journey.

Last month, we went on Paul and Barnabas’ First Missionary Journey.

Paul and Barnabas (and John Mark) took off from that great missionary church in Antioch and went to Cyprus, Pamphlia, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe and then back around again.

And they shared the gospel with Jews and with Gentiles and many, especially Gentiles, got saved. And they started new churches. New worshiping communities of followers of Christ.

And then they came back and went down to Jerusalem to have that conference about the Gentiles, and then came back to Antioch and shared what had been settled at the conference and (v.35), they remained in Antioch for some time teaching and preaching the word of Lord.

Now, in our story for today, Paul is going to have the idea of heading off on another missionary journey.

Well, let’s look at verse 36. You can see it there.

“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’”

So, the second missionary journey begins, at least, as an idea of re-visiting the new churches to provide care and counsel and oversight and resources and support.

It’s actually going to be much more than that, but that’s how it starts.

The second journey  is going to cover much more ground than the first. And more chapters, too. It’ll be from Acts 15 to Acts 18.

But it starts as a re-visit to the original set of new churches.

You can see on the back of your bulletin that if I had to summarize our passage for today, I’d call it, “Flexibility in Ministry.”

As you know, our own short term missionary team - the Serbia Team has recently been formed.

We have 5 or 6 team members who are in the early stages of preparing to go to Serbia to serve the Lord in gospel ministry at a Summer camp teaching English or sports and  sharing the gospel.

I’m really excited about that. And we’ll be learning a lot more about Serbia and about our team in the next few weeks.

In November, when they had a meeting of prospective team members, I told them that flexibility was the by-word for missions work.

The Marines have Semper Fidelis, right?  Always Faithful. Amen.

I told our Serbia missions team that they ought to adopt this Latin phrase.

Semper Gumby. Always Flexible. 

Not always silly. Always flexible.

Flexibility in ministry is a key.

How many here are in ministry?

I hope that most of us here are. All Christians are supposed to see themselves as in ministry for the Lord.

You don’t have to be in vocational ministry to be in ministry.

Every Christian should see themselves as in ministry for the Lord.

So, this applies to all of us.

Flexibility in Ministry.

Flexibility is not easy.

How many here like to be flexible.

We all like it when other people are flexible, but most of us don’t always enjoy being flexible ourselves.

And sometimes, it’s right to be flexible, and other times it’s wrong.  There are times to bend and times to be unbendable.  Right?

Our passage for today starts with a story that highlights how important flexibility is.

For #1. DEALING WITH DISAGREEMENTS.

If you didn’t know the story, you would never guess that the next thing was going to happen.

Paul and Barnabas are going to split up.

That’s like Abbott and Costello splitting up.

Or Bert and Ernie!

These guys have been inseparable.

Remember when Paul became a Christian and Barnabas (what’s Barnabas’ name mean? - Son of Encouragement, Barnabas) came alongside Paul and befriend him and spoke up for him and traveled with him.

These guys preached the gospel together and were mistaken for gods together and almost got killed together and faced the guys in Jerusalem together.

These guys were a serious team for years!

And now they are going to split up?

What’s up? Verse 36 again.

“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  [Remember that?] They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus [Barnabas’ homeland], but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”

Wow. That was a surprise.

These two guys who had been through so much decide that they have to end their close partnership.

Ok.

Here’s my question for you.  Which one was right and which one was wrong?

What’s it say?

It doesn’t say, does it?

What do you think were the issues?

From Barnabas’ point of view, he was probably just being Barnabas.

He was the Son of Encouragement and wanted to give John Mark a second chance.

He had done it for Paul, now he was going it for John Mark, who was also (the Bible tells us elsewhere) a family member.

Right or wrong?

Well, it turns out well. John Mark and Paul eventually work together again. And Paul says in 2 Timothy 4 how useful and helpful John Mark was to him.

So, Barnabas was right, right?

Well, it doesn’t say so here. It says that the brothers commended Paul and Silas to the grace of the Lord and sent them off, and we know that the Lord blesses Paul and his ministry from here out.

Paul needed people he could trust to work with.

Was that wrong?

I love it that the Bible doesn’t tell us who was right and who was wrong.

Maybe they were both right and both wrong in some ways.

That’s the way it normally is when it comes to disagreements, isn’t it?

Both of these guys were Spirit-filled, same-gospel-preaching, wise men.

And they didn’t always agree. In fact, here they had to agree to disagree agreeably.

Disagreement in ministry is inevitable this side of heaven.

We will not always agree.

Our church family has had more than a decade of strong unity.

And we should be very thankful for that.

But it isn’t guaranteed.

And we even though we’ve had strong unity that doesn’t mean that we’ve always agreed on everything. Have we?

No, that’s why flexibility is so important.

And they are flexible here.

Did you catch it?

I never saw it so clearly before.  I saw this as a downer-passage.  A failure.

And, on one level it is.

But what happens here? I think that they agree to disagree agreeably and they end up multiplying the ministry!

They come up with a compromise.  You two go there, we two will go there.

It doesn’t say that they hated each other. Or even that they could never work together again.

It just says that they parted company. (V.39) “Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.”

I think that’s gospel flexibility. This isn’t working. We can’t agree. Let’s do it differently. You try that. We’ll try this.

That’s how I read it.

It’s not perfect, but it’s flexible and the gospel keeps moving.

V.41 Paul goes through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches.

Notice what happens here.

Same starting point, but he goes a new way. He goes up north and then West.

He doesn’t have to go to Cyprus. Barnabas will take care of that.

Has the ministry diminished because of this break-up?

No. It’s multiplied.

So he goes through Syria and Cilicia. Acts 16, verse 1.

“He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, [we’ve been here before, but now it’s different. Paul and Silas there and they get a new team member. Derbe and then to Lystra] where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.”

Now, wait one minute!

He did what?

He had Timothy circumcised?
       
What was the last chapter all about?

Wasn’t there this big decision about circumcision in the last chapter?

Do you remember that?

And what side was Paul on?

What’s going on?

Was this right or wrong to have Timothy circumcised?

Timothy is the son of a Greek Gentile father and Jewish mother.

And he’s a believer in Jesus.

Should he be circumcised?

Let me ask the question this way.

Did he have to be circumcised?

No. Remember the question from two weeks ago?

“What does it take for a Gentile to become a Christian?”

Grace. That’s it.

Not circumcision. You don’t have to become a Jew to become a Christian.

But does that make circumcision wrong?

Not at all.

It’s fine to be circumcised. Especially if you are a Jew (and Jewishness is often reckoned through the mother’s heritage).

Timothy was considered a Jew.

Would it be wrong for him to be circumcised?

Only if it was insisted upon.

If someone said that you must become circumcised to be saved, then that teaching must be countered.

But if someone chooses to do it to be more easily acceptable to others, that’s fine!

It’s good flexibility.

Here’s the principle.

#2. BEING SENSITIVE YET STEADFAST.

There is a time for bending and a time for being unbending.

Paul knew both.

Unbending with the gospel.
Bending with those things that don’t matter.

Here’s how he said it in Galatians:

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

If it would help reach Jews for Jesus, then let’s get Timothy circumcised.

If it would hinder the gospel, no way.

Sensitive Yet Steadfast.

Flexibility.

Does that make sense?

Can you think of issues in your own life where it’s important to balance those two things? Sensitivity and Steadfastness.

Wishy washy people change with the wind.
But inflexible people don’t care about others.

We are supposed to be neither wishy-washy nor inflexible.

Sensitive Yet Steadfast.

And here’s what happened. V.4

“As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. [He hasn’t forgotten the conference in Jerusalem! He’s spreading the news of it.] So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.”

Flexibility led to increased ministry.

Flexibility in the right way led to increased ministry.

Number three. Flexibility in...

#3. HEEDING THE SPIRIT'S PUSH AND PULL.

Verse 6.

“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.”

This is a different role for the Holy Spirit than we are used to.

Notice by the way that He is called “The Spirit of Jesus” in verse 7. I love that.

The Holy Spirit is not another Spirit. He is the Spirit of Jesus.

But here He is pushing Paul and Silas (and now Timothy) out of an area.

Let’s read that again and look at the map.

“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia [that’s up here] and Galatia [here], having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia [they are not allowed over here]. When they came to the border of Mysia [up here], they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.”

They kind of have to run along the border and aren’t allowed to preach or start churches through this spot here. V.8

“So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.”  Here.

Now, how did the Spirit do all of this pushing?

We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say.

A prophetic word?
A leading or guiding?
Doors opening or doors closing?

Not sure. But however the Spirit did it. He did it.

And Paul and his team heeded the pushing of the Spirit.

That might have been pretty frustrating!

Imagine if you were Paul. “I just want to preach the gospel!”

But the Spirit is stopping me. He won’t allow me to enter into these places. What’s going on?

V.9

“During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

Ah. God has another plan.

The Spirit doesn’t just push. He pulls. And we need to flexible!

“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

And so, in the middle of the night, they got ready to leave at once for Macedonia.

That’s flexible! Heeding the Spirit’s push and pull.

Now, both of these places were in the Roman empire.

But something geographically amazing was happening here.

The gospel was moving into what we now call Europe.

For the first time!  V.11

“From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.”

The gospel has entered into another continent.

From Jerusalem where?  To the ends of the earth.

“Come over to Macedonia and help us!”

And did you notice the pronouns changing?

Who set out to sea?

“We” did.

I think Dr. Luke just joined the team at Troas.

He doesn’t make a big deal of it, but there it is. “We.”

And the gospel moves into Europe.

And land at Philippi.

Philippi is only about 550 miles away from Novi Sad Serbia where our team will be going this Summer.

And here’s why flexibility is so important. 

#4. SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH ALL WHO NEED IT.

And that’s all of us.

Look at verse 13.

“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.” Stop there for a second.

Why did they do this?

What day did they do it? On the Sabbath.

Where did they go?

Outside the city gate to the river.  Why?

They’re looking for the synagogue.

Paul goes to the Jew first and then the Gentile.

It takes 10 Jewish men to form a synagogue. If they don’t have 10 Jewish men, they gather at the river for prayer until they do.

Obviously, Philippi does not have 10 Jewish men.

It appears that there isn’t even one!

Who do they find there at the river?

A group of women who are praying.

Four men approach a group of Jewish women to talk about religion.

(I don’t think this conversation is really going to go anywhere.)

Maybe Paul and his team should find another place.

I mean the vision had a MAN of Macedonia saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”

But Paul and his friends are...what?  FLEXIBLE!

They share the gospel with ALL who need it.

They don’t just look for people like them.

They cross barriers. Geographical, physical, cultural, even gender (which was a big divide in that culture).

Verse 14.

“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.”

I love that.

Here is the first convert in Europe, and she isn’t at all what we would have expected.

And “the Lord opened her heart.”  I love that phrase. It’s one of a quite a few ways of saying that Lord saved her by the gospel.

Paul shared about Jesus Christ. His message. His life. His death. His resurrection!

And the Lord opened her heart.

Has the Lord opened your heart?

Do you believe Paul’s message?  Paul’s gospel?

The gospel of a crucified and risen Savior?

The world does not believe it.

But those who do are saved.

I invite you to believe today.

The Lord opened her heart, and she responded, like all new believers in the New Testament–she got baptized–she and all of the people in her extended household.

They believed!  And they got baptized.

And then, this single, business-owning, woman invites these four men, Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke, to stay in her household as the center of their ministry in Philippi.

Do you think that took flexibility?

I don’t think that would have been Paul’s first choice.

Not that there is any impropriety here. But look how she has to persuade them.

“‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.”

And Paul is flexible again for the gospel.

Are you flexible in ministry?

Are you ready to deal with the disagreements that come?
Are you ready to be sensitive where you need to be and steadfast where you must?
Are you ready to heed the push and pull of the Spirit even when it gets frustrating?
Are you ready to share the gospel across barriers?

If so, then you are ready for ministry.

Sumper Gumby!  Always flexible!

Messages So Far In this Series:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 09, 2012

[Matt's Messages] "Conference in Jerusalem"

“Conference in Jerusalem”
From Jerusalem to Pennsylvania: The Book of Acts
January 8, 2012
Acts 15:1-35

After a brief holiday break, we now return to our study of the book of Acts which we are calling, “From Jerusalem to Pennsylvania.”
Jesus told his disciples that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth – which is where we now live!

And we’ve watched as the gospel has gone out. Starting with a bang at Pentecost in Jerusalem and then slowly but surely moving outward. Up to Samaria and then the establishing of that great missionary church in Antioch in Syria.

And, when we last left off, that Antioch church had sent Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey?  Do you remember that?

Paul and Barnabas (and John Mark) had left Antioch, gone to Cyprus, gone to Perga.  John Mark bailed on them there. Then Paul and Barnabas had gone to Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.

And they encountered trouble at every spot. Sometimes they were taken for gods, but most of the time, they met with riots and had to leave in a hurry.

But they also established churches among the Gentiles!

And then they got back home and gave their report.

That’s where we left off last time.

The first missionary journey was wildly successful, especially among Gentiles.

Gentiles were turning to the Lord in good numbers.
And that’s exciting for us because, guess what we are?  Gentiles.

In fact, the gospel is growing so much at this point that it won’t be long until the church is full of Gentiles, and Jews become a minority!

That was unthinkable at the beginning. The church was almost all Jewish, some weere Hebrew speaking, some were Greek speaking–but they were all Jews.

And then, we had those Samaritan half-breeds and that Ethiopian official. And then Cornelius. And then the folks up in the international church of Antioch.

And now this. Gentiles are coming in in droves!

And that presents a problem.

You might think that everyone would be happy that this is happening.

But not everyone is happy. There are, in fact, some people who are very unhappy.

And they present a problem to the church.

And the problem can only be solved by holding a big conference.

“Conference in Jerusalem.”

Acts 15 is pretty much the center of the book of Acts. We’ve read about half of it, and now, we’ll head into the second half.

This is a “hinge” chapter, moving from the first baby steps of the newborn church to reaching out across the whole Roman world.

But first, they’ve got to get this question settled:

“What does it take for a Gentile to become a Christian?”

What does it take for a Gentile to truly become a real Christian?

And the answer affects us today, doesn’t it?

Because we’re all Gentiles.

What does it truly take for a Gentile, like you and me, to become a Christian?

And to settle that question, they had a big conference...back in Jerusalem.

Conference in Jerusalem.

This chapter has often been called the “Jerusalem Council.”

And that’s because they hold an important meeting, a council or a conference in Jerusalem to settle the question, “What does it take for a Gentile to become a Christian?”

What do you think the answer is? 

What do you think the possible answers were?

Acts chapter 15 verse 1 exposes the problem.
Verse 1.

“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’”

Aha.

Do you see the problem?

Folks from the “home office” visited the great church in Antioch and brought some teaching. And the teaching was, “Unless you are circumcised [this is for the men], according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’”

Circumcision was the mark of the covenant that was the sign and symbol of belonging to the people of God in the Old Testament.

It was given by God and encoded in the law of Moses.

And these men came from the home office saying that the Gentiles needed to do that to be genuine Christians.

In other words, to become a Christian, you first had to become a Jew.

You had to take on circumcision which was a marker of taking on the law of Moses.

And these guys didn’t just say that it was a good idea.

They said, “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

And those are fighting words. V.2

“This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.”

I’ll bet it did.

Paul and Barnabas did not agree.

And they could not stay quiet about it.

Were Paul and Barnabas circumcised?

Of course, they were.

Was it bad to be circumcised?

No way. It was good!  But was it required to be saved?

Was it true that “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

No way.

So there is a church rumble going down.

Paul and Barnabas will not allow this teaching to go unanswered.

The gospel is at stake.

What are they going to do about it?

You know, it might be that the apostles are teaching this down in Jerusalem.

These guys who came to the church in Antioch were from Judea.  What are they teaching down there? V.2

“So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.”

They need to have a conference. This has got to be settled. V.3

“The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad.”

They don’t wait to make their case. As they work their way to Jerusalem, they tell everybody the good news about the Gentiles conversions.

And then (v.4), “When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.”

And then, they had their debate.  V.5

“Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.’”

This is how they answered the question, “What does it take for a Gentile to become a Christian?”

Their answer, “It takes circumcision and obedience to the law of Moses.”

It’s not surprising that these men were Pharisees.

They are also believers in Jesus.

These are not guys who are denying that Jesus is the Christ.

They believe that!

These men believe that Jesus is the Christ.

But was Jesus was a Jew. They are Jews. Salvation is from the Jews.

And they think that to become a Christian, you must become a Jew first.

Christians are just Messianic Jews, right?  So to be a true Christian, you must come into Judaism. Circumcision and the Law of Moses.  Right?

The question is not whether or not Gentiles can be saved.

Of course, they can.  But must they also be circumcised to be saved?

“Yes,” say the Pharisees in the church.

“No,” say Paul and Barnabas.

What will everyone else say?

V.6 “The apostles and elders met to consider this question.”

I love it.

This was worthy of discussion. Of debate. Of listening to both sides and considering the question.

And then coming up with an answer that was right and wise and loving and faithful to the gospel.  They held their conference at Jerusalem.

We don’t know how long they talked or all of what they said. It might have gone on for days and days.

But eventually, it was time to settle the question.

And that happened through 3 speeches.
               
The first was from Simon Peter. Verse 7.

“After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. [What’s he talking about? He’s talking about Cornelius. Acts 10. That vision of the pork picnic that God gave to Peter and then the conversion of Cornelius and his household. They knew that that was God’s work. V.8] God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. [I love that phrase.] Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?”

What’s he mean there?  He’s talking about the law.

Is the law good? Yes.
Have the Jews kept it? No.
Why would you want to put the Mosaic law on the backs of the Gentiles if you didn’t have to? V.11

“No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

A. GRACE.

What does it take for a Gentile to become a Christian?

Just one thing, according to Peter.

Grace.

“We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”               
Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin.
And grace ALONE.

Not works of the law.
Not circumcision.

Grace.

Now, this is immensely important for you and me today.

But it doesn’t seem like it.

If I were a betting man, I’d be willing to bet a boatload of money that no one here has been worried about whether or not they need to be circumcised to become a Christian.

Or even if they must submit themselves to everything in the law of Moses from tassels on the garments to the sacrificial system.

I’ll bet no one read Leviticus this week wondering if they were truly a Christian because they haven’t done everything in that book.

So, at first glance, it seems like we aren’t tempted by the first answer to the question.

But, how many of us flirted with some other form of it instead of embracing grace?

Last week, I told you about my testimony of being a “good boy.”

I was trusting in my niceness and my rule-keeping.

Not the law of Moses, but the law of mom, the law of the school, the law of good-little-boyness.

That’s not grace.

Any answer to this question, “What does it take for a Gentile to become a Christian?” that isn’t, “God’s grace in Jesus Christ alone,” is the wrong answer and is no gospel at all.

Our adult Sunday School classes wrestled through Galatians together this Fall, and we discovered this same thing.

There is legalism lurking everywhere. You must obey this law to be a Christian.

You must be circumcised.
You must be baptized.
You must be a part of our church.
You must follow the ten commandments.
You must give a certain percentage of your money.
You must be religious.
You must attend these classes.
You must practice these religious rituals.
You must climb this religious ladder.

You must do this or do that.

Legalism spells salvation, “D-O.”  Do.

True Christianity spells salvation, “D-O-N-E.” Done.

That’s grace. God’s riches at Christ’s expense.

God’s unmerited favor.
God’s unearned blessing on sinners.

That’s what I said last week happened to me when I gave my testimony.

Is that your testimony, as well?

By the way, I still want a goodly number of people to give their testimonies in 2012 here at church. Talk to me if you are willing to do it.

It doesn’t have to be long.  It just needs to be about grace.

Peter says, “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

There is not one plan of salvation for the Jews and another for the Gentiles.

It is the same for both. Grace. God’s free gift.

Amen?

Are you trusting in God’s grace?

The wonderful grace of Jesus?

It is the only way to be saved.

Don’t listen to the lies of the world telling you to do it this way, do it that way.

Believe the gospel that it is already done.

Jesus did it for you.

Grace.

Here’s something interesting. This is the last time that the apostle Peter appears in the book of Acts.

He’s got more to do and to say in the epistles.

But this is it in the book of Acts.

The last thing he says is “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Now, the second speech is made. This is a joint-speech between Barnabas and Paul. V.12

“The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.”

I think that is so cool.

Isn’t it cool how respectful they are of one another and how respectful and in awe they are as they hear what God has done?

Next Sunday, we’re in for a treat. We’re going to have a report from Henoc Lucien in Sunday School at 9am and a sermon at 10am and luncheon with him at noon.

Henoc has been planting churches and pastoring churches and nurturing Christians for decades now.

Last weekend, Henoc did a joint wedding of 10 couples. They have recently been saved and convicted of the sin of living together outside of marriage.

And they all got married at the same time. Isn’t that awesome?

And the same weekend, they had 55 baptisms. We had 10 last year, and we thought that was great.

Isn’t it awesome what God is doing?  Come out next Sunday and hear more about it from Henoc.

These folks listened intensely to Barnabas and Paul give their report.

And it was a report about God saving Gentiles by grace.

One more speech and the conference will come to its conclusion. V.13

“When they finished, James spoke up...”

James is a Jew. James is like the pastor of the Jerusalem church.

I think he’s calling for a vote and summing up everything that has been said.

And he calls for something of a compromise. Not a compromise of the gospel, but a solution that protects the gospel of grace and at the same time is careful to care for the Jews in the equation. V.13.

“When they finished, James spoke up: ‘Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages.”

In other words, it’s biblical. The Gentiles were always supposed to come in.

This is a quote from Amos, chapter 9.  “I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent.” That’s talking about the Messiah. That’s talking about Jesus.

And the Christ will come to rebuild that tent so that the remnant (the faithful Jews) may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name.  Not the Gentiles that bear the Law, but those who bear the name. Who believe in the Christ.

Who put their faith in the grace of our Lord.

So, James says, (v.19), “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

Now, I think what’s going on there is what I’m going to call GENTLENESS.

It is sensitivity. It is carefulness with convictions and consciences.

James proposes that they send a letter to the new Gentiles coming into Christianity telling them to watch out for idolatry and other things associated with idolatry and those things which would make it really hard for a Jewish Christian to relate to a Gentile Christian.

Now, of course, they should refrain from idolatry itself. And from sexual immorality, especially that kind that comes with idol worship.

But it would also be good to avoid food that is dedicated to idols and from meat that is clearly against the kosher food laws that the Jews will practice.  Meat strangled and from meat that hasn’t had the blood drained like Moses taught us to.

Why? V.21 again, “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

There are lots of Jews everywhere. Don’t alienate them if possible.

There are lots of people reading Leviticus. Don’t alienate them if you can help it.

This law of Moses is a good thing. Don’t flaunt your freedom in front of people who are your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Be gentle. Be careful.

Most Christians Jews in this period are going to feel kind of dirty associating with Christian ... Gentiles.

Gentiles just seem dirty. They seem attached to paganism. Idolatry.

If you could just keep away from all of that, it would really help matters.

Now, is James saying that they must be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses?

No!  He is saying that the gospel is all about grace.

But grace makes us gracious.

Grace teaches us gentleness and sensitivity and carefulness with those who have different convictions than we do.

I love how careful everyone is in this story with each other.

There is so much love in this chapter. Everyone except the strident legalists are incredibly careful to be gentle and respectful of one another. See?  Verse 22.

“Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) [son of the Sabbath, that’s a Jew for you!] and Silas [we’ll hear more about him soon], two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter: [Quote] The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul–men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. [End Quote.]

Nothing in there about circumcision. It’s just a “be careful with others” letter.

And it calls these Christians, “brothers.”

And they don’t just send the letter. They send people. I think that is so gentle, so thoughtful, so careful.

People are precious, friends.

And we need to be gentle with them as much as possible.

We need to be firm and unshakeable on the gospel of grace.

But gracious with people.

Is there someone in your life right now that you need to extend gentleness to?

V.30  “The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.”

Here’s my last G-word for applying today’s message.

GLADNESS.

Did you notice how much joy there is in this story today?

Verse 3 - “this news made all the brothers very glad.”

Verse 12 - “The whole assembly became silent”

Verse 31 - “The people read it and were glad for its encouraging mesage.”

Verse 32 - “Judas and Silas ... said much to encourage and strengthen the brothrs.”

Verse 33 - “Sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace...”

The gospel of grace not only makes us gentle.

It should make us joyful.

And full of gladness.

You know if a church has got the gospel if they have love for one another and joy in  their hearts.

Over the holidays Heather and I got have dinner with another couple who is planting a church out in Ohio.

And it was a chance for us to brag on you.

I love telling people about our church.

We are not perfect. In fact, our church is full of sinners.

But there is grace here.
And it has made us gentle with each other to a great degree.

There is a real concern for unity here.

Just like these brothers trying to protect the gospel and their relationships and bridge unity between Jew and Gentile.

And willing to listen to each other and even sent men places to make sure there is gospel unity.

And there is joy here.

I got to tell this church planter and his wife that it’s a joy to be your pastor.

Because I know that this church family knows grace.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Resisting Gossip - Next Steps

It was one year ago today that I began the work of writing my project in earnest.

Many of you have asked what the next steps are for my doctoral project and book on resisting gossip.

Having turned in the project, it's now pretty much a waiting game. The library director at Westminster, an external reader, and two Westminster/CCEF faculty readers are currently reading it. The library director might have required formatting changes to make (hopefully not many because of the help of the Center for Theological Writing and my proofreader!), the external reader gives it a thumbs up or down as to whether or not it is up to the standard of a work at this level, and my two faculty readers are reading it to prepare for questioning me at my oral defense.

The next actual step for me is the oral defense. I'll be on campus on March 14th to answer questions about my project put to me by my advisor and second reader. I'm looking forward to that, as I love talking about my project!

After these folks all sign off on it (and I make any changes they require), then I submit two more copies to the school (these are bound and put in the library), and I graduate in May.  We're at the end, folks. Thanks for your prayers.

As for the actual book, I'm now preparing the manuscript for submission to some publishers. I see this process as having four steps.

1. Revise manuscript for publishers.
2. Send manuscript to some leaders for their endorsements and networking.
3. Write a publication proposal.
4. Send the proposal and the manuscript to a group of publishers and see what happens.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Matt's Books from 2011

Matt’s Books Completed in 2011:
           
1. Little Pear by Eleanor Lattimore
2. The Greet Wheel by Robert Lawson
3. Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark               
4.  Favorite Poems of Childhood edited by Philip Smith
5. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
6. A Way with Words by Christin Ditchfield
7. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
8. On Writing Well by William Zinsser               
9. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester
10. Leading from the Sandbox by T.J. Addington
11. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
12. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
13. Not the Way It’s Supposed To Be by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
14. A Serrated Edge by Douglas Wilson
15. Greek Myths by Heather Amery
16. Gone But Not Lost: Grieving the Death of a Child by David Wiersbe
17. Scorpion Tongues: Gossip, Celebrity, and American Politics by Gail Collins
18. Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester
19. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
20. The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr
21. Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
22. The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson
23. Hornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. Forester
24. Follow My Leader by James Garfield
25. Hornblower During the Crisis by C.S. Forester
26. Believer’s Baptism ed. by Thomas Schreiner and Shawn Wright
27. George Whitefield (vol 1) by Arnold Dallimore
28. Radical by David Platt
29. When to Speak Up and When to Shut Up by Michael Sedler
30. Beat to Quarters by C.S. Forester
31. Ship of the Line by C.S. Forester
32. Flying Colours by C.S. Forester
33. Commodore Hornblower by C.S. Forester
44. A Woman Jesus Can Teach by Alice Mathews
45. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
46. Lord Hornblower by C.S. Forester
47. Who Are You To Judge by Dave Swavely
48. Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies by C.S. Forester
49. Little Britches by Ralph Moody
50. In Search of the Source by Neil Anderson
51. Everybody Can Know by Francis & Edith Schaeffer
52. Luke, Vol 2 by R. Kent Hughes
53. Luke 9:51-24:53 by Darrell Bock
54. The Army of the Potomac: A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton
55. Hope in the Midst of a Hostile World: The Gospel According to Daniel by George Schwab
56. Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree
57. Good Gossip edited by Robert Goodman and Aaron Ben-Ze’ev
58. George Whitefield, Volume Two by Arnold Dallimore
59. Man of the Family by Ralph Moody
60. Gossip by Patricia Meyer Spacks
61. The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
62. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
63. Evangelical Convictions by the EFCA
64. Dish by Jeannette Walls
65. Hornblower and the Atropos by C.S. Forester
66. An Excellent Mystery by Ellis Peters
67. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
68. Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
69. Richard Temple by Patrick O’Brian
70. Brother Cadfael’s Penance by Ellis Peters
71. Belles on Their Toes by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
72. The Golden Ocean by Patrick O’Brian
73. The Unknown Shore by Patrick O’Brian
74. Love Wins by Rob Bell
75. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
76. A Rare Benedictine by Ellis Peters
77. Vintage Murder by Ngaio Marsh
78. City of Gold and Shadow by Ellis Peters
79. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne
80. Night at the Vulcan by Ngaio Marsh
81. Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian
82. The Bloody Field by Edith Pargeter
83. Hell on Trial by Robert Peterson
84. Christ Alone by Michael E. Wittmer
85. My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
86. Mary Emma and Company by Ralph Moody
87. The Heaven Tree by Edith Pargeter
88. The Green Branch by Edith Pargeter
89. The Scarlet Seed by Edith Pargeter
90. Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters
91. Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow
92. Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo
93. The Marriage of Meggotta by Edith Pargeter
94. Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Heart by Ellis Peters
95. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
96. The Grass Widow’s Tale by Ellis Peters
97. A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
98. Crooked House by Agatha Christie
99. Endless Night by Agatha Christie
100. The Confession by John Grisham
101. Death to the Landfords by Ellis Peters
102. Origins of Marvel Comics by Stan Lee
103. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
104. The Home Ranch by Ralph Moody
105. Mourning Raga by Ellis Peters
106. The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
107. The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
108. What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? by Edward Welch
109. The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum
110. Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz
111. The Clockwork Universe by Edward Dolnick
112. Queen’s Play by Dorothy Dunnett
113. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie
114. The Seventeenth Swap by Eloise McGraw
115. The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett
116. The Rescue Artist by Edward Dolnick
117. The Appeal by John Grisham
118. Be Free by Warren Wiersbe
119. The Message of Galatians by John Stott
120. Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett
121. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
122. The Meaning of Sports by Michael Mandelbaum
123. The Doctors Who’s Who by Craig Cabell
124. The Ringed Castle by Dorothy Dunnett
125. The Return to the Kingdom of Fantasy by Edizioni Piemme
126. The One Year Bible, New International Version (1984)

For Previous Years:

2010

2009 

2008 (first half, second half)

2007 (first half, second half)

2006 (first half, second half)

2005 (first half, second half)

Robin's Books from 2011

Robin’s Books Completed in 2011:

1. By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
2. Mandie and the Dangerous Imposters by Lois Gladys Leppard
3. A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time by Mary Pope Osborne
4. The Pizza Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
5. Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osborne
6. The Dinosaur Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
7. Moonlight on the Magic Flute by Mary Pope Osborne
8. Viking Ships at Sunrise by Mary Pope Osborne
9. Rebecca to the Rescue by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
10. Mandie and the Invisible Troublemaker by Lois Gladys Leppard
11. Mandie and Her Missing Kin by Lois Gladys Leppard
12. The Peskie Spell by Emily Rodda
13. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
14. It’s Halloween, You ‘Fraidy Mouse! by Edizioni Piemme
15. The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 by Charles M. Schulz
16. A Cheese-Colored Camper by Geronimo Stilton
17. Tree House Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
18. The Camp-Out Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
19. The Dog-Gone Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
20. The Ghost of the Chattering Bones by Gertrude Chandler Warner
21. School’s Out by Wanda Brunstetter
22. The Haunted Fort by Franklin W. Dixon
23. The Ghost at Skeleton Rock by Franklin W. Dixon
24. The Clue of the Screeching Owl by Franklin W. Dixon
25. Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell
26. The Viking Symbol Mystery by Frankline W. Dixon
27. Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen
28. The Sign of the Crooked Arrow by Franklin W. Dixon
29. The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter by Kathryn Reiss
30. Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace
31. The Secret of Mirror Bay by Carolyn Keene
32. The Double Jinx Mystery by Carolyn Keene
33. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery by Carolyn Keene
34. Little House in the Big Wood by Laura Ingalls Wilder
35. The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid by Edizioni Piemme
36. The Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz
37. The Phantom of the Subway by Edizioni Piemme
38. The Search for Sunken Treasure by Edizioni Piemme
39. Four Mice Deep in the Jungle by Edizioni Piemme
40. The Complete Peanuts 1957-1958 by Charles M. Schulz
41. The Clue of the Broken Blade by Franklin W. Dixon
42. The Secret of Pirate’s Hill by Franklin W. Dixon
43. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
44. The Masked Monkey by Franklin W. Dixon
45. The Shattered Helmet by Franklin W. Dixon
46. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
47. The Clue of the Hissing Serpent by Franklin W. Dixon
48. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
49. Brave Emily by Valerie Tripp
50. The Host at the Drive-In-Movie by Gertrude Chandler Warner
51. Geronimo Stilton and the Wedding Crasher by Edizioni Piemme
52. The Ghost in the Front Row by Gertrude Chandler Warner
53. Geronimo Stilton and the Field Trip to Niagra Falls by Edizioni Piemme
54. Geronimo Stilton: Shipwreck on the Pirate Islands by Edizioni Piemme
55. The Rock’n’Roll Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
56. The Creature in Ogopogo Lake by Gertrude Chandler Warner
57. The Vanishing Passenger by Gertrude Chandler Warner
58. Little House on Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
59. The Clue of the Velvet Mask by Carolyn Keene
60. The Ringmaster’s Secret by Carolyn Keene
61. Perilous Road by William Steele
62. The Complete Peanuts: 1963 to 1964 by Charles Schulz
63. Valentine’s Day Disaster by Edizioni Piemme
64. Mike’s Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
65. The Hidden Window Mystery by Carolyn Keene
66. The Prisoner’s of the Sun by Herge
67. Flight 714 by Herge
68. Destination Moon by Herge
69. The Gray-Eyed Goddess by Mary Pope Osborne
70. Houseboat Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
71. Bicycle Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
72. The Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz
73. The Art of Charles M. Schulz
74. Trixie Belden: The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell
75. A Crazy Day with Cobras by Mary Pope Osborne
76. Garfield: Bigger Than Life by Jim Davis
77. Garfield Keeps His Chin Up by Jim Davis
78. Garfield Takes the Cake by Jim Davis
79. Clue in the Castle Tower by Sarah Masters Buckley
80. The Silver Guitar by Kathryn Reiss
81. A Bundle of Trouble by Kathryn Reiss
82. The Unicorn by Emila Rodda
83. The Hooded Hawk Mystery by Franklin W. Dixon
84. Meet Kirsten by Janet Shaw
85. The Clue in the Embers by Franklin W. Dixon
86. Mystery at Devil’s Paw by Franklin W. Dixon
87. Tintin Vol 2 by Herge
88. Tintin Vol 1 by Herge
89. Tintin Vol 7 by Herge
90. Thea Stilton and the Secret City by Edizioni Piemme
91. Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
92. The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior by Franklin W. Dixon
93. Red Pizzas for a Blue Count by Edizioni Piemme
94. Return from Ithaca (Book Five) by Mary Pope Osborne
95. The Spy Game by Gertrude Chandler Warner
96. Happy Birthday, Kirsten! by Janet Shaw
97. Kirsten’s Surprise by Janet Shaw
98. Kirsten Learns a Lesson by Janet Shaw
99. The Stuffed Bear Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
100. Cam Jansen and the Secret Service Mystery by David Adler
101. The Windy City Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
102. The Mystery of the Empy Safe by Gertrude Chandler Warner
103. Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones by David Adler
104. The Cereal Box Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
105. The Teddy Bear Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
106. The Search for the Sunken Treasure by Edizioni Piemme
107. The Clue of the Broken Locket by Carolyn Keene
108. Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty
109. The Game Store Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
110. The Old Motel Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
111. Meet Julie by Megan McDonald
112. The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene
113. Julie Tells Her Story by Megan McDonald
114. Meet Kit: An American Girl by Valerie Tripp
115. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
116. Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
117. These Happy Golden Days by Laura Ingalls Wilder
118. The Minstrel in the Tower by Gloria Skurzynski
119. The Apprentice by Pilar Molina Llorente
120. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Brothers’ Grimm
121. Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling
122. Sixteen and Away from Home by Arleta Richardson
123. Eighteen and On Her Own by Arleta Richardson
124. Hugo Pepper by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
125. My Name Is Stilton, Geronimo Stilton by Edizioni Piemme
126. Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne
127. The Complete Peanuts, 1959 to 1960 by Charles Schulz
128. The Complete Peanuts, 1971 to 1972 by Charles Schulz
129. Night of the Ninjas by Mary Pope Osborne
130. A Fabumouse Vacation for Geronimo by Edizioni Piemme
131. Cam Jansen: The School Play Mystery by David Adler
132. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
133. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
134. Surprise Island by Gertrude Chandler Warner
135. Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson
136. Cam Jansen and the Basketball Mystery by David Adler
137. Cam Jansen and the Wedding Cake Mystery by David Adler
138. Caboose Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
139. Butterfly Battles by Joanna Cole
140. I’m Too Fond of My Fur by Edizioni Piemme
141. The Terrible Wave by Marden Dahlstedt
142. The Yellow House Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
143. Tumtum & Nutmeg by Emily Bearn
144. The Great Escape by Emily Bearn
145. The Pirate’s Treasure by Emily Bearn
146. The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne
147. Afternoon on the Amazon by Mary Pope Osborne
148. The Clue in the Corn Maze by Gertrude Chandler Warner
149. Day of the Dragon King by Mary Pope Osborne
150. Midnight in the Lonesome Hollow by Kathleen Ernst
151. A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Coco De Young
152. All Because of a Cup of Cofee by Edizioni Piemme
153. Kit Learns a Lesson by Valerie Tripp
154. Kit’s Surprise by Valerie Tripp
155. Viking Ships at Sunrise by Mary Pope Osborne
156. Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne
157.  Happy New Year, Julie by Megan McDonald
158. Kirsten Saves the Day by Janet Shaw
159. The Red Trailer Mystery by Julie Campbell
160. Changes for Kirsten by Janet Shaw
161. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
162. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
163. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
164. A Fabumouse School Adventure by Edizioni Piemme
165. The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport by Laura Lee Hope
166. Season of the Sandstorms by Mary Pope Osborne
167. The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge by Franklin W. Dixon
168. Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace
169. Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace
170. Happy Birthday, Kit! by Valerie Tripp
171. The Gatehouse Mystery by Julie Campbell
172. Kit Saves the Day by Valerie Tripp
173. The Secret Agent on Flight 101 by Franklin W. Dixon
174. Tumtum & Nutmeg: The Rose Cottage Tales by Emily Bearn
175. The Secret of Red Gate Farm by Carolyn Keene
176. Mystery at the Ski Jump by Carolyn Keene
177. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
178. A Fabumouse School Adventure by Edizioni Piemme
179. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
180. Favorite Fairy Tales told in France by Virginia Haviland
181. Favorite Fairy Tales told in India by Virginia Haviland
182. Favorite Fairy Tales told in Japan by Virginia Haviland
183. The Curious Clubhouse by Christine Govan
184. Babymouse: Mad Scientist by Jennifer and Matthew Holm
185. Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
186. Liberty Porter, First Daughter by Julia DeVillers
187. It’s Halloween, You ‘Fraidy Mouse by Edizioni Piemme
188. Betsy’s Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace
189. The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne
190. Password to Larkspur Lane by Carolyn Keene
191. Nineteen and Wedding Bells Ahead by Arleta Richardson
192. Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne
193. The Lost Princess of Oz by Frank Baum
194. Kit’s Short Story Collection by Valerie Tripp
195. The Whispering Statue by Carolyn Keene
196. Marisol by Gary Soto
197. The Great Railroad Race by Kristiana Gregory
198. Julie’s Journey by Megan McDonald
199. The Story of Thomas Alva Edison, Inventor by Margaret Davidson
200. Changes for Kit by Valerie Tripp
201. The Pinderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
202. The Disappearing Stranger by Lois Walfrid Johnson
203. Buffalo Before Breakfast by Mary Pope Osborne
204. Mandie and the Secret Tunnel by Lois Gladys Leppard
205. The Hidden Message by Lois Walfrid Johnson
206. The Creeping Shadows by Lois Walfrid Johnson
207. Rainbow Garden by Patricia St. John
208. Down and Out Down Under by Edizioni Piemme
209. Samantha’s Short Story Collection by Valerie Tripp
210. The Spy in the Bleachers by Gertrude Chandler Warner
211. Tintin Volume 5 by Herge
212. Molly’s Short Story Collection by Valerie Tripp
213. The Curse of Ravenscourt by Sarah Masters Buckey
214. More Tales of Uncle Remus by Julius Lester
215. Changes for Julie by Megan McDonald
216. Red Pizzas for A Blue Count by Edizioni Piemme
217. The Mystery Off Glen Road by Julie Campbell
218. Bus Station Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
219. Pippi in the South Seas by Astrid Lindgren
220. The Flower Fairies by Emily Rodda
221. The Magic Key by Emily Rodda
222. Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville
223. The Mystery of the Purple Pool by Gertrude Chandler Warner
224. Mystery of the Singing Ghost by Gertrude Chandler Warner
225. Mystery in Arizona by Julie Campbell
226. The Pilgrim Village Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
227. The Stolen Sapphire by Sarah Masters Buckey
228. Blue Bay Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
229. The Third Wish by Emily Rodda
230. The Cry of the Loon by Barbara Steiner
231. Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace
232. The Unicorn by Emily Rodda
233. The Star Cloak by Emily Rodda
234. Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville
235. Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville
236. The Mysterious Code by Kathryn Kenny
237. Danger at the Zoo by Kathleen Ernst
238. Lanie by Jane Kurtz
239. Meet Felicity by Valerie Tripp
240. Felicity Learns a Lesson by Valerie Tripp
241. Felicity’s Surprise by Valerie Tripp
242. Happy Birthday, Felicity! By Valerie Tripp
243. The Tattletale Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
244. Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Edizioni Piemme
245. The Temple of the Ruby of Fire by Edizioni Piemme
246. It’s Halloween, You ‘Fraidy Mouse! by Edizioni Piemme
247. The Mystery of the Screaming Clock by Robert Arthur
248. The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure by Robert Arthur
249. The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur
250. The Temple of the Ruby of Fire by Edizioni Piemme
251. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
252. The Mystery of the Fiery Eye by Robert Arthur
253. The Red Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang
254. Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn
255. A Whisper and a Wish by Robin Jones Gunn
256. Yours Forever by Robin Jones Gunn
257. All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor
258. All-of-A-Kind Family Downtown by Sydney Taylor
259. The Quest for Paradise: The Return to the Kingdom of Fantasy by Edizioni Piemme
260. Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
261. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
262. The Mystery of the Silver Spider by Robert Arthur
263. The Mystery of the Talking Skull by Robert Arthur
264. Annie Henry and the Secret Mission by Susan Olasky
265. Annie Henry and the Birth of Liberty by Susan Olasky
266. Annie Henry and the Mysterious Stranger by Susan Olasky
267. Annie Henry and the Redcoats by Susan Olasky
268. My Name Is Stilton, Geronimo Stilton by Edizioni Piemme
269. Shadows in Society Hill by Evelyn Coleman
270. Mystery and the Crooked House by Gertrude Chandler Warner
271. Mountain Top Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
272. Felicity’s Short Story Collection by Valerie Tripp
273. The Lighthouse Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
274. The Sword of the Silver Knight by Gertrude Chandler Warner
275. The Mystery of Mixed-Up Zoo by Gertrude Chandler Warner
276. Benny Uncovers a Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
277. The Mystery of the Missing Mermaid by Robert Arthur
278. The Mystery of the Death Trap Mine by Robert Arthur
279. The Mystery of the Coughing Dragon by Robert Arthur
280. The Mystery of the Trail of Terror by M.V. Carey
281. The Mystery of the Rogues’ Reunion by Marc Brandel
282. The Secret of the Wooden Lady by Carolyn Keene
283. The Mystery of the Blinking Eye by Kathryn Kenny
284. The Mystery of the Emerlads by Kathryn Kenny
285. The Secret of the Haunted Mirror by M.V. Carey
286. The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow by M.V. Carey
287. The Secret of Skeleton Island by Robert Arthur
288. The Jungle Pyramid by Franklin W. Dixon
289. The Shore Road Mystery by Franklin W. Dixon
290. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
291. The Arctic Patrol Mystery by Franklin W. Dixon
292. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
293. Hero Over Here by Kathleen Kudlinski
294. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
295. Anne of the Island L.M. Montgomery
296. Cat and Mouse in a Haunted House by Edizioni Piemme
297. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
298. The Mona Mousa Code by Edizioni Piemme
299. Red Pizzas for a Blue Count by Edizioni Piemme
300. A Fabumouse Vacation for Geronimo by Edizioni Piemme
301. The Disappearing Floor by Franklin W. Dixon
302. Pioneer Cat by William Hooks
303. Pioneer Summer by Deborah Hopkinson
304. Our Kansas Home by Deborah Hopkinson
305. Cabin in the Snow by Deborah Hopkinson
306. The Sinister Signpost by Franklin W. Dixon
307. The Mark on the Door by Franklin W. Dixon
308. Horse Crazy: The Silver Horse Switch 1 by Alison Lester
309. Footprints Under the Window by Franklin W. Dixon
310. A Figure in Hiding by Franklin W. Dixon
311. The Crisscross Shadow by Franklin W. Dixon
312. The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene
313. The Quest of the Missing Map by Carolyn Keene
314. The Ringmaster’s Secret by Carolyn Keene
315. The Mystery on Cobbett’s Island by Kathryn Kenny
316. The Mystery on the Mississippi by Kathryn Kenny
317. Betsy Was a Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace
318. Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
319. The Candy Factory Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
320. The Mystery in Washington, DC by Gertrude Chandler Warner
321. The Mystery at Skeleton Point by Gertrude Chandler Warner
322. The Mystery at the Dog Show by Gertrude Chandler Warner
323. The Mystery of the Lost Mine by Gertrude Chandler Warner
324. The Castle Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
325. The Ghost Ship Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
326. The Disappearing Staircase Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
327. Down and Out Down Under by Edizioni Piemme
328. The Search for Sunken Treasure by Edizioni Piemme
329. The Black Jacket Mystery by Kathryn Kenny
330. The Happy Valley Mystery by Kathryn Kenny
331. The Mummy with No Name by Edizioni Piemme
332. The Marshland Mystery by Kathryn Kenny
333. The Mystery at Bob-White Cave by Kathryn Kenny
334. The Secret in the Old Attic by Carolyn Keene
335. The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes by Carolyn Keene
336. The Blue Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang
337. The Mystery of Crocodile Island by Carolyn Keene
338. The Strange Messge in the Parchment by Carolyn Keene
339. The Clue in the Stagecoach by Carolyn Keene
340. The Mystery of Cabin Island by Franklin W. Dixon
341. The Mummy Case by Franklin W. Dixon
342. The Firebird Rocket by Franklin W. Dixon
343. Peril at King’s Creek by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
344. Addy’s Short Story Collection by Connie Rose Porter
345. The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene
346. Kirsten’s Short Story Collection by Janet Shaw
347. The Sting of the Scorpion by Franklin W. Dixon
348. The Mystery of the Lost Village by Gertrude Chandler Warner
349. The Mystery Girl by Gertrude Chandler Warner
350. The Mystery of the Purple Pool by Gertrude Chandler Warner
351. The Animal Shelter Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
352. The Mystery of the Spider’s Clue by Gertrude Chandler Warner
353. The Mystery Cruise by Gertrude Chandler Warner
354. The Mystery Horse by Gertrude Chandler Warner
355. The Basketball Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
356. The Disappearing Friend Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
357. The Clue of the Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene
358. The Deserted Library Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
359. The Wailing Siren Mystery Franklin W. Dixon
360. The Hidden Harbor Mystery Franklin W. Dixon
361. Felicity’s Surprise by Valerie Tripp
362. Felicity Learns a Lesson by Valerie Tripp
363. Surprise Endings by Robin Jones Gunn
364. Holy Bible, New International Version
365. The Mystery in the Snow by Gertrude Chandler Warner
366. Mystery in the Sand by Gertrude Chandler Warner
367. The Stuffed Bear Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
368. Jungle Doctor’s Tug of War by Paul White
369. Island Dreamer by Robin Jones Gunn
370. Paws Off, Cheddarface by Edizioni Piemme
371. It’s Halloween, You ‘Fraidy Mouse by Edizioni Piemme
372. The Apeman’s Secret by Franklin W. Dixon
373. The Vanishing Thieves by Franklin W. Dixon
374. What Happened at Midnight by Franklin W. Dixon
375. The Stone Idol by Franklin W. Dixon
376. The Treasure of the Emerald Isle by Edizioni Piemme
377. Felicity Saves the Day by Valerie Tripp
378. The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon
379. Danger on Vampire Trail by Franklin W. Dixon
380. Mystery in Arizona by Julie Campbell
381. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall by Carolyn Keene
382. The Scarlet Slipper Mysteery by Carolyn Keene
383. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney by Carolyn Keene
384. The Message in the Hollow Oak by Carolyn Keene
385. Valentine’s Day Disaster by Edizioni Piemme
386. Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All by Donald Sobol
387. Encyclopedia Brown Tracks Them Down by Donald Sobol
388. The Black Widow Spider Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
389. Kaya’s Short Story Collection by Janet Shaw
390. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
391. The Kingdom of Fantasy by Edizioni Piemme
392. The Mystery of the Alligator Swamp by Gertrude Chandler Warner
393. The Gymnastics Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
394. The Mystery at Snowflake Inn by Gertrude Chandler Warner
395. Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards
396. The Mystery of the Star Ruby by Gertrude Chandler Warner
397. The Old Motel Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
398. The Mystery of the Mummy’s Curse by Gertrude Chandler Warner
399. Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
400. Mystery Ranch by Gertrude Chandler Warner