Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meat Eaters' Fellowship!

Hey friends,

Meat Eaters' Crash Course is over. Not! We are now Meat Eaters' Fellowship, and our blog is here. Check it out!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Planning for Future Personal Bible Study (Handout)

Hi Meat Eaters,

Here is the handout I promised, in which we made plans for future personal Bible study. If you didn't get a chance to with us at week four, please do so now! Here it is:


meat eaters’ crash course week 4
summer 2008

Bible Study Methods: Continuation

1. What is the best time of day for you to study your Bible?

2. In the upcoming two months, what do you plan to read and study in the Bible?

3. What are the barriers to carrying out regular Bible study?

4. How can you overcome those barriers, with God’s help?

5. To whom can you be accountable to for your Bible study plan?

6. When will you tell that person that you want to be accountable to him or her?

The Capobiancos' House

Here is the location of the Capobiancos' house, where we will meet August 23 for worship, prayer, dinner, fun, and planning:

View Larger Map

What Went on at our Fourth Meeting (for those of you who weren't there)

meat eaters’ crash course
summer 2008

Week IV: Summary

We started our evening with a game – a trust fall, in which everyone lined up in two rows, facing each other with their arms extended. I, Andrew, was the first to fall. I stood up on the back of a sturdy armchair (don’t try this at home) and, holding my arms tightly at my sides, fell backwards, without supporting myself (and most importantly, without bending) onto the platform of the Meat Eaters’ arms. I survived to write this summary of Meat Eaters’ Crash Course, Week Four, for those of you were not there to catch me.

After the trust fall’s commotion, we broke into two groups to share with one another. We each talked about the applications we had come up with from our study of Ephesians 6:10-20, selecting two specific ones that we felt that God wanted us to put into practice (the others were sort of ‘samples’). As an example, here are the two I committed to put into effect. First, I will keep the list of prayer requests that were shared at our church meeting on Sunday – I will keep this list with my contact lenses, so that each night as I take my contacts out, I will be reminded to pray for each person who shared, as I am commanded to in Ephesians 6:18 (make supplication for all the saints). My second application was that I should make a list of promises that I can cling to and put my faith in (Ephesians 6:15) as a shield for each way in which I am routinely tempted. As each person shared, we prayed for them, that God would bless and be honoured in their endeavour to put these applications into practice.

When both groups had finished sharing, we briefly reviewed the three steps of Bible study, by way of a simple quiz – Christiaan made a number of statements. We had to decide whether those were statements of observation, interpretation, or application. For each question someone got right, they earned another point for their starting score in a game we played before and after, called ‘silent football’. Everyone did very well!

Here began the last segment of ‘teaching’ time. Following is about what I said.

It’s pretty clear that you have observation, interpretation and application down. That’s awesome! These are among the most important and valuable skills you will ever learn. You have learned how to feed your souls – what were some of the verses that we looked at four weeks ago when we started? Psalm 1 – it says, ‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, or sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. ¶ He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.’ Psalm 19: ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.’ Psalm 119: ‘How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.’ And II Timothy 3:16-17, ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.’

These are just a few! We’ve only scratched the surface of passages on the blessing that comes from studying God’s Word. Now we must continue in it. James makes it clear that it’s no good if we stop here, if we leave serious Bible study behind as something from summer 2008. He says ‘the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres’ – the NIV says ‘and continues to do this’ – ‘will be blessed in his doing.’ We can not stop! Jesus says to his disciples in John 15, ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.’ We are commanded to abide – not to come every once in a while to get a refresher or something – we must stay with Jesus like we stay with our own family. How? He says, ‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you’. It’s by his Word! It’s by this study of the Bible! We’ve learned how to do it – now we must continue, abide, persevere! And the end is God’s glory when we bear much fruit and so prove to be Jesus’ disciples. What’s better than that? What else is our goal as Christians? Nothing!

Independent planning for future Bible study
So, that said, we shouldn’t just agree to keep doing Bible study – it’s just like the applications we talked about last week – we must be specific or it won’t happen. So I have some worksheets for you to take and fill out for yourselves. I’d like for you to make specific plans for where you’re going to ‘feed’ next in the Word. Just take about five minutes or so and give this some good thought.

Future of Meat Eaters’ Fellowship
All right, let’s come on back in. This, as you must realise, is the last week of Meat Eaters’ Crash Course. But I for one don’t want to disperse as Meat Eaters for a while yet! I think the most exciting part for me of this whole crash course was you guys, seeing how God brought together so many awesome people! I’m really thankful for that and I don’t take it for granted. I’d like to see a Meat Eaters’ Fellowship continue for a while. So the Capobianco family has offered very kindly to host an afternoon and evening of worship, prayer, fun, and dinner for us on Saturday, August 23 and we’ll also talk then about where we should go from here – what we should do together, when would be a good night to meet during the school year, and so on. I will post directions to the Capobianco’s house on the blog.

Closing Remarks
As we wrap up the last week of the Bible study crash course, I’ve asked Mr Zulker and Christiaan to pray for the group, for our continuation in study, and for where we should go from here as Meat Eaters. And that concludes the evening! Thank you parents so much for all the driving you’ve done to bring us together, thanks Jarrod for letting us use the Judson House, and thanks to my Dad and Jon Hinkson for teaching me and Christiaan pretty much all that we’ve taught here!
Dessert in the kitchen!

And there we ended. In the next post, I will give you the handouts from week four, including the one for planning future personal Bible study. Over and out!

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Pizza

Hey Meat Eaters,

Apparently the pizza was a Good Thing last week. So why not do it again?

Whoever wants to can join us at the Judson House at 6:00 -- an hour before the meeting begins -- and we're going to feast on some of the best pizza in the state. Check out Pizza Pie-er's website and menu. Also, please let us know via email ( if you're planning on coming. We want to make sure we get enough pizza for everyone. Just to clarify: we will meet at the Judson House (168 Lloyd Avenue, Providence) and stay there for pizza -- no travel involved.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

week 2 handout

meat eaters’ crash course week 2

Bible Study Methods: Interpretation (the basics)
1. Pray. You really need the Holy Spirit to help you observe and interpret, but especially for interpretation because…
2. There Is Only One Correct Interpretation of any given passage! Though there is an infinite number of observations and an infinite number of applications you can get from a passage, and no single ‘right’ answer for observation, there is a single – only one – right answer to the question, ‘What did the original author (Paul in our case) mean by this?’ It would drive me crazy if someone told me that I meant something else by what I said than I actually did. We have to be strict with ourselves to get the right answer – and with God’s help (step number 1) we can (usually) get it.
3. The best interpretation of a passage is in context. You can look at it in historical-slash-geographical context (for example, in our case, ‘Where was Ephesus? What was life like there, and what hardships did the Christians there have to deal with?’ – stuff like that). You can also look at it in literary context – examining it in light of the words and paragraphs around and related to it. For example, we could ask of Ephesians 6:10, ‘What does the word ‘strong’ mean here – do we interpret this as “be buff in the Lord”, “be architecturally sound in the Lord”, or “be powerful in the Lord”, or something else?’
4. Get Help. We pray first for God’s help (step 1). He can use other people and resources to guide us: ask your parents, your pastor, a trusted mentor, a sound book to ‘check your work’, to take another person’s look at your interpretation. Proverbs 19:20 says, ‘Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.’ There are many tools available for us to use. You can look at how a passage is translated in multiple versions of the Bible (see You can use word study tools, such as Vine’s Expository Dictionary and a concordance. Another excellent way to learn more about the literary context of your passage is cross-referencing: many Bibles give you other verses that are related to the verse you’re looking at, in the margin or at the bottom of the page. Looking up those other verses can help you understand the one you’re trying to interpret. Other good ‘advisors’ are commentaries; notes from study Bibles included. Two thoughts on commentaries: don’t go to them first; try to do the work on your own before you refer to someone else’s work. Second, a warning about internet commentaries: don’t use or trust them unless you know for sure that the author is trustworthy. Anybody can post their ideas on the internet, but not many people can get a good commentary published.
5. Paraphrase. This is kind of the goal of interpretation – to be able to say what the author means in your own words. For example: once I’ve studied the command, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, and found out that the word ‘neighbour’ means anyone near you, and the word for love (agape) is defined in I Corinthians 13, I can now paraphrase it (having interpreted it) and say, ‘How much do you show love to yourself? That’s how much you should treat everyone around you – with that same love.’ By paraphrasing it, I had to get a firm grasp on what Jesus meant when he said it – I had to interpret it.

For Next Week:
Your homework for this week is to figure out what Paul means when he says ‘so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.’ What exactly does ‘the day of evil’ mean? Work your way through the following steps.
1. Pray. Ask God to help you understand this verse.

2. Does your Bible or any other Bible around your house have cross-references for Ephesians 6:13? If so, write the references down here:

3. What are the possible meanings for the word ‘day’ in the Greek? See Greek Dictionary handout, number 2250 (hemera). Then read the entry from Vine’s Expository Dictionary about what ‘day’ means.

4. Find other versions around your house and see how they translate ‘day of evil’.

5. On your third homework handout (it’s a concordance), find how many times Paul uses ‘evil’ in Ephesians, read those, and write down in this space what you observe.

6. If you have a study Bible at home, see if it includes any footnotes on this verse. Write those here.

7. Look up Galatians 1:4, Jeremiah 17:17-18, Obadiah 13, Daniel 12:1, I Corinthians 2:6. How do those passages help you understand ‘the evil day’?

8. Finally, read both handouts from two different commentaries on verse 13.

9. Having done all of the above, put into your own words what you think Ephesians 6:13 is saying. If you want to, list out your reasons for why you’ve interpreted it this way. (We’ll talk about those next week together.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pizza Pie-er at the Judson House

Hey Meat Eaters,

Whoever wants to can join us at the Judson House at 6:00 -- an hour before the meeting begins -- and we're going to feast on some of the best pizza in the state. Check out Pizza Pie-er's website and menu. Also, please let us know via email ( if you're planning on coming. We want to make sure we get enough pizza for everyone. Just to clarify: we will meet at the Judson House (168 Lloyd Avenue, Providence) and stay there for pizza -- no travel involved.

last week's handout

Just in case you didn't get one or misplaced the one you had, here is a copy of the handout from last week:

meat eaters’ crash course week 1

Bible Study Methods: Observation
The first step in inductive Bible study is observation. In this step, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What do I see?” To answer the question, you must force yourself to move beyond physical sight. You need to move to the level of being aware, of perceiving, of being completely saturated with the details of the passage. In a sense, you have to ask many smaller questions in order to answer the bigger one, “What do I see?” So here are some questions to help prime the observation pump.

Who is writing or speaking?
To whom is he writing or speaking?
What is their relationship?
Where is the action or writing taking place?
When is it taking place?
What do the words he chose to use mean?
Are there parallels? Comparisons? Contrasts? Repetitions?
Are there words that signify cause and effect, sequence, purpose,
What are the verb tenses used – past, present, future,
Is there a chronological order?
What about negatives, positives, prohibitions, commands,

For week 2:
Make as many observations as you can – 100 minimum – on Ephesians 6:10-20, using the helps above to get you started. We’ll talk about those together at our next meeting, and also move on to interpreting the passage to get really what the author’s point is.

Friday, July 11, 2008

the adventures of sherlock holmes, the great observer

'One night -- it was on the twentieth of March, 1888 -- I was returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to civil practice), when my way led me through Baker Street. As I passed the well-remembered door, which must always be associated in my mind with wooing, and with the dark incidents of the Study in Scarlet, I was seized with a keen desire to seek Holmes again, and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers. His rooms were brilliantly lit, and, even as I looked up, I saw his tall, spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette against the blind. He was pacing across the room swiftly, eagerly, with his head sunk upon his chest and his hands clasped behind him. To me, who knew his every mood and habit, his attitude and manner tole their own story. He was at work again. He had risen out of his drug-created dreams and was hot upon the scent of some new problem. I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber which had formerly been in part my own.

His manner was not effusive. It seldom was; but he was glad, I think, to see me. With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, he waved me to an armchair, threw across his case of cigars, and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner. Then he stood before the fire and looked me over in his singular introspective fashion.

"Wedlock suits you," he remarked. "I think, Watson, that you have put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you."

"Seven!" I answered.

"Indeed, I should have thought a little more. Just a trifle more, I fancy, Watson. And in practice again, I observe. You did not tell me that you intended to go into harness."

"Then, how do you know?"

"I see it, I deduce it. How do I know that you have been getting yourself very wet lately, and that you have a most clumsy and careless servant girl?"

"My dear Holmes," said I, "this is too much. You would certainly have been burned, had you live a few centuries ago. It is true that I had a country walk on Thursday and came home in a dreadful mess, but as I have changed my clothes I can't imagine how you deduce it. As to Mary Jane, she is incorrigible, and my wife has given her notice; but there, again, I fail to see how you work it out."

He chuckled to himself and rubbed his long, nervous hands together.

"It is simplicity itself," said he; "my eyes tell mt that on the inside of your left shoe, just above where the firelight strikes it, the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. Obviously they have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped round the edges of the sold in order to remove crusted mud from it. Hence, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather, and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey. As to your practice, if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform, with a black mark of nitrate of silver on his right forefinger, and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope, I might be dull, indeed, if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession."

I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction. "When I hear you give your reasons," I remarked, "the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours."

"Quite so," he answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwing himself down into an armchair. "You see, but you do not observe." '

-- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia

Friday, June 20, 2008

meat eaters' crash course!

Hey everyone,

Our four-week meat eaters' crash course is going to be great. We're going to learn so much about how to study God's Word to us.

It's a skill that will change our lives if we practice it -- God guarantees us in II Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." That's powerful. We want to be that -- we want to be equipped for every good work. Feeding on the Bible is the way there.

We'll meet for the first time on 8 July, at the Judson House in Providence (see map below). The Bible study starts at 7:00 pm, but whoever wants to can join us at Spike's Junkyard Dogs (the world's best hot dogs -- and it's not really a dump, they just mean that they have dozens of toppings for the hot dogs) -- at 6:00. More to come on dinner later.

At our meeting, we'll begin with more in-depth reasons why Bible study is so valuable, and we'll also start doing it ourselves. The passage we'll unpack is Ephesians 6:10-20. Our method for studying the Word is to observe (what do I see?), to interpret (what does it mean?) and to apply (what should I do about it?). We'll start with observation on 8 July.

View Larger Map

Saturday, June 14, 2008

spike's at six

Before our first meeting on July 8, we'll be chillin' at Spike's Junkyard Dogs (allegedly the World's Best Hot Dogs), 6:00 pm EST. Here's Spike's menu.

Spike's is on lively Thayer Street, where parking is rare. So we'll meet at the Judson House and from there walk to dinner.

You can find directions to the Judson House in the last post.