Monthly Archives: October 2017

Notebook Review (1/2017 – 10/2017)

If you know me, you know full well my obsession with notetaking and compiling notebooks. I recently learned that Leonardo DiVinci was well-known for his voracious notetaking. I have experienced blessings from this form of note-taking in life and in my studies, especially since I have preserved my notebooks from 2005 forward.

 

In this blog, I just want to review and share some of the highlights in my notes from January 2017 to October 2017, as I just had to buy a new 5 subject notebook. Quite the variety of points here so prayerfully this all comes together well and is edifying to you. It’s been quite the year – blessed, challenging, and growth producing.

 

I began my year with the desire to grow in my knowledge of “Jewish things”, namely to develop more audience relevance and understanding to my reading of the Scriptures. I began well noting weekly parshat (torah readings) and haftorah (readings from the prophets). I must admit, my journey is this regard isn’t where I had planned, however as of Rosh Hoshana (last week of September 2017), I have begun reading weekly portions from a Jewish literacy book and taking notes, as well as have begun doing Chronicles of Josephus (a review of the man and his writings) on TFC Radio “On Demand”. You can listen at https://tfcradio.org/chronicles-of-josephus/

 

Consider what 4th century Church Father and writer Eusebius said about the words of Josephus, “If anyone compares the words of our Savior with the accounts of the historian Josephus concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Savior were truly Divine and marvelously strange”.

 
I began my year noting it would be challenging and busy, so reading through John Wesley biographies were a fitting read. I launched into various opportunities to work with the youth and began preparation for my Revelation Debate which I had in March 2017. I will share the link for that debate on YouTube below. However throughout this review, I will share some notes and resources for, during, and from that debate. Here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvRrX_IW0zs

 
As I look through some preparation notes I had made I was going to study out the millennium as revealed in the Book of Revelation, as well as dating issues and the purpose of the letter. My work continued with The Power of Preterism Network, because of course, I believe Preterism is bringing reform into the Body of Christ, and because within the “Preterist Movement” there is the need for clarity, healing, and strategy. Throughout the year, I produced quite a few videos on YouTube fostering this things in Preterism. You can watch the variety of those videos on my YouTube at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/user/TheEMFellowship

 
Speaking of debates, it was good to hear Travis Finley of Rethinking Revelation call Sam Frost out on his mistruths and futurist nonsense. You can read my review and find a link for the podcast at the following link, https://powerofpreterism.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/sam-stop-talking-a-review-of-the-smackdown-on-rr/

 
Besides all the studies, my notebook is full of details about all the privileged opportunities I have had throughout the year to engage the community. I was invited to participate in The Whole Child Conference which was replete with information from professionals such as doctors and the deputy police commissioner who spoke about issues with our youth and the need for fortified families. Our church, The Blue Point Bible Church, once again participated in a great multi-congregation effort called Hope Day in Brentwood, New York. I also graduated from a program called Parent Leadership Network developing a youth program called XD Youth. Much of my work with the youth, and engaging the heroin epidemic we experience on Long Island with a variety of community groups and individuals can be summed up with a quote I heard at a recent meeting, “I just want to help humans have a better time being humans”.

 
As I think that quote through I realize that pretty much sums up my goal in studying theology, dare I say the “knowledge of God” as well. Man’s innate wickedness and idolatry keeps Him from worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth, which ultimately leads to eternally fulfilling and satisfying life. 16th century reformer, John Calvin, say it best, “Man’s mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much so that if a man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own mind”.
That was my goal in publishing Wicked, which came out in July 2017. You can obtain a copy and engage the details of the book at the website below. Wicked Things Explained has become a source for a weekly Scripture exhortation from the brackets in the book, further helping the reading understand things such as the Kingdom of God, Satan, Angels, and Demons, and much more from a narrative Scriptural position.
In July I had the opportunity to have a public exchange with Mr. Ed Stevens of the International Preterist Association (www.preterist.org) at the Niagara Preterist Association. It’s not secret that Mr. Stevens and I disagree on the details of the doctrine, the resurrection of the dead. Videos and more from the conference will soon be made available and made public.

 
In the meantime, I have been responding to some local criticism of Full Preterism by doing videos on YouTube called “A Full Preterist Speaks Up & Speaks Out”. Also, at The Blue Point Bible Church we have begun a challenging series titled “#ThingsChristiansSay, which is engaging topics such as the Bible, Christian attitudes, relationships, societal roles, the end times, and other secret things of God made clear through Scripture. Listen to the podcasts on TFC Radio at 8am on Sunday mornings, or visit our podcast and choose the sermon you want to listen to (www.buzzsprout.com/11630)

 
I conclude these notes thanking God for Spirit that leads me to be diligent in these things. As well as the privilege to serve by way of sharing my studies and learned knowledge. I love what Tim Keller said, “Ministry is either going to make you a far better Christian or far worse a Christian than you would have been otherwise”.

 
To God be the Glory!
-Pastor Michael Miano

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Growing in Self-Control / Shared Wisdom from Walter Mischel

A couple of months ago I shared a study I had done on 2 Peter chapter 1 in regards to being effective and productive in the use of the knowledge of God (which in turn allows us to experience the blessings and fulfilled promises of God (otherwise categorized as “life to the full”, “abundant” and or eternal” life). Namely, the continual growth in 7 specific things. You can go through that study by visiting the following link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/2-peter-1-growth-chart/
In my personal life I have developed a sort of system of consistent growth (akin to the style of Benjamin Franklin). What I do is, every couple weeks I pick a new growth trait from 2 Peter chapter 1 and challenge myself in to grow in that area. Many times this results in gaining shared knowledge from a book or teaching and prayerfully adding some new principles to my life. Again, as the Scripture emphasizes, these things need to be “ yours and increasing”.

So for the past 8 weeks or so (August), I focused on “self-control”. This led me to reading a book by one who is said to be an expert on the topic, Walter Mischel. The book is titled the Marshmallow Test, which details a test that was done on children and then followed through their lives, and through studies of this test, produced facts about self-control.
“The ability to delay gratification and resist temptation has been a fundamental challenge since the dawn of civilization”. What we believe is that, “….the ability to delay immediate gratification for the sake of future consequences is an acquirable cognitive skill”. Therefore, it is not that surprising to find that in studying through the lives of these students, we can analyze “…how they did or did not manage to delay gratification, unexpectedly turned out to predict much about their future lives”. “The Marshmallow Test became a tool for studying how people go from a choice to delay gratification to actually managing to wait and resist the temptation”. Therefore, in studying this principle we realize, “If the conditions that facilitate self-control, and those that undermine it, could be identified, perhaps they could be harnessed to teach people who have trouble waiting to be better at it”.

What was revealed through the study were various techniques that worked for these students in displaying self-control. Mischel remarks that, “Successful delayers created all sorts of ways to distract themselves and to cool the conflict and stress they were experiencing”. This is all so important because ultimately, What we do, and how well we control our attention in the service of our goals, becomes a part of our environment that we help create and that in turn influences us”.

Mischel goes on to explain the “Executive Function”, which is the part of our brain that which drives self-control. He notes the importance of this function aiding us in developing and keeping in mind a chosen goal, continue with goal -oriented thoughts which is a temptation reducing technique (otherwise known as “psychological distancing”). Furthermore, we must inhibit impulsive responses by what are known as “If-Then” behavior signatures (something like, if I become distracted and desire to watch tv but know I don’t want to be dumbed down by it, I will then grab a book and read outside instead).

Something that was rather encouraging to the work I do with youth, and reminded me of many of the great people I know who work with youth, was how self-control helps in developing a positive and productive youth (otherwise known my me and my co-laborers – an “eXtrmely Different youth”). Mischel notes, “…how the ability to voluntarily exercise self-restraint in pursuit of a hot goal early in life provides children with a powerful advantage that can help them succeed and maximize their potential throughout their lives”. He also noted how important the provoking, developing, and encouraging an “I think I can” mindset in the youth truly is. He noted how by use self-control and rewards, “Students who had been induced into a happy mood formed much higher expectations for their future performance, re-called more of their successful experiences, and made more self-descriptions”. I know I am planning to read a book he recommends in this regard by Carol Dweek called “Mindset”.

In conclusion, I want to end on the rewards factor. Let’s face it, when we consider using self-control it really boils down to whether or not we believe the reward for whatever it is we are exercising self-control in opposition to are attainable, possible, and worth it. As Mischel noted,“…trust is a factor in the willingness to delay gratification”. Consider this, “The emotional brains predisposition over to overvalue immediate rewards and to greatly discount the value of delayed rewards points to what we need to do if we want to take control: we have to reverse the process by cooling the present and heating the future”.
Placing emphasis on “cooling the present and heating the future” should lead us to the challenge of our goals. “Self-control skills are essential for pursuing our goals successfully, but it is the goals themselves that give us direction and motivation”. What do you desire, and what must become of you to attain that desire, is the key. Developing that vision and manifesting that reality are interlocked (sorry to sound so cliché, ha ha). Mischel says it like this, “…if we feel greater continuity with who we will become, we might also be willing to sacrifice more of our own pleasant pleasures for the sake of that future self”.

Recently I was encouraged to create a vision board. This was and has been one of the most encouraging techniques I developed to have that “greater continuity with who” I will become as I grow in the grace and knowledge of God. Prayerfully, through this blog I have encouraged you to consider some of these things and implement some new growth strategies into your life and maybe some new books to read. 😊

To God be the glory!
– Pastor Michael Miano

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