Posts tagged Emmaus Ministries
Biblical Narrative Series: Journey Through the Old Testament

Do you have questions about the Old Testament? Have you made the resolution to read through the Bible in one year only to stop in the middle of Leviticus? Who is Nahum? What’s a Psalm?  On September 23rd, Emmaus Ministries will be launching our Biblical Narrative Series and it’s all about the Old Testament! 

On Monday nights, for 7 weeks, from 6:30 to 8:30, we will be covering the entire Old Testament, book by book. Attendees will receive their own workbook that includes structural outlines of each book, full color maps and timelines. The sessions will be a lecture style format in which instructors will give the historical background and context that will help Bible readers feel equipped to more effectively engage in reading and studying the Bible. 

This is a completely new format for our Narrative Series and we are excited to share what we believe is the “new and improved” program. In the past, the Narrative Series has met once a month for during the course of a typical “school year” (from August to May) in an individual seminar style format, covering the entire Bible in thematic sections. This year, we are starting a more course style format, meeting during consecutive weeks with a series on the Old Testament in the fall and the New Testament in the spring. We hope that this format maintains momentum and makes the Biblical Narrative Series accessible for small groups, church groups, ministry staff and friends to do together. 

The heart of the Biblical Narrative Series is that attendees leave better equipped to engage their Bibles. It is our hope to take these unfamiliar books that were written in a different time to a culture that is completely foreign to our current day and make them come alive. It is difficult to feel like Obadiah is relevant to our lives today when you don’t know why it was written in the first place, or to whom it was originally written at all! However, with historical context and good application of the mindset of the original readers, these books become the living and active words of God. 

If you’re interested in signing up for the Biblical Narrative Series, here’s what you need to know:

When: Monday Nights September 23rd through November 4th from 6:30-8:30

Where: Canterbury Conference and Retreat Center 

1601 Alafaya Trail Oviedo, Florida

How: To pre register visit:

Cost: $50 to pre register or $75 at the door on September 23rd 

Back to School: A New Year

School is in session! Last week we kicked off the 2019-2020 year with our new School of Biblical Studies students! Over the next 10 months, we will journey with this class as they study every book of the Bible. 

Emmaus Ministries derives its name from the story of the disciples who met Jesus on the road to the city of Emmaus: Luke 24:31-32: And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”  It’s an absolute joy to walk with this group of people as they set out on their own Emmaus Road Journey. We know that as the year goes on, we will witness their hearts begin to burn through the study of the Bible. 

The first two weeks of class are seminar style, during which the students learn the method we use to study the Bible here at Emmaus. Our school teaches a variation of the Inductive Method, a way in which to study the scripture that seeks to draw conclusions only from the text. This approach sets aside any preconceived notions that a modern reader may have and focuses on the text in its original context. This is the lens through which our students view scripture and then move it into practical application to their lives today. Inductive Bible study has three steps: observation, interpretation and application. 

We use the Book of Jonah to teach the Inductive Method. This book of the Bible usually comes loaded with preconceived ideas, mental images, even songs and stories from childhood! Students are usually familiar with certain aspects of the story, they may relate it to God speaking to Jonah, or Jonah running away and getting swallowed by a “big fish.” Students often find that they have to let go of what they think they know about the story in order to inductively study the book. 

As the week progresses, The Book of Jonah begins to transform from the “familiar children's story” to a convicting, relevant, and timeless lesson about how God loves his enemies. It becomes a case study of what it looks like to truly repent and follow the Lord. For our students, Jonah is no longer just a story on a page, but a story that reveals truths about God's character in such a way that imprints something on their hearts. 

We are so excited to begin another year of studying the whole Bible and to watch as the students encounter Jesus throughout the whole of scripture. Our hope is that you’ll join us in this year while this class journeys through the bible. Please pray that our students meet Jesus with fresh eyes on open hearts. Our goal is that this would be not just scholarly school, but one of disciples that are growing, maturing and learning what it looks like to follow after Jesus.

Meet the Staff: Caleb Ives
Caleb and his wife Latoya.

Caleb and his wife Latoya.

This week we have the privilege of sitting down with Caleb Ives, the executive director of Emmaus Ministries. Caleb came on staff in 2012 when Emmaus Ministries was a bible school in the mountains of North Carolina. Caleb and his wife Latoya moved to Florida with their 4 daughters during Emmaus’ relocation and relaunch in 2015. Caleb is known for teaching the word of God with life and being a friend to all that he meets.

Caleb, lets just jump right in, what do you do around here?

I guess I do “director” things!  I teach in our different programs, shepherd the staff team, lead board meetings, and think a lot about vision for the future. But honestly, I feel like I spend most of my time in conversations. Whether with staff developing teachings and designing ministry programs, with students wrestling through difficult Bible passages and life challenges, or with pastors & leaders exploring ways to equip their Church to follow Jesus and engage their Bible. I end up spending a lot of my time in conversations.

What is your favorite part of your Job?

I love pretty much everything about my job, but my favorite part is seeing people discover new things in the Bible. It’s exciting to see individuals and churches feel equipped and gain renewed excitement to engage the Bible. And it’s incredible to get to play a part in them becoming captivated by the beauty of the Gospel and the character of God as He is revealed in the Scriptures.  Basically, I love having a front row seat to see the gracious work of Jesus transforming lives and communities! Dang...I love my job!

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

Well, this really is a three part answer. PART 1: In 2011, I was Pastoring in Michigan and felt a tangible sense of lack when it came to my knowledge of the Bible. Along with this I was struggling with anxiety and a lot of shame. At a retreat in Florida, a mentor told us about the School of Biblical Studies and my wife and I knew this was what God had for us. That retreat center in Florida “happened” to be Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo, FL. Four months later we were living in the mountains of North Carolina, and I was studying the BIble all day, every day in the School. Over the next year, I became a new person as the Gospel saturated my heart and the Spirit reshaped my life. PART 2: I came to the School planning to leave afterwards, go work at a church while finishing seminary, then go plant the church I’d always dreamed of planting. But, during my student year, my wife and I began to feel a desire to serve this ministry that God had used to impact our family so much.  After graduation we interviewed with a couple of awesome churches and tried to find something we could do OTHER than join the missions staff. Ultimately, God continued to pull us back to Emmaus. So, we committed to joining staff for two years, (while I finished Seminary) then we were going to go plant a church. PART 3: After those two years, I was a part of the staff team who discovered God was directing Emmaus to relocate to Central a retreat the name of Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo, FL (see Part 1). It was a crazy collision of our original call for me to be a student and the deepening call for this to be the ministry we give our lives to. It was through this process of discernment that our family really felt God running deep roots of this Emmaus calling in our hearts. In 2015 we moved with a few other staff to Central Florida to relocate Emmaus. Then in 2018 I accepted the commission as the new Executive Director of the ministry. It’s been quite a journey!

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

Am I not allowed to say Jesus? The right answer is pretty much always Jesus. If not Jesus, I think I’d like to grab a coffee with the exilic prophets. I have really been inspired by the faithfulness of the ministries of Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel. They are rejected, persecuted, mocked and ignored. Jeremiah is told from the start of his ministry that no one will listen to him, but he remains faithful and is willing to do absolutely insane things in obedience to God and in service to the people. Daniel manages to be both incredibly humble and unbreakably strong as an exile in Babylon, his courageous trust in God has always challenged me. Ezekiel essentially has to redefine everything he thought he would be doing as a priest in Jerusalem, instead being called to be a prophet to the Exiles in Babylon. Another reason I’d want to have coffee with those guys, their stories would be epic: Jeremiah took a three month walk to bury his underwear as a prophetic sign; Daniel spent a night with lions; Ezekiel cooked food over cow poop and saw some super trippy visions. That would be an entertaining conversation for sure!

What was your favorite Christian Song to jam out to growing up?

Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith were definitely a background soundtrack for my childhood, but I’d say Carman was my jam as a kid. He had these ridiculous music videos and I thought they were amazing! I was also 110% “Down with the DC Talk” in my early adolescence. I can pretty much rap “I Don’t Want It” word for word to this day. It was the only Christian song I knew that used the word “sex” so, it had my attention as a middle schooler. In high school I discovered the Christian rap legend that is Antonious (sarcasm), but those bass lines rattled the windows of my 1988 Ford Taurus for a few years. You can probably tell that I was super cool.

Why Emmaus?

First of all, because Emmaus is committed to addressing perhaps the largest problem of the Church in America today: Biblical Illiteracy. Studies show that engaging the BIble is the number one discipline that produces life-long spiritual growth. Also, the Emmaus Road of Luke 24 is an experience that continues to repeat itself. As people journey together with the Jesus who opens the Scriptures, it continues to produce burning hearts with renewed passion for Jesus & His mission. It settles the anxious heart with the hope that is in Jesus. I’m so glad God has called our family to be a part of this ministry!

 If you would like to partner financially with the Ives family you can follow the link below or if you would like to read Caleb’s updates you can follow that link below.

Meet the Staff: Stephen Ray

This week we want to introduce you to Stephen Ray. After Graduating college at Oakland University, Stephen moved from Michigan to be a student at Emmaus. After his student year, Stephen joined the staff. He’s now been a part of the teaching team at Emmaus for 2 years.

All right Stephen, what do you do around here?

I have my dream job here at Emmaus, I am a part of the teaching staff. This means I get to teach entire books of the bible for our school, Biblical Literacy Seminars and even our Biblical Narrative Series. I'm also in charge of the weekly devotions that we do with as a community, grading homework and meeting for one on ones with our students.

What is your favorite part of your Job?

My favorite part of my job is seeing the moment of discovery in the students. Whether it be our part time School of Biblical Studies students or people attending one of our seminars, I love seeing people “Get it!” It could be a specific book of the bible is coming alive or the gospel is getting deeper and deeper into their hearts as they dig into the text.  

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

When I was a student I remember working on my homework for 2nd Corinthians. I was getting so excited about these New Testament books coming alive to me for what felt like the first time. As I was studying, I thought, “Man i wish i could keep going deeper.” At that moment, I felt like God said to me “You can if you stay”. Not to long after that Tom Phillips (the former director) invited me to be on staff.

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

I would love to have coffee with Paul. His letters are so theologically dense, and people still debate constantly on what he is trying to say. I would love to have a full, in depth conversation with him to talk through some of his more confusing passages and see what he was trying to say. I would also love to have coffee with the Apostle Peter. In many ways, Peter reminds me of myself and i would love to talk with him over our similarities.

What was your favorite Christian Song to Jam out to growing up?

When i was a kid Switchfoot was just getting big. So I would rock out to “Meant to Live” and “Beautiful Let Down.”

Why Emmaus?

One thing about this ministry that has continually drawn me in is the community. We aren’t just a bunch of intellectuals debating theology, seeking deeper knowledge of scripture. We are community of believers committed to walking with each other through life. It was pretty easy to say yes to Jesus and come on staff because I have always felt such a strong presence of “Home.” I’m genuinely friends with every single person that is on staff. That’s a great gift to have.  

If you would like to partner with Stephen financially or read his blog follow the links below.

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Meet the Staff: Sarah

Sarah Wise has been on staff with Emmaus for the past 3 years. After Graduating from Asbury Seminary Sarah (along with her husband, Kris) was ready to go anywhere in the world to serve Jesus. Imagine their surprise when they felt the call to stay home and serve King Jesus right here in Oviedo! Today we sit down with Sarah to learn more about her!

So Sarah tell me, what do you do around here?

Boring things I oddly find exciting like quickbooks, financial reports and board meetings. And exciting things I find life giving like teaching in the classroom, giving seminars, meeting one-on-one with students and hosting a discussion group called "Tea & Topics."

What is your favorite part of your Job?

Teaching hands down is my favorite part of the job. Being a life-long learner, it helps to have times when I get to intentionally and indepthly study books of the bible for the sake of teaching. The best way to learn a book is to teach it. The neat part also is to reteach books of the bible. You get to see scripture in a new way each time you teach it. It is one thing to say that scripture is living, and another to experience the reality of that statement when you see it apply in new ways each year.

When did you know God was calling you to be a part of Emmaus?

I knew that I wanted to be on staff when I went to a community dinner at Tom Phillip's (prior to joining staff officially) and felt like I was home. It was over dinner and prayer that night, where I recognized the group of people surrounding me were connected with a shared mission that brought us together as a team of families, not just individuals. It felt like a breath of fresh air to gather with Christians who cared passionately about living authentic, Christ-following, and self-sacrificing lives. I was always interested in the mission of Emmaus, but what compelled me to join was the community I experienced there.

Which Bible Character would you want to get coffee with?

I'm torn. I wanted to say John the Baptist at first. The one who said "I must become less, so that he can become more." Those are powerful words that humbly accepted Jesus ministry as greater than his own, and yet still struggled with that identity. I get that kind of experience. My second thought was Mary, sister of Martha. The one who stayed at Jesus' feet to listen to the teaching. The one who, with tears in her eyes, desperately sought God to ask "Where is my Lord." Genesis (and really lots of the Old Testament) is full of God asking humans "where" are you, but here, the woman who's life had been so radically altered, asks it of God. Her story also resonates with me. That she got to be the first witness to the resurrection is just icing on the cake. So lets say that my final answer is Mary, sister of Martha.

What was your favorite Christian Song to Jam out to growing up?

Funny enough, my first thought (likely because of its relevance) was the song that goes "The B.I.B.L.E. Yes that's the book for me. I stand alone on the word of God. The B.I.B.L.E!"

Why Emmaus?

Prior to joining the staff here at Emmaus, I worked as a teaching and research assistant at Asbury Theological Seminary. While I loved the academic environment there, I missed the one-on-one nature of discipleship which I grown to love during my time in college and para-church ministry. There is something transformative about the intersection between the head and heart. I love the nerdy academic side of diving into the world of the ancient near east and 1st century Judaism, but to learn and teach about it, without interacting with people wrestling with the significance the scripture in the here and now, doesn’t quite satisfy my teaching itch. My family likes to say that we are called to equip others, grow disciples and serve our community, and we know, without a doubt, that the best way we can do all three of those is here at Emmaus.

If you would like to financially team up with Sarah in her Mission here at Emmaus or read her family blog, click the buttons below!