You may have noticed that I’ve been on a blog post frenzy, lately. It’s been so cathartic for me to have this time. We’ve been in a very rare (and woefully short) season when I am home and have time on my hands to write. I am between study seasons with my small groups, and we’re headed into the holiday season, so there just aren’t the usual number of demands on my day. I had a draft folder full of outlined projects I wanted to complete for this blog or get kick-started, and I knew I only had until Thanksgiving to get them rolling.
Hence…the fevered pace of pushing out new postings. I have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom. I hope you were happy to see them.
I thought it might be nice to give you one more list of goodies before diving into the chaos of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The following is a list of special media–some audio and some video–that changed me in some way (for the better). Each of these was utterly mind-blowing for me at the time I first heard or watched it. I am sharing them with you in the hopes that one of these talented men of God might move you as they have moved me. Enjoy.
Have a wonderful, bountiful, and blessed Thanksgiving. I’ll meet you here again soon.
Secret Church – by David Platt, offered through his Radical Ministry
David Platt is a Baptist pastor. He was (or is?) in some sort of leadership position with the SBC, and he has written several books and bible studies.
I was introduced to Platt’s name when my brother gave me one of his books. This was many years ago, now, and it sat on my shelf, unread for a very long time. I wasn’t a believer when my brother gave me the book, and I really only took it to be polite at the time. I never got rid of it, though, because for some strange reason, I am never able to give up anything my brother gives me. I mean, he gave me a packet of tissue one time, and when I got home from that visit, I put the packet in a basket under my sink. That was like 10 years ago. I still have it. We’ve moved 4 times (like…to different countries, y’all), and I always keep that packet of tissue. It’s really weird.
Anyway…back to David Platt. The book was Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. I read it shortly after I met Jesus, and it was a really good book. It focuses on foreign mission work and the house churches Platt and his wife worked with in China.
After returning to the United States and becoming a teaching pastor at a megachurch somewhere in the Bible Belt, Platt started a teaching ministry based on the format he’d learned to use with Chinese Christians in hiding. He called it Secret Church, and it is utterly amazing. Each Secret Church event lasts for 8 hours. They do it in one sitting, from morning to evening, just like the house churches of China do. And it works. It is a wonderful way to get “seminar”-level depth on any given issue.
The link above will take you to the Secret Church resource page. I recommend starting with Secret Church 1, 2, and 3. I went through each of them, for free, at home in my office–right here at this desk, actually. They changed the way I approached bible study forever, and I will have to thank David Platt when we get to eternity together. The format did tremendous things for me, and my approach to God’s Word was fundamentally shaped by what I learned in Secret Church.
Study guides and full transcripts are available as free downloads for each Secret Church.
The Amazing Jonah – by Tim Mackie from Exploring My Strange Bible Podcast
I’ve mentioned Pastor Tim Mackie on this blog before. I enjoy his teaching style, and I find his voice incredibly soothing if I’m having a rough day. I discovered Mackie’s work through The Bible Project videos on YouTube. They have made one for every single book of the Bible, and they went on after that to make even more videos for themes, word studies, biblical genres, and I know not what else. And…they give it all away for free.
Mackie is based out of Portland, Oregon, and he is a seminary professor of the Hebrew Bible as well as a co-founder and director of the The Bible Project. His approach to teaching the Bible is just uniquely clear and brief and refreshing. He has an amazing capacity for summing up entire books of scripture in a 5-minute video. Well, he does more than videos. During his decade as a teaching pastor at his local church, he recorded many, many teaching series. He has made them all available in the Exploring My Strange Bible podcast, and that’s where I discovered Mackie’s series called, “The Amazing Jonah.”
I devoured all five episodes in two days. I could not stop listening. I was absolutely spellbound by it, and it lit a fire in me for bible study that has just kept getting brighter and hotter ever since.
Mackie goes through the entire book of Jonah. He gives an incredibly thorough and scholarly examination of Jonah, but the entire time, you feel like you’re listening to one of the most entertaining stories you ever heard. I have never heard anyone–before or since–pull so much depth from Jonah. You really shouldn’t miss it. It gave me a really full and confident understanding of that book in our Bible, but it also changed how I thought of bible study in general. Bible study became a delightful adventure after I heard this teaching series. Like Platt (above), I hope to hug Tim Mackie in eternity and thank him for all he has done.
Please check it out. You won’t regret it. It is utterly amazeballs.
A Beautiful Design – a sermon series from the Village Church in Flower Mound, TX
I hadn’t been a Christian for very long before it was brought to my attention that there is a lot of ugly and hurtful “stuff” in various parts of the Bible and the church about women. Women can have difficulty feeling wanted in the Body of Christ if they don’t end up in a loving and solidly biblical local church. I am so incredibly fortunate (or providentially blessed) in my own home church. I’ve never had any reason to doubt that I was welcomed, wanted, loved, and valued in my church family. I’ve never had any reason to doubt my pastors or their theology. It’s a good home. Mr. Nix and I both thank God for our local body. They are…wonderful brothers and sisters to have.
Still, I was brand new, and I was tackling the Old Testament for the first time in 2017. It was really rough going, and I needed good teaching to get through it. It’s painful and frightening to be a woman reading the first five books of our Bible. No, it is. If you were raised with it, then maybe you never had to face it down, but those of us who really had no idea what was in there? It’s a punch in the gut, and it can make a fresh believer fear that she has made a terrible mistake. Genesis, Numbers, and Deuteronomy really made me ask some difficult questions that took a long time to fully sort out. I had a lot of guidance from my pastors and from the mature believers in my bible study group. I also found a few things outside of my local church that helped.
This sermon series was one of them. It’s a thorough coverage of the biblical identities unique to men and women. It gave me tremendous peace and resolution on several of the bigger questions I had about God and how he feels about my female-ness. I can’t recommend this series enough. Even if you disagree on a distinctive here and there (they are a complementarian church, and I haven’t decided what I believe about that, yet), it is uplifting and encouraging…and sound. It helped me trust that God is good.
Have a listen.
Pro tip: With any sermon series on the Village Church website, you’ll need to scroll all the way down for the first episode. The one on the top is not the first sermon. It’s the last one.
“God is for God,” a sermon from Matt Chandler, 2012.
I was on a road trip with my husband when we watched this together on YouTube. We were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in Los Angeles during the holiday season of 2017, and for whatever reason, we landed on a 5 year-old sermon from a guy we’d never heard of.
This sermon lit up both of us at a time when we were both new believers with very little theology to stand on. We knew we loved Jesus, but we needed a foundation of knowledge and understanding. This message spoke to both of us, and it gave us a little direction about how to proceed and what to pursue. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime sermons that just–my friend, it has a word for us! Just listen. Just…listen to it. Next time you’ve got an hour with nothing to do, watch this video.
Supernatural Seminar, a lecture series from Dr. Michael S. Heiser
at Celebration Church, 2019.
This video is part 1 of a 4-part series. Yep. It’s four solid hours of lecture, but it’s worth it. Michael Heiser’s book and podcast have played a massive role in shaping my understanding of the biblical authors’ worldview and the supernatural realities described in the Bible. He has been absolutely formative for me in biblical theology. This series is recent and comprehensive. When I was learning all of this stuff, I had to read it in a book and then put the rest together in bits and pieces. This…this lecture series encapsulates it all. In one place.
I know it’s a lot. But watch it anyway. Treat it like a new Netflix series and just watch it.
The link I’ve embedded here should be a playlist that automatically loads the next video in the series when you finish the first one, but if it doesn’t…just go to YouTube and search for the title and the session you want.