Podcasts

Beatitudes: Developing Spiritual Character

The Beatitudes are a portion of the Sermon on the Mount. These are teachings of Jesus’, recorded in the gospels of Matthew (5:1-10) and Luke (6:20-23). They are an invitation to a way of living that brings true happiness and both inward and outward peace. The beatitudes call us to a radically new way of being when we center our lives on God, and we become transformed. The Beatitudes call us to true happiness and the deepest of joy as we find our true identity in our relationship with God and true peace both inwardly and outwardly.

Colossians: Confident Christianity

If someone were to ask you, how would you describe the Christian life? Are there specific characteristics that define being a Christian? Do you find yourself comforted by intellectual commitments, motivations, or behaviors? In his letter to the Colossian church Paul, the Apostle, did more than just address these questions. In fact, he set a foundation for understanding not just what it means to be a Christian, but what it means to live life in light of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. Studying the supremacy of Christ with our upcoming election will bring us a sense of stability and peace. This carefully composed letter centers on the theme of Christ's sovereignty over all rulers and powers in the universe. Our goal, as we journey through Colossians, will be: Knowing Christ as Lord of all!

Acts: Put Your Faith Where The Action Is

The book of Acts, according to intervarsity, should come with a warning label saying, "If you are open to hearing from God, this book will call you to new life." Acts is an exciting book. In essence, it is the story of transformed lives—and the difference these lives made in the world. Just before Acts begins, we find the disciples behind closed doors trembling in fear, self-doubt and personal shame. Apart from their master, they were a pathetic group of fishermen. And yet, by the second chapter of Acts, these same men who abandoned Jesus at Gethsemane have become unstoppable, preaching with utter conviction—and at great personal risk—about "the mighty acts of God." So, what changed them? And what impact did they make upon their generation and all subsequent ones? This is the story of Acts.

Ruth & Esther: Doing God's Will Whatever the Cost

Life hurts. There’s nothing very profound about that statement. Anyone can see the pain and suffering that surround us. A five-year-old dies from an unintentional gunshot wound, a mother develops cancer, a father of five loses his job, and the list goes on. The existence of evil and suffering in the world can keep us from trusting God. “Why would an all-powerful God allow so much pain?” we may ask. It is a fair question. Have you ever felt that God is against you because your world is crumbling around you? As we begin our study in Ruth, try to put yourself in Naomi’s place. The periods during which the events recorded in the book of Ruth took place (the times when the judges ruled) were among the worst in Israel’s history. The nation began to crumble from within. The book of Judges repeatedly states that during this time “everyone did as he saw fit.” As each family or group fought for its rights alone, the society became fractured. The book of Judges goes from bad to worse. The last five chapters contain some of the ugliest stories in the Bible: tales of homosexual assault, idolatry, civil war, robbery, rape, and murder. No enemy does all this; Israelites do it to each other. Clearly, the exalted nation of Israel, God's chosen people, has lost its sense of direction. The book of Ruth shines like a beautiful diamond against this bleak background and has much to teach us about hard times. Like Ruth, we may be just ordinary people, unable to see how the events of our lives will turn out. But by encountering the God who works through life's circumstances and by understanding His wonderful sovereign purposes in the story of Ruth, we too can trust Him . . . and our "poverty" will be turned to "plenty" as we discover the riches that are ours through Jesus Christ.

Luke: New Joy

Luke writes history like an artist. He employs prose and poetry, dialog and description. In his choices of events and people, he uses rhythm of emphasis, comparisons and contrasts. He uses this last teaching technique especially well with broad subjects—for example, Jesus’ compassion for outcasts, condemnation of the Pharisees, and teachings on the freedom of life with God and the cost of discipleship. This book overflows with worship, prayer and praise, hope and joy. It begins with Old Testament believers in the temple, worshiping in messianic hope. It ends with New Testament believers also in the temple, rejoicing in resurrection hope. In between, we see Jesus interacting personally with the widest range of human beings found in any book of the Bible (or any book in the world)—the old and the young, the very poor and the very rich, Jews and foreigners, national/international leaders and the rejects of society, the highly articulate and the non-articulate. Watch for bits of humor (for example, in Jesus’ parables and in the Zacchaeus story), the role of the Holy Spirit, medical terms, Jesus’ habits of prayer, and the "divine necessity" Jesus felt (2:49; 4:43; 13:16, 33; 17:25; 24:26). Luke’s portrait of Jesus is strong, warm, compassionate, and cosmopolitan—like the writer himself.

Luke: New Hope

Luke writes history like an artist. He employs prose and poetry, dialog and description. In his choices of events and people, he uses rhythm of emphasis, comparisons and contrasts. He uses this last teaching technique especially well with broad subjects—for example, Jesus’ compassion for outcasts, condemnation of the Pharisees, and teachings on the freedom of life with God and the cost of discipleship. This book overflows with worship, prayer and praise, hope and joy. It begins with Old Testament believers in the temple, worshiping in messianic hope. It ends with New Testament believers also in the temple, rejoicing in resurrection hope. In between, we see Jesus interacting personally with the widest range of human beings found in any book of the Bible (or any book in the world)—the old and the young, the very poor and the very rich, Jews and foreigners, national/international leaders and the rejects of society, the highly articulate and the non-articulate. Watch for bits of humor (for example, in Jesus’ parables and in the Zacchaeus story), the role of the Holy Spirit, medical terms, Jesus’ habits of prayer, and the "divine necessity" Jesus felt (2:49; 4:43; 13:16, 33; 17:25; 24:26). Luke’s portrait of Jesus is strong, warm, compassionate, and cosmopolitan—like the writer himself.

Abiding in Christ

A study of Jesus' farewell to his disciples in John 14-17 to help us discover what it means to abide in Christ during the time between His departure and His second coming.

James: Faith That Works

We all want faith that won’t let us down in times of trouble or loss, uncertainty or fear . . . a faith that can pull us through the worst and the best times in our lives. This is the kind of faith that James writes about. It is the kind of faith that we practice day by day. Studying James will help us grow a steadfast faith that can carry us through life.

Joseph: How God Builds Character

Joseph went through some hard times. He was sold into slavery, and eventually he was imprisoned for years because of a false accusation. Yet Joseph was able to live in forgiveness and hope, and God did great things each step of the way. As we read his story, we will find our own place in the journey to seeing God's dreams fulfilled in and through us.

Galatians: Experiencing the Grace of Christ

In Christ we have salvation as a gift of grace. But what is our responsibility? Maybe you're confused about the requirements that various Christians say accompany being a follower of Christ. Galatians raises questions of law: What rules should a Christian follow? Are we exempt through Christ? This study from Galatians helps us understand what God, not others, requires of His followers and how we can live out our faith in both obedience and freedom.

Paul: His Life and Teaching

Paul, who may have been familiar with the A.D. 51 Olympics, compared the Olympics to the Christian life. Life is a race, Christians are the athletes, and our destiny—heaven—is the finish line. Life isn’t about winning or getting ahead; the most important thing is to get past the struggles, and to have done your best. The crowns of wild olives and the Olympic medals represent the “unfading crown of glory” (I Peter 5:4) we will receive when we enter into the very presence of God in heaven, when He looks at us and says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” It will be a moment of glory and honor, just like the glory of the victor crossing the finish line . . .

Parables: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Jesus communicated deep spiritual truths through simple, vivid, and engaging stories. Woven from the stuff of everyday life, the parables of Jesus made the kingdom of God understandable and accessible to His listeners. In twelve engaging lectures and interactive small group sessions, you will gain new insights into Jesus' parables and their meanings that will help you to appreciate more fully their relevance for your own life.

The Radical Disciple

What is a life of radical discipleship? At root, it means we let Jesus set the agenda of our lives. We aren't selective. We don't pick and choose what is congenial and stay away from what is costly. No. He is Lord of all of life. In the last book by the leading evangelical churchman of the 20th century, John Stott opens up what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He explores eight aspects of Christian discipleship that are too often neglected and yet deserve to be taken seriously. Here, including the last public sermon he ever preached, Stott offers wisdom gained from a lifetime of consistent Christian commitment. In addition, he poignantly reflects on his last years of life and ministry. The message is simple, classic, and personal: Jesus is Lord. He calls. We follow.

Sermon on the Mount

What does it mean to “seek first the kingdom of God” in our relationships, values, ambitions, finances, and commitments? Jesus’ answer to this question amazed those who first heard the Sermon on the Mount. In this study guide, you’ll dig deep into His startling and challenging message–-the greatest sermon ever preached. This Life Guide Bible Study features questions for group discussion and for meeting God in personal reflection. Presented in a convenient workbook format and featuring the inductive Bible study approach, Life Guides are thoroughly field-tested prior to publication; they’re proven and popular guides for digging into Scripture on your own or with a small group.