Recommended Resources for our Next Series on the Old Testament

I revealed a few weeks ago that we are starting our next series at Revolution on April 23rd called The Story of God. It is a 5 month journey through the Old Testament. For many, the Old Testament is something they often avoid. It is seen as archaic, hard to understand, has names you can’t pronounce, God seems to be unjust, angry or tyrant, whereas Jesus seems more compassionate, gentler and gracious. So, Christians and pastors for that matter, stick to the New Testament. But, without the Old Testament the New Testament doesn’t make any sense.

I have been working on this series and the study guide for several months and I am seeing the Old Testament in a new light. I am seeing a God that pursues broken people, refuses to leave them when they sin over and over and ultimately, creates a way for him to have a relationship with us. The gospel and mission of God through the person and work of Jesus are woven through every page of the Old Testament. It is beautiful.

Because the Old Testament was written 2,000-3,500 years ago, it can be hard to understand. For this reason, we will be sharing more resources than we normally do in this series. Below are a few of the books that I’ve read over the last few months that have proven to be helpful in understanding the Old Testament, particularly its message and how to understand God through the lens of the Old Testament.

Links of the Week

  1. Never make fun of your spouse. My wife Katie has been doing a series of blog posts on our relationship rules and this one is broken by so many spouses. This one change would make a world of difference in your marriage.
  2. All you need to know about church planting in 3 minutes.
  3. Ron Edmondson on Addressing a porn generation.
  4. 4 lessons from Martin Luther on Marriage. This is a great article.
  5. Dave Bruskas on What I’ve learned from raising daughters. Dave is a pastor in New Mexico and has raised 4 daughters so I’d take that as being an expert on the topic.
  6. Gabe Lyons on A third way for the ‘Christian nation’ debate.
  7. How to leave a church well. Sometimes people leave for good reasons and leave well, but often they leave for poor reasons and leave the church by throwing rocks. Love the example from the book of Acts, maybe that is why churches today don’t see the effectives they did in the book of Acts.
  8. Pastors who suffering from relational anorexia. Pastoring is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet, but there are some things you can do to fight it.
  9. Tony Morgan on Signs you have a vision that inspires. These are right on, the clarity at Revolution has inspired people and repelled people. Vision divides and that is okay.
  10. Who needs porn when you have MTV? This is crucial for parents to keep in mind as they raise kids and what they allow on TV. (Note: there is a semi-explicit photo accompanying the article).
  11. 10 easy bible verses for kids to memorize. We have a verse of the week at our house and it has been awesome to see the kids start memorizing scripture.
  12. Loving our Muslim neighbors. This is a great video panel discussion with J.D. Greear and Thabiti Anyabwile.
  13. Christopher Wright on The biggest obstacle for world missions is idolatry. This is a convicting article.
  14. J. Oswald Sanders on Are you ready to be a leader? These are great questions to work through if you want to enter into leadership or have a desire to take on more leadership in your church or business.

The Point of God (Or the Right Questions to Ask)

In his book The Mission of God, Chris Wright shows that the Bible story is “all about mission” – God’s mission to save a people for himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the focus of the story, but his identity has missionary implications (Luke 24:45 – 48). This radical, God-centered perspective, Wright suggests, “turns inside out and upside down some of the common ways in which we are accustomed to think about the Christian life…It constantly forces us to open our eyes to the big picture, rather than shelter in the cosy narcissism of our own small worlds.”

  • We ask, “Where does God into the story of my life?,” when the real question is, “Where does my little life fit into this great story of God’s mission?”
  • We want to be driven by a purpose that has been tailored just right for our own individual lives, when we should be seeing the purpose of all life, including our own, wrapped up in the great mission of God for the whole creation.
  • We talk about “applying the Bible to our lives.” What would it mean to apply our lives to the Bible instead, assuming the Bible to be the reality – the real story – to which we are called to conform ourselves?
  • We wrestle with “making the gospel relevant to the world.” But in this story, God is about the business of transforming the world to fit the shape of the gospel.
  • We argue about what can legitimately be included in the mission that God expects from the church, when we should ask what kind of church God wants for the whole range of his mission.
  • I may wonder what kind of mission God has for me, when I should be asking what kind of me God wants for his mission.

-Taken from Total Church:  A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community  by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis, p. 35