Recommended Online Bible Studies

Recommended Online Bible Studies

During this time of coronavirus and sheltering in place, we all have a unique opportunity to spend extra time studying God’s word. To help you with this, I have compiled the following list of free resources.

I encourage you to look the list over, ask God for guidance and then pick one that appeals to you. Then, just click and begin! When you finish one resource, start a new one! Let’s use our time wisely and productively during these days that God has given us.

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
 


 
Our Daily Bread: Click here

You can read the daily devotional online at the link above.
 


 
The Bible Project: Click here

The Bible Project provides brief 5-10 minute video overviews for every book in the Bible. They are interesting, informative and visually appealing. There are 66 books in the Bible. We probably have a couple more months of sheltering at home. So, here’s an idea. Do one overview a day and complete all the videos over the next 66 days!

 


 
The Eyewitness Easter Series: Click here

The Eyewitness Bible Easter Series includes eight episodes to be watched on each day of Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday. Each 15-minute video contains a first-person account of a Bible story appropriate for Holy Week.
 


 
Anxious for Nothing, by Max Lucado: Click here

Teacher Max Lucado helps you dive deep into Scripture to explore God’s treatment plan for anxiety as found in the most underlined verse in the Bible: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
 


 
Every Believer a Witness: Click here

Learn how to share your faith with others! A five-part course from Evangelism Explosion teaching you the basics of how to share your faith with confidence.
 


 
The God Who Speaks: Click here (free for Amazon Prime)

The God Who Speaks is a 90-minute documentary that traces the evidence of the Bible’s authority through interviews with some of the most respected apologists, scholars, and pastors in the evangelical world. This film answers common objections about the Bible’s reliability and equips believers to confidently base their lives on the power of God’s Word.
 


 
Pilgrim’s Progress for Kids: Click here

Parents, your kids can watch the children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress for free!
 


 
YouVersion Bible Studies: Click here

The YouVersion Bible app offers a number of Bible studies and devotions. The nice thing about the YouVersion app is that you can sign up with some friends and do the Bible studies together. Here are three recommended studies:

 


 
The Gospel Coalition Bible Studies: Click here

The Gospel Coalition has a wide variety of Bible studies and classes available. Here are two recommended studies:

  • Basics of Systematic Theology: Click here
  • God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible: Click here

 


 
Ligonier Connect Bible Studies: Click here

Ligonier is the teaching ministry of R.C. Sproul. Ligonier has made their entire library of teaching videos available for free through June 30. You can take the classes by yourself or invite others to join you. They have hundreds of videos, so here are some recommended classes and topics.

You can either click “Create Group” to study together, or just click the “Preview” tab to go directly to the class. Each class has a video to watch as well as optional questions for discussion or reflection.

  • Dealing with Difficult Problems, by R.C. Sproul: Click here
  • Understanding the Parables, by R.C. Sproul: Click here
  • Contentment, by Melissa Kruger: Click here
  • The New Testament Canon (How we got our Bible), by Michael Kruger: Click here
  • The Life of Samson, by Robert Godfrey: Click here
  • Learning to Love the Psalms, by Robert Godfrey: Click here
  • Church History, by Robert Godfrey: Click here
  • The Attributes of God, by Steven Lawson: Click here

 


 
Sermons: Click here to listen / Click here to read

You can access the audio and written transcripts of various sermons I’ve preached over the years at the above links. Here are some recommended series:

 


 
Wow, I know that’s a lot! Remember, you can’t do all of these, but you can do some. Go ahead – pick one and get started today!
 

Dreading the Time Change?

Dreading the time change later in the week? Try the incremental approach. Ten minutes a day instead of an hour all at once.

Click here for How to Beat Daylight Savings Time
 

New “Praying For” Series

We are doing a new series of messages Sunday mornings on praying for various things. Here are the links to the various messages in the series.

Praying For … Series
(Click here for a PDF of all the sermon outlines for the series.)

Praying For series

Praying for Things – 1 John 5:14-15
Praying for Forgiveness – 1 John 1:5-10
Praying for Healing – James 5:13-16
Praying for Victory over Sin – 2 Peter 1:3-4
Praying for Church and Family – Matthew 6:9-13
Praying for the Lost – Colossians 4:2-6
Praying for Missions – Matthew 9:35-38
 

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 9/8/2019

Sunday’s message in the David and Saul series was called View from the Cave, taken from 1 Samuel 22:1-5. Here is a brief outline of the message:

How do you deal with God’s delays?

I. Serve God where you are (1-2)
      – 1 Peter 4:19
   A. Commit yourself to God
   B. Continue to do good

II. Continue to seek God’s will (3-4)
      – Ruth 1-4
   A. Remember what God has done in the past
   B. Seek God’s will for the future

III. Be quick to respond to God’s word (5)
      – Hebrews 4:12
   A. Be open to hearing God’s word
   B. Be quick to obey God’s word

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.
 

A Theology of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter

googe-facebook-amazon-twitter

We use Google to try and feel omniscient like God. God knows all things, and with Google we feel like we can know all things, too.

We use Facebook to try and feel omnipresent like God. God is in all places at all times, and with Facebook we feel like we can be present everywhere, too.

We use Amazon to try and feel omnipotent like God. God can do all things effortlessly, and with Amazon we feel like we can get anything we want with a single click.

And Twitter, well, Twitter is just the devil.
  

PP00: Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

00. Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary

Here are a few miscellaneous productivity tips that I have found useful for myself. They may or may not work for you, but they are all worth trying.

– Key naps (the pause that refreshes)

If I’m tired in the afternoon or early evening, I will often take a key nap. I lean back in my easy chair, grasp a key between my thumb and forefinger, rest my arm on the arm of the chair with the key positioned over the floor, close my eyes and wait to fall asleep. The moment I fall asleep, my thumb and forefinger relax, and the key falls to the floor waking me back up again.

It’s just a micro-nap, and yet I wake up feeling refreshed and alert. Even though it’s only for a split-second, I often hit such a deep state of sleep that when the key hits the floor, I wake up momentarily disoriented, not knowing where I am, not even sure what the sound was that woke me up.

A key nap in the afternoon or evening doesn’t disturb my sleep schedule at night. And it is usually all I need to stay alert until bedtime.

– Shave twice

I dislike shaving, so I do it twice a day instead of once. It is quicker and easier to shave in the morning when you shave the night before. And it is easy to shave at night when you’ve already shaved in the morning. This is an application of the “little but often” principle which works well with any task that grows in complexity the longer you leave it undone (such as trimming the hedge, paying the bills, etc.)

– Daylight savings time

I always have a hard time adjusting to Daylight Savings Time when you change the clocks forward an hour in the spring. So now, instead of changing the clock forward one hour on Saturday night, I change it in ten-minute increments starting the week before. I only do this with the bedtime clock, and I adjust my bedtime and waketime accordingly. (See article: How to Beat Daylight Savings Time)

– Wipe shower

One common productivity tip you often hear about is to make the bed when you first get up. This is called an anchor discipline. An anchor discipline is a simple task you do each day without fail that helps reinforce the other disciplines in your life. Plus, you always have a bed that is made!

I don’t make the bed when I first get up (mostly because my wife is still in it). Instead, I wipe the shower. When I finish showering, I take a minute to wipe down the shower. I use a separate towel for this than the towel I use for myself. I wipe down the shampoo bottle and put it away. Then I wipe down the walls and especially the edges and corners where the water gathers.

I use this as my anchor discipline which helps reinforce my other disciplines for the day. Plus, I always have a clean shower!

Back to the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles
 

PP12: “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

12. “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do

This is another wonderfully counterintuitive principle that is incredibly powerful once you put it into practice. Don’t tell people what you’re going to do. Do it first, then tell them.

Here’s how this plays out in real life. Let’s say there’s something you want to do, perhaps declutter your home or lose weight or write a book. You would think telling other people what you are going to do would make you more likely to do it. But it doesn’t always work out that way. (The exception is if you tell someone who is holding you accountable to your goals.)

When you tell someone what you are going to do, you get a feeling of accomplishment even though you haven’t really done anything yet. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we talk about what we’re going to do. It makes us feel good.

Unfortunately, that good feeling is counterproductive. It breeds a false sense of accomplishment that reduces your motivation to do the intended task. As a result, you may never get around to actually doing it.

The next time you get the urge to tell people what you are going to do, resist the urge and don’t tell them. You will find it incredibly frustrating at first because you want to feel that sense of accomplishment. But it will keep your motivation for actually doing the task that much stronger.

Don’t tell people what you’re going to do. Do it first, then tell them. Once you learn the “do it first” principle, you will have a whole host of actual accomplishments to talk about instead of mere potential accomplishments.

—————————————–

Well, that’s it. Those are my 12 favorite productivity principles. I hope you found them helpful, as they have been extremely helpful to me. Tomorrow I will wrap this series up with one last post sharing several miscellaneous tips I have also found useful.

Next in series: PP00: Miscellaneous – Your mileage may vary
 

PP11: “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

11. “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy

I love these last two principles. They are counterintuitive, and yet very powerful once you grasp them.

The default principle alerts us to a quirk of human nature. Unless we are intentional about what we are doing, most of us will default to what is easy over what is most enjoyable.

If I ask myself, “What do I enjoy more, reading books or reading blogs?” I actually enjoy reading books more. But it’s easier to read blogs. Unless I am intentional about it, I will default to easy every time.

If I ask myself, “What do I enjoy more, going outside or watching TV?” I actually enjoy going outside more. But it’s easier watching TV. I need to be careful that I don’t default to easy and sacrifice enjoyment along the way.

There are many areas in our lives where we automatically default to easy over enjoyment. Do you want to enjoy life? Of course you do! Then be aware of the default principle and learn to choose enjoyment over easy.

Next in series: PP12: “Do it first” principle – Tell what you’ve done, not what you will do
 

PP10: “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

10. “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush

This is another great principle I learned from Mark Forster’s book, Get Everything Done. Mark shares how he was always packing his briefcase at the last minute and rushing out the door. So, he learned to pack the briefcase earlier. That way, when it was time to leave, he could just pick up the briefcase and go.

This principle is simple: doing things ahead of time will make your life simpler and less stressful. It’s a simple principle but with thousands of applications. Here are just a couple of the ways I use it.

  1. I don’t wait until I’m ready to go to work before eating breakfast and getting dressed for work. I eat breakfast and get dressed earlier so that I am not rushing at the last minute.
     
  2. I don’t wait until I’m ready to go to bed to wash up and get ready for bed. I do it earlier in the evening. That way when I’m ready to go to bed, I can just go to bed. This also helps me get to sleep on time (see principle #8).
     
  3. I don’t wait until Wednesday morning to prepare my teaching for Wednesday night. I start preparing Monday or Tuesday. It takes the same amount of time but is far less stressful and a more pleasant experience.
     

A funny thing about the briefcase principle. When you attempt to do something ahead of time, you will experience resistance. Not a super strong resistance, usually just the dismissive thought: “I don’t need to do this right now.” But remember, resistance is a sign that this really is the best time to do it (see principle #7). Don’t let resistance work against you. Work with the resistance and do the task anyways.

Doing things ahead of time doesn’t take any more time than doing things at the last minute, but it’s far less stressful. See how many ways you can put the briefcase principle to work in your life.

Next in series: PP11: “Default” principle – Choosing enjoyment over easy
 

PP9: Capture notebook and pen – One book to rule them all

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

9. Capture notebook and pen – One book to rule them all

What do you do with all the miscellaneous information and ideas you come across during the day? Hopefully you are storing any information you need for the future in your information tool (see principle #5). But what about quick ideas and info on the fly? A lot of time we find ourselves scribbling things down on a random piece of paper or sticky note, which is fine until you can’t find the paper or sticky note.

The best way to capture random information throughout the day is to carry a small capture notebook and pen with you. Write everything down in one place. Then you will always know where to find it. Plus, instead of throwing the paper or sticky note away when you’re done with it, you will have a running log of the information in case you ever need to access it in the future.

I use the Moleskin Cahier Journal for this. It’s a durable soft-cover notebook with lined pages. It’s 3.5” X 5.5” and fits in my shirt pocket so I can always have it with me. It has tear-out pages in the back in case I need to write something down and give it someone else. And they only cost about $3.00 each.

The best pen I’ve found for this is the Fisher Bullet Space Pen with clip.These pens were developed for use by NASA in the Apollo missions. It has a compact design but opens up to a larger pen when you’re ready to use it. It writes the first time every time with no smudges. In fact, it can write under water, in zero gravity, at any angle and even upside down. You can get it with or without the clip, but I like the clip for my shirt pocket.

Whatever notebook or pen you use, I encourage you to carry a single notebook with you to capture miscellaneous ideas and information throughout the day. It’s a great way to capture ideas as they come, and you will always be able to find what you are looking for later.

Next in series: PP10: “Briefcase” principle – Avoiding the last-minute rush
 

PP8: 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

8. 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential to working productively the next day. Sleep experts recommend that you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. But what if you have trouble falling asleep at night? Then it is harder to get up at your set time in the morning, which throws off your morning routine, which can then throw off the rest of your day.

In many ways the most important time of the day is the time you fall asleep. Falling asleep sets your body clock for the morning which sets the pace for your whole day.

This is where the 10-3-2-1-0 rule comes in. This is a great little rule that has helped me to fall asleep regularly at a set time each night. In turn this helps me get up at the set time in the morning, which helps set the pace for the rest of the day. Here is how the rule works:

10: No caffeine ten hours before bed
  3: No food three hours before bed
  2: No work two hours before bed
  1: No screens one hour before bed
  0: No remaining in bed when the alarm goes off in the morning

I go to sleep at 10:00 each night and wake up at 5:00 in the morning. So, I start “getting ready for bed” at 12:00 noon each day. 12:00 noon is ten hours before I go to bed, so I stop drinking any caffeine by noon each day. I don’t eat food after 7:00, I don’t do any work after 8:00, and I don’t watch TV or use the computer, tablet or phone after 9:00. I spend from 9:00-10:00 reading books or talking with my wife.

When I follow this routine, I am under the covers at 10:00 and usually asleep by 10:05. When the alarm goes off at 5:00 in the morning, I complete the countdown by saying, “Zero!” and get out of bed. My body is so used to this routine by now that I often wake up a few minutes before the alarm anyways.

Getting up at the set time is just as important as going to bed at the set time. Going to bed at the set time ensures that you will have had enough sleep when it’s time to get up in the morning. And getting up at the set time ensures that you will fall asleep when it’s time to go to bed at night.

What if I don’t get everything done that I want to get done for the day? I call staying up late to get things done “punting.” Staying up later makes me feel like I am getting more done, but in reality, I am punting sleep to the next day. If I stay up to 11:00 instead of 10:00, then I will need an extra hour of sleep in the morning, so I am just stealing time from tomorrow to add to today. So, I established a rule for myself. No punting! If I really need to work on something, I can always get up and do it in the morning.

The 10-3-2-1-0 is a great way to countdown to a good night’s sleep. If you start getting ready for bed ten hours before you go to sleep, chances are good you will go to sleep at your set time and wake up at your set time. Try it! It works great for me.

Note: I got this tip from Craig Ballantyne at Early to Rise.

Next in series: PP9: Capture notebook and pen – One book to rule them all
 

PP7: Working with resistance – Resistance is not futile

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

7. Working with resistance – Resistance is not futile

Resistance is the feeling of dread or discomfort we experience when approaching a task. Resistance is the main reason we procrastinate and struggle to get going on important tasks. Resistance is the reason we end up wasting time or doing something else to avoid doing the tasks we need to do.

Resistance is your number one enemy when it comes to getting your tasks done. But once you understand resistance, you can turn it around and make it work for you instead of against you. Here are three things you need to understand about resistance:

  1. Resistance is a clue as to what you should be doing next. You won’t feel resistance about tasks that you don’t need to be doing.
     
  2. Resistance only gets stronger when you put off a task. The longer you avoid starting, the stronger the resistance grows.
     
  3. Resistance is strongest just before starting the task. Once you actually get started on the task, you build momentum and resistance fades away.
     

Once you understand these three things about resistance, you can make resistance work for you instead of against you.

  1. When you feel resistance towards a task or project, recognize that this is a clue to what you should be doing next. Immediately write it down on your task processing list and start working on it. (Note: Do not just put it on your overall to do list. It’s probably already been sitting there for some time. Be sure you write it on your task processing list of things you are about to do – see principle #6.)
     
  2. Realize that no matter how uncomfortable the resistance feels right now, it is only going to get worse the longer you put off the task. In other words, the resistance you feel right now is the least resistance you are going to feel towards the project or task. It is only going to get worse, so write the task down and start working on it now.
     
  3. Realize that once you get going on the project, the resistance will fade away. Resistance is uncomfortable, and the best way to get rid of the discomfort is to start working on the task.
     

This is where micro-tasking and writing down your tasks before you do them will also help you (see principle #6). Remember, writing it down just means you will get started on the task. It doesn’t mean you have to complete it. It only means you will get started and do some work on it. Maybe five minutes, maybe ten, maybe longer. But the simple act of writing it down and marking it as your one active task will help you get started, and once you get started, that feeling of discomfort and dread will fade away.

Resistance is your number one enemy to productivity. But it doesn’t have to be. Resistance can be your friend. Resistance is not futile when you learn to work with resistance instead of allowing resistance to work against you.

Note: If you’re interested in learning more about resistance and how it works, the best book I’ve read on the subject is Mark Forster’s Get Everything Done. Mark understands resistance better than anyone I know, and his whole book is a goldmine of great productivity tips.

Next in series: PP8: 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep