Free Online Course on the Gospel of John

Learn, get sharpened, and grow to become more effective for God.

Time for an early Christmas gift for you. This one comes wrapped in the inestimable blessing of insight and encouragement. And like all good gifts, it’s totally free.

Free Online Course for You on the Gospel of John

I’ve written to you recently on why being around smarter people is a good thing. Why? Because it’s important to get sharp and stay sharp as a tool in God’s hand. That only happens as we allow ourselves to be stretched, taught, and challenged by someone farther down the line than we are.

By the way, I am not the giver of this gift. In fact, I am one of the recipients.

This gift comes wrapped in the form of a free online course about one of the Bible’s best books—the Gospel of John—taught by one of Dallas Seminary’s finest teachers.

Here’s what you’ll get.

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Take a devotional break for a moment and watch the beautiful words of Isaiah come to life.

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. —Isaiah 53:6

Sometimes I think God created particular creatures simply to provide potent metaphors He could use to teach us with. Picture yourself as one of these sheep—and the Lord as your shepherd.

We all have wandered. But the good news is our Good Shepherd sought us out—and died for our sins. Jesus Himself said:

If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? —Matthew 18:12

Question: How does seeing these words visually help you internalize their truths? To leave a comment, just click here.

(Video from SourceFlix.com)

The mustard plant in Israel grows to a height of 10-12 feet, but it has one of the smallest seeds.

Jesus compared the mustard seed to God’s coming kingdom:

The kingdom of God . . . is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants. —Mark 4:30-32

Compared to the large weeds in our daily world, God’s program seems like a mustard seed—small, insignificant, and ineffective.

But God’s plan is progressing in spite of its seeming insignificance now.

When we feel discouraged at the slowness and secrecy of God’s plan, remember the truth Jesus revealed. What seems small and insignificant now will become the largest of all kingdoms one day.

Keep going. Don’t give up. We have a future with God. (Tweet that.)

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever. —Revelation 11:15

Question: What helps you look beyond today to tomorrow? To leave a comment, just click here.

Video from SourceFlix.com.

Flying over the Old City of Jerusalem isn’t allowed, but the father/son team from SourceFlix.com strapped a camera on a remote control helicopter and got special permission to film.

It’s a SLOW video . . . but it’s smooth and gives you time to see the details of this most important piece of real estate in history.

Question: Would you like to fly over Jerusalem? To leave a comment, just click here.

On a layover to Israel, we spent several hours in Philadelphia—the birthplace of our nation. We visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and saw Ben Franklin’s grave. Wonderful day.

While there, I got to check off one item from my bucket list:

  • Run the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art!

Yeah, I know . . . kinda nuts. But a lot of fun!

Question: Have you ever run the Rocky steps? To leave a comment, just click here.

Rocky feet Rocky statue
Rocky music in video from here.

If You Want to Change the World . . .

I recently watched this powerful commencement address given by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

I urge you to watch his moving speech. From his experience as a Navy Seal, he offers these 10 steps to change the world.

  1. Start off by making your bed. (Begin each day with a task completed.)
  2. Find someone to help you paddle. (Don’t go it alone.)
  3. Measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers. (Respect everyone.)
  4. Get over being a “sugar cookie” and keep moving forward. (Accept that life is not fair.)
  5. Don’t be afraid of the circuses. (You will fail often.)
  6. Slide down the obstacle head first. (Take risks.)
  7. Don’t back down from the sharks. (Face the bullies.)
  8. Be your very best in the darkest moments. (Step up when times are the toughest.)
  9. Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud. (Give hope to others.)
  10. Don’t ever, ever ring the bell. (Never give up.)

Question: Can you connect any of his comments to Scripture? To leave a comment, just click here.

Great Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

I’ve just returned from another Holy Land tour. It was great! After a tour to the Holy Land, it’s easy to forget the many lessons you’ve learned and the sites you’ve seen. The Holy Land can soon seem a distant land again. But it doesn’t have to.

The Best Resources to Get After Your Holy Land Tour

(Photo: Pilgrims on Mount of Olives. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

One of my recommendations for making your holy land tour stay with you for years includes getting some great resources that will last you a lifetime.

In this post, I’ve highlighted the best of what I suggest you pick up after your Holy Land tour. I include videos, pictures, devotionals, and atlases.

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How to Search Your Bible Atlas Using Evernote

I use Evernote to help organize my piles of papers and files at work and home. From bills to blogs, from songbooks to sermons, from cards to conference notes, Evernote has helped me go virtually paperless.

How to Search Your Bible Atlas Using Evernote

(Maps courtesy of Satellite Bible Atlas)

Of course, the greatest benefit of this application is its ability to find what I stick in there. It has become my digital brain—with the added benefit that it never forgets.

Because of Evernote’s optical character recognition (OCR), I can find words I’m searching for in handwritten notes and even in photographs. Any word in any picture—I can find with a few clicks on my computer or iPhone.

This provides a nice benefit for Bible study.

I’d like to show you how to use Evernote to search your Bible Atlas.

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Top 5 Gifts for Bible Lands Study

Most of us give Christmas gifts that are quickly forgotten. After the iPhone gets cracked, or the DVD gets watched, or the sweater gets snagged, they all end up at the landfill. This year, why not give a gift (or ask for one) that will last a lifetime?

Top 5 Gifts for Bible Lands and Bible Study

(Photo: by Carsten Tolkmit. Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Bible Lands study tools make great gifts because they take your personal Bible study to the next level. What’s more, they don’t wear out.

Here are my top 5 recommendations this year for gifts you’ll enjoy giving (and receiving).

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5 Holy Land Blogs You Should Follow

If you regularly read my blog, it’s likely you share my interest in the Holy Land. Where biblical events took place are more than throwaway mentions in the pages of Scripture. Often, they have significant bearing on God’s participation in the lives of His people.

5 Holy Land Blogs You Should Follow

(Photo: Sunrise over Mount of Olives, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Unfortunately, because we’re unfamiliar with geography we often miss these nuggets. I have found a lot of help in several Holy Land blogs that open up the Bible’s lands to my understanding.

I want to share with you 5 of my favorite Holy Land blogs and provide you an easy way to follow them.

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