Did you know if you attend Christ Community you have paid-for access to RightNow Media? RightNow media is like Netflix for Christians. There are a lot of options for the whole family. Take some time to explore these recommendations from each of our campuses.
Holly Justice – Brookside Campus
Last winter, several of our Bible Studies went through Matt Chandler’s Psalm 23 Study, a timely word on what it means to have soul rest in these times. It’s a verse by verse, slow walk through that Psalm, with a helpful study guide that is just the right length for busy adults. It’s great for Community Groups or a mens/womens study.
This fall, we are utilizing What the Women Saw and The Power to Change, and I’d recommend both for women’s studies.
What the Women Saw gives you the opportunity to hear from four different women of different races, ages, and teaching styles, but with a unified view of Scripture. They each unpack the value Jesus gave to women historically in the Bible, and that He still gives today. It features Sadie Robertson Huff, Jennie Allen, Bianca Juárez Olthoff, and Jada Edwards.
I love that The Power to Change has male and female teachers (Jennie Allen, Matt Chandler, and Oneka McClellan), which is a breath of fresh air for a branded “womens” study. There are testimony videos from women each week that are encouraging and relatable, and give hope that spiritual change is possible in your life.
Gabe Coyle – Downtown Campus
One resource I found extremely helpful and digestible from RightNow Media is How to Talk about Race & Privilege by Jada Edwards. In an 8-minute primer she gives guidance to those of various ethnicities about how to engage in thoughtful conversations across cultural lines. This is a great starting point for anyone who wants to begin these conversations.
Andrew Jones – Leawood Campus
This is an oldie but a goodie. In a time of increased loneliness and isolation, the message that we are designed for friendship with God is as important as it’s ever been. Hearing God with Dallas Willard is a deep dive into this conversation, taught by a tall tree of the faith.
Reid Kapple – Olathe Campus
Dr. Tony Evans is an outstanding Bible teacher and preacher who brings biblical scholarship, historical context, and personal experience together in Oneness Embraced, a deeply thoughtful and practical study on racial reconciliation. It is remarkable how much content Dr. Evans covers while still maintaining time for tangible steps and Kingdom principles that the church can apply. With a strong focus on understanding the theology of the Kingdom and justice implications of the gospel, Oneness Embraced provides a biblical guide to racial healing and harmony.
Shawnee Campus Parent
Our family has utilized RightNow Medias kids shows more than any of their other resources. My kids have especially loved watching Superbook and Owlegories. We love that there is a resource with teaching about God and His word in a way that is fun, engaging, and age-appropriate.
Nathan Miller – Senior Pastor
I first heard these talks, Thriving in Babylon with Larry Osborne, live at a conference and found them so compelling I immediately bought and read the accompanying book. In a world as complex as ours with so much going on today, Pastor Larry Osborne offers helpful insight from the book of Daniel on how we too can thrive while living here in “Babylon”.
Events of the last few months may have altered your habits and activities to allow for some extra reading time, or created the desire to dig more deeply into weighty subjects. Who better to suggest some good reads than our campus pastors?
Here are their answers to the question “What are you reading?”
Bill Gorman – Brookside Campus
I’m reading Richard Bauckham’s fantastic (and short!) book The Theology of Revelation. It is a classic case of not judging a book by its cover! Everything about the cover and even the internal design screams, This is a scholarly book that will be dry and dense. But that’s only partly true! It is a scholarly book, but it is anything but dry or dense. It has helped me understand and appreciate the beauty of Revelation as a book, but even more, it has moved me to worship and more deeply enjoy the One that Revelation reveals.
I’m also reading The Other Half of Church which combines the best of theology, discipleship, and neurobiology to help followers of Jesus and the church bodies they are part of grow and change in even more integral ways.
Gabe Coyle – Downtown Campus
I am currently reading Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, Third Edition. This brilliant scholarly work of moral philosophy is both a classic and a centering work for the thoughtful follower of Jesus who longs to cultivate a flourishing society. As many pursue a more just and equitable society, we must not only be engaged in conversations of the day, but must also glean from thought leaders of the past to have a dynamic impact for the gospel in the present. MacIntyre’s centering on virtue has long historical roots, and simultaneously gives us a window into our cultural moment.
Another book that I am enjoying is Conviction and Compassion by Justin Giboney of the AND Campaign. In this book, Giboney gives a helpful and simple framework for why Christians should be engaged for political impact (no matter their occupation), and how we should be engaged differently than our surrounding polarizing cultural norms. A timely read for every follower of Jesus.
Andrew Jones – Leawood Campus
Political Visions and Illusions by David Koyzis. True confession: I have not read the book I am listening to this blog called “What Are You Reading?” What’s that? You say you forgive me? Ok, great. It’s on my short list because it comes highly recommended by two Christian leaders I greatly respect, Tim Keller and Anthony Bradley. During this election season, it is so important to think biblically about our Christian engagement with political visions and claims about the good, true, and beautiful life. Can’t wait to crack this one open!
Reid Kapple – Olathe Campus
Beyond Racial Gridlock by George Yancey. There are a myriad of ways that our society has attempted to remedy racial tensions and injustices. While it is true that none of them hold the final solution, it is also true that none of them are altogether wrong. Yancey offers great insights into the strengths and weaknesses of our secular approaches to racial healing, but concludes with his biblical argument for mutual responsibility. The realities of racial injustice in our country are not exclusively the result of individual prejudice or systemic racism, but to deny the realities of either is to refuse to see reality. With rich scholarly insight and thoughtful biblical wisdom, Yancey offers a more robust and hopeful way forward.
Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross. It is unfortunate that many evangelical Christians are not very familiar with the liturgical calendar. I am one of those. There is a richness and beauty to the rhythms and practices of the liturgical calendar, which Gross brings into focus in this yearly devotional. It is a great resource to help the church more reverently and intentionally enter the story of God through sacred times of the year. And as we engage these sacred times we come to find that all time is sacred when we live for and before our holy God.
Free At Last: The Gospel in the African American Experience by Carl Ellis. With great historical precision and cultural commentary, Dr. Ellis offers a wide scoped narrative of the way the gospel has been received, preached, and applied within the historic black church in our country. While the gospel is timeless and unchanging, the way it speaks to and shapes a culture will vary. As a result, Christians can learn a great deal about the gospel from the perspective of differing cultures. Dr. Ellis not only provides a helpful insight into the African American Christian experience, but also shows the wide and robust message of the gospel that speaks to all of life.
The best book I have read in several years is Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund. It is a book-length meditation on Matthew 11:28-30, how fundamentally Christ’s heart toward us and our weakness is gentle and lowly. This book profoundly reshaped the way I view God’s grace, and no matter where you are in life, you need that message.
Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves is a short book that lays out the implication of what it means that God is Trinity. That might not sound compelling, but it is. The nature of God’s love, judgment, and holiness are profoundly shaped by the fact He is Three persons in one. This book left me in awe of who God is.
Nathan Miller – Senior Pastor
Why You Do the Things You Do by Tim Clinton and Gary Sibcy. These last few months my wife Kelly and I have been on a quest toward better self-understanding, and have benefited greatly by growing in our understanding of the basics of attachment theory. This book was incredibly helpful to us both in understanding why we do what we do, particularly in our many relationships with others. It has helped us be better humans, better spouses, better parents, and stronger followers of Jesus.
YouTube. Did you know that 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute worldwide! That’s a staggering amount of data. And 67% of people believe they can learn anything they need to know on YouTube. Anything from how to be a better parent, to how to build a better pizza. With all that content, how do you find ‘the good stuff’? How do you find something worthwhile to watch?
While our campus pastors may not be YouTube aficionados, we did coax them into sharing a few of their favorite YouTube recommendations and videos with us to help us cut through the clutter. Enjoy these YouTube picks, then share with us a few of your favorites as well.
One of my favorite new artists is Jon Guerra and the visual version of his album KEEPER OF DAYS has been a regular YouTube companion for the past few months. The album offers an eclectic mix of musical styles combined with deeply thoughtful and scripture-saturated lyrics. My favorite tracks are “Hiding Lord,” “Tightrope,” “Citizens,” and “Prettier Than Solomon.”
Sometimes we just need to laugh. It’s good for the heart and the body. And I have to say that KEVIN JAMES’ YouTube CHANNEL has been the place I go to just laugh. My favorites are the Sound Guy episodes where he splices himself into movies. So good.
This one is easy for me. I don’t rewatch ANYTHING on YouTube like I rewatch Tim Keller’s recent (2017) lecture at Princeton Seminary called, “ANSWERING LESSLIE NEWBIGIN.” I don’t know if I have heard a clearer summary of the church’s mission to encounter and transform western culture than this. I have found it both timely and timeless. If that sounds too intense, I recommend rewatching the Chiefs Super Bowl win and/or the Royals World Series game 7.
One of my favorite channels is SCARY POCKETS. They do some incredible funk and groove covers of modern pop music. Their cover of Hanson’s hauntingly catchy song MMMBop is just gold!
The TEN MINUTE BIBLE HOUR has been a recent discovery for me. Matt Whitman is an evangelical Christian who visits and learns about various denominations and traditions within Christianity. He tours and interviews different ministers, pastors, and priests to discover what we all share in common and where we differ in theology, worship, and practice.
My seminary education took countless hours of reading, studying, reflecting and sitting in class. It turns out I could have just subscribed to THE BIBLE PROJECT YouTube. Their videos are theologically rich, visually engaging and memorable. In seriousness, I would never trade my seminary education in for some YouTube videos, but if I had to, The Bible Project would be my choice.
By Sean Dennis – Worship Leader – Downtown Campus
I Miss Singing Together
Gathering together in person to worship God each week is one of the rhythms I’m most looking forward to post-quarantine. There’s nothing quite like worshiping together as God’s family through music, and I miss it.
But, I’ve come to realize that this time of physical separation is an opportunity for me to expand my definition of worship, and to lean into the discipline of individual worship.
Broadly defined, worship is the whole-life response to God’s immeasurable beauty. Seeing worship this way helps me be more creative about the many forms it might take, beyond singing or gathering as a group. And lately, in our new socially-distanced world, I’ve been challenged to include worshiping on my own as a regular practice.
Why Should We Worship Alone?
Ultimately, we worship in all seasons, because in all seasons Jesus is worthy of our praise. For this reason, Scripture is full of commands to worship. And when we worship, we are formed to be more like Christ.
Especially in this particular season, worship is an invitation to cry out to our Heavenly Father, asking Him to calm our anxieties and provide for us and others. It’s a chance to participate in what the Spirit is doing in and through us.
Worship is a discipline and a crucial element of the Christian diet, just like Bible reading, confession, and prayer. Calling it a “discipline” doesn’t mean it’s a drudgery, but it does imply that a certain level of intentionality is required!
How Do We Worship Alone?
Practicing Revelation and Response
I have heard worship described as having two parts: Revelation and Response. God reveals Himself to us, and we respond. Understanding this two-way dialogue is crucial for participating in authentic worship. And individual worship is a chance to lean into both of these in unique ways.
During individual worship, I can name specifically who God has shown Himself to be to me, and what He has done for me. I have found that the more personal and intimate my relationship with God is, the more I respond authentically in praise. Sometimes worship songs name who God is and what He has done in more general terms. These words are true! And, God’s glory is magnified even more when we name the specifics of who He is and what He has done in and around us. When we do this, we’re able to put skin on God’s goodness and faithfulness, whether we’re worshiping alone or together.
I want to suggest three ways we can lean into the “revelation” half of worship:
- Read Scripture
We have God’s words for us in our hands! If you want to see Him more clearly, getting to know the amazing story of the Bible is the best place to start.
- Practice listening during prayer.
Even though our schedules may have slowed down, our thoughts probably haven’t. Make mental space to listen to and hear from the Holy Spirit, taking time to allow Him to bring truth to mind.
- Keep a prayer journal.
Write down specific requests and revisit them to see how God has answered. Make a list of how you have seen the love and faithfulness of Jesus in the past.Personally, I am so much more eager to respond in worship when I have done the important pre-work of exploring revelation!
There are so many ways we can respond in worship. For one thing, you can tune in to our online church services. Sing loud, stand up, and push through the awkwardness. Follow this Spotify playlist of some of my favorite worship tunes and sing along.
Outside of Sunday mornings, if you’re musical, pick up that instrument and sing! It doesn’t matter if you don’t normally serve in church this way. Make it a practice to worship in song at home on a regular basis. If you need resources like chord charts and song ideas, please reach out to me or any of the worship leaders at Christ Community. We would love to help!
And, those of us who live with family or roommates have the special opportunity to keep practicing corporate worship in person. Let’s lead each other in worship through song.
What If I’m Not Musical?
If music doesn’t come naturally to you, you’re not excluded from this type of worship. Here are three ways you can still participate:
- Sing to the best of your ability.
Worship through song is not about our skill, but the outpouring of our affection to God. Even if you think you don’t sound good, remember that you’re God’s son or daughter. The sound of your voice brings Him joy.
- Lift up your hands.
If worship is a whole-life response to God, it includes our bodies. In fact, the Bible encourages us to lift up our hands, bow down, shout and sing, clap our hands in praise. Whenever you’re listening to worship music, I’d encourage you to try this. From personal experience, I can tell you that often an outward expression has an effect on my heart.
- Share stories with those around you.
This might be as simple as a text message or a comment on a video call. “This morning I read about the way God loves us like a good father, and that really encouraged me.” Or, “Do you remember when God provided that job for you?” This is worship.
Don’t Miss This Opportunity!
If you’re like me, you may be tempted to close your eyes and focus on just enduring this season of quarantine. There is so much frustration, pain, and longing in this time—how could anything good come of it?
But, the longer I walk with Jesus, the more I realize He is always at work. He is making newness in every season. And in every season, He is on the throne. Let’s worship Him for that.
Our staff is always reading, listening, or watching something new. We have a range of interests, and some of them may also interest you! We are often asked about our favorites, so here is a sampling of what we are currently enjoying.
Broken Record with Rick Ruben and Malcom Gladwell
This is not a Christian perspective but I love music and the process of creating it. There are five seasons to scroll through and find artists of interest.
On the Road with Saint Augustine by James K.A. Smith
A great perspective of an ancient father of the church.
Eat, Fast, Feast by Jay W. Richards
A scientific and biblical approach to a discipline that is overlooked in our society.
Music: (non Christian)
Fantastic songwriter, especially the 60s and 70s stuff!
He just died from Covid-19 related complications and I started shuffling his music and have been blown away.
Phenomenal contemporary musician who is always evolving, and creating beautiful songs. I listened to the Broken Record podcast about him and learned so much.
Very short 2x/day podcast with engaging stories and learning for kids to help them brush their teeth long enough (even adults might find it interesting!).
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown
A serious book that will make you laugh about why we long to belong, and balancing confidence in our own gifts and opinions with the risks of acceptance from others.
Christian Workout playlist in Pandora
Great for a run, but also a family dance party in the kitchen!
At the Table with Patrick Lencioni
In my opinion the best organizational leadership podcast. I never miss an episode.
Coronavirus Daily from NPR
Relevant news, practical tips, and encouraging stories all in 10 mins each weekday afternoon.
The Common Rule by Justin Earley
A short, deeply practical book about how our habits can be one of the most powerful means of following Jesus and finding joy in Him.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Beautiful novel about the power of love, commitment, and family. The audiobook version is read by Tom Hanks!
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
I can’t remember the last time any film or work of art moved me as deeply in my desire to love my neighbor like Jesus does.
The Place We Find Ourselves
Adam Young (LCSW, MDiv) and guests discuss story, trauma, attachment and abuse and how it impacts the heart and mind. The episodes navigate the path towards healing, wholeness and restoration.
This is a year long Bible reading plan and is supplemented with Bible videos from the Bible Project. I enjoy it because everything is in the app for you. It’s not dated, so if you can’t read one day you’re not off track and can simply continue on with the plan.
Sara is a Christian artist that writes songs of honesty and depth. I listened to her music a lot and rediscovered her in this time of quarantine. Her music is filling my soul. She’s offering a FaceTime live each Thursday if you’d like to tune in. One phrase she shared that I’ve been chewing on: “As believers, we get to join a glorious partnership with the Eternal for the renewal of all things.”
No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon by Erik Weihenmayer.
This is the powerful story of Erik who lost his sight due to a genetic condition. He has overcome that barrier and climbed the tallest summit on each of the 7 continents and now kayaked the Grand Canyon. His No Barriers Foundation empowers others to overcome barriers and contribute their best to the world.
Parenting by Paul David Tripp.
This book shifted my context for parenting from legalism to grace, from managing kids’ behavior to parenting as God’s ambassadors out of grace.
His soft, folk-style voice and music tell a story. His album Behold the Lamb of God tells the story of the coming of Christ. He’s also written fantasy novels.
The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith
Easy to read, thought-provoking, and practical, Smith explores how God changes lives by replacing false narratives with true narratives. Each chapter includes a “soul training” exercise to try alone or with your family!
“Every Psalm” project by Poor Bishop Hooper
My friends Jesse and Leah Roberts, who led our church in The Golgotha Experience last year, are releasing one song each week for the next two years. Simple and moving songs based on all 150 psalms.
“Reading in Exile” by Russell Moore
Does it count that my media recommendation is also about books? Visit www.russellmoore.com or follow Russell Moore on Instagram as he highlights some of his favorite books and authors—he’s already mentioned some that I also love and made me want to read so many more.