Series: Old Testament Survey

ID Title Presentation Date Speaker Handouts Slides Audio Video Full Lesson Synopsis Sort Order
Title Presentation Date Speaker Handouts Slides Audio Video Full Lesson Synopsis
507 Introduction - Biblical Survey 03/13/2010 W. Mark Lanier

A little over seven years ago at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, we launched a Sunday School class on "Biblical Literacy" with about 85 people in attendance. Over a three-year span, we worked hard to teach material, Genesis to Revelation, which would give someone a proficiency in knowing, understanding, and applying the basic lessons of Scripture.

As time went on, the lessons morphed in form, both written and oral. The class participants changed also, adding several hundred in attendance by the time the class concluded three years later. We then spent two years studying church history followed by almost two and a half years in the life and theology of Paul.

With that road behind us, we have taken sight on going back through the Bible, cover to cover, much like we did with Biblical Literacy. This time, however, we intend to take a slightly different tack. Before, we were intent on finding the "core material" that would give even a novice familiarity with the Bible. This time, the effort is targeted a bit deeper. Our goal is to present and study together material that would be appropriate for study of a survey-type class on a seminary level.

This does not mean that someone already has to have great knowledge in order to appreciate this study. We hope to present the material in a way where the novice can grow as well as the believer who has spent decades in study. In other words, we hope to have something for everyone.

508 Lesson 1 - Genesis: Authorship Issues - Part 1 03/13/2010 W. Mark Lanier

We live in an age and society where we like to know who is responsible for what we are hearing or reading. It makes a difference to us. Authorship is important.

But, it was not always so. During the time of the Old Testament’s composition, the concerns over authorship were not present. They did not assess credibility the way we do. No doubt this is one reason why the authors are not always named in much of the Old Testament.

Join Mark Lanier as we set out various issues important to the authorship debate on Genesis. In the process, we must recognize both our goals and our limitations.

509 Lesson 1 - Genesis: Authorship Issues - Part 2 03/13/2010 W. Mark Lanier

We started this two part lesson with questions of authorship and credibility. We end it with affirmations, not because we can conclusively assert that Moses wrote each and every word of the Pentateuch exactly how we now read them. The reason is that the ultimate source of Scripture is God.

God has worked through history and through many people to place his Holy Scriptures before people. We know through the recognition of Hebrew authority, the authority of Christ and the apostles, and the authority of the church, that we have Holy Scripture. With Scripture, we have revelation of God. Without it, we are lost with manmade ideas that bear little to no sense to truth.


510 Series Introduction - Biblical Literacy 03/21/2010 David Fleming

Join us for an exciting new journey into Biblical Literacy.  Pastor David Fleming introduces us to a new series taught by Mark Lanier.

Pastor Fleming lays the groundwork for studying this wonderful new series by helping us understand that the Bible and it's entire content is THE WORD OF GOD.  It is available to us today and deserves to be read and studied and made a part of our everyday lives.

Come along for this exciting series and check back each week for the wonderful lessons to be learned in our Old Testament books of the Bible.

511 Lesson 2 - Genesis: Creation and Evolution - Part 1 03/28/2010 W. Mark Lanier

We live in the scientific age. For example, the knowledge around genetics has grown exponentially in even the last fifty years. Scientists have now sequenced the human genome. They have taken the gene structure that makes us who we are and broken it down into billions of parts in an effort to better understand “human evolution, the causation of disease, and the interplay between the environment and heredity in defining the human condition.”

As a Christian, does one need to pause when reading the Science write-up of the sequencing project? Does the mention of “human evolution” run afoul of core Christian beliefs?

In this lesson, Mark Lanier examine the creation account in Genesis and considers it in light of current scientific thought. What role does science have with faith? Can one believe in creation and science? What is the proper interplay, if any, between science and faith? Can one believe in evolution and God? Can one believe in evolution and creation? How literal is the Genesis creation material? And the ultimate question: what difference does it make?

513 Lesson 2 - Genesis: Creation and Evolution - Part 2 04/12/2010 W. Mark Lanier In Part One of Genesis: Creation and Evolution, we observed the importance of integrating science and faith. As Christians, we need not run from science and common sense to some refuge we call belief. Rather, we can confidently explore not only the book of God’s words (Scripture), but also the wonders of the natural world as the book of God’s works, trusting that God is responsible for both and neither should shut out the other.   In Part Two Mark Lanier continues by focusing on Genesis 1 and 2 considering different ways we might understand what is written. Our focus first considers some of the noteworthy features of the Genesis account. Then, we will consider several approaches to understanding these passages. After this section of our lesson, we will look at various scientific theories of origins noting how they integrate with views of Scripture. Finally, we will return to the Genesis text to understand the lessons presented in line with an integrated view of faith and science.   103
514 Lesson 2 - Genesis: Creation and Evolution - Part 3 04/19/2010 W. Mark Lanier Creationism or evolution – does it really matter? Christians who think so generally give two reasons for concern: (1) a belief that the integrity of the Bible is at stake if Genesis is not accorded a literal meaning; and (2) a belief that creationism means a Creator God; therefore, evolution must mean no God. In other words, some believe that without creationism, atheism must be true. Some take this further and argue the scientific truth of creationism in an effort to “prove” God exists. In Part Two we discussed the first concern over whether an evangelical, inerrantist view of Scripture mandates a view of origins as a literal 24-hour, 7-day process some 6,000 years ago. That lesson set out 4 different options for reading Scripture, all of which are viable under an evangelical/inerrantist perspective. Those views ranged from a literal 24/6 young earth to a historical, contextual reading that would be silent on the science of creation.
Join Mark Lanier in Part Three of "Genesis: Creation and Evolution" as he sets aside the first issue and concentrates on the second issue: Does creationism mean God is real, and therefore, does evolution deny God’s existence?
515 Lesson 2 - Genesis: Creation and Evolution - Bibliography 04/19/2010 W. Mark Lanier

There are many wonderful books on the subject of Creation and Evolution, but the books in the Annotated Bibliography are the principle works read in preparation for this lesson. The comments are given in hopes it helps others determine which books, if any, might be worth additional study.

Please download the PDF file and browse through these resources for further study.

517 Lesson 3 - Genesis: Good Gone Bad 05/02/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Things were good – really good. Man was living in a garden the LORD God planted in “Eden.” Man and woman were in God’s garden, a place of pleasure and delight. The joys of walking with God in the cool of the day, of tending the garden, of easy food and godly purpose, were the normative for both man and woman.

Temptation, however, entered the garden and their lives. What happened? How could something so good become something so bad?    Join Mark Lanier in this lesson of "Good Gone Bad."

516 Lesson 2 - Genesis: Creation and Evolution - Part 4 04/27/2010 W. Mark Lanier

What are the core meanings of the Creation story in Genesis?  In Part Four of "Geneiss: Creation and Evolution" Mark Lanier explores the suppositon that Scripture is God's revelation of his message to man.

Join us in our final lesson on creation and evolution as we explore three tenants.  1.  God is not a man, nor is he man’s invention.  2.  The world should never be viewed as God or confused with God.  3.  God chose to make you.  He made you for a reason.  God's purpose for you rotates around his relationship with you.

518 Lesson 4 - Genealogies, Floods and Towers 05/09/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Methusaleh gave birth to his son Noah.  Noah built the ark God commanded him to build before the world was destroyed by the flood.  Methusaleh lived 969 years.  If you "do the math" you will discover that Methusaleh died the very year that the flood came.  Did Methusaleh die in the flood?  If so, why was he not on board the ark?

What a perplexing question!  Yet, this is by no means the only passage in Genesis that has perplexed scholars.  Mark Lanier explores some of these perplexing (and not so perplexing) issues that occur in the genealogies, floods, and towers of Genesis.

521 Lesson 5 - Abraham, God and Christ 05/23/2010 W. Mark Lanier

"For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:16-21).

In this sense Mark Lanier peers into Scripture’s writings about Abraham. We will pull out three different events in Abraham’s life. These are three vignettes where, for almost two thousand years, the church has seen the hand of God prophesying his salvation message. These stories show God speaking not only in words, but also in the events that unfolded. In this sense we see the Hebrews teaching that God spoke by the prophets “at many times and in many ways.”

523 Lesson 6 - Abraham, Archaeology and History - Part 1 05/29/2010 W. Mark Lanier

What evidence do we have of Abraham’s life outside of the biblical accounts? Not surprisingly, the answer is “None,” if we are seeking direct evidence. We have no birth certificate, marriage certificate or newspaper obituary. Such did not exist in his day. Interestingly, some scholars regard this lack of direct evidence as substantiation to their theory that Abraham was a fiction, not a real person. Yet, the absence of such information is not odd. Should such information ever be found, that would be the oddity.

Join Mark Lanier as we work through Abraham’s life, adding information and insight we get from various archaeological finds.  We begin our story in Genesis 11:27 and follow through until Genesis 25:11.

535 Lesson 6 - Abraham, Archaeology and History - Part 2 06/06/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Going back into early civilization, when houses and even cities were razed, burned, or destroyed, they were not scraped off the ground for new construction. Instead, the new construction generally went on top of the old. Over time, this produced small hills for the cities and towns. When these towns were abandoned, those hills would accumulate dirt and eventually become solid hills that covered any history of ever existing as a community.

As we work through the archaeology of Abraham’s time period, we begin to consider certain materials found at various ancient digs. The limited nature of the digs necessarily limits the available material. Still, there is more than enough to enrich our understanding of Abraham, as well as to confirm our belief in the historical timeliness of the stories as told in Scripture.

536 Lesson 7 - Isaac and Links in a Chain 06/13/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Think for a moment about a heavy metal chain – the kind that holds up a heavy load. These are chains that get used to protect people from suspended items that are dangerously heavy.

Which link is the most important?

We come to this illustration as we discuss what Genesis teaches about Isaac. Isaac is a link in the promise of God to bring a successful resolution to the problems brought about by the sin in the garden.  However, it is surprising that Genesis spends relatively little time on Isaac independent of others in Genesis. We read of Isaac as a passive part of the story of Abraham’s obedient willingness to sacrifice him to God. We will also read of Isaac as a role player in the struggle between Jacob and Esau, but we read relatively little that focuses directly on Isaac and his direct interactions with God.

However, this does not diminish the importance of Isaac as a link in the chain.

580 Lesson 23 - A Warrior God? - Part 1 12/04/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Man seeks to create God in man's image.  We constantly hold God to our internal moral standards of right and wrong. Whatever we think is right, we expect of God. Whatever we think is wrong, we disassociate from God.

Join Mark Lanier as we look at the lessons of Joshua, and focus on the issue of God as warrior. In this two part series we examine the actions and instructions attributed to God which seem contrary to both our moral expectations of God and to the teachings of God in the New Testament (and other parts of the Old Testament) as a God of love, long-suffering and patient, seeking redemption rather than revenge.

537 Lesson 8 - Jacob and Faith - Part 1 06/20/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Faith is like racquetball in some ways, and yet, it is very different in others. Like racquetball, faith is a personal matter; it is not a team sport. Each of us has our individual faith walk with the Lord. There are times where we are on our game, where our intimacy with the Father is warmly felt, and consciously confirmed. Then, other times we are “off.” The warmth is not so great, and doubts crowd the mind.

Unlike racquetball, faith is not easily measured with objective results. Some people are quick to openly discuss such things, as time and opportunity appear. But for most, there never is a full disclosure, no real ability to measure or appraise “where we are” versus where others are. Consider in this vein, the life of Jacob. We read of Jacob in over ten chapters of Genesis, yet to the extent we know the stories, we carry presuppositions that make it hard for us to fully understand who he was and what struggles he had in his life.

Join Mark Lanier in part one of "Jacob and Faith" as we better appreciate Jacob's life story in Scripture, his struggle with God, and the choices of life.  He had faith, yet he lived in ways and made choices that have made scholars uncomfortable for thousands of years. As we study and consider Jacob, it is instructive to understand not just his story, but also how that story compares to our lives.

538 Lesson 8 - Jacob and Faith - Part 2 06/27/2010 Steve Taylor

Every story needs a protagonist (the hero), something the hero desperately wants (a quest), a danger faced by the hero, and a robust antagonist (the person we love to hate!). Do you know an antagonist?  Perhaps a neighbor across the street, a co-worker, or maybe even a boss?

In part two of our lesson on "Jacob and Faith," Steve Taylor teaches us Jacob was the perfect antagonist in the real life story revealed in Genesis 25-32. Only four verses into his biography, we see Jacob demonstrating a penchant for manipulating others – revealed by the story of his purchasing Esau’s birthright for a bowl of lentil stew!  Join Steve as we learn more about the antagonist, Jacob.

539 Lesson 9 - The Tribes of Israel 07/12/2010 Dale Hearn

There are parts of the Old Testament that are absolutely inspiring. Familiar stories, parts of Isaiah, and the Psalms and Proverbs are among them. The book of Nehemiah. Have you ever been guilty of “skipping over” some parts of the Old Testament that you thought were boring or simply did not understand? You are not alone!  It is especially easy to get frustrated by the long lists of names in genealogies, and wonder, why are they in here? Who cares what these guys’ names are.

Join Dale Hearn as he looks at a passage that is often overlooked, The Blessings of Jacob, Genesis 49.

In our lesson today, we will study the plan that God had for Jacob’s 12 sons, who eventually became the 12 tribes of Israel. In essence we will look at Jacob’s Last Will and Testament.

540 Lesson 10 - Joseph: The Background Story 07/20/2010 W. Mark Lanier

There is no way to go back and relive an earlier moment. You can savor the moment in your memory, but you cannot relive it. Life has no rewind button.

This is a pity in many ways. Wouldn't it be nice if life had a rewind button. There are mistakes that could be fixed, good times that could be relived, missed opportunities that could be seized, needless worries that could be dismissed, and occasionally new insights that could be brought to bear.

Now consider the Joseph story, the desire for a rewind button surely would have been nice for Joseph's brothers! Join Mark Lanier as we search for the "rewind button" and learn more about the background of "The Joseph Story."

541 Lesson 11 - Joseph/Moses: Archeology and Egypt - Part 1 07/27/2010 W. Mark Lanier

In 1997, an annual research seminar was conducted at the University College in London, England. The subject was: The Origin of Early Israel—Current Debate: Biblical, Historical and Archaeological Perspectives. The study reflected a sharp division among scholars over the genesis of the Jews as a people. This division still exists among academics that argue for and against the Abrahamic start of the Jews, the issues of the Egyptian background as provided in the Bible, how the Israelites came to inhabit Canaan (swift military conquest or nomadic infiltration?), and even whether King David existed.

Join Mark Lanier in his compelling response to the critics of the Scripture's account of the Jewish people and the Exodus.  We will explore the issue in two parts.  First, by carefully examining the qualifications and motives of the authors’ opinions. Second, by examining the opinions, carefully weighing their merit both against common sense and against the thoughts of other experts in the area.

542 Lesson 12 - Moses 08/03/2010 Steve Taylor

Has your Christian walk experienced success AND failure?  Sometimes our walk can be wonderful, exciting, and aw-inspiring.  Sometimes, it can be miserable and difficult to endure.

The problem really is not what we go through, it is our perspective of the One overseeing the journey. Simply put, God often works outside the things we can see with our eyes, touch with our hands, or understand with our minds, and that makes us feel that He must not be aware of our situation. If only God would offer an explanation for it. If only we understood the reason. If only we knew why. If only.

Israel had a deliverer who experienced moments like these.  We know of him as Moses, the man who led the nation of Israel out of Egypt and met with God on Mt. Sinai.  Join Steve Taylor as we explore what made Moses the man of God that he became. And maybe more importantly, what, if anything, does Moses life mean for our own walk with God?

545 Lesson 11 - Joseph/Moses: Archeology and Egypt - Part 2 08/13/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Have you ever played the game of "Clue?"  Clue is a logical deduction game where clues unfold helping you determine who committed the murder, which weapon was used, and where the murder was committed.

“Colonel Mustard did it with a candlestick in the study” might be the answer. Or perhaps it was Professor Plum.

As you assemble the clues, you are in a race to deduce the solution before the other players. The race can sometimes make you guess the answer without all the support you need to have certainty.

The practical effect of the game was that guessing before a final solution was clear always left the possibility of guessing wrong, even though you were able to eliminate 90 percent of the options.

In the real world, it is rarely as simple as the game of Clue. Join Mark Lanier as we consider Israel’s exodus from Egypt, and ask questions like:

  • Who was Pharaoh when Joseph went to Egypt?

  • Who was the Pharaoh of the exodus?

  • When did the exodus occur?

547 Lesson 13 - Exodus 08/22/2010 W. Mark Lanier

On the rugged steps of Mount Sinai, Helen, the mother of Constantine the Great, established an early Christian monastery. The building site was immediately adjacent to a bush that the local people believed to be the bush that “was burning, yet was not consumed” (Ex. 3:2).

The exodus story is replete with events that foreshadow the life of Christ, the walk of the believer, and the practice of the church. There are so many, we will narrow our focus somewhat in this lesson by Mark Lanier. We will dwell on some of the wonderful lessons for the church that are set within this historical story of Israel. As this lesson continues a story line of the Exodus carried forward in earlier lessons, we begin by taking the narrative past the night of the Passover.

546 Lesson 11 - Joseph/Moses: Archeology and Egypt - Part 3 08/15/2010 W. Mark Lanier

A trip to the Cairo Museum feels like a visit to a movie set. You are transported immediately into an ancient world, where monuments, statues, and paintings stir up clear images of history from thousands and thousands of years ago. The most stunning and moving exhibit is the room of mummies.

There is one mummy worth seeing more than all the others: Ramesses II. Many scholars believe this was the man before whom Moses stood and demanded the release of God’s people from the bonds of slavery. Was Ramesses II the Pharaoh of the exodus? We cannot say with certainty.

Join Mark Lanier as we continue to look at the archaeology and the Biblical passages consistent wtih the Ramesses II view.
555 Lesson 14 - The Ten Commandments 09/05/2010 Stephen Trammell

God originated covenant relationships. He values community and creates unity in the midst of diversity. God pursued the children of Israel with His redeeming love. He allowed Moses to experience forty years in the palace and then another forty years in the desert.

There were some things God wanted to teach Moses in the desert that he could not learn in the palace. After his burning bush experience, Moses sought to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God unleashed His miracle working power through Moses and enabled the children of Israel to cross the Re(e)d Sea on dry ground. As Israel entered the Desert of Sinai, they camped in front of the mountain.

Join Pastor Stephen Trammel as we learn how God was moving them out of idolatry and establishing their identity as the people of God. Now that they had been delivered out of Egypt, it was time to deliver Egypt out of them. God invited Moses to come up the mountain and receive the Law that we commonly refer to as The Ten Commandments.

556 Lesson 15 - Exodus and Archaeology 09/11/2010 W. Mark Lanier

We live in a numbers age. Many of us, have a driver’s license number, a social security number, a PIN number, numerical passwords, numbered bank accounts, credit card numbers, a house number, a zip code number, etc.,—more numbers than we can count!

If we go further back in history to ancient Israel, then we find still a different time numerically. The ancient Hebrew language had words for numbers, but they were much more limited than the Greeks or Romans. The Ancient Near Eastern societies were not built around numbers the way ours is today.

Mark Lanier reminds us we always need to be careful to seek first to understand Scripture within its own historical context and frame of reference, for God placed his revelation in historical interactions with his people. This care becomes especially relevant as we conclude our study of the Scriptural account of the exodus in relation to archaeological evidence.


557 Lesson 16 - Jewish Holy Days 09/18/2010 W. Mark Lanier

During a recent discussion on the significance of each Jewish holy day, a devout Jew responded at one point saying, “As a general rule, most Jewish holidays follow a simple formula—they tried to kill us, they didn’t succeed, let’s eat.”  While there is certainly an element of humor in the comment, there is also an element of seriousness because many of the holidays do derive from efforts to stamp out the Jewish people.

Join Mark Lanier as we push deeper into the Jewish holidays.  A set of those holidays falls in rapid succession during each autumn, beginning with the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah1) and ending with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur2).

It is to those fall holidays authorized by God, given to Moses, that we turn our attention today. As we do so, we will examine not only the biblical basis for the holidays, but also any references by the New Testament and the practice of Jesus, as well as the current practices of Jews and implications for Christians today.

558 Lesson 17 - The Pentateuch Laws 09/26/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Is it an easy question: What is the Law? If we narrow our question to the first five books of the Bible, can we simply say the law is where God instructed his people to do something? Do we think one part of the law is more important than another? Are the Ten Commandments some kind or level of “law” superior to another? How are the laws written? Are the most important ones given first? Do they march through some logical order, whether alphabetical or by subject matter?

Join Mark Lanier in our discussion the law as given to Moses, both in general as well as a few “problem laws” brought up by class members for discussion.

559 Lesson 18 - The Tabernacle 10/02/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Have you heard any of the frequent news stories about some wonderful and devout person finding images of Mary or Christ in everthing from potato chips to pizza pans?!  While these may seem a bit far fetched to many, we need to be careful in judging too quickly lest we find ourselves guilty of the same thing, theologically.

Many wonderful, well-meaning people find pictures, images, and archetypes in Old Testament figures and stories as they relate to our New Testament theology.  This does not mean that these stories don't exist and we shouldn't be taught by them.  Instead it means we should proceed with caution!

Join Mark Lanier as we explore one such story, "The Tabernacle."  We will observe lessons and parallels given in New Testament Scripture and see several other apparent relationships that seem present, but may need to be carefully reconsidered.

564 Lesson 19 - Journey Stories - Part 1 10/10/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Life is a journey.  It is a journey that can have wonderful things in store, even when difficulties arise.

Journey themes resonate because we recognize that all of us are at some stage in a journey we call our life. We may be at the start, the middle, or the end. The journey may be uphill or downhill. It may be a lonely journey or one with close company. We all understand the idea of a journey, however, and we can look at our own lives or the lives of others for inspiration, success stories, and warnings.

Join Mark Lanier in our three part study of "Lessons from the Journey."  We will consider some of the journey lessons of the Israelites as they journey from Egypt, through the wilderness, and finally into the Promised Land.  As we learn their stories, we can personalize lessons for our own individual journeys home to the Father.

565 Lesson 19 - Journey Stories - Part 2 10/17/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Ah, the good old days!?  We all have stories of the good old days.  Some recount a time of simple bliss and joy.  Others recount a time of difficulty and hardship.  Often upon careful, truthful reflection we find that the good old days in reality aren't quite the way we remember them!

Join Mark Lanier in part two of "Lessons from the Journey" as we consider a few additional vignettes as part of our "journey musings" of the Israelites journeying from Egypt to the Promised Land.

567 Lesson 19 - Journey Stories - Part 3 10/24/2010 W. Mark Lanier

During this three part series we have been using a “journey theme” to catch the necessary historical narratives of the Israelites going from Egypt, through forty years in the wilderness, and finally into the Promised Land. As we consider their journey, we have highlighted selected vignettes in ways that draw lessons for life in our individual journeys with the Lord.

Join Mark Lanier in this final lesson on "Journey Stories", as we try to draw these vignettes to a close and bring the Israelites “home.”

571 Lesson 20 - Joshua and the Promised Land - Part 1 10/30/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Perception is a funny thing.  We often hear that perception is reality.  Unfortunately for many of us the quest for reality stops with our perception.  Usually there is so much more depth to reality and truth than just mere perception.

For example, as we contemplate the Israelites’ invasion of the Promised Land, some of us have perceptions that are not necessarily reflective of what the Bible teaches. It is probably true for many even in the world of scholastic research and writing.

Join Mark Lanier as we begin a three part series on "Joshua and the Promised Land".  In part one we focus on the interaction between archaeology and the Bible’s account of the Israelites’ settlement of the Promised Land in the book of Joshua, understanding that we need to first carefully consider what the Bible has to say about the subject and then we need our perceptions of Biblical teaching aligned with the reality of Biblical teaching.

572 Lesson 20 - Joshua and the Promised Land - Part 2 11/06/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Are you familiar with Father Guido Sarducci's sketch from the 1970's where he offers his five-minute university degree?  He humorously taught us that there are a limited number of things we will remember five years after graduating from college.  So, why bother learning the entire subject, let's just learn what we will remember five years later.

As Mark Lanier continues in Part 2 of "Joshua and the Promised Land" we attempt to go just a little deeper than Father Guido Sarducci might recommend.  We hope to open a door to understanding the issues behind the archaeological record of Joshua and Jericho.  We will compare the archaeological findings to the data supplied in the Bible. This means exploring some of the more important finds, and discussing the interpretations of those finds. Rarely is a finding absolute in its import or meaning, and often a great deal of interpretation is involved, giving a range of possible understandings.

Join Mark as he suggests that the main use for archaeology is to put Biblical stories and passages into a cultural context so that they can better be understood. As our vision of the physical and cultural background to the Bible expands, so does our understanding of the Bible passages written within that background.

573 Lesson 20 - Joshua and the Promised Land - Part 3 11/13/2010 W. Mark Lanier

One of the more amazing Bible stories we learn as children is the battle of Jericho.  We even have a song to help us remember the event, "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down."

Why is ths story one of such foundational understanding in our youth?  It certainly makes for great story telling.  It underscores the hand of God on the people of Israel and their new leader Joshua.  But does the archaeological record support such a story?

Join Mark Lanier for Part 3 of "Joshua and the Promised Land" as we explore the opinions, archaeological record, and evidence of this Old Testament account of history.  Through it all we will discover that nothing in the archaeological record destroys or proves our faith.

577 Lesson 21 - Journey Lessons from Joshua 11/20/2010 Steve Taylor

Have you ever used the phrase, "Do Over!"?  Or played the game of golf and declared "Mulligan" after hitting a bad shot?  For God, we understand these concepts as "Grace."  A wonderful second chance to do what is right in the eyes of God.

Join Steve Taylor as we look at the lessons to be learned from Joshua as he leads the nation of Israel in their journey after the death of Moses.  A journey that should have taken one year had instead taken forty, all because of some terribly wrong choices. But instead of completely abandoning the Israelites, God gave them a second chance of sorts – a do-over, a mulligan. Here was their second chance to enter the land that God had promised them through Abraham and Moses, to see God work in ways that only God could work, and to be a testimony to the world of what a great God He is.

578 Lesson 22 - Ruth 11/23/2010 Dale Hearn

There is a Hebrew word, Hesed, that is difficult to translate into English.  However, there are many people who live their lives showing hesed to people around them.  When a couple gives their vows in marriage they often express the concept of hesed.  So, what is the meaning of this word, hesed, and how does it relate to my life?

Join Dale Hearn as we study the book of Ruth.  Through the story of Ruth we understand that hesed is a Hebrew word that describes the indescribable, that defines the un-definable. Put simply, hesed is the defining characteristic of God in the Old Testament. It is a key to opening the mysterious door to understanding who God really is.

581 Lesson 23 - A Warrior God? - Part 2 12/12/2010 W. Mark Lanier

Have you ever cried out, "Why God?!"  When we cry out, "Why God?" we do so from within our moment in history and eternity that we are living.  Jesus Christ taught us directly and by example that crying out to God is both appropriate and important.

Join Mark Lanier In Part 2 of "A Warrior God?" as we approach the problem of how does a God of love, a God who teaches love for enemies, a God who teaches some measure of personal pacifism, a God who says we will be known by the love we show – how does this same God command complete destruction and annihilation of the enemies of God?

583 Lesson 24 - Judges - Part 1: Introduction 01/01/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Judge Roy Bean was, by his own proclamation, the “Law West of the Pecos.” History records some bizarre judgments issuing forth from Judge Bean and his courtroom (his saloon, the “Jersey Lilly”).

As bizarre as some of Judge Roy Bean's judgements might have been, we find an even more unusual association with judges found in the Old Testament.  In the Biblical book "Judges", we find stories so far removed from today's civilization that some are hard to understand.

Join Mark Lanier over the next three lessons as we study this book.  We will begin with a general overview, setting out the stories in a rhythm in which they appear. In the second and third parts of our study, we will focus on understanding issues of authorship and on the archaeology presented by the book.

584 Lesson 24 - Judges - Part 2: Authorship and Focus 01/08/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Authorship of the book of Judges is no easy question because no human author is identified internally in the book. No one is able to give 100 percent certainty on what human wrote the book of Judges.

Therefore, a fair first question is: why do we care who wrote it? The answer lies, in part at least, in recognizing that whom the author is (at least in function if not in name) might help in understanding why the book of Judges was written. When we discern the purpose behind the book, we should understand much better how to read and understand the book.

Join Mark Lanier in part two of Judges and see if we can determine who wrote Judges and what their purpose likely was.

585 Lesson 24 - Judges - Part 3: Archaeology 01/16/2011 W. Mark Lanier

In a courtroom, a lawyer must learn how to handle the facts.  The good facts, the bad facts, and the facts that have no bearing on his case.  So, how does a good attorney handle all of the facts of the case?  According to Mark Lanier, trial lawyer and lecturer, the best way to do this is to recognize all of the facts.  All of the facts make up the whole story.  Therefore all of the facts make up the truth!

This same principle applies to archaeology, specificaly, biblical archaeology and even more specifically, archaeological issues surrounding the book of Judges.  Join Mark Lanier as he presents the archaeological evidence surrounding Judges and suggests the evidence is not to be used to prove the Bible. Instead, its best service is to help put the Bible into an historical context for increased understanding.

587 Lesson 24 - Judges - Part 4: Summation 01/23/2011 W. Mark Lanier

A main operation of the American court system is to re-construct history, then applying justice to "fix" the problems that occurred. The process is consistent: the lawyers research the evidence, the experts express their opinions, the experts opinions are tested both for consistency as well as bias, and the case is then presented to a jury (or sometimes a judge). After all the evidence and expert testimony is given to the jurors, lawyers are called upon to give a closing argument. The closing argument is each lawyer‘s chance to summarize the evidence and advocate his or her respective positions.

Join Mark Lanier as he gives a closing argument about the Israelite settlement of the Promised Land. The goal is not to bring the legal system into the church. The goal is to use a means that centuries of development and refinement has found to be extremely productive and reliable for finding accurate historical reconstruction in an effort to set out a possible scenario for the history at issue here.

"May it please the Court..."

588 Lesson 25 - I Samuel - Part 1: A Study in Contrasts 01/29/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Contrast sets one thing against another to give definition, meaning, insight, greater understanding, and clarity. In design work, good contrast is key.

Even beyond the tangible, however, contrast helps clarify meaning. Sometimes theologians find it easier to say what God is not, rather than simply what God is!

Using contrast, Mark Lanier approaches this introductory lesson on First Samuel. In the process of establishing the storyline in Samuel, we readily see the text teaching by way of contrasts. Join Mark as he highlights these contrasts after moving through the basic elements of the storyline.

594 Lesson 26 - 2 Samuel - Part 1: David - The Bathsheba Affair 02/12/2011 W. Mark Lanier

In 1683, the University of Oxford conducted the last book burning sanctioned by the government in England.  One of the books banned and burned was Lex, Rex, written by the Scottish Presbyterian Samuel Rutherford.  In his book Rutherford wrote, "The law hath a supremacy of constitution above the king." In substantiating his argument, Rutherford quoted the Biblical account of King Saul. Rutherford believed that the law is over the king rather than the king over the law.

As Mark Lanier considers David in this lesson, we see that David found a time where he violated in rapid succession three of the Ten Commandments, but not without dire consequence to him and to his family. For David, as for all rulers, God’s authority trumps that of the king!

593 Lesson 25 - 1 Samuel - Part 2: Vignettes 02/04/2011 W. Mark Lanier

There are great stories in 1 Samuel as the life of David unfolds.  For example, David annointed King, David and Goliath, Saul and David and their stormy relationship, and the friendship between David and Jonathan.

Most of these stories are well known, but still well worth our study.  Join Mark Lanier as he uses each selection to focus on some useful insights for life.

597 Lesson 26 - 2 Samuel - Part 2: David - the Census 02/19/2011 W. Mark Lanier

On January 12, 1966, the first episode of Batman appeared on television.  The first episode was entitled "Hi Diddle Riddle" and featured the Riddler.  Batman and Robin would work to solve the Riddles, frequently using a master computer in the Batcave!

Beyond the fiction of television, most serious Bible students will come across passages of Scripture that seem perplexing and riddling in meaning. Consider the passages that pertain to David and the census in 2 Samuel 24 and in 1 Chronicles 21. There are some rather stark differences in these two accounts, which leave the reader puzzling, “What really happened?”

Join Mark Lanier and see if we can answer the question.

600 Lesson 26 - 2 Samuel - Part 3: David - the Intimate of God 02/26/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Adolescence can often be a trying time.  Friends come and go.  Cliques are formed, including some and excluding others.  Establishing intimate friendships that last is often difficult.

Fortunately God has created in us an ability to communicate wtih him in all circumstances.  We can laugh with him, we can lament with him.  We can rely on him 24/7!

Join Mark Lanier as he recounts these types of personal memories and also explores the intimacy David shares with God.  May the lesson of David's intimacy with God encourage others to find the abiding and reliable relationship that God wishes to have with all his creations.

601 Lesson 27 - The House of David 03/06/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Throughout the life of David, the life of his son Solomon, the days of the monarchy, the days of the latter prophets, and into the New Testament, the beyt David, the house of David, carried special significance not simply as some physical building, nor as the extended family group living together, but of a legacy of promise. This legacy was not simply a genetic promise, but was an assurance that God was at work doing something extraordinary of eternal significance in the beyt David.

Join Mark Lanier in a unique lesson on the House of Daivd and a brief foundation in understanding the Hebrew alphabet.

605 Lesson 28 - The Temple of Yhwh 03/12/2011 W. Mark Lanier

The English letters Yhvw don't appear to form a sensible word.  There are no vowels as we would expect in our English language.  Yet, for centuries and for countless people, they form the most holy word in human speech. The word is so holy that many people refuse to say it out loud.

Follow along as Mark Lanier walks us through the next four letters of the Hebrew alphabet and explores how Solomon started construction on the temple as beyt Yhvw, the house of the LORD. This phrase is used over and over in reference to the temple, not simply by Solomon but by others in the Old Testament as well. The phrase is best understood if we study Yhvh a bit more carefully.

606 Lesson 29 - Solomon – Part 1 03/19/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Scripture tells us that “Solomon loved Yahweh” (1 Kings 3:3), and we read of some wonderful things about Solomon in that regard. Yet Solomon had some serious flaws too.

Over and over we read wonderful things about Solomon only to be followed or interspersed with subtly negative and, at times, openly appalling things.

What happened? What could make a good wise king go so bad? Join Mark Lanier as we study the story of Solomon.

607 Lesson 29 - Solomon – Part 2 03/26/2011 W. Mark Lanier

When you were growing up, did you ever imagine finding Aladdin’s magical lamp? This was the lamp that, when rubbed, produced a genie that would grant the holder three wishes.

This childhood experience comes to mind this week as we study Solomon and wisdom. Join Mark Lanier as we examine the story of God’s giving Solomon wisdom, along with a review of what is and is not “wisdom” within the Biblical context.

608 Lesson 30 - Archaeology and the Early Monarchy 04/02/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Recently the Internet headlines call out:

"Could lead codices prove ‘the major discovery of Christian history?"  "Could this be the biggest find since the Dead Sea Scrolls? Seventy metal books found in cave in Jordan could change our view of Biblical history"  "Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relics."


These small, credit card sized books have a long road before they serve us in understanding Biblical history and the history of our faith. There always seems to be a set of scholars who have made up their minds in one direction or another, and archaeology often gets interpreted through the scholars’ lenses of pre-determined conclusions. Some great examples arise on the issue of archaeology and the early monarchy.

Join Mark Lanier as we consider some of the issues facing archaeology and the proper interpretation of the ancient and recent discoveries in Biblical lands.


609 Lesson 31- The Divided Kingdom - The Power of Counsel 04/09/2011 W. Mark Lanier

We all make choices day in and day out. Many times these choices are not made in a vacuum. Frequently advice and counsel are offered, sometimes unsolicited! It would be nice to have a silver-bullet answer that is a definite winner every time a decision is needed. But life is not like that. God has not made us machines where we have no need to think, no need to learn, no need to process, no need to pray, and no need to grow. This life is one of decisions and one of learning how to make them wisely.

We all get advice and give advice. How we should process that advice is a focus of this lesson as we walk through the history of the monarchy and the divisions after Solomon.

610 Lesson 30 - Archaeology and the Early Monarchy Part 2 04/16/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Interest in things ancient, especially as they relate to matters of faith is at an all time high. Believer and non-believer alike are fascinated to see the evidences, and lack of evidences, that substantiate or bring into question, matters of faith.

Every believer is encouraged by rational reasons to believe. Every non- believer is similarly encouraged by rational reasons for their “faith” in having no faith!

There is another interest for the believer beyond added confidence. It is the insight into faith that comes from the study of history. History, through the lens of archaeology or ancient writings, informs our faith with context and greater layers of understanding. Join Mark Lanier as we attempt to understand that archaeology’s greatest service to Scripture is informing our understanding by providing a contextual framework.

614 Lesson 32 - The Divided Monarchy - Part 1: Civil War 04/30/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Have you ever heard the term, "narcissism?"  The condition references an overwening preoccupation with oneself.  How do we battle our tendency to see the world through our own lens? How do we avoid the problem of narcissism, so confident and proud in who we are and what we think that we can give credit to no one else?

Sometimes it seems as if people think they have outgrown the biblical basics of God. In the face of this, the Biblical narratives cry out. They proclaim the truth of God in his revelation. God is a truth that one does not outgrow, does not out think, and does not put in its place.

Join us as Mark Lanier explores how Jeroboam discovers that God cannot be fooled!


616 Lesson 32 - The Divided Monarchy - Part 2: Civil War Concluded 05/07/2011 W. Mark Lanier

We have a tendency to read the Bible and understand many of the events to be “holy stories” removed from the real-life experiences of every day. Biblical stories are indeed “holy stories,” but they are holy stories that were real life experiences in an everyday world.

We live the same real life as the people we find in the Bible, and holy stories are no less a part of our biographies. We understand this better as we examine the biblical stories in their everyday context. Because Israel and Judah were political entities, as well as a collection of individuals, part of the everyday context includes the political factors.

This is an important starting point as we try to better understand the life of Iron Age Biblical stories.  Join Mark Lanier as we study the Divided Monarchy - The Civil War Concluded.

617 Lesson 33 - Elijah 05/15/2011 Stephen Trammell

Have you ever placed conditions on God?  Have you ever said, "I'll go when God does something for me?"  If you have, rest assured you aren't the first.  However, in the Bible, we find someone who did not place conditions on God - Elijah.

What if Elijah had placed conditions on God? Would we have the wonderful testimony of God’s faithfulness as exhibited by Elijah’s fresh encounters with God? Elijah was willing to take God at His word and to trust God’s impeccable timing!

Join Pastor Stephen Trammel as he explores Elijah’s life and ministry and be reminded of God’s faithfulness to accomplish His plan.

619 Lesson 34 - Part 1 Introduction to the Prophets 05/21/2011 W. Mark Lanier

How do our modern day prophets compare to the prophets of the Old Testament? You know the kind, they proclaim loudly that dooms day will occur on May 21st (or some other prediction for the future that often comes and goes with no resulting fulfillment of the prophetic predicition!)  People seem to search for someone who can be a predictor of the future, whether from reading cards, palms, or other signs and indicators.

Is this what a Biblical prophet was?

Join Mark Lanier as we continue our Old Testament survey, focusing on the prophets. In Kings, the prophets begin to take a central role in the interaction of the Israelites with God and with the world. We will take this lesson to introduce the prophets examining in overview their function in Scripture and the life of Israel and Judah.

620 Lesson 35 - The Divided Monarchy: Na’aman 05/28/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Join Mark Lanier as we take an interesting approach to three narratives in 2 Kings.  By continuing our study of the Hebrew alphabet we look at three questions that you have most likely never heard before!

Who is at your Petach?

Was Jehu a Tzadik?

Is the Qol Music or Noise?

Intrigued?  Follow along and learn more!

627 Lesson 36 - Jonah - Part 1 06/10/2011 W. Mark Lanier

One of the first questions often posed in a discussion on Jonah is, “Was it real?” People debate whether the story is a factual account of a large fish gobbling and then regurgitating Jonah or whether it is more akin to a C.S. Lewis story that has true lessons to teach, using a story medium to convey them (think Chronicles of Narnia or The Great Divorce). That is a subject that is almost moot to discuss. (God certainly has the ability to make a fish grand enough to accomplish the task.  He is God!)

Our goal needs to be to understand the narrative for its purposes rather than to debate the feasibility of the events. This is especially important as Mark Lanier considers the book of Jonah. This book has some incredible Hebrew word play, some very important messages both for Israel in its day and for the church in perpetuity, and it asks questions on an individual level that challenge people who wish to live right before God.

628 Lesson 36 - Jonah - Part 2 06/18/2011 W. Mark Lanier

In Part 2 of Jonah, Mark Lanier explores several more themes, some particular details apparent in the Hebrew reading of the book, and the New Testament usages of Jonah, along with certain parallels found there.

629 Lesson 37 - Amos - Part 1 06/25/2011 W. Mark Lanier

The United States of America is a country that prides itself on independence, freedom, equality, and economics. The American economic system is termed “capitalism.” It is a free enterprise system that allows the market to dictate prices for goods and services. People are allowed to work in this system for their own individual prosperity. The good side of capitalism is its ability to raise the level of life for everyone in a society, as raising water lifts every boat. Left without some manner of regulation, however, capitalism can lead to the wealthy preying upon the poor, letting “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” In a land of opportunity, many believe that kind of unfettered capitalism can be abusive.

These ideas come to the front as Mark Lanier combines a lesson that teaches the last three letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and begins the study of the prophet Amos.

630 Lesson 37 - Amos - Part 2 07/02/2011 W. Mark Lanier

There are many areas in our world that need the light of God shining and illuminating the dark corners of sin, hypocrisy, and ignorance. Racism has no part among God’s people, nor does abuse of the poor. These are social messages, but that does not relegate them as distant concerns of God. As Mark Lanier returns to finish a study of Amos, we are reminded that God is not simply concerned about the personal sins of one’s life. God is also concerned with our corporate and social interactions on a larger scale.

God cares about the justice in our society. He cares for the poor and downtrodden. He cares for the outcast and the alien. When God’s people do not care as he does, the words of Amos ring with direct confrontation and super clarity.

631 Lesson 38 - Psalms - Part 1 07/09/2011 W. Mark Lanier

How would you rate your knowledge of poetry?  Is your knowledge limited to "The Night Before Christmas" or the always popular, "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue...?"  Or maybe you are a true connoisseur of Shakespear's sonnets, of iambic pentameter, and various rhyming schemes.  Or maybe you haven't given poetry much thought at all.  As a student of the Bible, you are faced with reading and understanding poetry, no matter your expertise.

As Mark Lanier begins a multi-part study of Psalms, we begin by learning that the Psalms are poetry.  Yet they are not simply expressions of the heart and mind, but they are also tools of teaching. They inspire as they increase our understanding of God and man. The insights that can come from deliberative chewing on the messages within the simplest of verses, heightens the appreciation that God has used many different literary tools to present his revelation to humanity.


634 Lesson 39 - Psalms and Your Daily Quiet TIme 07/19/2011 Stephen Trammell

God rewards motion. We are made to move. We are made to grow. God expects us to embrace a lifestyle of physical fitness to take care of His temple, namely, our bodies. God also expects us to embrace a lifestyle of spiritual fitness.

You determine the level of intimacy with God. Be creative and plan for your daily time alone with the Lord. Embrace spiritual fitness and watch what God does to bring you to a new level in your love relationship with Him. Join Executive Pastor, Dr. Stephen Trammell, as he offers practical insight for enhancing your daily quiet time through the Psalms.


635 Lesson 40 - Psalm 1: A Song of Glorious Satisfaction 07/24/2011 Jared Richard

Who wants to be happy? Who wants to have an indescribable, infinite joy that forms the foundation of who you are? Doesn’t everybody? Isn’t everyone looking for happiness? Isn’t everyone looking for a joy that will sustain them and give meaning to their life?

Of course, the obvious answer to the above questions is “Yes!” We look for these seemingly scarce sources of substantial satisfaction in a number of places.  Join Associate Pastor, Jared Richard as he argues that Psalm 1 is a prologue to our lives, describing for the reader how to find true, sustained happiness by living as God created us to live: for his glory, which we accomplish by being fully satisfied in him.

636 Lesson 38 - Psalms - Part 2 07/31/2011 W. Mark Lanier

We live in an era of classifications. Since the advent of the scientific age, scholars have worked to classify most every aspect of life. Organisms are classified by species and genus. Food groups are vegetables, dairy, grains, and meats. We have the cosmos classified by galaxies and solar systems.

It is not surprising to find out that some scholars have worked to classify the Psalms into various types. These divisions are wonderful means to help understand how Psalms are put together, how they function and were used, and how we should interpret and apply them today. The only catch is that a system of classifications is never able to really hold all the Psalms.

In this lesson, Mark Lanier explores the Psalms by category, looking to see what insight might be gleamed.

656 Lesson 45 - The Fall of Israel: The End of Ten Tribes - Part 3 10/08/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Repeatedly, we make choices and live with the consequences. Sometimes life seems more like a rat’s treadmill where we run without regard to destination, simply doing what comes natural. Yet the story of Israel should shout sense to us. Life is not simply a treadmill. We really do have choices. These choices are real, and they affect our lives and the world.

Join us for Part 3 in "The Fall of Israel" as we continue to piece together the story of Assyria and Israel.

637 Lesson 41- Proverbs - Lessons for Life 08/06/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Setting aside the Bible for a moment, if there is a Supreme Being, and if he is able to communicate, and if he created humanity, it would seem logical that the Supreme Being would reach out and communicate with humanity. Francis A. Schaeffer expressed the principle that a personal communicating God would certainly want to communicate to the personal communicating beings he created.

Now, picking up the Bible we find that it explains that God has communicated directly, through his creation, through others, and in so doing, he has set out a revelation of historical interactions with mankind. Among God’s communications in Scripture is the book of Proverbs. This is a book where we read principles of behavior and instructions for wise living. These are concepts that understandably a communicating God would want to give to his people. They are also concepts that are applicable, and to some extent evidenced, by the lives of all peoples, whether Godly or not. Join Mark Lanier and find out why the book of Proverbs has always been associated with wisdom for living.

641 Lesson 42 - Ecclesiastes - All is Vanity? 08/13/2011 W. Mark Lanier

How does one chart what is good and worthwhile if there is no God to orient our compass and give meaning to our pursuits?  Without an adequate measuring rod to define “good,” who is to say? For that matter, if there is no God, then what “virtue” is there in doing well to others when those others are in no position to do good back to you? What is the reason for doing anything beyond securing your own enjoyment in life and that of others you care about? Does not that (and most any other activity) seem to be vain and without real profit?

These questions and issues are not new. They are ones that have probed the thoughts of people going back at least 2500 years. Join Mark Lanier in a study of the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, where we find a reference to life’s vanity and futility.

642 Lesson 43 - Song of Solomon 08/20/2011 W. Mark Lanier

What would you call the "best" music?  Now out of all those songs that might be the "best" of music, can you pick out one song that you can say might be the "best of the best"?

We have in scripture a song that is the highest song. The Song of Solomon.  This is a song that reaches into the heart in allegory and literal truth. It is a song that expresses the heights of love and devotion. It is a song that can be expanded to any time, any era, and any people, in a way that communicates multiple eternal truths of God.

645 Lesson 44 - The Divided Monarchy - Judah - Part 1 08/28/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Historical writing and documentation can take on different forms, depending upon its purpose. It can inspire questions, it can document relationships and activities, it can comment upon events and their causes and results, and it can simply provide interesting and engaging stories. Historical writings need not be resigned to only one category or purpose. Oftentimes, people write with multiple goals in mind.

In this 4 part series on the Divided Monarchy of Judah we will study the history presented, and also study the purposes of the text preserved for us in Holy Scripture.  As Mark Lanier makes his way through the history of Judah, we will see many kings, while not perfect, were recognized for trying to do right before God with a good heart.  A just and noble pursuit we can emulate today!

647 Lesson 44 - The Divided Monarchy - Judah - Part 2 09/04/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Is there any reason to read Scripture? Is there any reason to attend real teachings of Scripture? Is there any reason to have godly counselors and friends? Is there any reason to marry inside the faith?

In Part 2 of "The Divided Monarchy" we explore the stories and the Prophet Historian who shouts, “ABSOLUTELY!”

649 Lesson 44 - The Divided Monarchy - Judah - Part 3 09/10/2011 W. Mark Lanier

There is great value in studying historical events with the understanding and perspective of several different authors.  Join Mark Lanier as he explores the book of Kings and other historical sources in an effort to knit together a full appreciation of the divided monarchy.

Through the views of different authors we can begin to understand the fuller meaning of events.  Such is the book of Kings in the Old Testament.  It is a book that finds its story in the pages of history, even though it was written wtih a purpose that far exceeds simple recitation of historical facts.

650 Lesson 44 - The Divided Monarchy - Judah - Part 4 09/17/2011 W. Mark Lanier

God is not simply a parachute to be pulled out when one is falling to one’s death. Where is God in our life when things are going well? Do we awaken each morning with grateful hearts for the wonderful things we have, including air to breathe and food to eat?!

These attitudes rise to the surface as we consider the life and death of King Azariah (more popularly called “Uzziah”). This king exemplifies the issues of attitude toward God as helper and strength.

651 Lesson 45 - The Fall of Israel: Prelude to the Fall - Part 1 09/24/2011 W. Mark Lanier The way we view events in the world (and in our lives) is subject to our perspective and understanding of the forces that create change. Do we see Biblical events the same? Do we put on the lense of secular perspective or do we put on the lense of spiritual understanding? Or perhaps, we use both lenses to better understand God's purpose and design more fully?

Join Mark Lanier as he begins a three part series on the Fall of Israel. You will gain a historical perspective on Israel's fate and hopefully you will also understand that we are to live right before God, trusting him with the consequences. Our job is to set one foot in front of the other, seeking his will on earth as it is in heaven. In this walk, as we acknowledge him, we trust him to make our paths straight. 

Our goal this first week is to set into perspective the earthly and spiritual perspectives, providing a background for the more in depth considerations in lessons to come.
655 Lesson 45 - The Fall of Israel: The Prophet’s Cry (Hosea) - Part 2 10/02/2011 W. Mark Lanier

In the "game of life" we have many choices to make regarding our occupations and the jobs we wish to pursue.  Should I pursue a career in finance, law, medicine, technology, prophecy... Prophecy?!  In our current time, becoming a prophet is likely very, very far down the list on most career counselor's list of things to do.  Yet there is one man who became a prophet and found the occupation both very difficult and very rewarding.

Today we study Hosea, one of the foundation prophets of Israel in the Old Testament.  Hosea was one in a long line of prophets that were ignored and even persecuted for the sake of the message. Yet his message did not go out and fail to return. Hosea is repeatedly quoted in the New Testament, and his experience forms a basis for better understanding the ultimate act in history, the crucifixion of Christ.

This lesson continues our study of the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

657 Lesson 46 - Assyria and Judah - Part 1 10/16/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Crisis... The very nature of the word illicits a certain fear.  Something has gone wrong.  "Normal" has been replaced by something unexpected, something tragic, something unwanted.  So, how do you navigate through a crisis?  Can you come through a crisis unscathed or will you be changed, perhaps scarred forever?

We turn our attention to the crisis that framed the life of Hezekiah, king of Judah. In his life’s story, we see how he handled crises of monumental proportions, and how he walked away – scarred, but not defeated. We see a king who learned lessons early and found them sustaining him later.

Join Mark Lanier and be encouraged through the lessons Hezekiah has to teach us!

659 Lesson 46 - Assyria and Judah Hezekiah and Manassah - Part 2 10/23/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Que Sera, Sera
Whatever will be, will be The Future’s not ours to see Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt the die was cast? Sometimes, does it seem that life has dealt you a hand that you are stuck with, and no matter what you do, you cannot change what you have before you? Whatever will be, will be, regardless of your decisions and actions?

This futility is not found in the stories we study today. In fact, we see the opposite as we consider part two in the life of Hezekiah and his son, Manasseh.

661 Lesson 46 - Assyria and Judah Through the Eyes of Isaiah Part 3 10/30/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Isaiah is a unique prophet in the way he understands and presents the events facing the people of Israel.  He is not awed by the Assyrians nor does he cower in fear.

But how can he maintain this attitude in the face of certain defeat and annihilation of the people around him?  Perhaps it is because he has seen the Lord in his glory and it changed his perspective.  Listen to Mark Lanier explain Isaiah's perspective and may you understand that God is GOD and any trials or tests you face are simply a tool in God's tollbox for His use as needed.

662 Lesson 47 - Isaiah - Themes 11/13/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Isaiah as a book ranges over a large period of time and reaches back in history to discuss the earliest call of God on his people, even as it reaches into the future to proclaim the coming latter days.

Tied neatly within all these passages is a consistent recognition of God as the Holy One of Israel, before whom we should all fall unclean until cleansed by him.  Listen as Mark Lanier helps us understand that Isaiah wanted us to know that the Lord is our creator, we can trust in him, and in Jesus we will see the fulfillment of God's promised servant, who will bear our transgressions.

664 Lesson 48 - Isaiah Challenge 11/19/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Among bible readers and scholars, the book of Isaiah's popularity is quite famous as one of the Old Testament books that commands attention and respect.

Yet, it is not just biblical students and scholars that pay homage to Isaiah.  The New Testament contains over 40 direct quotes from and nearly 390 allusions to Isaiah. Isaiah accounts for nearly one-fourth of the quotes from the Old Testament in the New Testament.  Over and over significant aspects of western culture have emphasized passages from Isaiah. Isaiah has been subject to many songs, many paintings, and many narratives and stories.

This raises the question: How well do you know the famous sayings of Isaiah? Join us we take the Isaiah challenge in this unique opportunity to sharpen our skills and knowledge of this ancient prophet!

666 Lesson 49 - Micah 12/04/2011 W. Mark Lanier

Who is like YHWH?  Or, who is like God?  What a question, right?  So, how does one answer such an enormous philosophical question?  The old testament prophet Micah answered the question with YHWH himself providing all of the details.

Join Mark Lanier as we focus on the perspectives of Micah's question by considering, the expected and unexpected nature of YHWH, the justice of YHWH, and the mercy of YHWH.

The answer to Micah's question...?  No one is like YHWH!

667 Lesson 50 - Joel 12/11/2011 David Fleming

Earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flooding, drought: What do you think of when you see one of these natural events occurring in our world? Do you write it off as naturally occurring events, or the result of cyclical climate change, or the consequences of manmade global warming? Or, do you ever wonder whether an event like one of these could be an act of God intended to judge sinners, or to get the attention of saints?

Join Pastor David Fleming as he explores these very real questions and points us in the direction of understanding the difficult challenges we face when we are confronted with natural disasters.   Be encouraged today to always look for God, turn to God, and never lose confidence in God.

670 Lesson 51 - Judah's Fall - Part 1 01/07/2012 W. Mark Lanier

The fall of Judah.  The life and death of Josiah.  How can old Testament stories and characters impact us today in our busy lives?  Why should I study God's word and more importantly, why should I study ancient historical events, kings, and prophets?

Join Mark Lanier and see how God's word changed the course of Josiah's life and how he began restoring God's temple and tried to impact the culture of his day. You will be challenged today to constantly seek the Lord and be of service to him. Start by discovering the bible that you have hidden away and neglected.  And through your reading of God's word you will discover God's presence in your life.  Be transformed by his word!

673 Lesson 51 - Judah's Fall - Part 2 01/15/2012 W. Mark Lanier

As you study the Old Testament have you ever wondered if you are reading true stories or were some of them fictional or semi-accurate renditions of fables, stories, myths, legends, or fantasized histories?  How accurate are these stories of the prophets who we believe were entrusted with the message and words God chose to impart to his people?

Join Mark Lanier as we study the Prophet Nahum and seek to better understand the "product" of his words, given by God.  Discover with us how Nahum delivered the word of God that was confirmed as time went by.

674 Lesson 51 - Judah's Fall - Part 3 01/21/2012 W. Mark Lanier
Cerebral faith and experiential faith – both can be challenged. While they may seem to be two separate things, upon careful consideration, we realize they are not.  Habakkuk struggled with understanding these two sides to his faith and discussed his issues with God on a cerebral and experiential level.  However, in the end, he came to the understanding that his faith led him away from complaining and into worship. Join Mark Lanier as we understand the importance of trusting in our God who has proven himself trustworthy.
676 Lesson 51 - Judah's Fall - Part 4 01/29/2012 W. Mark Lanier

During American election years, we frequently hear the term "flip-flopper."  This term applies to candidates who hold a position, but then change the position at a later time. Yet, this ability to flip-flop is not an invention of our political system.

We see the same problem of flip-flopping in Israel's kings throughout the Old Testament.  Follow along as Mark Lanier explains how God's prophets held the course by proclaiming the righteousness of God in the face of ever changing political climates and decisions of the ruling kings.  You will see how flip-flopping kings and ever steady prophets help us understand that we do not have to let earthly concerns keep us from following God's instructions for our lives.

677 Lesson 52 - What to Do When Your World Is Falling Apart 02/06/2012 W. Mark Lanier

With recent economic disasters, terrorist actions, war in the Middle East, and natural disasters, one might observe that the world seems to be falling apart.

It is one thing when the world around us seems to fall apart.  But what happens when YOUR world falls apart? Have you experienced a deep disappointment in life?  Have you wondered where God's loving kindness has gone?  Have you been deserted?

When all seems lost and there is no explanation for the circumstances in your life, please know there are answers!

Listen in today as Mark helps us understand that there is help even when it seems everything has fallen apart.

678 Lesson 53 - Jeremiah - Part 1 02/12/2012 W. Mark Lanier

"Jeremiah was a bullfrog, such a good friend of mine."  Are you old enough to rember those lyrics from Three Dog Night's song, "Joy to the World"?  Did you know that the original lyrics were once intended to be, "Jeremiah was a PROPHET, such a good friend of mine."  It is true that Jeremiah was indeed a prophet, however his message didn't lend itself to winning over many friends!  Fortunately for us, today we can study Jeremiah and gleen a lot of wonderful truth and insight.

The book of Jeremiah has so much material, such a depth of character presentation; it is tied closely within its historical setting, yet it maintains a vision of the future. It is a collection of material, not a chronological presentation, so it is ripe for (and demands) thorough and careful study.

Join Mark Lanier as we study two different questions:

  1. Who was Jeremiah the man?

2. What was Jeremiah’s core message?

This week, Jeremiah, the man.

682 Lesson 54 - Ezekiel - Part 1 02/26/2012 W. Mark Lanier

Have you ever experienced the loss of a friendship because one of you moved?  Moving far apart and the passage of time can work a one-two punch on continuity in life. This is even truer in the deep recesses of history, before telephones, readily available books (and literacy), and easy transportation. We often speak of the world becoming smaller because it used to be so difficult to keep up with things far removed. Before the advent of the internet and social media the world was much larger than it is today.  Can you imagine how much larger it was in 600BC?

This simple observation of life is relevant in the study of Ezekiel.  Join Mark Lanier as we explore the unlikely idea that a small mountain tribe's worship of their perceived local deity could survive a dispersal of the people, removal of their tmeple, a loss of their monarchy, and destruction of their capital.  It would seem preposterous and against all odds.  However, the worship of YHWH is billions strong today.

How did this worship survive?

681 Lesson 53 - Jeremiah - Part 2 02/19/2012 W. Mark Lanier

What was the core message of Jeremiah? Different scholars would no doubt give different answers. Jeremiah’s life was built around the word of the LORD. He was commissioned by the word, to deliver the word faithfully and to follow the word. Jeremiah did so, at great personal risk and expense. His life stands in stark contrast to a generation that refused to hear the word of the Lord.

By touching jeremiah's mouth, the Lord sets it apart for his purposes, placing his words into Jeremiah's mouth.  Join us as we try and understand the varied and illuminating conclusions from Mark Lanier's unique perspective.


Hopefully, this lesson will spur on greater personal study and consideration. At least the next time the radio plays, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog,” you will remember there was much more to Jeremiah than that!


683 Lesson 54 - Ezekiel - Part 2 03/04/2012 W. Mark Lanier

Why do people read comics?  Specifically, how can "Spider Man" hold the attention of so many when it is clearly a fantastic story of bizarre fantasy and far away places that have no basis in reality?

Our culture isn't the first to follow and believe fantastic stories.  Grab your favorite book of Ancient near Eastern myths, and you find some pretty incredible stories of bravery, fantastic feats of strength and exploration.

We can also look to the book of Ezekial and find amazing visions that stretch our imaginations and our understanding.  Yet, God uses these stories to illustrate His message through Ezekiel.  Join Mark Lanier and gain a deeper understanding of the visions of Ezekiel, part 2.

687 Lesson 55 - Lamentations 03/10/2012 W. Mark Lanier

One might think the practical aspects of preaching would include speaking to the problems of people’s lives or some other “practical aspect” of the preacher’s job.  In truth, many seminaries teach that there are two real areas of practical importantce: weddings and funerals.  Apparently, there is an art and a science for preaching funerals!

And it seems that the importance of preaching funerals has been around for a long, long time. The Old Testament includes several funeral dirges. Similar to funeral services today, these compositions were written to express grief with an eye toward some measure of resolution and healing.  Mark Lanier explores the book of Lamentations and explains the five funeral dirges found there.

688 Lesson 56 - Life in Exile 03/18/2012 W. Mark Lanier 13
689 Lesson 57 - Returning From Exile - Part 1 03/24/2012 W. Mark Lanier 12
690 Lesson 57 - Returning From Exile - Part 2 04/01/2012 W. Mark Lanier 11
691 Lesson 58 - Daniel - Part 1 04/15/2012 W. Mark Lanier 9
692 Lesson 59 - Esther 04/22/2012 W. Mark Lanier 6
699 Lesson 60 - Job 04/29/2012 Stephen Trammell 5
700 Lesson 58 - Daniel - Part 2 05/06/2012 W. Mark Lanier 8
704 Lesson 58 - Daniel - Part 3 05/12/2012 W. Mark Lanier 7
705 Lesson 57 - Returning From Exile - Part 3 05/19/2012 W. Mark Lanier 10
707 Lesson 62 - Malachi 06/01/2012 W. Mark Lanier 3
706 Lesson 61 - Nehemiah 05/31/2012 W. Mark Lanier 4
714 Lesson 63 - Praying Through the Tabernacle - Part 1 07/15/2012 Stephen Trammell 2
715 Lesson 63 - Praying Through the Tabernacle - Part 2 07/19/2012 Stephen Trammell 1

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