Happy December! How is it almost Christmas? I for one cannot believe this year is coming to a close, but I'm pumped to celebrate Christ's birthday in a few weeks and take some time off to really rest before 2017 hits.
A few of you have asked me about what I read and listen to, so I put together this quick list of really good resources out there. These are only a few of the many options, but these are ones I've personally used and can vouch for. What do you come back to on a regular basis? Send me a comment at the bottom of this post. I'd love to hear your suggestions!
Websites and Blogs:
I love reading the articles on this website. The site was founded by John Piper, a major theologian of our day, and he has a book of the same name. I also really enjoy his "Ask Pastor John" audio series. The clips are usually less than 10 minutes and tackle theological questions and hot-button topics, including sexuality, race, money, and more. Play around on the site, and you'll find dozens of free e-books, devotionals, and sermons.
Last week I downloaded the free Advent devotional, and that's been a great resource for my boyfriend and me as we go through the weeks leading up to Christmas.
I'm a big fan of this website because they publish articles from a whole bunch of different authors, but the content is always rooted in the Truth. The blog portion of the site often includes posts on current cultural matters, guaranteed to make you think or spark a conversation. You'll find various viewpoints and perspectives, which I believe is so helpful as we're engaging in the world as Christians.
Relevant is a print and online magazine geared specifically at 20- and 30-somethings. Like a typical news mag, the site covers everything with continually updated content. I've appreciated some of their recent pieces on politics and international affairs, as well as their pop culture posts on Chip and Joanna Gaines, Justin Bieber, and Gilmore Girls.
I first heard about Rach Kincaid after reading the book Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan. These two work with Rachael at The Influence Network, a membership community for women who want to use their God-given influence in their everyday lives. Rach's words are powerful and convicting. Her Instagram is great, too. While you're at it, just go ahead and follow all three of these beautiful ladies.
I've mentioned Hannah on this blog before--girlfriend can write. I am thankful for her encouragement and truth. Whether you're a man or woman, I highly recommend her blog. Sign up for the weekly Monday morning email, too.
After taking a break for the last year and a half, Fabs is back. I'm thankful for her wise words and steady heart for Jesus. I met Fabs two or three years ago at a women's retreat through my New York City church. She spoke on singleness and God's call for women with a message I so needed to hear at the time.
Podcasts and Videos:
I didn't know about Tim Keller or Redeemer Church upon landing in New York City, but it wasn't long before I heard his name thrown around all the time. Another highly regarded theologian, Keller preaches straight from the Word, and I've learned so much and felt great encouragement from his messages. Start with "Your Plans: God's Plans," "Peace - Overcoming Anxiety," and "A Christian's Happiness."
My best friend moved to the Dallas area and attended The Village Church back in 2013; I've been listening to head pastor Matt Chandler ever since. While Keller is quietly impactful and compelling, Chandler's voice is booming and forceful. He manages to convict you right in the gut while still reminding you of the love of God.
Definitely listen to A Beautiful Design sermon series he did a few years ago on Biblical manhood and womanhood. The 10 messages rocked my world and really opened to my eyes to Biblical truth versus cultural expectations. And if you're in a relationship, consider watching/listening to the series and going through the questions with your significant other. I promise it will challenge and encourage you both.
Watching the testimonies on this website always moves me and often brings me to tears. It is amazing to see how God is working in each of our stories. Give yourself a few minutes to watch a short film or two. You won't be disappointed.
Single? Dating? Engaged? Married? Divorced? Read this book. It's another gem from Tim Keller, and it will change the way you think about marriage. God has a vision for our relationships that is simply beautiful. Whatever your age, I think you'll appreciate the book.
"God we will do anything. Anything."
That's the prayer Jennie Allen and her husband prayed as they felt empty and distant from God. The adventure He had in store for them is amazing. We read this book and did the Bible study with my women's group last year, and I couldn't believe how much it impacted me. Pray "anything" and watch God respond.
A C.S. Lewis classic. Screwtape is a senior demon who writes letters to his nephew and apprentice, Wormwood. He instructs Wormwood on how to lead Christians astray and essentially take them down. The satire was published in 1942, yet it still rings true today.
This is not a book about relationships but about Jesus's crazy relentless love for us. In the words of author Frances Chan, the answer to authentic faith isn't working harder at a list of dos and don'ts. It's falling in love with God. Doing so changes everything.
Hands down my favorite app. This Bible reading app is personalized for men or women. I like using it to compare different Bible versions. I can also highlight passages or make notes. I'm working my way through the free Bible In A Year reading plan, which is really cool because I can see comments from other people doing the same readings. The app has additional book-specific reading plans, some free and some for $1.99. Don't forget to download the free iPhone/iPad wallpapers, too!
Striving to pray continuously? Echo has you covered. Keep track of prayer requests and even set reminders and on your phone to pray. I like that I can choose a prayer request and then set a timer for however many minutes to pray. Best of all, the app is totally free.
If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff, shoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life.
And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.
Truly, He makes beautiful things.