Recommended Online Resources
I recently heard Dr John Piper posed with the question, ‘Would Jesus have used the internet?’, reply, ‘Probably, but sparingly and very carefully’ (to watch, click here).
For the Christian, it is true that the internet can be a dangerous place full of temptation and opportunities to sin. To illustrate this, as I upload this and you read this, you and I are potentially just two clicks away from accessing obscene and even illegal material.
We need to guard our hearts and remain vigilant each time we go online.
The purpose of this post, however, is to highlight four resources offering online content that can be listened to, downloaded or watched for free.
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Pastor Mark Driscoll is the co-founding and preaching pastor for Mars Hill Church, Seattle. Mars Hill Church was planted just over ten years ago and now has over 8,000 people attending each week across a number of campus scattered around the city.
The thing that impresses me most about Mars Hill Church, and by extension, Pastor Mark’s preaching, is that the congregation comprises of mostly new converts and a large percentage of twenty-to-thirty-something men (statistically the most difficult demographic to reach with the gospel).
The surprising thing about Mars Hill Church, is Pastor Mark’s preaching; his sermons average at around the hour mark and the content and topics are challenging to say the least. In the past twelve months, Pastor Mark has addressed issues as diverse (and difficult) as election, penal substitutionary atonement and numerous issues around sex and sexuality. Despite or rather because of this Mars Hill Church has continued to grow.
Pastor Mark tends to alternate between thematic series and expository preaching through books of the Bible. A recent example of a thematic series would be, Religion Saves and 9 Other Misconceptions in which people were given the opportunity to ask and vote on topics on which Pastor Mark then preached (to watch, click here).
Most recently (as of February 2009), Pastor Mark has just finished preaching through the Songs of Solomon (The Peasant Princess, to watch, click here) and is currently working his way through 1 and 2 Peter in a series entitled, Trial (to watch, click here).
From watching the sermon above, you will see that Driscoll’s preaching style is funny, passionate, raw and culturally engaged. He shouts quite a lot. He has even had people come up on the stage to fight him.
He describes his own position as theologically conservative and yet culturally liberal. He holds to the fundamental truths of Scripture and yet attempts to reach out, engage and win hostile people to Christ.
Pastor Mark Driscoll’s sermons can be streamed in video, can be downloaded as audio or video from the Mars Hill Church website (click here). Alternatively you can subscribe to the audio or video podcast through iTunes.
Pastor Mark has also published a number of books, one of which, Death by Love is reviewed on this website (to read, click here).
Although the output of Mars Hill Church is typically excellent, I would particularly recommend the series on 1 Corinthians (available in audio only, click here) and the current Trial series (available in audio and video, click here).
Dr John Piper
Dr John Piper is Pastor for Vision and Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, prolific writer and conference speaker; he is perhaps best known for writing the modern Christian classic, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (to read the review, click here).
Dr Piper’s writing and preaching has had a profound effect upon my ministry and theological convictions since I first heard him preach on a Passion DVD some four or five years ago. Dr Piper was the first person to cause me to think deeply and biblically about difficult truths: the sovereignty of God, suffering and the problem of evil.
In April 2008, I had the very great pleasure of listening to Dr Piper preach live at a conference and I was struck by his passion and joyful intensity. His preaching is emotionally, spiritually and intellectually challenging: he challenges us to think and feel deeply. This comes across clearly in the sermon posted above.
Dr Piper, as with Pastor Mark, tends to alternate between thematic series and expository preaching through books of the Bible. For the former, I would recommend the series, ‘Spectacular sins and their global purpose in the glory of Christ’ (to watch, click here); for the latter, I would recommend the series on Romans (to listen, click here). He also preaches one-off sermons in response to current events (for example, ‘What is the Recession for?’, to listen or watch, click here).
All of Dr Piper’s sermons dating back to the mid-1980s can be read, downloaded and streamed from the Desiring God website (to access, click here). Many of his most recent sermons are available as vodcasts. Again, you can subscribe to the Desiring God audio and video channel via iTunes.
Pastor Matt Chandler
Pastor Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church, Texas, one of the fastest growing churches in the United States of America (now numbering in the thousands over two campuses).
Pastor Matt is a gifted and passionate communicator of the gospel and his preaching is both thematic and expository. For example, he has just finished preaching a series on the church (to listen, click here) and is currently preaching through Luke’s Gospel (to listen, click here).
All of Pastor Matt’s sermons are available from his church’s website in audio format (to access, click here). Alternatively, you can subscribe through iTunes.
The video sermon above is taken from The Resurgence website, which leads me neatly to the fourth recommended resource.
Just to be clear, The Resurgence is not a person, but a website. The Resurgence is a theology cooperative hosted by Mars Hill Church, Seattle with numerous contributors, including, Pastor Mark Driscoll, Dr J.I. Packer, Dr John Piper, Dr Tim Keller, and Dr Don Carson (who are all people, not websites).
The Resurgence website contains articles, book reviews, blogs and video and audio content. The Resurgence also regularly holds conferences, the content of which is then posted on the website.
Indeed, the sermon video post above is taken from one such conference hosted recently by The Resurgence, A Day with Dr Don. The ‘Don’ in question is Dr Don Carson, leading New Testament scholar, who is charged with the brief of teaching about the glory of Christ from the New Testament.
The entire series of five is superb, but I would particularly recommend session 2 (posted above) in which Dr Carson unpacks Revelation 12 in which Christ the Glorious Lion/Lamb is unveiled.