Staff Recommends: Follow Closer

During the lull of Summer months, it can be tempting to give yourself a break from certain disciplines you regularly uphold throughout the rest of the year. Don't let your vacation mentality hurt your time with God: instead, take advantage of your vacation time and the longer days to follow Jesus a little closer!

To help, we gathered some recommended resources from a few Valley View staff! These should help you stay connected, teach you something new, and help you keep following Jesus this Summer.

PODCASTS

Glorious in the Mundane (with Christy Nockels) 

Christy has a way of speaking to your heart and challenging you to grow deeper in your faith. She has a series on 'Postures of the Heart' (parts 1-5) that is so good! She has several conversations with Kingdom workers that are awesome too. (Recommended by Ruthann Weece. Find it here.)

Cultivated (by Harbor Media)

As a "creative" staff member for the church, the conversations between artists, storytellers, musicians, filmmakers, writers, and more are super inspiring. I love how each person's spiritual journey is key to their creative work! Each person on the show has a unique perspective that encourages my faith, and propels me to rely on the Spirit of God as I work. (Recommended by Sarah Rosie Hester. Find it here.)

The Kingdom Roots Podcast (with Scot McKnight)

The Kingdom Roots is a conversation about how the Kingdom took root then and how it takes root now. Kingdom Root conversations will give clarity to the context of the New Testament and how that context informs the Church today. (Recommended by Mike Havens. Find it here.)

The Bible Project (by Tim Mackie)

You may have seen their videos on YouTube, but don't miss their podcast! In these episodes, Tim and Jon invite you into their dialogue concerning the biblical theology behind each video. (Recommended by Mike Havens. Find it here.)

BOOKS

The Practice of the Presence of God (by Brother Lawrence)

This book has been instrumental in my faith, challenging me with the reality that God is always close; but the question is, 'Am I remembering His presence?' The old English makes it kind of hard to understand, but the more you read the easier it gets. (Recommended by Chad Pickens. Find it here.)

Dancing in No Mans Land (by Brian Jennings)

It's been a pretty intense cultural and political climate for a while now, and it's not always easy to figure out how Jesus wants us to navigate these dangerous times! This book helps us look at how Jesus rarely "picked a side" in times of great divide, but instead gave the world a new way. My favorite part of the book is its final pages, but you need to earn them by reading the entire thing. The first chapters will gently open your eyes to find your own “bunkers” you’ve been stuck in, then teach you how Jesus brought freedom for you to walk safely in No Man’s Land. (Recommended by Sarah Rosie Hester. Find it here.)

Looking for Lovely (by Annie F. Downs)

Looking for Lovely is designed for group or personal study and encourages women to find where God is moving and present in our lives.  When we look for God, and the loveliness that comes through Him, we are able to persevere through crisis and rejoice in victories.  We are able to find hope in the hopeless and peace in the trials.  Looking for Lovely reminds us that we are not alone, that we're created for a purpose, and that God's promises never fail. (Recommended by Jamie Loughry. Find it here.)

VIDEOS

10 Minute Bible Hour

A down to earth Pastor in Wyoming makes short and fun videos explaining biblical themes and concepts. (Recommended by Mike Havens. Find it here.)

Impact 360 Institute

I’ve been slowly digging into this website and its several apologetics videos to help prepare young adults to Kingdom work. (Recommended by Mike Havens. Find it here.)

"Balance Beam" (by Francis Chan)

Francis Chan is one of my favorite preachers and here he is reminding us that God would much rather us live a full life than a safe life. John 10:10b “I have come so that you would have life and have it to the fullest.” (Recommended by Chad Pickens. Find it here.)

MORE

YouVersion

This app has some great options for devotionals. You can even invite friends to do them with you, and there are places for responses and conversations within the plans. Find devotional plans on everything from parenting and marriage, to more specific themes like depression, anxiety, struggles, and sickness, or studies on certain books of the Bible. You can also find plans written by some of your favorite authors. I love that YouVersion is for people of all ages, so you can do it by yourself or with family members who are needing the encouragement. It's a great way to join together with others and deepen your faith. (Recommended by Ruthann Weece. Find it here.)

Sarah Hester