By witnessing each historical site, the five-video study helps shape a picture of Jesus and His world in the context of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. It examines Jesus’ temptation in the desert where He, like Israel, was tested and prepared for His mission to the world. It considers the events of the Last Supper against the backdrop of the exodus experience. And along with Israel’s history of sacrifice, it explores the atoning act of Jesus on the cross.
I must say as an American, I’m a comfortable Christian. I live in a temperature-controlled home in a reasonably safe suburb off of a street that has at least four churches. However, I choose to drive to my home church which is about a thirty-minute trip. I’m pointing out these parameters to demonstrate that living as a Christian in America doesn’t require that much sacrifice or discomfort. However, when you watch these videos filmed in the locations where Jesus and the disciples and the people of that time period lived, you see that those who followed Jesus Christ at that time had to sacrifice and were uncomfortable.
I need that reminder because although the Bible is very descriptive, the additional aid of seeing the Holy Land provides another perspective. (I so hope to travel there some day!) To be a Christian is and should be costly. It should require sacrifice. And serving God is not always comfortable.
Below is information about each video as well as a way to buy this study which works well individually, for small groups and for churches of varied sizes.
Path to the Cross, Session 1, The Way of the Essenes
In Session 1, The Way of the Essenes, you will learn what was most important to the Essenes and how they chose to live, as well as what you can take from their way of life to help you center yourself on God.
Path to the Cross, Session 2, The Way of John the Baptist
In Session 2, The Way of John the Baptist, you will learn how God set apart John the Baptist to strengthen him in spirit to deliver His message and announce Jesus.
Path to the Cross, Session 3, Into the Desert to be Tested
In Session 3, Into the Desert to be Tested, you will learn that just as God tested Jesus in the desert, Jesus tested His disciples, and He will test you.
Path to the Cross, Session 4, The Last Passover
In Session 4, The Last Passover, you will discover the significance of the last supper, the details of the dinner, and what Jesus was revealing to His followers through it.
Path to the Cross, Session 5, The Fifth Cup: Our Way of Hope
In Session 5, The Fifth Cup: Our Way of Hope, you will discover the bitter cup of God’s wrath that Jesus took on your behalf and the true sacrifice it was.
Using research of top scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, and biblical study, historian and bestselling author Ray Vander Laan has guided more than 10,000 people on in-depth study tours of the Holy Land. His teaching ministry is focused on understanding the Bible keeping in mind the historical and cultural context in which God placed it.
For more about about The Path to the Cross Online Bible Study with Ray Vander Laan, go to studygateway.com.
BET announces the BET Presents: The Light, An Easter Production, a special broadcast of Easter Service in partnership with the world-renowned worship center, The Potter’s House. Premiering Sunday, April 12, at 10 AM ET/PT commercial-free on BET, the two-hour special will bring families an uplifting Easter celebration.
The Potter’s House Arts and Music Ministry, a Grammy Award-winning group, along with a special guest appearance by Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran Quentin Darrington (Once on This Island, Cats, and Memphis), will tell the story of Jesus Christ from the book of John’s perspective centered around how the light of Christ came into the world to dispel darkness. From hip-hop to presentations by children’s dance companies, to poetry and sometimes comical recitations, the Easter production, aims to bring hope and strength to a world navigating challenging times.
While Easter in quarantine may feel alienating, global spiritual leader Bishop T.D. Jakes advocates that physical distancing requirements are not just a test in how connected we are to one another, but how deeply connected we are to God. Jakes reminds us that Easter, in its beginning, did not start with a crowd, and attendance numbers should not affect the value of the moment.
“The first Easter service wasn’t crowded, and it didn’t lose its significance for the lack of a crowd. There were few people around the tomb,” said Bishop T.D. Jakes. “Celebrating Easter in our homes with our families, you can still have a memorable time together with your family around you and have a spiritual moment that’s intimate between you and the people you love.”
“Many of us around the world are leaning on our spirituality for a sense of calmness, during these times of uncertainty. As many churches are being forced to shutter their doors in response to calls for social distancing, we want to provide a way for families to still observe the valued tradition of coming together for Easter services. As an organization whose roots are anchored in the African American experience, and whose original programming has always highlighted many aspects of gospel music and the religious experience, we are delighted to bring this unique program to our viewers around the world,” said Connie Orlando, EVP Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET.
For further details on BET Presents, The Light, An Easter Production, as well as resources available around BET’s COVID-19 relief efforts, please visit BET.com.
As you know, I.LOVE.BOOKS! And I’m a sucker for an intriguing title so when an email about an upcoming release Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Colorshowed up in my inbox, I knew I had to share with you my dear After the Altar Call readers! And if you are intrigued, you can win a free copy of this timely book! Below is a synopsis followed by my Q&A with Kristin Lauren Adams, author and associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, New Jersey. (My Greenleaf folk know I love a female pastor as well 🙂 )
The stories of girls of color are often overlooked, unseen, and ignored rather than valued and heard. In Parable of the Brown Girl (adult nonfiction), readers are introduced to the resilience, struggle, and hope held within these stories. Instead of relegating these young women of color to the margins, Adams brings their stories front and center where they belong.
By sharing encounters she’s had with girls of color that revealed profound cultural, historical and spiritual truths, Adams magnifies the struggles, dreams, wisdom, and dignity of these voices.Thought-provoking and inspirational, Parable of the Brown Girlis a powerful example of how God uses the narratives we most often ignore to teach us the most important lessons in life. It’s time to pay attention.
1. Where did you grow up and live now?
I grew up in East Brunswick, NJ. I have lived a few places; California, Washington, D.C, Virginia. Now I actually both live and work in Pottstown, PA at a boarding school called The Hill School. When I’m not at The Hill, I’m back in NJ with my family in East Brunswick. So, I like to say I live in both places; East Brunswick and Pottstown.
2. What is your education/career background?
I went to Temple University for my undergrad. There I majored in Advertising because I had big hopes of becoming an advertising exec and working on Wall Street. While I was there, I explored my faith much more and got involved in campus ministry. I decided I wanted to go into ministry during that time. I went to work as a youth specialist for my church’s Community Development Corporation for 2 years after college and then applied to seminary. I only applied to one seminary, which was Princeton Seminary where I wound up going.
I obtained a Master of Divinity from there and upon graduating went back to my church (First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens), but this time to serve as a Youth Pastor. I stayed there 3 years and then moved to Southern California and accepted a position at Azusa Pacific University as an Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching and Spiritual Programming.
After 4 years there I moved back to the East Coast and took a position at Georgetown University as a Chaplain in Residence and an Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown Law Center. I loved DC, but eventually moved back to NJ to help out at my home church as an Associate Pastor for a few years and then wound up getting the position I’m currently in as Firestone Endowment Chaplain and Instructor of Religious Studies at The Hill School. I recently got into a Masters in Clinical Counseling program with Capella University that I plan to start in the Spring. I think it makes sense that I get a second Masters and look towards becoming a licensed clinician, particularly since a great deal of my work is in the emotional and spiritual health of youth and young adults.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?
I used to enjoy writing plays and poetry when I was in college. I enjoyed seeing writing come to life on stage. I never thought about writing books until my Pastor (Buster Soaries) wrote his first book and one day said to me in casual conversation, “You know you should write a book.” I remember telling him that I didn’t have anything to write about and didn’t feel like I was an expert in anything. He said, “You write about what you know.” That stuck with me. At the time I didn’t think I knew anything, but I realized that I know what I know from my own experiences. It wasn’t long after that conversation that I wrote my first book.
4. What inspired your book?
My inspiration is the dedication to my book: “For all the black girls who courageously shared their story, their wisdom and their truths with me. Society may put you on the margins, but you are at the center of God’s heart.” The book is written for the black girls who have been unable to give voice to their lived experiences. I say this because I have had many conversations and crossed paths with many black girls who have so much to offer the world, but the world refuses to listen to or see them. I promised myself that if I were ever given the platform, I would place these girls at the center.
5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
I was amazed by how consistent many of their struggles are with the stories I have heard from other black girls and women inter-generationally. I recognize their struggles and experiences in my own life. As I walked through the Smithsonian African-American History Museum and read about the lives of other black women and girls dating back to the 1500s, the cultural similarities were astonishing. Young black women in contemporary society are confronted with similar issues as many of those who have come before them.
6. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to spend time with family and friends and playing with my dog, Daisy. I used to love training for and running half-marathons. I haven’t had a chance to train since I started working at The Hill School, but I’d love to get back into that at some point. Right now, I work out at a gym called Corefit and I like to do strength training a few times a week there.
7. Do you have a bucket list? What are some of the things on it?
I want to eat pizza in Italy. I’d like to go back to West Africa. I want to meet Oprah. I want to go to Essence Music Fest. I want to be a guest on Black Girls Rock. That about sums it up 🙂
Khristi Lauren Adams is the Firestone Endowment Chaplain, instructor of religious studies and philosophy, and co-director of Diversity at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. Previously, she worked as Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown University, Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching & Spiritual Programming at Azusa Pacific University, and former Director of Youth Ministries at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ. Khristi is also the Founder & Director of “The Becoming Conference” that began summer 2017, which is an annual conference designed to empower, educate & inspire girls ages of 13-18.
Khristi is a graduate of Temple University with a degree in Advertising and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where she obtained a Master of Divinity. Khristi is also currently an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. Her ministry and youth advocacy have been featured on CNN and her work has appeared in Huffington Post, Off the Page, and the Junia Project. When not in residence at The Hill School, she lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.