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Pearls with Kristi McLelland

Ep 12 - The Father's House

4/18/2022 00:27:47
Ep 12 - The Father's House
Today is our 12th and final biblical pearl for Season 1 of our Pearls Podcast. How in the world do we finish this season? What is the biblical pearl to leave you with for now? How do we end such a rich and generous season in the Word of God together? How do we get up from the biblical table and live forward into our lives today? 

I spent quite a bit of time in prayer thinking through what the 12th pearl would be. What is ONE more thing in the "better than" Story of the Bible that I would want impart to you, bless you and wash you with today? 

In today's final episode, our biblical pearl is located in John 14:1-6. These are words in red - the words of Jesus given to his disciples at the Last Supper right before crucifixion and resurrection. It's about to go down and he knows it. What will some of his final words be at this final meal before the Garden of Gethsemane, arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection? 

Today we are going to learn about the beit av - the house of the father. THIS is some of the encouragement Jesus chose to give his disciples in this final meal and final hours. The imagery and metaphor, the deep meaning that these words would have held for Jesus and his disciples 2,000 years ago speaks a WORD to us in our own lives today. The promise that Jesus speaks of in these verses are a right now promise for you and me today. 

No matter what's going on in your life, now matter how high or low, how deep into sadness, ruin and loss - we are headed to the Father's House.  

As we end Season 1 of Pearls, I pray these words get worked into your soul like yeast into dough. Shalom to you and your families.

Order your copy of Kristi McLelland's new devotional at Lifeway.com/gospelontheground.

Ep 11 - Zakhar: Remembering as Moving Forward

4/11/2022 00:25:00
Ep 11 - Zakhar: Remembering as Moving Forward
In the Bible, the Living God repeats what He cares about. If I spend time with you, I will quickly learn what and who you care about by your words. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth will speak. There is a command, an instruction unto shalom that the Living God repeats over and over throughout the Story of the Bible. It is summed up in one simple yet powerful word - remember. Sometimes its given in the reverse - do not forget

Zakhar is the Hebrew word for "to remember". When we think of remembering, we think of looking back to something behind us. But for the Hebrews they understood remembering as a forward-moving practice and rhythm of walking with the Living God. When you hit a moment in life and you don't know what to do, rather than striving and straining, stressing and scrambling to find the way forward, you "remember." You take time to look back, remember God's faithful record in your life, and in looking back and remembering you will find your way forward. 

One of my favorite things to do with teams while in Israel is to hike through the Wilderness of Zin with them. To feel the wilderness. To experience part of the wilderness where the Israelites wandered for 40 years before entering the Promised Land. In today's episode, we will track the Israelites through some of their wilderness wanderings as they learned to zakhar, to remember in the wilderness. 

If something is going on in your life today and you feel lost and overwhelmed, sit down, breathe deep and remember. Look back over your life and remember God's faithful record. He has not failed a person yet. You will not be the first. Be encouraged today! 

Order your copy of Kristi McLelland's new devotional at Lifeway.com/gospelontheground.

Ep 10 - Jesus, Good Shepherd in the Gate

4/4/2022 00:29:18
Ep 10 - Jesus, Good Shepherd in the Gate
Today's biblical pearl is one of those deeply beautiful truths that calms, soothes, and raises a sabbathed rest in my heart. It makes me slow down, worry less and breathe deeper. It makes me trust more, longer and wider in the person of Jesus. It stirs faith within me. It tells me that I am going to make it through this life because of who Jesus is. You are going to make it through this life because of who Jesus is. 

John 10 is one of the most well known passages in the New Testament. Jesus says that He is the good shepherd, the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep (John 10:11). But Jesus doesn't just say this out of nowhere. We often study John 10 by itself, but this moment in John 10 is actually mid-story. Jesus doesn't just say these things out of nowhere but in response to something. In the same way that we do not go to a movie an hour late or start reading a book mid-way through, we have to go back and pick up this story at its beginning - which is John 9. 

In today's episode we will unpack John 9 & 10 together, seeing this story through Middle Eastern eyes with its rich imagery and meaning in Jesus' world 2,000 years ago. We are going to learn about Jesus as not only the Good Shepherd but also the Great Gate in this passage.  

I pray this teaching richly blesses your heart and deepens your affection and trust in Jesus, your Good Shepherd and Great Gate. 

Order your copy of Kristi McLelland's new devotional at Lifeway.com/gospelontheground.

Ep 9 - A Word in the Wilderness

3/28/2022 00:23:03
Ep 9 - A Word in the Wilderness
One of the most well known psalms in the entire Bible is Psalm 23. It is affectionately referred to as the "Shepherd's Psalm". The Scriptures often use the metaphor of shepherd/sheep to describe our relationship with the Living God. He is the Good Shepherd, faithfully tending to His flock. Interestingly, even in modern-day Israel you see shepherds with their sheep. The Living God was using imagery that they would regularly see to remind them often of His faithful presence in their lives.  

For years I have watched shepherds with their sheep in the wilderness regions of Israel. Shepherds know how to lead their flocks from grassy patch to grassy patch and through the dusty wilderness between. This is much closer to the imagery being taught to us in Psalm 23:2. It's not so much "green pastures" like we see in Ireland. It's "grassy pastures" in the wilderness. 

When we find ourselves in a wilderness season, our FIRST question is, "How do I get out of this wilderness?" The Jewish people view the wilderness very differently and they ask a much better question. We will discover their question and so much more within it today. 

The Living God does some of His best work in the wilderness. I hope today's teaching helps you reimagine the wilderness seasons in your own life as you look for your "word in the wilderness".

Order your copy of Kristi McLelland's new devotional at Lifeway.com/gospelontheground.

Ep 8 - Defiant Joy

3/21/2022 00:24:03
Ep 8 - Defiant Joy
Today's episode is another example of the ancient and ever Story of the Bible meeting us in our current, modern, right now stories and lives. Our central pearl today is found in James 1:1-2. Some scholars believe that the book of the James was the FIRST book of the New Testament ever penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If this is the case, the first author of the New Testament writings was none other than Jesus' half-brother James. 

If the first two verses of the New Testament are indeed James 1:1-2, it is interesting that both "joy" and "trial" are located in these verses. We have known both in this life. The Jewish people have a long history and rich culture of embracing celebration and lament together. The two do not need to be separated because life does not separate them. We can know moments of great celebration and joy and still feel the sting of lament and trial during it.  

While I was studying in Israel I heard the phrase, "Laughter is our protest". We protest hopelessness and gloom with laughter anchored in hopefulness. In other words, we learn to not only experience joy, but a deeper defiant joy. 

I end today's episode with a recent and very personal story in my own life about practicing defiant joy with my community. We had the chance for lament and celebration to live side by side with us and we shared one special night where laughter was our protest.  

Order your copy of Kristi McLelland's new devotional at Lifeway.com/gospelontheground.

Pearls with Kristi McLelland

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Order your copy of Kristi McLelland's new devotional at Lifeway.com/gospelontheground

In 2007 the Lord opened the door for me to go study the Bible in Egypt and Israel. I went and learned that the Living God is BETTER than I ever knew. When the Lord gave us the Bible, He gave us a Story. It's the best and truest Story ever told.

Each story is like a pearl, beautiful and of great price on its own. But what's more beautiful is stringing the biblical pearls together. Through the Bible, we know who the Living God is, what He's like and what it is to walk with Him. In this teaching podcast, we are going to string 12 of my most favorite biblical pearls together.

We do not just read the Bible - we interact with it. It is living and active and so we are we. When we sit down with the Word of God, it is life with life. The Bible is like a great feast. Great food is best experienced with great people, so welcome and please subscribe to join me at the biblical table for every episode of Pearls. We are getting ready to learn over and over that the Living God is BETTER than we ever knew.

Kristi is a professor at Williamson College and serves as a biblical culturalist. She has a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary and has dedicated her life to teaching people how to study the Bible.

Reviews

One of my faves!

Kristi has opened my eyes to cultural ways of the Bible that I had no idea. It has really put so much perspective on the love story from God to us in His Word. I regular listen to her and do her Bible studies with diligence of thoughts to learn more.

Insightful

Have so enjoyed her teaching. Opening up so much more of Gods word to me. Thank you for your insight.