Category Archives: Culture

Live a Bigger Life: Top 5 Curated Resources (May 2019)

Live a Bigger Life image

With all the resources at our fingertips to help us grow in and live the bigger life Jesus offers, it can sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start and what sources to trust. That’s why we’re curating five great resources each month for you–from books to podcasts to videos and more–that have been helpful to our staff team.

We hope this month’s edition of “Live a Bigger Life” inspires you to take one more step down the path of living in God’s bigger and better story.

May 2019 Contributions:

Content: The Porter’s Gate Worship Project (music album)

Description: These worship songs have influenced me and my kids. We love to sing along, and the truths in the lyrics have encouraged me on hard days.

Contributor: Molly Cover, Administrative Support


Content: Not By Sight by Jon Bloom (book)

Description: This is a short and extremely easy-to-read book that will encourage your faith. The chapters are short (3-4 pages each) and each one is an imaginative retelling of a common biblical story with hypothetical backstories and possible emotions the characters are going through. Many of these stories will stick in your head as encouragements and over time it helps train you to read your Bible with more emotion and creativity.

Contributor: Justin Garrett, Crossing Students Pastor


Content: Songs of Jesus by Tim Keller (devotional book)

Description: Since January of last year, my quiet times have most often revolved around Tim Keller’s “Songs of Jesus”, which goes through the psalms and breaks them down into 365 readings. Many psalms involve multiple days’ readings, so I often read the entire psalm, then focus more on the verses that Keller focuses on that day, and journal a prayer around the truths found in those verses. It’s a great way to go deep in this book of the Bible that is full of all of life’s gritty experiences – fear, anxiety, joy, grief, anger, loneliness, doubt. I’ve found that this daily routine helps me to remember and cling to the truth that my walk of faith is more about my committed relationship with a Person than it is about following rules and doing the right things.

Contributor: Shelly Mayer, Small Groups Team and Volunteer Director


Content: Be Still My Soul by Nancy Guthrie (devotional book)
Description: It’s true that all of our lives will crash on the painful rocks of reality at some point. When life becomes difficult, as we face deep disappointment or agonizing loss, we set out on a search to find answers to significant questions: Why would God allow this to happen? What good could come out of this? I refer to this book when I need to remind myself of who God is when I face hardships, and it’s my go-to book that I offer to those wrestling with suffering and loss.
Description: Hannah and Erin’s discussions about what it means to follow Christ in our culture are thoughtful and stretching. I love their fun back-and-forth, and their practical insights have encouraged me to think more deeply about what’s going on in the world around me.
Contributor: Anna Lynne Frazier, Crossing Twenties Team

For the Love of Podcasts: A Few Recommendations for Spring Break

When my son Gideon was born, sleep deprivation and constant feedings put a damper on my lifelong love of reading. I found juggling a book and a baby challenging and my eyes often struggled to stay open when I did. A couple months in, my brain and my heart started to struggle. I didn’t feel

Learning to Love Better

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means that love is in the air.

Or is it?

I ask the question because I’m convinced that love is one of the more widely defined–and misunderstood–concepts in our culture. And I’m far from the first person to point out that this time of year doesn’t always lend itself to the clearest thinking on the subject.

So when you get right down to it, what does it mean to love someone in God’s eyes?

Do We Still Need the Good News?

Every once in a while a cultural pundit will suggest that our culture is progressing to a point where religion will be unnecessary and/or irrelevant. The thinking behind such an idea seems to be that mankind will gradually be able to address its major problems through its own, seemingly ever-expanding resources. In other words, one

Black Friday Eve (aka Thanksgiving)

At dinner this evening, a friend of mine pointed out the irony in Black Friday following just one day after Thanksgiving. So we all sit around cozy tables surrounded by friends and family on Thursday, eating turkey and dressing, and relaxing the afternoon away either watching football or chatting with relatives we see twice a

Thinking (Christianly) About Politics

It’s that season again. I don’t mean winter. I mean the political season. Last night, Iowa kicked off the long primary/caucus gauntlet (grueling for both candidates and voters?), which will culminate several months from now in a national election. And if we aren’t already thinking along these lines, it’s a good reminder that we as Christians have a responsibility to think through how our faith should inform our understanding of and involvement with politics.

That’s not inventing a link that isn’t there, it’s just being biblical. Consider just one passage of many we could use to make the point:

Do I Have to Carve Jesus into a Pumpkin to be a Christian at Halloween?

Halloween is met with mixed reactions from Christians. Some say that participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, and other occult practices. Others participate in the drunkenness and debauchery that accompany the holiday. And still others create “hell housesjesus-pumpkin4” at their church, attempting to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians.

We’ve all heard reasons why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, and there’s no doubt that the origin of this holiday was pagan in nature. But what if, as Christians, we used Halloween well, not celebrating its pagan roots but redeeming it for Christ’s purposes? You don’t have to carve Jesus into a pumpkin to glorify God this year (but props to you if you can do it). Here’s a few ways to think about Halloween: 

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

Talking to our kids about sex can be one of the more daunting and awkward things we do as parents. But if we don’t, who will?

As it turns out, lots of people. And that’s the problem.

Movies, music, and magazines, TV shows and their commercials, online images and everyday conversations with friends—they’re all regularly communicating ideas about sex to our kids. And those ideas are often a significant distortion of the good and powerful gift that God has given us in sex.

Consider a few illuminating stats:

Not At All Surprising: Western Christians Meets the Heirs of ‘Arthur Jensen’

This past week, the Irvine Company, managers of the Fashion Island Mall in Orange County, California, made the decision to take down all ads for Pastor Greg Laurie’s annual Harvest outreach, to be held Aug. 17-19 at Angel Stadium. The Harvest ads had been contracted and paid for but, apparently, just the sight of a

7 Tips to Help Your Kids Engage with Media/Entertainment

Apart from throwing our kids into solitary confinement and shoving them meals through a slot in the door, every parent eventually has to make decisions about how to guide their consumption of TV shows, movies, music, YouTube videos, websites, and other media and entertainment options. Even failing to adopt a strategy is, by default, adopting a strategy. But if we’re wanting to take a wise, biblically-shaped approach, we need to do think through some principles that will help us guide our kids as they navigate the sea of popular culture.

We should acknowledge that there’s no flow chart or set of “if/then” statements that we could list that could cover every situation, but the following points should at least steer us in the right direction.