I discovered the resources of Ray Vander Laan several years ago while reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Vander Laan’s website, Follow The Rabbi, contains lots of great resources that will give you a better look at the 1st century world of Jesus. His Faith Lessons series takes you “on a round trip to ancient times, places, and customs, and back again. Filmed in Israel and Turkey, these powerful DVD sessions explore what it meant to follow Jesus in the first century—and what it means to follow him today.” Here are 3 you should take a look at:
“Do you ever feel like you are a follower of Jesus, but from a distance? ‘Follow a Rabbi, drink in his words, and be covered with the dust of his feet,’ says the ancient Jewish proverb. In Jesus’ day, disciples followed their Rabbi so closely that they would be covered with the dust kicked up by the Rabbi’s feet. Come, discover how you can get dusty and be closer to your Rabbi, Jesus, by doing what he does. Five interactive sessions take you on a journey to the land and culture in which the disciples learned to follow Jesus.”
“In this volume, Vander Laan helps you experience how the disciples translated Jesus’ call to passionate discipleship into language and imagery the Roman culture already understood. Filmed on location in Israel, Faith Lessons is a unique video series that brings God’s Word to life with astounding relevance. By weaving together the Bible’s fascinating historical, cultural, religious, and geographical contexts, teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan reveals unique insights into the Scriptures’ significance for modern believers.”
“When The Hard Times Come Are you going through a difficult period of life? The loss of a loved one? Unemployment? A crisis of faith? During those desert times, it’s easy to think God has disappeared. Instead, discover that it’s only when we are totally dependent on him that we find him closer than ever and can experience God’s amazing grace and provision.”
Your turn… If you are familiar with Vander Laan, which of his resources do you find most helpful?