By BRUCE DENNILL
Andy Stanley: Why In The World
Randy Frazee: Believe – Living The Story Of The Bible To Become Like Jesus
North Point Community Church pastor Andy Stanley is a fast talker, so he fits a huge amount of content into his sermons, making them good value for money in pure practical terms. But he’s an influential speaker for far more than his capacity to manhandle more words into a sermon than most, and Why In The World, a series of four messages is powerfully thought-provoking, guiding viewers through a number of complex questions tied into one central query: why would God leave heaven and come to Earth as Jesus to live as a human? Some of his central tenets are that Christ arrived here to show us what God is like; that he wanted to show us that we are equal, not superior, to each other; and that religion – the structures placed around what and how we believe – should perhaps not be as much of a focus as we make it. He shares his insights in a way that sparks a desire to understand, which fuels a closer watching of the next segment, and so on. It’s not true of too many sermon series that you want to watch them straight through to keep the thread fresh in your mind, but Stanley’s concise, clear presentation keeps your attention fixed on the subject matter he’s sharing. A valuable teaching and learning tool.
Randy Frazee, pastor at Oak Hills Church in Texas, doesn’t have the same charisma as Stanley, which is not a problem in terms of the effectiveness of his teaching, though it does make it less exciting to listen to him. Couple this with the fact that the series of segments he leads in Believe, a solid resource for Bible studies and individual scholars, extends to 30 chapters, and this project requires a great deal of commitment, if nothing else. There are certainly useful nuggets in each perspective that Frazee offers, designed as they are to help viewers apply what they read in the Bible to everyday life, but it would take an up-front decision to work steadily through the series for viewers to get maximum value from this presentation. Given that set of circumstances, Believe is a worthwhile collection to hang on to, but it doesn’t inspire aggressive consumption.