Reviewing To Live Is Christ & To Die Is Gain
(Study Guide pictured)
Session 11, spanning Philippians 4:10-14 and Paul’s life through Acts, had just concluded, a brief reprieve from the ten challenging sessions before it. After a thoughtful pause, “He’s a great storyteller.”
All of us nodded in agreement. Yes. Understatement. And that was the smallest part of the study,
This study was our small group’s first time through a video series. Chandler’s “To Live is Christ & to Die is Gain” is a verse-by-verse walk-through through the book of Philippians, with sprinklings of Acts and other Pauline letters. The standard one word association with Philippians is inevitably “joy,” but this series goes much further than that, exploring Paul’s motivations and aspirations and connecting them to ours. It’s intense, with challenging topics and plenty of poignant questions.
Chandler is especially proficient at framing passages in Scripture to our modern perspective. Throughout the series and the study guide questions, he makes several applications that I had not seen before. So, the material certainly feels fresh, but Chandler is really at his best when he “meddles.” That is, when he challenges the notion of what it means to truly live as a Christian and die to self; to truly say, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Or when he focuses on how fully sufficient Christ is. What it means to yearn for God. What it means to cultivate “holy discontentment” by identifying where you are weak. What it means to be a mature believer.
Once any of the twelve 25 to 35 minute video sessions was over, a common comment was, “Wow, that was so good.” Chandler is a dynamic speaker who hits the main points clearly and firmly, leaving the most important part up to the group: converting the principles discussed to actual life change.
The associated Study Guide is very good, with great questions that help facilitate discussion. For the leader, little prep is needed–though it certainly never hurts. Our group had many good sessions working through the Guide’s questions. It’s a great study for groups which are looking for deeper topics that get to the heart of what it really means to live as a Christian. Technically, this is a study on the book of Philippians but is not for the purpose of simply getting more information about the book of Philippians.
One other thing: they should ask Mr. Chandler to help with directing the upcoming Paul film. They can use Session 11 of this series as the framework.