My introduction to Ray Vander Laan came through the men’s group at my church. They have watched a number of his Holy Land tour DVDs. The blend of on-location-footage, connecting culture and geography to the biblical text, and Vander Laan’s expository style makes for a rich study experience. Israel’s Mission is volume 13 in his ‘That the World May Know’ series. These videos span twenty years of tours. Vander Laan is noticably grayer and occasionally shows his age, though his passion and energy show no signs of diminishing. He walks at the same determined pace and preaches with the same passion, but his reflections have deepened.
The production of Israel’s Mission is far superior to its predecessors. The graphics and maps are more eye-popping, the cutaways to tour members more natural, and the video more seamless. The earlier installments are hokey by comparison.
But that all is aesthetics, what about content? In five sessions Vander Laan explores the mission of God’s people–in the Old and New Testament. He examines Abraham’s role as the Patriarch of his family and his role of caring for the house of the Father (Beth Ab) and his hospitality to three strangers. He explores the call of Israel at Sinai to be a kingdom of priests, Jesus’ exhortation for us to seek the lost, and the parable of the lost son. In each session Vander Laan prompts us to take up our role in participating in God’s mission in the world.
The accompanying discovery guide has notes from the DVD presentation, discussion questions and five days of personal study sessions for digging deeper. This study is well put together and will enlarge your vision of God’s mission in the world. I give this series five stars.
Note: I received this book and DVD from LitFuse and Zondervan in exchange for my honest review