Welcome to Biblesplain, my new podcast where we’ll walk through Scripture chunk by chunk and dig in to the word of God together. I wanted to do a brief introductory episode of the podcast here to explain what it is that we’re doing here and why this podcast even exists in the first place.
First, a little about myself. I’m Jeremy Sexton and I’m the former Lead Pastor of Lakeside Community Church in the bustling metropolis of Algoma, Wisconsin. I served there for a month under four years, being forced by my health to step away this past October.
Unfortunately, for the past three and a half years, I’ve been battling chronic migraine and it has progressed to the point where I now just can’t maintain a full-time job. Essentially, my head hurts all-day, everyday, to varying degrees. That makes it hard to do a lot of things, including basic stuff like getting out of bed and being reliable. You need to do that when you do any job, but especially so as a pastor. Lakeside really had my back throughout my tenure there and I’m grateful for all the love and support that has been shown both to me and to my wife, Adrienne.
The truth of the matter is that I just couldn’t do the job anymore and so, it was time for me to step away and for Lakeside to find a pastor that can actually… ya know, pastor the church.
That leaves me in this situation now, though, where I don’t really have much going on. Pastoring the church was a dream job for me. It’s something I’ve felt called to since I was in the eighth grade. I absolutely loved it and I’d like to think I was pretty good at it, particularly when it came to preaching. When I had to give that up, it left me a little bit lost. This podcast was birthed from my desire to still use those gifts in some way to build and teach followers of Jesus.
So, what is Biblesplain? What is this thing going to look like?
What it isn’t going to be is a series of sermons preached to my two corgis and uploaded to this podcast feed. I want to embrace podcasting as a medium. That means working music, maybe even sound effects when appropriate. Perhaps including interviews when one would serve as a solid illustration of something in the text. It’s not going to be a radio play or anything like that, but it will be a bit more geared to being a specifically pleasant listening experience. The elevator pitch I’ve been throwing out to people as I’ve been talking through the idea is Hardcore History, but about the Bible.
Sermons also have a time limit on them that podcasts don’t. Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, advised his students to stick to no more than 45 minutes. That’s Charles Spurgeon! There is great wisdom in this quote of his: “If a fellow cannot say all he has to say in that time, when will he say it?” I loved the response Ed Stetzer gave when he was asked how long sermons should be. Simply, “They should feel like twenty minutes.” Let the listener understand.
Podcasts are sort of a different beast. There are multiple podcasts on my phone whose episodes go past the 120 minute mark routinely. When people are listening to a podcast, that’s not the ONLY thing they’re doing. They’re driving to work, they’re in the gym, they’re making dinner. It’s a totally different animal.
That doesn’t mean every episode of the podcast is going to be three hours long. I highly doubt that any will, to be honest. What it does mean is that we can be more detailed in the way we cover each passage and we can follow some of the more fun rabbit trails that would need to be cut from a sermon. It will also allow us to combine chunks that would need to be broken out into multiple sermons. That will also serve to help us get through books of the Bible more quickly than we could at Lakeside.
When I was pastoring Lakeside, I organized our sermon calendar around the book of Matthew. The book was cut up into different sermon series based on an outline we made, so the first chapter of Matthew was a series called “My Wacky Family” where we pulled stories out of the genealogy. The second series covered the Nativity story, with each week addressing one of the prophecies Matthew wraps the narrative around.
Hunkering down like that in one book was a huge plus week-in, week-out. It helped us understand Scripture more clearly. It demonstrated how to study the Bible and trace themes and threads as you go through a book. It modeled good Bible reading habits. Breaking it into different branded series like we did allowed us to stay creative and let me, as a graphic designer, make neat little packages that helped tell the story along with our passages each week.
It’s in this spirit that Biblesplain will pick up where my sermon series left off. We got through Matthew chapter twelve, setting us up to start the podcast in chapter thirteen with the parables. This is a great starting point I feel like, because the parables are relatable and interesting. There’s also some mystery there and it won’t feel like rehashing things you feel like you already have a tight grasp on.
Breaking the podcast into series is going to be helpful, as well, because it will create on ramps for people to start the podcast. Don’t want to go back and listen to the entire history? Start the most recent series and you’ll only have a couple episodes to catch up on.
Speaking of catching up, perhaps you didn’t attend Lakeside and would be interested in hearing some of the messages that preceded the podcast. I’ve made all of those available on the website, Biblesplain.com. You can head there, click episodes and then click the link that says, “View Sermons Pre-Biblesplain.” There you’ll find all of the messages I have audio for, organized by series.
Also on the website, you’ll find show notes, as well as a rough transcript of each episode, complete with footnotes and links to the books and research materials consulted in the creation of that episode. There’s a lot to check out on the site, so do give it a visit.
Thank you for listening to the show. If you’d like to support it, there are two major ways for you to do so.
The first is simple and free and only requires a few moments of your time. The core show will always be free and available to everyone. If you can’t help us out financially, that is a-ok, but please take a minute to rate and review the show on iTunes and/or wherever you get your podcasts. Those reviews help other people find the show and will help Biblesplain rise through the ranks and be visible to more listeners.
The second way to support the show is through Patreon. Patreon is a website that allows fans and followers to support the creators they love. You can sign up there to support the show with your wallet. As of right now, there is only one tier at two dollars per month, but you can give as little as one dollar and as much as your little heart desires.
Often, Patreon campaigns will feature rewards for different sponsorship tiers and/or goals that the creator is working towards. There is a three dollar per month tier that I’m considering that would include some bonus content only available to Patreon backers, but it’s still in the works. If and when that does roll out, trust me, I’ll let you know.
There is a goal listed on the Patreon page, though, that is already rolled out and ready to go. Once we hit 250 backers on the Patreon, I’ll start going back and recording Biblesplain episodes for the first twelve chapters of Matthew. Those episodes will eventually be available to everyone on the main feed, but Patreon subscribers will have access to them well before everyone else.
So, when does this magical mystery tour kick off? Next week!
Next week episode 1 drops, kicking off our first series, Coded Messages. From then on, episodes will drop every other week. This will give me enough time to do the research and writing that goes into each episode, as well as allows me to factor in days when I’m just unable to work due to my headaches.
I’m excited to see where this journey takes us all and I’m truly grateful that you’ve decided to be a part of it with me. God bless, catch ya next week!