Welcome to the first installment of the Bible Study Tips interview series. Here you will find interviews with pastors, authors, and influential Christians, as I ask them about their Bible study habits. Not everyone studies the Bible in the same way, so I wanted to ask others how they spend their time in God’s Word.
The interviews are intentionally short, so as to give you a snapshot of how they spend time in the Word, as well as any words of wisdom they have to pass on.
First up in this series is my friend Tommy Kyllonen, who I first got to know as the Christian hip-hop artist Urban D. In the almost 20 years that I’ve known of this brother he has been faithful to the Lord in both his music and ministry. So check out his bio and then move on to the interview.
Who is Urban D.?
Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen has been in ministry for over 20 years at Crossover Church in Tampa, Florida. He holds a BA in pastoral theology from Southeastern University and attended their masters level church leadership cohort. He has been the lead pastor at Crossover for over 15 years. Under his leadership the church has grown from 40 to over 1,000.
This multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-class church has become a model. As they grew they relocated into a 43,000 square foot retail building that was a former Toys R’ Us in the heart of Tampa’s urban community.
Outreach Magazine recognized Crossover as one of America’s Most Innovative Churches. Crossover has also been featured in USA Today, Newsweek, CBS News, BET News, and several regional media outlets. Tommy has also been featured on TBN, 700 Club, CTN and JUCE TV Networks.
Urban D. is an internationally known hip-hop artist that has released 8 full length albums and several remix projects.
He has performed and spoken at concerts and conferences across the U.S. as well as overseas in Japan, Australia, The UK, Germany, and Nigeria.
Tommy has authored three books; ‘Un.orthodox’ (Zondervan), ‘Next’ and his latest book ‘ReBuild’ (InterVarsity Press). He is currently working on his new book ‘Love Our City’ to be released in the fall of 2018.
He is also the publisher of ‘S.O.U.L MAG’ Magazine which has produced twenty seven issues. The magazine has become the voice of the Christian Hip-Hop Community with a readership in the tens of thousands. The magazine also has a TV Show ‘S.O.U.LMAG TV’ which Tommy hosts on JUCE TV Network.
Tommy is also the founder of the Flavor Fest Urban Leadership Conference which has trained close to 5,000 leaders at Crossover since it’s inception. He also has a passion to pour into pastors and church planters as he has coached over 75 pastors.
He lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife Lucy and his two daughters Deyana and Sophia.
My Chat with Urban D.
Who in your life helped you enjoy studying the Bible?
My father. He was a pastor for over 30 years and studied the Bible every single morning super early.
What does your typical Bible study or devotional time look like?
I get up and go directly to my prayer closet and put on some worship music and start with prayer and journaling. I always start with writing down something I’m thankful for, then I put in prayer requests and things that I feel God is speaking to me about. Then I read scripture.
What are you currently studying?
I’m currently going through the book of Exodus.
What do you do when you get in a funk in your studies?
I try to switch it up and do a different devotional. Sometimes I use something from YouVersion or something I find online to give me something fresh.
Do you have any favorite tools you use often in your studies, whether it be books or software?
I have several study Bibles that I like to use. I have Logos and I also regularly use good old Google to see if there are any good articles or sermons on what I’m studying.
What’s one tip you’d give our readers to encourage them in their studies?
I’ve found journaling really helps me capture the moment in what God is showing me and new things he is revealing in scripture to me.
Catch You Next Time
If you want to find out more about Tommy Kyllonen you can check out his website UrbanD.org. Be sure to give his music a listen and read his books. I’ve read them and they are great, especially Re.Build.
Until next time, grace & peace!
Weekly Study Prompts
This week, meditate and journal on the following passages:
- Monday – Joshua 5:10-15; 6
- Tuesday – Joshua 7-8
- Wednesday – Joshua 23-24
- Thursday – Judges 2-3
- Friday – Judges 4
- Memory Verses: Joshua 24:14-15; Judges 2:12