Interview with

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Audio Transcript

Several of our most astute Ask Pastor John podcast listeners picked up on your podcast reference in the John MacArthur episode. David, one such astute listener, asks this: “I’m curious to know what other podcasts you subscribe to using your Downcast app?” So, Pastor John, what podcasts do you listen to?

Pastor John’s Podcasts

So I just got out my phone here. Let me get it, and I click on the app called Downcast. I will read to you from the top of the app. These are the ones that are unplayed, because that is what comes first in the list:

Now here are the ones that are empty:

  • C.S. Lewis Review podcast. They hardly ever put anything up, but they did for a while.
  • Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological . . . — and it is a dot, dot, dot. I can’t even finish it, but it is a podcast from Trinity from the Carl F.H. Henry Center.
  • Authors on the Line.

Let’s see, that is probably enough. The rest of them are kind of really weird poetry things that never get posted to anymore. So those are the ones that are there.

Keeping Up Through Twitter

But here is something just as important. I follow about one hundred people on Twitter. One of my goals in following people on Twitter is that I try to choose enough people who are discerning so that they are constantly feeding me the best of articles, audio, and video. So when I find a tweet like, say, somebody says, “Don Carson on the relationship between the Great Commission and the Second Coming,” I say, “I want to hear what Don has to say about that, because Cross Conference is coming up.”

So I email myself that tweet, because right then I don’t have time. You know? I am just going somewhere or doing something, and I don’t have time to listen to this now. So I click and I email myself that tweet. Then later, when I have time and if I have time — I don’t watch all of them — I will just click through to that and watch it.

Twitter is as important to me as a podcast feeder, because it is broader and I can’t cover, I can’t choose, everything that is out there. It would be important for people to know how I do this, because I don’t have a lot of time to listen to stuff.

Why Podcasts?

I run outside three mornings a week. So, counting the run and the cool down, that is about a 45-minute block of time. So I can listen to three times 45 minutes usually in a week just by jogging. Then on the off days I might do, you know, some calisthenics or something that don’t take as much time and listen to a 10-minute something or other in my exercise time.

Now what is the point of all of this? I tried to think through why I do this. You know, isn’t this a waste of time? Aren’t you being jerked around by, you know, the media? Here are my three answers.

1. Stirred Up by Reminders

I need reminders of what I know and have forgotten about God and the Bible, because Peter said in 2 Peter 1:13, “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder.” Well, amen, Peter. John Piper leaks, you know? He just forgets, and I need a preacher, and it can be any preacher, to tell me what I know and to tell me what I know with some sense of reality and authenticity.

2. Savoring Truth

I need real live people speaking to me about their experience with God. This is what the Psalms are, aren’t they? I mean, the Psalms say things like, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25–26).

“Use your phone, or your iPod, or whatever you have as a time redeemer, not a time waster.”

That is a man talking to me about his walk with God, and I am listening to it and I am saying, “Yes. Yes. Please, God, I want that.” So I want people to do that for me. I want to listen to pastors who have walked with God. I don’t want them only to tell me what they see. I want them to tell me what they are savoring. Talk to me about what you are experiencing of God, because I get stirred up that way and I want to join you in that experience. So that is my second incentive in going after some of these videos and audios.

3. Redeem the Time

The third thing is that I need to learn. Second Peter 3:18 also says, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” And if you say to me, “Well, read a book, you know, and you will learn,” then I say, “Well, I can’t read while I am jogging, thank you very much. And I can’t read while I am driving.” So basically, I am trying to obey Ephesians 5:16, “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Redeem the kairos, for the days are evil.

And redeem there is purchase it. Grab it. Don’t waste it. God has given us technology as a way of redeeming time. Isn’t it sad, Tony, that so many have turned it into a time waster? So my closing exhortation to myself and to everybody is this: use your phone, or your iPod, or whatever you have got, as a time redeemer, not a time waster.