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?
So I just got out my phone here, and opened Downcast. I will read to you from the top of the app. These are the ones that are un-played, because that is what comes first in the list:
- Albert Mohler and The Briefing.
- Ask Pastor John — I don’t listen to it very often, but sometimes I check and see how you do these things.
- Bethlehem Baptist Sermons — that is Jason Meyer, my successor, and I love to listen to Jason preach.
- Brook Hills Audio — David Platt’s sermons.
- Canon Wired — those are sermons from Doug Wilson.
- Sinclair B. Ferguson from sermonaudio.com.
- The Gospel Coalition Podcast.
- Grace to You: Pulpit Podcast — that is John MacArthur.
- Poem of the Day — they just put up a different poem every day from poetry.com (or wherever it comes from) to give me a taste of poetry whenever I choose to listen to those.
- Renewing your Mind with R.C. Sproul.
- University Reformed Church of Lansing — that’s Kevin DeYoung.
- Theology Refresh from Desiring God.
- Truth for Life Broadcast with Alistair Begg.
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 Understanding
- Authors on the Line.
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.
But here is something just as important: I follow about a 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 that says something like, “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. 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 or 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 and 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. 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 45-minute segments usually in a week just by jogging. Then on the off days I might do some calisthenics or something that doesn’t take as much time and listen to a 10-minute something or other in my exercise time.
Why Should I Listen to Podcasts?
Now what is the point of all of this? I tried to think through why I do this. Isn’t this a waste of time? Aren’t you being jerked around by the media? Here are my three answers.
1. We require regular 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. 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. We need to hear others’ experiences with God.
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). 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. We can redeem our 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, 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’ve got, as a time redeemer — not a time waster.