At one time, I thought that when I grew up, living the Christian life would become easier. I mean, when I was a teenager, and even a young adult, I “knew” my life was stressful, but I figured it would all slow down and I could focus more on my Christian life after I got through with school, settled down, and started a family. Then I could focus on the Church and raising my family the way God wants. But in the meantime, I had other priorities that needed to get taken care of first.
Years went by, I graduated college, got married, started my career, and began to grow the family. This was the time when life was supposed to start making more sense. The time when the stresses of school and athletics would be a distant memory. The time when I would have it all figured out. I now refer to my teenage and young adult years as “back when I thought life was stressful.” As most of you probably experienced as well, I had no idea what real stress and pressure was. Studying calculus and fluid dynamics didn’t hold a candle to building and maintaining a marriage while cleaning up after a sick child at 2AM. Though I had the desire to grow as a Christian and be more involved in the work of the Lord’s Church, I still never found the time to give it the dedication I knew it deserved.
You may be going through something similar right now in your life. If so, hang in there. I am still nowhere near where I would like to be as a Christian (though I know that if I ever think I’ve made it, I’m wrong). A couple of years ago, I decided that if I wanted to be as strong of a Christian as some of the men I looked up to, then I needed to be around what they were around. This involved many things like turning off the TV and taking my family to Gospel Meetings at other congregations.
There is one thing in particular that I found has helped me more than anything else: listening to podcasts and reading blogs. This has had a significant influence on me, as well as been a great encouragement to me when I needed a spiritual lift. I would like to share with you some of my favorites, and I encourage you to check these out.
- A Legacy of Faith – This is a daily blog post that I receive in my email, Monday – Friday (though I hate to call it just a blog since they do a podcast every other Friday, as well as provide printable resources on their website). The blogs are short articles that can be read in just a few minutes, and I receive it every morning around 7AM. The theme of the blog is to help your family grow its faith together. For that reason, most everything they do and publish is centered around the family unit. They accomplish this very well because of the way they have structured the blog. The articles are written by six different individuals. You have the parents, Jim and Donna Faughn, their son Adam Faughn and his wife Leah, and their daughter and son-in-law Jeremiah and Amber Tatum. Some of the blog posts are serious and thought provoking, while others are somewhat lighter and uplifting. All of them, though, are focused around the idea of helping your family to develop a legacy of faith. Check them out at http://www.alegacyoffaith.us.
- Plain Simple Faith – This blog is another one that I receive in my email a couple times a week, as well as follow on Facebook. The blog is written by Ben Giselbach, and it tends to be a more in-depth study of scriptural issues that face the Church today. These blogs have caused me to do a deeper study of certain topics, as well as to provide me with better insight into issues that I had never considered. You can find Ben’s blog at http://www.plainsimplefaith.com.
All of the following podcasts are available on iTunes (they may be available on other platforms, but I haven’t checked). I simply subscribe to them through the Podcast app on my iPhone and iPad. I listen to them anytime I am in the car by myself, or with headphones while I am mowing or working around the house.
- Sermons – The following congregations podcast their Sunday morning and Sunday evening sermons that get automatically added to my phone every Sunday:
Pippin church of Christ (Cookeville, TN) – preacher: Randy Bybee
9th Avenue church of Christ (Haleyville, AL) – preacher: Adam Faughn
West Huntsville church of Christ (Huntsville, AL) – preacher: Glen Colley
North Charleston church of Christ (Charleston, SC) – preacher: Robert Hatfield
Macland Road church of Christ (Marietta, GA) – preacher: Caleb Colley
- The Light Network – There are many individual podcasts that exist under the family of The Light Network (TLN). You can subscribe to each of the podcasts individually, or you can do what I have done and subscribe to the TLN Master Feed and receive all of their podcasts. Some of the podcasts are Bible studies led by women that are only intended for women, so I do not listen to those. However, here are some of my favorites from their lineup:
Preachers in Training – I can’t say enough about this podcast. Each week, the host Robert Hatfield will have a different speaker on the podcast to help discuss a certain topic that relates to being a preacher. Such topics have included how to balance work and preaching if you have a career outside the pulpit, tips on using technology during your sermons, etc. These are very down-to-earth and practical discussions that every preacher would want to hear (and I’m not a preacher).
Late Night at TLN – This is simply an hour long variety show. It is secular in nature, but it is clean and FUNNY. They broadcast this on Facebook Live every Thursday night, then push out the recording as a podcast. We enjoy watching it together as a family (with our children ages 5 to 8). They have fun with it because you can interact with them live while on air through their chat room. This has created something fun for our family to look forward to doing together every Thursday night.
Strong in the Lord – This podcast is based around a theme of physical fitness. It uses analogies from physical activity to teach a Biblical topic. For example, just this week their podcast taught about modesty, and focused on how you should dress while working out.
Bountiful – Since I am a banker and accountant by trade, this is one I look forward to every week. In this podcast, they discuss many different money topics and how they relate to the Bible. For example, what should a Christian do if they receive a large inheritance, is it wrong for a Christian to make lots of money, or what is the proper amount to give to the Church. As with all the others at TLN, this podcast is very scripture based.
The Hey Joe Show – This podcast is more geared toward teenagers, but is still beneficial for anyone to hear. It talks about current issues that really seem to affect young people, such as pride, homosexuality, peer pressure, etc.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve found that listening to these podcasts and reading these blogs have helped to improve my personal Christian life. Though I may not be able to physically be around the men and women who create them, they are influencing me on a daily basis. I encourage you to look into these and see if they might help encourage you as well.