What influences are shaping you? Whether we know it or not, we are all being shaped. The question then is, are we being intentional as to what we allow to shape us.
Between the years of 2005 and 2011, either due to work or school, I found myself driving from Greensboro, NC to Charlotte, NC (2 1/2 to 3 hours round trip) at least 2 times per week. At the same time, I discovered sermon audios and podcasts. So, I began listening to sermons…a lot of them.
At the time, I was merely trying to pass the time, knowing I could only listen to so much sports talk radio (no one was really focused on college football in North Carolina anyway). I may not have been all that intentional in the beginning, but looking back, I can see that the Lord was doing a much needed work in my life. Driving up and down the interstate, over the course of time, I was being shaped by the Word of God…read, taught, and preached.
That was then, but what about now? It’s funny to me, but I think some people have this crazy idea that since I am an ordained pastor, I have graduated beyond that need. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, my soul thirsts for the Word…read, taught, and preached…more now than ever. I am still being shaped, and Lord willing, will continue to be, until I am with Jesus in glory. So, if I am driving, I am often times listening to other pastors or teachers.
It is not just my windshield time, though. Exercise is a great time for me to listen to sermons. I know…I know. That may not be your idea of entertainment while running, but I always find it helpful to take my mind off of the pain. Anyway, my point in sharing with you what I listen to while running or driving is not to tell you that you should do the same. However, I do want to encourage you to find windows of opportunity in your own life, and then to be intentional about redeeming that time. You are being shaped. Be shaped by the Word.
I will also share with you, in case you are curious, the various pastors or resources I find helpful. Again, the point is not to say these are the places you should go (though I do recommend them), but instead to emphasize my belief that it is helpful to have various sources. I find the following sources soul nourishing:
- Joe Novenson (Lookout Mountain Presbyterian) - Novenson faithfully preaches the Word with a pastor’s heart.
- John Piper (Desiring God Ministries) - Piper is a powerful and passionate teacher of the Word.
- Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church) - Keller thoughtfully engages the culture with the gospel, and drives his people to Christ from all of the Scripture.
- Brian Habig (Downtown Presbyterian Greenville) - Habig is a former campus minister who has a warm, thoughtful style in the pulpit.
- RUF Ministries (pick your campus but I have recently spent time listening to Jason Sterling at Ole Miss) - I find many of the RUF Campus Pastors, particularly in the Southeast, to faithfully speak the Word in ways that connect to me and my cultural background.
- Reformed Youth Ministries (Conference Media) - I am blessed by the way this ministry faithfully preaches the Word to youth. Their high school ministries in particular feed my soul.
- RC Sproul (Ligonier Ministries) - Sproul is a teacher of the first order and his daily podcast is a treasure.
I will listen to others, but these are some of my regulars. These men, in particular, teach the Word with more of a focus on growth in grace than on personal self help. I share them to encourage you, and to give some practical help. The bottom line however is this: you are being shaped. I’ve come to believe we are all moving in one of two directions. We are either growing in selfishness, or we are growing in Christlikeness. Again, either way, you are being shaped. Be shaped by the Word.