Podcast Recommends For The New Year2
It’s that time of year when so many people are thinking about changing habits. Whether that’s health, household, or professional habits, routines around time in prayer and studying God’s Word, or something else, many people are thinking about adjusting parts of their life this month. One of my prayers for myself and my church family is that Christ empowers and impels our obedience of Ephesians 5:15-17.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
In the interest of making the best use of time, I want to encourage you with some podcast resources for changing a habit around listening in your life. While we are often dismayed at the negative effects of technology on the world and the Church in recent years, it is good to recognize and be thankful for the blessings that come with technology. Podcasts are one of my favorite technological/social innovations in my lifetime. I have benefited greatly from a variety of Christ-oriented podcasts, being encouraged, better understanding the will of the Lord, and having a convenient source of truth in my ears. Many great podcasts (and sermons available via podcast) have helped me make the best use of time when driving, working on projects inside and outdoors, cooking, and other routine tasks that don’t require my full attention. The convenience of hands-free, mobile access to teaching and preaching is a great blessing that has been instrumental in my Christian walk the last several years.
Whether you already listen to podcasts or music during such activity and want to orient that listening Christ-ward (perhaps in the put-off, put-on model), or are new to podcasts and want a practical way to listen to more of the good, the true, and the beautiful, I want to encourage you with the list below.
My aim for our entire church body, via podcasts or not, is as Paul says in Philippians 4: 8-9:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about such things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I also want to confess sin on my own part in abusing this great resource, with a warning to other believers. Far too often I’ve had something in my ear when I should be listening to, talking with, or even simply available to listen to my family. Be prudent about when and where to listen to even these good things, since even good things can be a hindering distraction. Consider keeping the volume low to better hear others around you, and don’t prioritize a recording over the people God has put in your life. Some of us may even need to cut out some podcasts in our weekly routines. May God help you and me with the wisdom and self-control to use good tools well.
One final word of wisdom before we begin: while I’ve listened to numerous episodes of all of these podcasts, I haven’t listened to every episode of all of them, nor everything the hosts or all of their guests have said, wrote, or done. I’m not endorsing everything every person on every episode of these podcasts has said and done—even in the hundreds of episodes I’ve listened to, I have a few theological and practical disagreements with many of these folks. We have the liberty to do that, on non-essential topics, as Paul mentions repeatedly in 1 Corinthians (especially chs. 8-10).
Instead, I am recommending these podcasts to you as great sources of Biblical encouragement and teaching that you can receive—as the Bereans did in Acts 17:10-12—while comparing with the Scriptures, to see if what’s being said is so. I’ve listened to some of them more than others, but all of them enough to comfortably recommend them to my beloved church family.
With all that as preface, I’d like to recommend the following podcasts as resources for your consideration:
1. GCBC SermonAudio
If you’re new to listening to podcasts, or working to orient your current listening Christ-ward, this is where I would start. We are blessed to live in an age where there is so much Biblical content available to us, created by members of the universal church; and yet there is a special blessing in listening to the Word of God preached or taught by people whom we know, or have the opportunity to build a relationship with, those who have (or have had) a stake in our local church.
This is where the church posts nearly all pulpit sermons, as well as many adult Sunday School lessons, conference messages, and other content outside of Sunday morning services. This is, of course, no substitute for being in church, but when illness or travel causes me to miss a Sunday morning, this is how I listen to missed sermons. I have three young sons who are still learning self-control during services, so I also use it to listen to part or all of sermons during which I was distracted. I’ve also been really blessed to hear many of the Equipping Hour classes and other sermons and events this way. There is some really great teaching and encouragement delivered by our brothers and sisters at GCBC here, and it’s well worth your time.
A more searchable resource with the same material is the ChurchOne App, whereby you can select GCBC as your church and more easily search all the material that the church has recorded and placed on SermonAudio. ChurchOne allows you to search GCBC’s uploads by series, year, scripture, speakers, and categories. I’ve used this resource to find particular sermon series from the past, often searching by topic or to see what the church has taught. Another added advantage of this app is that it has everything the church has recorded, whereas the podcast only keeps things accessible for a little more than a year. Right now I’m listening through the 180+ sermons and teachings given by Dean Orr, a faithful and passionate saint in our church who passed away some years ago.
2. GCBC Podcast
This short podcast (average of 10-30 minutes) podcast features interviews with Gold Country Baptist Church’s elders, deacons, and some guest speakers, as well as some special messages from Pastor Corey on topics such as the roles of elders and deacons, the importance of evangelism, and the value of studying church history. The messages are timely and short. The interviews provide an opportunity for encouragement—seeing how God has worked in and is working through the lives of servant-leaders in our church. They are also a great way to get to know GCBC’s leaders, whether you’re new to the church or have been there for decades. This will help you fulfill 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13, which calls us to encourage each other, build one another up, and “respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”
3. Truth in Love
This podcast is created by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), generally hosted by Dale Johnson. It features discussions with various Biblical Counselors about all kinds of soul care and human sin, as well as advice on counseling people through the lens of, and use of, Scripture. Topics include the sufficiency of Scripture, giving hope to counselees (and ourselves), counseling various sins, mediation and conciliation, diagnoses and how to think about them Biblically, how to build a counseling ministry at your church, and more.
If, like me, you have a heart for counseling people in your life and effectively pointing them to God’s Word, this is a wonderful podcast that can greatly equip you. It is especially recommended for anyone who is even considering certification and formal ministry in Biblical Counseling. Some of the most encouraging episodes have featured people describing their journey to—and experience in—Biblical Counseling ministry. New episodes release weekly and are generally 15-30 minutes in length.
4. Transformed with Doctor Greg GiffordThis podcast is hosted by ACBC-certified counselor Dr. Greg Gifford, Assistant Professor in Biblical Counseling at The Master’s University, and has similar content to Truth in Love. Greg has a gentle but firm demeanor and is wholly committed to directing listeners to think about others and themselves in a Biblical paradigm, rather than one created. Some of Greg’s best work is digging into the origins of our modern therapeutic, psychiatric culture and contrasting that with what the Bible teaches. His series on The Mind and The Brain does this especially well, and is really worth listening to, as is his series on Biblical Masculinity. Episodes tend to be an average of 25 minutes or so, and new episodes generally release weekly.
5. Through the Bible in a Year with Ray Ortlund (ESV)
While no substitution for reading God’s Word, this daily podcast is a great way to get more of the Word into your daily routines and can be complementary to regular study and prayer. There’s also great value in covering the sweep of the whole Bible in a year, and in hearing books of the Bible in their entirety, especially books you’re less familiar with. It’s not too late to catch up on listening to the Bible in a year!
6. A Word Fitly Spoken
While not exclusively for women, this podcast is hosted by a pair of mature Reformed women writers and speakers (Michelle Lesley and Amy Spreeman) and often focuses on Christian womanhood, motherhood, and women’s ministries. They also have great episodes on Biblical approaches to various holidays, several episodes confronting error such as extra-biblical revelation and women preaching, and more. Like many podcasts, the hosts answer listener questions about the Bible and the Christian life, as well as some great guests on subjects such as extra-biblical revelation, Bible Study Fellowship, abortion, and habits. Amy and Michelle are relatable, measured, thoroughly Biblical, and easy to listen to.
7. Strong, Courageous Men
Pastor Corey recommended this podcast to me; it’s hosted by his friend Caleb Effinger and features interviews with various Christian men that Caleb admires and brings on to talk about their ministry, do a devotional, or topics related to Christian men’s lives. There are many confused and wicked messages about men and manhood in our world and culture, and men at every age need the kind of righteous encouragement and exhortation that this podcast supplies. This is a new podcast, so the catalogue of prior episodes is very small (and easily searchable!), and the average episode length is about 40 minutes. Especially worthy of attention are the three podcasts on why the world, families, and churches need men.
8. Wretched Radio
This is a favorite of mine, and may be particularly enjoyable for those of you with a dry or snarky sense of humor. The host, Todd Friel, and producer, Jimmy Hicks, have a fun interplay, even when talking about important things. Todd is the former host of Way of the Master Radio and an author. Their general approach is thoroughly Reformed (hence the podcast name acknowledging our naturally depraved state), careful about their own wording or assuming motives (in light of 1 Corinthians 4:5) and focused most of all on God’s glory shown in His Church.
Every Wednesday is Witness Wednesday, wherein listeners hear Todd have evangelistic conversations with people in public. I’ll note that repeated exposure to such conversations is a great way to increase your confidence in the opportunities you have. Like many podcasts, Todd has a mailbag/Q&A episode each Friday, and Todd works very hard to keep his answers Biblically-focused, prudent, and gentle. He often pauses longer to carefully consider a response where others might immediately answer to make sure that he's considering what the Bible says, rather than his own thoughts or his American culture. There are also short bits of church history, Biblical analysis, current events, and more. This is one of the more regular podcasts, generally 5 days a week, and the average episode lasts just around 50 minutes.
9. Amazon to the Himalayas
This is a great podcast that Seth Johnston, one of our missionaries, sent me, and it’s one of my favorites. It features “conversations with the global church and for the global church about the mission of God in the world”. Some of my favorites include the great overview of missions history, spotlights on particular missionaries from history, current missionaries, especially those working in places with extreme geography, poverty, and cultural/legal opposition to the Gospel. The host, Paul Akin, has organized the podcast very well, with more recent seasons each taking a different focus, such as Global Cities, Missions History, Mission in Extreme Places, The Missionary Task, and Sending Well. I strongly recommend this tool to stir our hearts, prayer, efforts, and resources for evangelism, global missions, the universal Church, and the glory of God.
10. The Briefing with Al Mohler
If you’re looking for a Biblical, measured, and soundly Reformed view of current events, one of the best podcasts available is this podcast hosted by Dr. Al Mohler, the President of Southern Theological Seminary, a theologian, and a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. This was the first podcast I regularly listened to, starting way back in 2015 or 2016. His steady, thoughtful effort to help Christians look at current events, history, the Church, and the world with a Biblical worldview is a faithful ministry, generally 5-days a week, with episodes an average of 15-20 minutes.
In Truth and Love,