Tag Archives: Bible

Podfasting

Podfasting |pód-fãs-ting| Noun – Abstaining from mega-church podcasts so as to hear more clearly the voice of the Holy Spirit

I’m not a fan of New Years resolutions, but the first day of this month I decided to try an experiment. I stopped listening to podcasts. I felt like I was hearing too many voices; I was subscribed to 4 podcasts, would look at 5 others to see if I was interested in what they were preaching on that week, and had Wayne Grudem’s entire Systematic Theology podcast series completely un-listened to. All told, I had over 500 unplayed podcasts and they were piling up way faster than I could listen to them.

I had been getting so much teaching so rapidly for so long that for several months I felt as though I needed to start digesting all that I was eating. I started to feel like a theological-chipmonk who was stuffing his cheeks without ever actually digesting anything.

Add to that an ongoing seminary education and I was getting more than enough head knowledge. Knowledge wasn’t the problem; obedience was. I felt like I was focusing on all head with no heart; all information with no transformation; all data with no devotion. So I stopped listening to podcasts for (at least the first month of) 2012.

I feel like it’s been very, very helpful. I hear God’s voice more clearly and feel closer to Him as a result of narrowing my input to just His Word–the Bible–and whatever else my coursework brings my way. For my Greek class, I’m translating substantial (or at least substantial to me) passages and really mediating on them as much as I can. I feel like I’ve been able to focus on the voice of the Holy Spirit instead trying to hear Him in the midst of a cacaphony of mega-church pastors. Instead of filling “empty time” (i.e. my drive to work or the time I walk the dog) with a podcast, I’m now using it to think about the Bible verses I translated that day, how to apply a passage of Scripture I read, and catching a quick prayer. It’s been good and I think it’s becoming more and more necessary in our day of celebrity pastors.

So here’s the challenge: for the next 30 days, stop listening to whatever it is that you use to fill your “empty time.” Maybe it’s music, maybe you call people on the phone, or maybe you’re like me and you listen to podcasts, but stop! Instead, try to focus more specifically on the Bible and use that “empty time” as an opportunity to meditate on God’s Word and pray to your Father. You won’t regret it.

Lesson Two: Means & Ends

Something my professor, Dr. Randy Roberts, said in my “Learning to Love God and Others” class hit really close to home. Therefore, I have a confession to make: my devotional times have been an idol. Almost every day for years now I have made it a priority to spend time alone with God. I like to set aside the first portion of my wakefulness to read my Bible, meditate on God’s message for me, pray, and occasionally read an entry from a devotional. Sometimes I used to even blog as a response to whatever God showed me.

So how could this ever be an idol? This may sound surprising, and indeed I was surprised to realize this about myself. The sad truth is that for far too long I have viewed my quiet times as an ends, not a means. I’m not saying it’s bad to read your Bible, pray, meditate on God’s Word, memorize Scripture, etc. I’m saying they’re not the ultimate point. Our quiet times must always be a means to an ends, not the ends themselves. For years, I would read my Bible for the sake of reading my Bible. Shame on me! For years I would pray for the sake of praying. Oh, what vanity! For years I would do these things because I thought I was supposed to do these things. These things are not meant to terminate on themselves, they are meant to point us upwards.

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I forgot why I did these things: to connect to my Savior. I must read my Bible not just for the sake of reading my Bible, but in order that I may know my God in a deeper way. I must pray not for the sake of simply praying but in order that I may commune with my Savior. I must attend church not for the sake of warming up a seat, but so that I may worship my Maker.

Our quiet times are not a ends, they are a means. We must always remember why we read the Bible, why we pray, why we spend time memorizing the Bible, why we attend church, why we do all the things that we do.

We do these things because they are a means to a far greater ends. We do these things so that we may connect with the God of the universe. We do these things to to fall deeper in love with our Savior.