By: Emily Miller
I spend most of my time at home, alone with my two very young children; and that was a fact before we went into lockdown almost two months ago. My hands are kept busy with diaper changing, food making, and cleaning, so sitting down with a good book is a difficult luxury to fit into my days. I grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey and Radio Theater dramas and, as an adult, I love listening to podcasts and news commentary. But hours of entertainment and news can easily burden and dry out my soul. So, I’ve developed the habit of listening to sermons and reading articles on theology throughout my day.
While this has been very helpful to me there is a danger that comes with this practice. As I look for teachers to listen to throughout the week, I want to avoid becoming a 2 Timothy 4:3 girl: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.”
To guard against this I belong to a local church, meet with them regularly, and listen to my pastor’s teaching. I do not compare my pastor to others I find helpful and I’m accountable to my church’s authority over me. I compare a teacher’s teaching to what I read in the Bible instead of evaluating whether I like what they’re teaching. I also have a few wise counselors (mainly my parents!) who I check my doctrine with regularly. With all the resources out there it’s easy to treat the teaching of God’s word like a consumer instead of a disciple.
That warning given, here are my go to resources:
RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) ( https://www.rzim.org/ )
The tagline for this ministry is “Helping the thinker believe, and the believer think.” This group is made up of international Christians: former Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists etc., who all know why they believe in Jesus. As someone who lived as a westerner in Asia for most of my life and has wrestled with several different world views, this has been an invaluable resource for my faith. I’ve also been really helped in figuring out how to express the wonderful Good News of Jesus to others patiently, humbly, and winsomely. Phrases like “every question has a questioner” has changed my mindset from being able to slam people with the right answers to really trying to see the person behind any given conversation.
The Gospel Coalition ( https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/ )
This is a great resource. Great articles, podcasts, and teaching series from a large number of pastors and teachers. But my favorite thing is their resource library. I use their resource library to listen to sermons on the scriptures I’m currently reading through in my daily Quiet Time. This is a powerful way to think on what I’ve read in the morning all throughout my day.
Camas Valley Christian Fellowship (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN_ARMIIjvaZ_TFxtVa4TSg/feed )
The first two resources in this list are huge, global organizations. This final resource is a church of about 400 people in a little town in Oregon. I know them because the pastor guest-taught at my husband’s church while we were first dating. This pastor has an unusual gift in teaching through scripture in a way that helps me connect the whole Bible together and fans my love for Jesus. I’m refreshed by the time of worship they include in their videos and, if you’re deaf, they have sign language for both the worship and the sermons. I also have a soft spot for them because this church is deeply involved with working with the persecuted church in many parts of the world.
Emily is a mother of two young children and has little time for much else. She began a daily quiet time at age thirteen, and her relationship with Jesus has remained a constant for Emily as she went from being a missionary kid in Mongolia, to working as a barista in Oregon, to marrying and starting a family in Florida. Emily enjoys writing poetry, dancing while doing housework, watching storms, and laughing at her husband, children, and herself.