Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the joy and discipline of sermon listening

"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." luke 12:48

as christians living in the the developed world in the 21st century, there is no denying that we have been given generous resources by God.  as always, we can uses these resources for good or for ill, but either way we will have to give an account one day for how we used it all.  one of the resources we have today is access to a prolific number of sermons, easily obtained through the internet.

listening to sermons throughout the week is one of my favorite spiritual disciplines (which is also a joy).
'Forgiveness Feeding From Afar' photo (c) 2006, Tim Samoff - license:

anyone can incorporate sermon listening into their day: while commuting, while working out or while taking a walk.  but i find that sermon listening is even easier (and arguably more important) for stay at home moms to fit into their day.

the opportunities for a stay at home mom to fit in sermon listening into her day are endless: while doing dishes, while folding laundry, while rocking fussy babies, while nursing babies, while resting when little ones are napping.  SAHM's have many activities that keep the hands busy while the brain is free to think about deeper things.

sermon listening is also important for SAHM's to help stay focused on jesus throughout the day.  the notable dr. martin lloyd-jones once said that mothers of young children are the only ones who have a legitimate reason to not be reading their bible regularly (not even busy medical students have this excuse he said, and he would know since he was a doctor!).  in my experience i have found this to be true. since starting to walk with jesus in college, i have never struggled with daily bible reading except for times we had multiple young children (this wasn't an issue when we only had esther).  however, let me make sure to say that moms should still be sacrificing to make time for the bible even when they have littles, it just might not be as consistent.  right now with a (very fussy) 3 month old and a 14 month old, i still find pockets of time several days each week to devote to bible reading and prayer.  even when we had the four foster kids i was able to wake up early and get a few minutes of bible reading done before the kids woke up some days.

i call sermon listening a discipline and a joy.  it is a discipline, because it would be easier to let your brain rest and not think about deeper things.  it would often be easier for me to listen to NPR, music or just my own musing thoughts instead of a sermon (and indeed there are many times that these things are better than a sermon for what i need at the moment).  but it is a disciple to choose to think in the midst of our culture of endless entertainment opportunities.

but it is undoubtedly also a joy.  my heart has been refreshed by a good sermon more times than i can count.  various sermons have spurred me on towards deeper love for the gospel, biblical womanhood, joy, satisfaction in God and love for adoption among other things.

so, where to start?  there are numerous sites where good sermons can be found.  some sites that i frequent are:

canon wired (doug wilson)

desiring God (john piper)

mars hill church (mark driscoll)

together 4 the gospel (a biennial pastors conference that i enjoy)

the gospel coalition (also a conference with lots of other resources on the site)

if you want a more specific suggestion on where to start, here are some of my all time favorite sermons, most of which i have listened to multiple times:

a theology of christmas gifts by doug wilson (this is good to listen to any time of the year, not just during the christmas season)

an evening of eschatology (a roundtable discussion of the 3 major views of the millennium from a desiring God conference)

under authority like christ (a great teaching on biblical womanhood by mark driscoll)

are you humble enough to be carefree? by john piper (this one is pretty thick, i find it helpful to read the text while listening to the sermon)

prayer as a way of walking in love by francis chan (you will be encouraged and humbled by this account of francis chan's personal prayer life)

what are some of your favorite sermons?  when during the day do you enjoy listening to sermons?


  1. Good post! I actually have found myself listening to a couple hours of sermons or apologetic discussions every day at the office. The problem is that it often enthralls me more than my tasks and can become a distraction so it's definitely a balance. But it is absolutely incredible how many sermons or discussions you can find by men strong in their faith. No one in this country has any excuse to why they can't listen to the gospel being taught.

    You listed some great pastors up there. I really have been big into listening to Todd Friel lately. He's a radio show host and has a TV show called "Wretched" ( ) - He's more or less a sassy apologist, but he also does street preaching and discussions with people and is a lot more serious and down to earth in his speech when dealing with people directly (his sarcastic attitude is usually on his radio/tv show). I would definitely recommend him.

    Also, though he is definitely a bit more gloomy sounding than others, Paul Washer is an incredible teacher. He's often so down sounding because he is a pastor who has been on the missions field and has seen the difference between extremely devoted believers overseas, and the wishy washy convenient Christians that fill up the majority of believers in this country.

    Anyway, good stuff. Keep at it!

    1. yes, i have listened to paul washer a couple times. he certainly knows how to bring it!!

      i'll have to check out todd friel. thanks for the suggestion! :)

  2. Thank You! I mostly listen to Nancy Leigh Demoss at Revive Our Hearts during my days at home, but am always looking for alternative encouragement and sermons. Thank you again for thinking to post this!