From time to time I want to share web sites, ministries or resources with you that I have found helpful in my journey. The first is an organisation I connect with on almost a daily basis – RBC Ministries.
Founded over 70 years ago as Radio Bible Class, I first encountered RBC Ministries as I was looking for good Christian podcasts to listen to. I found three that RBC produced, one of which I will come back to later in this post. The other two were Our Daily Bread and Strength For The Journey. Each of these was encouraging and full of Biblical wisdom, in bite-sized chunks that you can listen to nearly any time and place. Apart from the podcasts, these devotionals are also available to read on the web site, and Our Daily Bread can also be found on a mobile app and as a freely distributed paper publication.
You can find many other devotionals, blogs and resources on the RBC web site, and I encourage you to look around and find something that helps you – I’m sure you won’t have to look far.
As time went on and I found other podcasts and other things to fill my time I decided to drop Daily Bread and Strength. But I continue to this day to listen to what is in my opinion an absolute gem of a podcast – Discover the Word.
Discover the Word is a daily Bible study with three hosts – Haddon Robinson, Alice Matthews and Mart De Haan – who sit together and discuss the Bible, its meaning, and its impact and application in our lives. Even though they spend just 15 minutes a day on each program, they spend as many days, weeks, or sometimes months as necessary to really look at the subjects in depth. I find it so valuable to hear all the different perspectives, sometimes close to my own, and sometimes very different, but always presented with a solid grounding in God’s word. You can’t help but feel that these are people who understand the struggles we go through in our Christian journeys, and in life generally.
To give a completely honest review I have to point out two problems I sometimes have with the podcast. The first is the length – not that 15 minutes is too short, but that a significant part of that time is lost. First, the podcast is not 15 minutes long, but nearer 13. I suppose that’s because it is also broadcast on US radio, and presumably some time is needed in the schedule for adverts or trailers. Then there are the intro and outro from Brian Hettinga. Sometimes his contribution adds extra value to the discussion, but often he is just repeating standard messages, reminding us what happened last time, or telling us what’s coming up. We lose another couple of minutes there, and that can be frustrating.
My second issue is that there will often be repetition of some of the conversation points across multiple episodes. This can irritate me, but it’s probably intentional and a good thing, because I expect this particular repetition is intended to reinforce important principles and is probably quite an effective method for doing that.
So again I encourage you to give Discover the Word a listen, and see whether it feeds your spirit as it does mine. The style and structure of the conversations won’t be for everyone, but it’s definitely worth trying for a week or two to see how you settle into it.
Update: Since I wrote this post, RBC Ministries has changed its name to Our Daily Bread Ministries and there have been some changes in personnel too. Haddon Robinson left “Discover the Word” when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and Alice Matthews retired from hosting at the same time. Two new hosts joined in 2014 – Bill Crowder and Elisa Morgan – and the programme has continued in a very similar style since then. I still thoroughly recommend Our Daily Bread Ministries, and particularly Discover the Word.