Podcast: 15 April 2020

Hello and welcome to Wednesday’s podcast. I hope you are encouraged by these podcasts and regardless of what I have to say you, are hearing God whisper in your heart while you put time aside each day to focus on him.


Today’s reading is Galatians 1:10-17, the beginning of Paul’s defence of his apostolic credentials. You can hear it in full at the end of this reflection but for now, I want to focus in on versus 11 and 12

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.  I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

Paul was a young man when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and had his heart radically changed. He had been a Pharisee, a religious fanatic, intelligent, steeped in the scriptures, excelling in all of the qualities that would make him a top Pharisee, even a top Rabbi one day. He looked the part, sounded the part, had a great family lineage… he was the real deal!

He probably listened to all the right podcasts, read all the right books, could quote chapter and verse, had his finger on the pulse and lived out his beliefs… to the letter… exceptional!

And yet he was way off the mark… it took an encounter with Jesus, a period of blindness and a dramatic healing to get his attention…

But here’s the thing. After he met Jesus he didn’t seek out the disciples. He didn’t pick up Jesus’ teaching from those who had spent three years with him. No, instead he went off on his own and received instruction and revelation from Jesus Christ.

Let me say that again, Paul didn’t get taught by anyone, what he preached and the life he lived, he learnt in isolation, Jesus revealed it to him directly and the rest he figured out.

So, how dependent are we on other people’s teaching for our spiritual health?

Take away our regular means of support and do we stand or fall?

We are in lockdown… are we surviving or thriving in our faith?

There is a saying… that goes something like this, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day – teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We can consume, sermon after sermon, podcast after podcast, book after book… fish after fish but we will still be dependent tomorrow on someone else’s relationship with God.

But… If we learn how to pray, to read the bible in such a way that we begin to recognise his voice for ourselves we will be fed for all of eternity.

Don’t get me wrong… I love a good sermon… I love a good book… They have been invaluable to me and my growth as a disciple but I don’t just want to fill my head, I don’t just want to have enough resources to cobble together my next sermon or podcast… No, I want to have a faith that is alive and kicking, I want a faith that leans in and hears God’s voice, intimate and personal.

Jesus challenged the Pharisees… of whom Paul was one… “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)

We listen to sermons and follow the best podcasts because we think that in them we have eternal life. These are the very resources that testify about Jesus, yet we refuse to come to him to have life…

In this season let us find new depths to our relationship with the Father. Let our times of prayer be filled with his presence, let us silence the noise of a full and frantic life and listen intently for his gentle whisper, in all that we do, all that we listen to, all that we watch… let it be a springboard to our own encounter with Jesus.

Sound teaching is essential… Paul dedicated much of his letters to address false teachers and keep the new communities he planted from being led astray… a good podcast can open up a new perspective, deepen and enrich our understanding… but without Jesus, without his love, grace and power… words are just words… so let’s draw close… let’s give him space… let’s come to him and have life.


Jesus, we want to come to you and have life. Teach us, lead us, guide us in your way. Light a passion for you and your presence in our hearts, let us not be satisfied with a single fish, teach us to fish, teach us to pray and let the Bible come alive in our hands and our hearts overflow with love. Amen.

BIBLE READING: Galatians 1:10-17

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.