Monday, February 15, 2010

Automobile university

As a minister time is always a major challenge.  There's never enough time to do all the things you need to do.  At the end of every day there will always be unfinished work: one more phone call or one more visit you could have, and possibly should have, made.  Where does the minister find the time for his or her own personal development?  How do we find the inspiration we need to keep faithful to our task?   For me that is often found in my car.

I have a lot of windshield time as I travel around our state and work with the various congregations that are assigned to me.  It is not uncommon for me to spend one or two hours a day in my car, and some days even more.  I remember one evening last year when I drove five hours one way to preach a message, and then had a five hour drive back home that same evening because of a commitment I had the following day.  You may or may not drive as much as I do, but I'm sure you spend a lot of time in your car as well.  How do you use that time?

Last Christmas our son gave me my first I-Pod.  Frankly, I had little interest in owning an I-Pod and probably never would have purchased one for myself, but I have to admit that I am really enjoying it and finding it very beneficial for training and inspiration.  I'm not the most technical person in the world, but I have found it very easy to use, and use it I do.

I've put a few of my favorite music CDs on the I-Pod and found it a lot more convenient than trying to deal with a bunch of CDs while I'm driving.  I can plug my I-Pod into my car sound system and just turn it on.  I don't have to juggle some CDs while I'm driving which makes it a lot safer to use on the road.  I also have several of my favorite speakers downloaded so I can listen to them while on the road as well.  Each week my I-Pod downloads the latest releases from these speakers so I am always current with their messages.

What's on my I-Pod?  Right now I have messages from Ravi Zacharias, author, speaker, and apologist, whose ministry I've appreciated for many years.  I always had trouble finding him on the radio, but now I don't have to worry about that.  I get his Podcasts every week automatically.  I also have Ergun Caner, the first former Muslim called to serve as a dean of a Christian seminary; Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church; and Nelson Searcy, founding pastor of The Journey Church in New York.  For music I have an album by the Blind Boys of Alabama, The Fairfield Four, and several songs from a local group who leads music at a country music church near my home.  I also have music by several blues artists to add something a little different to my listening enjoyment.  I keep adding to my selections to keep everything fresh.

My I-Pod isn't only used when I'm in the car either.  I work out at a local gym 3-4 days a week and will often take my I-Pod with me to listen to a Christian speaker while I'm on the treadmill.  It helps time go by faster and allows me to be spiritually inspired while I working to improve my physical well-being.

Make good use of your drive time.  Invest in good teaching tapes from leaders you trust and attend class at Automobile University.  If you have an I-Pod you can get a lot of great downloads at no cost to you that can be used to inspire, bless, and instruct you so you can make the best use of some free time.

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