For a number of years as I was growing in my faith, Dr. Charles Stanley’s teaching spoke to me with such power and conviction that it seemed he was reading my thoughts and preaching to me and me alone. It was eerie to me then that he always seemed to know just where I was and what I needed. I wrote to his ministry at one point to thank him for his teaching and expressed that sense. I received a polite response for someone on his staff and was told that they hear regularly from people who have that sense of very personal instruction through his teaching.
Then I began to use the devotional book My Utmost for His Highest and found a similar sense of being very personally instructed through it almost daily.
For several years I spent a great deal of time driving and would listen to Christian radio teaching quite a bit. In the few years before his death, I had a similar sense of being “targeted” by the teaching of Adrian Rogers as I listened to him on the radio. He often hit right on the head some point that I was struggling with or experiencing in my own journey of growth and in teaching adult Sunday School.
I’ve subscribed to several devotional services on the internet for about 8 or 10 years, but in the last year or so it is the Ravi Zacharias Ministry’s writers who are pointedly speaking to things of my heart.
There are other authors and teachers who have, at times, captured my attention and addressed some immediate spiritual need, giving rise to growth, understanding, or insight.
Still, the spiritual source that packs the biggest wollop is my own study of the Bible. When I invest time in the Word and meditate on scripture and consider it’s application to my own life and teaching, the Holy Spirit instructs me. It’s more demanding of my time and attention than other more “passive” types of learning (devotional books, radio programs, videos, etc.) and I have to confess that I don’t spend the daily time in pursuit of such instruction that I should. But when I do, the lessons are invaluable.
The things that I value most and use to teach most are the things God has poured into me through my own study of His word. They are the lessons most remembered.
In pursuing a theological education one can find many teachers. Spiritual formation, in fact, is probably well served by one being exposed to many individuals. However, unless one is committed to sitting under the instruction of the authoritative Teacher and the text book He uses, the process will be incomplete and lack the solid foundation that one needs.
One preacher put it this way (paraphrased): We all enjoy the sweets and dainties of the (would-be) theologians who write and sell books. But we need the greens and meat of the Word more.
What am I reading today and is it at least equally balanced with time in the Bible?