Posts in Technology
Podcasts Worth Checking Out

About 7 years ago, I began downloading the weekly sermon audio from John Piper, who was then the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota. Each week I'd sync my iPod with my computer and listen to one of the most popular preachers of my generation in order to be built up in my walk with God and to learn what makes a preacher, a preacher. 

This sermon audio came from the Desiring God Podcast, and it was the start of a habit I've maintained to this day, namely, listening to podcasts every week.  My interests have changed over the past several years, and the podcasts that once demanded my weekly attention are no longer on my subscription list. Instead, I find myself listening to others that I want to share with you. 

But first, what is a Podcast? 

If you're not familiar with podcasts, perhaps the best way to think of them is as a weekly (or more frequently produced) radio show that is delivered over the Internet. Sometimes podcasts are video-based, but generally, they are audio files hosted by individuals or groups that discuss topics or teach information within a broader category. 

Most of the podcasts I listen to are sermons, theological discussions, news commentary, or storytelling. Each week the specific episode will deal with a topic within those broader categories. I don't listen to every episode every week. If something doesn't seem interesting, I delete it. Podcasts were made for man, not man for podcasts. 

Subscribing to Podcasts

Perhaps the quickest way to find a podcast to listen to is to open the "Podcasts" app on your iOS device and begin browsing for podcasts that are interesting to you. If you want to get really into it, check out the "Overcast" app, which has become my favorite podcast subscription app, and check out their curated suggestions. 

Once you start exploring the podcasts that are out there, you'll be overwhelmed with the options, but these are some of my favorites. The links will take you directly to the podcast feed.

 My Favorite Podcasts 

  • The Briefing — Albert Mohler: A short podcast that I usually listen to while I'm getting dressed each morning. Dr. Mohler takes two or three major news events and analyzes them from a Christian worldview.
  • Christ the Center: Doctrine for Life — Reformed Forum: My favorite podcast. Lots of great interviews with some of the best scholars in the Confessional Protestant stream. Love the monthly Vos Group discussion.
  • Clifton Baptist Church Sermon Audio — Tom Schreiner: The only sermon podcast I'm listening to these days. Dr. Schreiner is a top notch scholar, but I am always amazed and encouraged by his pastoral application of the texts he exposits.
  • Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates: Debates on social, political, and economic issues. I always find myself stretched by thinking through different sides of an issue. 
  • Leadership Answerman — Hans Finzel: A helpful podcast for leaders from a CEO turned leadership guru. 
  • Proclaiming Christ — Reformed Forum: Another great podcast from Reformed Forum focusing on preaching. They've been working through Genesis, with a focus on its Christological interpretation, and it's awesome. 
  • Serial: You know about this one. Currently between seasons. 
  • TED Radio Hour: A really interesting show based on the popular TED talks. The contributors are always brilliant. 
  • This American Life: A classic that you've probably heard on NPR. Great storytelling and in-depth reporting on interesting and important cultural topics. 
  • The White Horse Inn: Interesting discussions around biblical and theological topics from a diverse panel of contributors. I've been listening for 6 or 7 years. 
  • WSCAL - Office Hours — Scott Clark: A podcast from Westminster Seminary California. Faculty members discuss biblical and theological issues with pastoral wisdom. 

I hope you'll check out some of these podcasts, and maybe find some others that are more appropriate for your personal interests. If you find one that you think I'd enjoy, let me know!

How To Use Logos To Search Your Seminary Notes

I take great notes. There, I said it. I do. I take especially good notes when a professor provides me with an outline. Not only this, I often email other professors and ask them for digital copies of their structured notes. Because I have all of these quality notes I often want to reference them. The problem is, when I want to access my notes it feels like I am on the hunt for Carmen Sandiego. Let’s say I want to access my notes from Dr. Wellum’s ST II class. This is how that typically rolls out:

  1. I find my documents folder.
  2. I look for my folder of classes taken at SBTS.
  3. I click on that folder where I am inundated by subfolders of semester and year.
  4. I guess and check on semester and year until I find “Wellum ST II”
  5. Once I finally find that file I can search for a particular word.

Mission accomplished!

But what if I want to see another set of corresponding notes? Back to step 1.

Is there an easier way? If you have Logos there is.

If you save your notes as a “.docx” you can build it into a book. Not only does it retain your formatting (usually), it also turns all biblical references into hyperlinks. If you are as meticulous as I am, before importing your notes you can go to your section headings and change them in Word to ‘Styles Heading 1’. When you do this, Logos will automatically format a table of contents for you: giving you the ability to hop between topic headings with one click.

How to Build the Book 

  1. Go to Tools > Personal Books
  2. Click Add book
  3. Enter Title
  4. Enter Author (optional)
  5. Enter Copyright message and Description (optional)
  6. Optionally add a cover image.
  7. Click Add file... and select the .docx file from your hard disk. You can add multiple .docx files to make up a book and use “drag&drop” to reorder them (right-click a file to remove it).
  8. Click Build book

After the book is built (aka “compiled”) it should automatically open in a tab and begin Indexing. Pretty cool, huh? We’re not done yet. Now that you have turned your notes into books you can organize them into collections. That way when you search for a term, phrase, reference, etc., you can search within the scope of your personal notes.

How to Make a collection

  1. Go to Tools > Collections
  2. Click “New” in the collection pane. (Getting into this habit will prevent you from accidentally changing a collection you already made.)
  3. Search for the title of your newly created note.
  4. Drag that file into the quadrant “+ Plus these resources”

All you have do from here is adjust the scope of your search and you’re good to go! This is a very basic feature of Logos that sadly many owners do not utilize.

How to Adjust the Scope of Search

You can adjust the scope of your search by Collection.

  1. Click on "Entire Library" to change collections.
  2. Select your the collection that contains the notes.