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I have a confession to make. My life would have stunk in the 1600s. I am such a gadget head you wouldn’t believe it. Unfortunately I have to justify every purchase to myself and I only purchase stuff that I really “need”, so I am still without my wish list: an iPhone, a flat screen TV and a flat screen computer monitor. I can’t justify the iPhone as I don’t need data functions, the TV because our old, fat 26-inch Philips just won’t quit, and the monitor as I not only have a working old 17-inch CRT, but I have another one waiting in the garage… Man, I wish I could go for it, but I do have an iPod, and I have to admit it, I am addicted. As addictions are generally fun to share, I wanted to give you this unofficial Christmas gift, maybe you will find something awesome to listen to!

First, I am so blessed to have an amazing pastor, Scott Wood, at our church, the Crescenta Valley Community Church. He lives exactly as he teaches and bares his victories and failures honestly. His teachings are uploaded weekly, and he is knocking it out of the park with the current series, “Christmas, the Gift of Hope.” His teaching style combines the truth of the Bible with issues that everyone deals with, so you hear God speaking right into your life every Sunday. Just yesterday he taught on “Hope for Overcoming Doubt,” and nailed some points I had been struggling with just recently. His teachings are available here, go check them out!

In addition to pastor Scott’s wisdom a part of my daily discipline with God consists of listening to the Podcasts of my favorite online pastors. I usually listen to them on walks or at night when I’m going to bed. Falling asleep listening to pastors is actually nothing new, it used to happen to me all the time in church before I got saved!

The one thing that my favorite virtual pastors have in common is that when you google their names, you find hate blogs by other Christians (now there’s an oxymoron). They’re called every name in the book, but mainly they’re accused of diluting God’s word and compromising the truth. Having listened to them for a couple of years now, I can’t find any of it in their teachings, they have never compromised God’s word, and they stand on it solidly! The only thing they’re guilty of is contagious faith that draws big numbers of people to Jesus. That, of course, is a big red flag to those who’d rather think Jesus is about religion and law, not about bringing all people to Himself. Here are my online guys:

Perry Noble pastors NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, and he is one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever heard. I’ve seen him at a couple of conferences, and he brings a gritty real life viewpoint to his teachings. He makes you laugh while allowing the Holy Spirit to convict you for the wrongs in your life. He says “flippin'” a lot, and I kinda like it. It makes him one of us regular guys. He leads a church of 10 000 in a town of 20 000. Only God can do that! You can check his Podcast here, and his blog is at http://www.perrynoble.com/.

Erwin McManus is the pastor of Mosaic, a church community in Los Angeles. He is one of the wisest people I know, and he teaches in a very creative, engaging and fascinating way that encourages people to live their faith out and become world changers. Their church got a Doritos ad in the Super Bowl, and TOMS shoes were founded by one of the guys going to church there. You know, the shoes where you buy a pair, and another one is donated to developing countries to prevent disease. Erwin is also a writer, and I really enjoyed his book Wide Awake. Pretty cool stuff, and incredible teachings! Check them out here.

Steven Furtick is another great young guy from Charlotte, North Carolina. His church, Elevation, started a few years ago and now fills up several campuses, bringing in thousands of people every Sunday. He is completely sold-out to Jesus, and his church is cutting edge, or how do you feel about turning small groups into e-groups (e stands for empowerment), where the group decides their ministry and goes for it (from serving the homeless to playing golf and meeting nonbelievers there) and cheering when the pastor announces the tithes and offerings? Check him out here.

The list goes on, maybe I should do “Part Two” sometime in the future. Gotta love the Internet, because with all that is wrong with it, it also brings us some incredible tools to grow and learn to love and live in the truth as Christ did. All in all, these guys have blessed me by their teachings, and I like the fact that they act as a litmus test between being religious and being filled with life. The fruit of their teachings is evident. People are getting saved, becoming more like Jesus, and spreading God’s good news to those who are lost. I am all for it.

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