5 Podcasts For Encouragement & Entertainment

So sorry for not posting last week. I struggled with time management and I was working on another email article for an email list, and wasn’t able to crank this out fast enough. So you get it this weekend. I’ll try to be more consistent.


Hello, my lovely friends! 

I decided to take a break from serious writing and give y’all a fun post instead. 

As probably none of you know, I adore listening to podcasts. They are one of my favorite pastimes. I believe they are so great for so many reasons and want to share them with you. Here are four reasons why you should listen to podcasts:

  1. They make consuming “non-fiction” content so much easier!
  2. You can listen to them at any time!
  3. There are podcasts on every subject imaginable.
  4. It’s a great way to multi-task. 
  5. (Yes, I know I said four reasons.) They are amazing!

Thus, I’ll be listing my top five podcasts. These are ones I have either listened to a lot in the past or listen to at the moment. Whether you have never listened to a podcast in your life or you listen to them religiously as I do, I hope this list will be a helpful addition to your life. *Smirk* (Also, the podcasts are not in order, they are just five ones I thought would be the best to share.)

  1. Age of Minority

Age of Minority is a podcast “for youth about the gospel” and is hosted by Jaquelle Ferris, author of This Changes Everything (how the Gospel transforms the teen years) and Sean Crowe, her father, and pastor. 

There are a couple reasons why I highly recommend this podcast. First off, Jaquelle and Sean have strong, biblical theology and aren’t scared to say things that are counter-cultural or “not cool”. This is the number one reason why the podcast is of such quality. They are also hilarious and fun, which makes their message relatable. Their enjoyable father-daughter relationship connects tremendously with the audience. 

The podcast regularly goes through different topics and discusses how the gospel changes those things and the way we look at them. For example, they did an episode on sleep and another one on pets. How in the world do they talk about those things in light of the Gospel? Well, they do and fill whole 30-40 minutes episodes, too. They also have done series on apologetics, hard topics in the bible, and more. 

Website

  1. Call to Mastery with Jordan Raynor

Call to Mastery with Jordan Raynor is an excellent podcast that I discovered recently. Jordan Raynor is the best selling author of Called to Create (which I have read) and Master of One. He is passionate about encouraging Christians to pursue excellence in their work for the glory of God. In his podcast, he interviews believers who have become masters in their particular vocation or field. It’s insightful, enjoyable, inspiring, and practical. 

Not an adult? Don’t worry. This podcast is remarkably encouraging to me as a teenager. I am reminded to be faithful in what God has called me to do in this season. Also, I am taught by the experience of those who are far ahead of me. 

Website

  1. Instrumental with JJ Heller

This podcast is hosted by JJ and Dave Heller. (I have a funny backstory about this podcast. I was already a fan of JJ Heller’s music when she started to come out with these episodes and on the cover of the videos she put on YouTube, there was a picture of her and the words “Instrumental”. I thought she was putting instrumental tracks of her music on her channel. I decided to listen to one day, and to my sheer delight, found out it was a podcast.) 

“Instrumental is a show about the big and small moments that shape our lives.” Every episode, they interview people and talk about their life stories, going backward. They start at the current season of life the person is in, and end at the beginning. It’s amazing to see how God orchestrates our stories and uses us in ways we never would have expected.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

  1. Ask Pastor John

The Ask Pastor John podcast is a practical and quality podcast I recommend to someone looking for answers to difficult questions. The show is hosted by Tony Reinke, and Pastor John Piper is “featured” on every episode as he tries to answer questions that listeners send to him biblically. 

I would listen to this podcast with prudence as some of the topics aren’t ones that teenagers or even young adults should really be thinking about. Listeners will occasionally ask questions about marriage, relationships, and sometimes more sex-related topics that just aren’t what teens need to be listening to. 

However, John Piper has incredible wisdom and biblical insight which is hard to find. The episodes are relatively short, like little nuggets of truth and deeper thought to fit into your day.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

  1. Hymn Partial 

My friend Cara Devereux and her friend Monet Funke co-host this podcast. I am not recommending this just because Cara is my friend. Their podcast is genuinely high-quality and interesting. 

In case you didn’t get the name, it’s a play on the words “impartial” and “hymn”. The podcast talks about all things church music. They have talked about the history of certain hymns, music genres in the church, and debates over music in the church. 

You should listen to this podcast if:

  • You like music.
  • You love history.
  • You love hymns.
  • You geek out unnecessarily over everything.

I wait with anticipation for their episode to drop every week. I seriously adore this podcast because I learn so much, and have become a church music geek because of it.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

I hope you check out these podcasts, but most of all, I hope you find encouragement and wisdom and entertainment and hope through them. I do.

Do you listen to podcasts? If you do, which ones? What things have you done to entertain but also encourage yourself during these hard times?

EP Review: Searching For Us

Hello friends! I decided to change things up a bit and try my hands at an EP critique. This is something I have never done before. However, I have been listening to music of all genres and have been immersed in music since I was little. So which compilation of music shall I be reviewing today, you ask? None other than Searching For Us by Skye Peterson

Skye Peterson is a young, gifted songwriter and musician. Ever since I found out about her second EP (Searching For Us) on the Reb, I was super pumped to find out about all her music. 


Searching For Us is a beautiful, poetic, and truth-filled EP. 

It starts with the song ‘Sandcastles’ which is a fun, upbeat start to the EP. Skye’s voice is a sort of raw, dreamy voice, something between Lauren Daigle’s and JJ Heller’s, leaning toward the second of the two. The song talks about “all that we are, all we create, all that we give, all that we take”, and reminds us that it’s only love that remains. We build sandcastles, we build kingdoms, and although it might be forgotten, if we serve others, if we love, that will impact, that will stay. It is easy to follow and the music has this summery vibe about it. Not all of her songs are easy to sing but this one isn’t that hard if I tried. (I’m not going to be posting a video of me singing this XD)

You keep on listening and come to the second track, ‘Searching For Us’. The first couple moments sound like it’s going to be another easy-going, “fun” song but then Skye’s voice hits with this poetic goodness. Her words are beautiful, with the metaphor of a Shepherd, a King, a Father, who leaves the 99 to find the one, who loves, who tells us that He died for us. The chorus of the song etches into your memory and is filled with hope and is a sort of proclamation over our failures. The music fits it completely, it’s one of the best parts of the EP. The bridge is just beautiful, and now, instead of a proclamation, it’s a call, to look upon Him who searches for us. The bridge is made complete with other voices joining the call. The track is musically uplifting and lyrically sound.

The next track, ‘Come to Me’, begins with the words “sweet girl.” It immediately gets your attention and you listen because you’ve been there too. Jesus is calling us to come to Him, the One who loves and holds and leads. The words are comforting and the music is nice, and I love the vocals. I just wish this song sounded more acoustic, because it’s such a personal, raw sort of song, sometimes the beat and the loud music seem to distract from the meaning and beauty of the song.

Her next track, ‘As I Am’, commences with simple guitar and violin, and you just breathe in and out and listen. Skye’s simple voice prays this song, questioning why she is given such love from the Father, why it’s given unconditionally, just as she is. The stringed instruments and back up singers accompany the song gorgeously. It has a bit of a theatrical feel in parts of the track, especially when she sings: “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, He loves me as I am”.

‘Guessing Games’ opens with piano and electric guitar, and you can tell right off that this song is different. The lyrics are poetic and more expressive, artsier than her other tracks. On a personal note, this song has spoken to me so deeply since I’ve been feeling lonely and distant from God during the pandemic (more on that here). This track is less of the upbeat, fun music she starts with and is more full of longing, more musically experimental. She is so real, so raw with her emotions: I sat there in the loft of that old barn // And I felt Him there so I cried until my tears were nearly gone // And I wish that I could feel that way again // ‘Cause I miss that love that I once knew.  

The last track, ‘Stay’ is an instrumental and (slightly vocal) mash-up of all that’s been said over the EP. It personifies the longing that her music awakes in you as you listen. The emotion spills over, and you sit and take it all in. 


Skye’s music has the poetic depth that one would expect from the Peterson family, but she is uniquely and originally her, with the fun music but also the deep longing of her soul to be seen and known by her Father. It has been a blessing to me, and I think it’s so cool that someone like Skye, who is only a year or so older than me, has created such an amazing sandcastle 😊.

Quick Thoughts on Art, Beauty, Creativity and God

Hello, my friends! I didn’t post on Saturday because we were on vacation. It was wonderful, but I’m glad to be back with you all. 


Created to create

In the beginning was the Creator. He existed before everything. However, He decided to create. The pinnacle of His creation was us. People. Creatures created in the image of their Creator. 

Being created in His image means that we are created in His likeness. Basically, we are simiThat means that we have traits and emotions and can think logically and can make decisions and can protect and love.

We are also creative. We are creative because God is creative. We love art and beauty and rhythm and poetry because God put the planets into motions in a rhythm no one can fathom. He created art in every butterfly and seashell and flower and sunset. He wrote poetry when He inspired authors to write the Psalms. He creates beauty when he transforms an ugly, wretched sinner into a holy, wonderful, Jesus-follower. 

God’s Gift to His Creatures

Art is a wonderful gift from God to us. It is amazing because it helps us learn things that we normally wouldn’t be able to remember. Take rhyme for example. Rhyme helps people remember things that an hour-long sermon never could. A song is more memorable than a lecture. An image is more powerful than an explanation. A story is more powerful than an argument. 

Art is a gift. 

Art isn’t always found the way it should be in the Christian community. We have wonderful artists creating music, worship music. And I’m not saying that we don’t need that. Worship music is important because we need to have songs that help us glorify our God. However, we also need poetry in our music. We need deep words that make us think. We need music that fills our soul with emotion and hope. 

We need authors that fill the world with light-giving stories. We need painters and artists that reflect God’s love for beauty. We need photography that captures beauty but also shows the world as the broken world that it is, that calls for social justice. 

Artists Making Art to the Glory of God

Here are two artists who are breaking the rules, creating beauty, poetry, light, and hope.

  1. Andrew Peterson

I can’t quite remember when I first heard of his music, but I’ve been (ever so slightly) obsessed ever since. He is a masterful poet, a talented musician, and someone who thinks very deeply about things. 

Another thing I love about his music is that his albums tend to tell a story. There is a beginning, you start with one song, and when you listen to the album, you end up somewhere else. You start out with depression, and you end with hope, for example. 

His songs aren’t simple, but they are good. They are beautiful art, deep poetry, and complex music. 

Listen to his album The Burning Edge of Dawn here, and visit his YouTube music channel here

He is also an author. He’s written the Wingfeather Saga Series, a fantasy series for children. He has also written Adorning The Dark, which is a memoir but also a handbook to all who are called to create, make, and spread hope in a dark world. 

Visit his website here

  1. Taryn Harbridge

A talented musician, Taryn creates covers and melodies of tunes we all know and love, whether it be movie soundtracks, folk songs, or hymns. Her main instrument is the violin, but she plays many other instruments. Her music is inspired by bluegrass and Celtic music. 

Everything she creates is stunning. She layers sound upon sound of the violin, pennywhistle, bottle-blowing, guitar, and vocalizing. You feel like you are listening to an orchestra. 

Listen to her instrumental cover of How Great Thou Art here, and visit her YouTube channel here