Our Greatest Task

I tell folks one of my problems in life is I believe this stuff.  Like I really believe the things that Jesus tells us.  I believe that He’ll be true to His word, that He will care for us, lead us, guide us, and help us be where it is that we need to be, and go where it is that we need to go.

I truly believe that we can trust Him, no matter what.  He’s got a plan bigger than us.  Our job is to follow the leading of His spirit, and trust completely that He knows what He is doing.

A conversation arose among the religious leaders after the church was born in Acts where they were trying to figure out what to do with these Christians.  Listen to what happens in Acts 5: 34-39:

34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 35 Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

Verses 38-39 nail it to me.  If it’s not of God, it will die away.  If it is of God, nothing can stop it.  Nothing.

If it’s of God, it can’t be stopped. That’s why I try not to worry too much about things that I really have no control over.  It is not of God it will die away, but if it is of God, then it won’t be about to be stopped.

tworoadsWell then, how do we know the difference?  How do we know if it’s of God, or if it’s not?  That’s where we have to learn to listen.  We have to learn the voice of the Good Shepherd. The sheep know the voice of the Good Shepherd.  They follow His voice.  The know it.  They can hear it.  And they go where it is that the voice leads.

That’s our greatest task, perhaps.  Not to know where the road ends, but to follow the voice down whatever road it is that it is leading us.  God knows the roads. God knows the plans.  God knows the directions.

We can trust.  Really.  We can trust.  God knows what He is doing.  Our job is to follow.  It it’s of God, it won’t be stopped.  Our calling is to make sure that we are listening to the voice.

Today, let’s listen. And let’s follow where He is leading us.

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Listen

Sorry no posts the last few days.  Holly’s grandmother passed away this last weekend and we’ve been back in Lincoln county and I didn’t have a lot of computer/internet access in the mornings.  We are back home now, so everything should be back on schedule for the rest of the week!

In today’s readings listen to what Jesus says in John 10: 25-27.  And that word listen is huge:

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

listen_to_god_by_teensieking-d5kts0eJesus tells the religious leaders that do not believe because they are not His sheep.  His sheep will hear his voice. They will follow Him. They will hear, and they will listen.

It’s hard to follow Jesus if we aren’t listening.  It’s hard to follow His command, if we aren’t listening.  It’s hard to know which way to go, what to do, where we should be, if we aren’t listening.  As His sheep, we’ve got to listen.

We live in a world of real distractions, things pulling at us.  Emails, texts, social media, instagram, everything.  So many things vying for our attention, for our mind, for our heart.  We’ve go to listen.  We’ve got to slow down, if just for a moment, and listen for that still small voice, calling out to us.

If are in a place of confusion, slow down, and listen.  If you struggling with things in your life, slow down and listen.  If you are unsure, slow down and listen.  Listen.

Listen for His voice in His word.  Listen in your conversations with other believers.  Is the music you listen to.  In the things you read.  Listen.

He is speaking.  He is the good shepherd, who loves His sheep.  That means us! And He will speak to us.  Listen.  He is there. Calling out.  Listen.  He will speak.
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Will We Miss It? (SOAP)

Today in our reflection, we’ll look at Matthew 13:53-58.

S – scripture

Be sure to slow down.  Yeah, we’ve got a busy week this week. But, in this moment, don’t worry about that.  Let the worries and stress of this day/week/month/year/life fade away.  Listen for God’s voice in today.  Listen.

Matthew 13:53-58:

And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

home sweet homeO – observation

The people knew Jesus, and so weren’t listening to Him

This was Jesus home town.  They had known Him for years. They had seen Him grow. They knew His family, in fact His family was still in the synagogue, still part of the community, still part of the life of that town. And because they knew all these things, knew all this family, they knew, just knew, that there was no way that Jesus could do all these things and be who everyone says that He was.

The were familiar with Him.  They knew Him, or so they thought.  And so they knew that He couldn’t be all that.  They were so familiar with Him, they missed Him.   Because they weren’t paying attention.

It isn’t just that they didn’t listen, they were offended

It isn’t just that they missed Him, they were offended by Him.  Who is He, coming in here, telling them what to do. Who does He think that He is.  What right did this man that they helped raise, what right did He have, coming in here now!  I mean, the nerve!

Their pride got in the way. And because they were too proud, they missed what God was trying to do.

Their lack of faith stopped things from  happening

Because they didn’t believe, Jesus couldn’t do some of the thing that were possible.  For the spirit to move, for God to do certain things, He needs us to do our part.  Yes, we have a part to play in God’s plan.  We have a purpose.  We have a role. We have a part to play in the movement of God’s spirit.

We have to believe. We have to have faith.  We have to cling tight, and be obedient to what the spirit is leading.  That’s our job. That’s our roll.  And when we don’t do it, there is so much that God is not abel to do. Because we aren’t doing our part.

A- application

Who are we not listening to, that we should?

In our lives, there is someone that God may want to speak through, someone that God may want to challenge us through, convict us through, speak to us through. But, we haven’t been listening.  Maybe we’ve heard them speak too many times.  Or maybe we don’t know them.  Maybe we know them too well.  There could be a million different reasons. But, there is someone in all our lives, that God may wish to speak to us through, but just aren’t listening.

Today, will you listen?

Where is our pride getting in the way?

They took offense at Jesus because of their pride. Today, where in our lives, is there something that need to do, but we won’t because we are too proud?  Maybe we need to ask someone for forgiveness.  Maybe we need make a change.  Maybe we need to start something new. Maybe we need to move on.  I don’t know what it is, but for each of us, there is something we are missing, or something we are not doing, because we are too proud to admit it.

They were too proud to hear Jesus.  And they missed what He wanted to do.  May we not make the same mistake.

Where is our lack of faith stopping God?

Our faith is the spark that causes things to happen sometimes. Our faith moves mountains.  Our faith makes leaps.  Our faith does amazing, amazing things. When we truly believe, God can do something special.  But, we have to have faith. We have to trust.  We have to place ourselves in His hands. And jump.

Today, God wants to use you. Do great things.  Move mountains.  If we will just believe.  If we will just have faith.  He will do it.  Today, will will take His hand. And jump.  He will catch us.  He promised.

P – prayer

Great God, teach us to listen. Teach us to humble ourselves. Teach us to have faith.  Loving God, may we see you today, may we hear you today, and may we follow you today.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Listening to the Bible

bible460The next two weeks at Asbury, I’m going to be preaching on the Bible, as part of our series “The Path.”  I’m very excited about these messages, as I think that for many of us, the Bible can be really scary.

There are so many things about the bible that we feel like we don’t understand.  That we aren’t sure that we can understand.  That cause us to throw our hands up and say, there’s no way that will ever “get it.”

If you’ve ever felt that way, we’d love to have you join us Sunday, or if you can’t, listen to our messages online or on our FREE mobile app.

As I prepare for these messages, I keep hearing God point me over and over to His word as I prepare for these.  Listen to what I read today in 2 Peter 1:19-21:

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

I really, truly believe that God’s word will speak to us, when we listen.  You don’t have to always understand it. God isn’t always speaking just to your head.  Sometimes (most times) He is speaking to your heart.

He loves you.

He has claimed you.

You are His.

He wants you to grow, closer to Him, and closer your neighbors, your family, your friends.

He has given us His Word as His love letter to us.  Take time to read it.  To listen.

He will speak through it you.  I know He will.  May we take time to read, and to listen.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phone.

Listen

listenOne of the pieces of advice that I offer to people quite often is to trust your gut.  Listen to what you gut tells you.

Why do I say that?  Why do I recommend that?  Well, I believe that all us, within us, have a conscience.  Now we are all broken and make mistakes and are prone to choose wrong. But, I also believe that each of us has within us a conscience that will let us know that somethings are just wrong.

That is part of God’s image within us, that the fall has not corrupted.  That is part of what God has made that is good.  And yes, sin has greatly affected us, part of God’s goodness remains.

And, for those of us that are Christians, we have within us the spirit of God.  God’s spirit lives within us, it calls us, convicts us, challenges us, comforts us, draws us to Himself.

God’s spirit within us will lead us.

Listen to it.  Listen to what God is trying to say.

Listen.

Hear what happened to Paul today in Acts 17: 16-20:

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.”

Paul listened.  His spirit was provoked.  He was faithful.  And God did great things.

Today, what is God wanting to do in you and through you?  Are you listening?  Do you hear?  Listen for God.

Listen.  And you will hear.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Listen

Jesus talks a lot bout being the shepherd and us being the sheep. He talks a lot how the sheep know Him and He knows them.

The sheep know the shepherd’s voice. And they follow it. No matter where it leads them.

Listen to what it says in John 10:25-27:

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

windyThe sheep follow the voice of the shepherd because the sheep know that the shepherd has their best interest in mind. The sheep know that the shepherd loves them, cares for them, and will protect them.

The sheep know that the shepherd will protect them.

So do we. We know that our Good Shepherd loves us. Cares for us. Will protect us. Has our best interests in heart.

So we know that we can follow the voice of the shepherd wherever it is that He leads us. And it will be ok.

But, here’s the thing. We’ve got to learn to listen. We’ve got to learn to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.

We’ve got to listen for His voice. In prayer. In study. In worship. In service.

The Good Shepherd will call us. He will love us. He will lead us.

We just have to make sure that we are listening.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Who Will God Speak Through Today?

The people that God will use may look very different than you may expect.

Today, who do you expect God to use? You may have in your mind an image of the person that God will use.

It may be your preacher. Your small group leader. Your youth pastor. Someone that works for the church. Someone that’s in full time missions.

We all have an idea of who God will use.

And, we all have an idea who God won’t use. He will use the good, the holy, the “sanctified.”

He won’t use the hypocrites, the sinful, the imperfect. He only uses the worth.

Right? That’s what we are tempted to think sometimes.

But, that isn’t the case. Look at what we hear in Judges 4:4-5:

And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

We see God raise up Deborah. We see Him use here in amazing ways in this book. She leads the people of God to a victory. She frees them. She helps restore them to freedom and helps them to return to the correct worship of God.

And she was not who we would expected God to use. We didn’t expect God to raise her up. And He did. He used someone that we normally wouldn’t have expected God to use.

He uses unexpected people to accomplish His plan and His purpose.

So, today, who do you expect God to use? Who do you think that God will use to speak to you today?

Where do you expect God to speak to you from?

Are you sure about that?

May our eyes be open to all the various ways and places and people that God can speak through. May we be looking. May we be listening.

Today, look for God. Listen for God. Seek Him. And don’t be surprised if He speaks to you in a way that you weren’t expecting.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.