November 5, 2018

Any day I get to ride to work is immediately classified as a great day and so this Monday and this week is off to a great start. I pray that God is on your heart and your mind even as you read this today!
This past Saturday we had a church planning meeting with our Deacons and some key church members. We invited Becky Biser from Tarrant Baptist Association to come in and help guide us in this process. Becky shared many stories about her encounters with God and how He speaks to her. She shared an acronym for Steps to “HEAR” God that I am going to borrow and preach through over the next few weeks. But Becky took no credit for the steps and in fact said she believed God gave it to her. She spoke repeatedly about how she believes God speaks to her. In the world we live in if you claim to hear God speak to you most people think you are crazy and you might need to be locked up. It is seen as radical or weird or even yes, a little crazy. But mostly people just either don’t believe they can hear God or they don’t believe God is actually speaking to them. We are going to walk through some of those steps as I mentioned so I don’t want to preach the sermon before Sunday gets here but one big area where I believe we fail is that we are not listening. Oswald Chambers says, “We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).”
I wonder how much we are truly listening, truly wanting to hear His voice today. We have to truly be ready when God speaks.
“Listening to God requires a deliberate choice to shut out the chaos around you and focus your thoughts. Is God someone you can hear? The Bible says He is, and the Bible is one of the main tools through which He speaks.
We live in a world of noise. Almost everywhere we go, we find sounds competing with our minds, keeping us from letting our thoughts get below the surface level. Hearing God's voice means not listening to the noise of the world around us. It's not easy, but it can be done.
King David, author of most of the book of Psalms, gave us a model for meeting with God, "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul" (Psalm 143:8).”
Something else Becky said stuck with me and I know it stuck with Jennifer as we talked about it later. She said she tries to stop down and connect with God every FIVE MINUTES. Now she admitted she wasn’t always successful in doing that as she would realize a half hour or an hour had gone by and she hadn’t connected with God. Jennifer and I both thought, wow, every 5 minutes? I decided that might be a goal that was a little ambitious for me but what if I made it every 15 minutes or every half hour? What if I genuinely stopped for just a moment and listened for the voice of God? I have heard Becky and others suggest every time you look at your phone, use that as a reminder to connect with God. Did you know that the average American checks their phone approximately 80 times a day? In case you can’t do the math that is once every 12 minutes of your waking day. Wow. We check our phones every 12 minutes (I think I have checked mine at least 4 times while writing this as people keep texting me – It’s THEIR fault – ha) but we can’t check in with God that much? And even more staggering is that the average cell phone user touches their phone over 2600 times every day with the worst addicts touching it over 5400 times every day. (I might use that Sunday – ha)
And we wonder why God is not speaking to us.
In reality, most of us don’t even miss His voice. We have become so accustomed to life without it that we no longer listen for it. We just simply do what we think is best. I’m not talking about people without Christ here. I’m talking about people who claim to know Christ and love Him. And even though we say we pray . . . and most probably do . . . we aren’t really listening. We are making decisions and choices every day not based on what He wants but on what we think He wants and the truth is most of the time we have no idea what He wants. The first step in faith and obedience is being able to hear God speak. Can you hear His voice? Are you even listening? Join me Sunday for more!!
I also wanted to take this opportunity to announce that we at FBCWS have voted to enter into a partnership with Pastor Ernesto Alfonso and his church, El Manantial de Vida “Fountain of Life.” We truly believe God has called us to reach out to every segment of our community and this is a part of being obedient to that calling. We are excited about what God has in store for this relationship in the days ahead. Please be in prayer for this as I know Satan would love nothing more than to try to destroy what God has planned. We simply say WELCOME!!
Last Word: I want to say Happy Birthday to my youngest son, Caleb. He turns 30 years old TODAY and Jennifer and I both feel very old as 4 of our children have now hit that mark. I am proud to be called Caleb’s Dad and as I told him, I love him more than my own life!!
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?