November 26, 2018

It’s hard to believe on this crisp and cool Monday morning that we are now officially less than a month away from Christmas. I did get the majority of the lights at my house put up over the weekend and I did it without falling off my roof. I think my neighbors were watching me and a little worried about me but they wouldn’t admit it. As I sift through my email I am also reminded that it is Cyber Monday with all these supposedly incredible deals (though this one TV does look pretty sweet). My prayer for you this morning is that the Christmas season will be a time of true joy as you weave through the cultural trappings and seek to find the essence of why we celebrate. May this Monday morning be the beginning of your month-long journey of JOY!!

As I sit here this morning I’m still a little obsessed with this notion of hearing God. Maybe it’s because I am in the middle of a sermon series on the topic but I think fundamentally it has really made me stop and wonder about my relationship with God and about your relationship with Him. I was wondering this morning about the idea of whether we can really have a relationship with God or not if we never hear Him. It doesn’t make sense in human relationships . . . am I right? You can’t say you have a relationship with someone if all you ever do is talk and they never respond. A relationship requires communication and communication is a two-way street. If you are talking and no one is responding then you are just talking to yourself.

Many times people feel like when they pray that they are simply talking to themselves and they begin to wonder if God even exists. Or you may have heard people say they felt like their prayers were hitting the ceiling and going no further. Let me stop and issue a warning here. If we have sin in our lives then our prayers will not be heard. Proverbs 1:28-29 (NIV) says, "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.” And we also see in Psalm 66:18 (NIV) “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” I could spend a lot of time on this topic today but let me just give you a link to an article titled “Six Reasons Prayers are Not Answered.” But let me just say that if you aren’t hearing God speak today you need to stop and make sure your heart is in right relationship with Him and that your life is demonstrating obedience to His commands. That’s the first and most important step.

But what if you are living in right relationship and you are not actively hearing His voice? We come back to those “Steps to H.E.A.R. God” that we are pursuing on Sunday mornings. Hungering for God and His Word. Expecting God to Speak. Acknowledging that it is God speaking and He is Lord. And this coming Sunday will be “Respond.” As I have walked through this process I have first become more concerned about my own ability to hear God. I have been taking active steps to listen and respond to His voice in my life. But one of the things God has been saying to me is that I need to be concerned about YOU!! And I am. I want you to hear His voice. I want to assure you today that you NEED to hear His voice. If you are living each day without hearing Him then you need to take some serious steps today. You need to find more time each day to really STOP and LISTEN. It needs to become an integral part of your moment-by-moment day. I should be able to ask you this week what you heard God saying to you and you should be able to give me more than a couple of things. But I know what some of you are thinking right now. You are thinking, “Well David, that’s OK for you because that’s kind of what you get paid to do. I mean we pay you to sit around and talk to God and think up these things to help us. But I have a real job and I don’t have time to listen to God.” Of course, if I told you God was speaking to me and He was telling me to do something you didn’t like or agree with then you would question whether I was hearing God or not. But that’s a whole different topic. I want to encourage you today. God wants to talk to you. Did you know that? He is trying to talk to you but many of you aren’t listening. Imagine how different your life could be if God was speaking to you every day, throughout the day. When I say God I mean the God who created you and has the power to change your life and the course of your very existence. Would you be interested in that? If not, then we need to have a very different conversation. I will close with this challenge. If you are not hearing from God then that needs to be your top priority TODAY!! “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!”

We have a lot going on this week at FBCWS. This Sunday we are voting on our 2019 Church Budget after the Morning Worship. We are also having our final Block Party of the year at 4:00pm this coming Sunday (stay tuned for location). And we are also honoring our church pianist, Naomi Barrett, this coming Sunday morning during worship. This will be her last Sunday with us. We will be receiving a love offering for her and her husband, Kaleb, at the end of our service.

I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?