Listening to God’s voice through generations

Listening to God’s voice through generations

In thirty-one years of preaching, I have never started a sermon by saying, “A funny thing happened to me while I was working on this sermon.” But, a funny thing happened to me while I was working on this sermon. You see, on Monday, my husband and I had our hearing evaluated by an audiologist. That’s right. After more than two – well, maybe five -years of putting it off, I had my hearing checked the same week I am preaching on a passage about hearing the voice of God. One of the things the audiologist told us was a fundamental piece of biology which I had not figured out before. “Everyone thinks we hear with our ears,” she said. “We don’t. We hear with our brains.” That seems to be Samuel’s predicament. Samuel’s ears receive the sound of his name. But he cannot hear with his brain and certainly not with his spirit. In fact, Samuel is confused by where the sound is coming from. That’s a classic sign of hearing problems. He doesn’t have the tools or the understanding to process the sounds. Yet, it is to Samuel that God speaks. God knows Samuel by name, knows where to find him and God waits patiently while Samuel learns how to be in this new relationship, he didn’t even know to expect. Samuel does have a resource to help him hear. Samuel has his mentor, Eli, who is responsible for his training in the priestly work. Remember, at the beginning of the passage, we were told that the Lord’s word was rare at the time. Now, through Samuel...
How Do We Live In This Wilderness?

How Do We Live In This Wilderness?

You’re not you when you are hungry. That’s the line from the Snickers candy bar commercials. That ad campaign has been a great success around the world. Because everyone, everywhere can relate. When we are hungry, we are not ourselves. The Snickers commercials portray what we become when we don’t get enough to eat. Demanding divas. Grouchy gremlins. Crazed coaches. Feisty fighters. If our identity completely changes with a blood sugar shift that can be resolved by a candy bar, we can begin to empathize with the attitude of the Israelites. Nearly two months had passed since the people had left Egypt. Now, every crumb of that unleavened bread they hurriedly pack up is gone, and the roasted lamb is only a memory. There’s not even a peanut from an old candy bar to be found at the bottom of the bag. God’s response to God’s hangry people isn’t to fill up their backpacks and tent shelves with everything they could possibly need for the next forty years. There, in the wilderness, the promise of God is enough for one day. The prayer of Jesus, Give us this day our daily bread, probably has roots in this wilderness experience. Jesus taught us to pray for one day’s supply of bread, provided one day at a time. And like the Israelites in the Sinai, Jesus wanted us to receive not just what we need, but what we all need. Give us this day our daily bread has us praying not just for you and me, but for all God’s children – including those who take too much and those who...
worship, word and experiences on listening to God

worship, word and experiences on listening to God

A sweet 1950’s film, The Next Voice You Hear, explored the ramifications of God speaking to an ordinary family through the radio. An unusual way to hear the voice of God, but the God we know through scripture and Jesus is determined to be heard. Settling into four passages of scripture that describe God speaking, we explore how we hear the voice of God, gain experience in listening and prepare ourselves to do what God is asking. Because just like the little family in an almost forgotten film, when God speaks and we listen, goodness is heard in the world. After the wind an earthquake. After the earthquake fire. The LORD was not in the fire. After the fire a sound of sheer silence. Elijah heard it, went out, stood at the entrance to the cave. Then a voice came: What are you doing here?...

PJ’s Sunday Blessing

It is a beautiful morning in Spread Eagle, Wisconsin as we prepare to worship in Iron Mountain Michigan. Railroad Lake is sparkling with ripples, the trees are looking pretty, and the temperature is just perfect for a fall morning. It has been a great get-away! Our prayers go out to those in the path of NATE, and those continuing to recover from IRMA and HARVEY. We also pray for all those under oppression and seeking freedom. God created this beautiful world for all to enjoy; it is a shame that all people can’t enjoy what God created for them. See you in church,...