We gathered after one week to ponder the scriptures we have studied these Saturdays. So of course I will take us completely off course and into something different for this week. No surprise.
We will not go as far off as it may seem. I want to talk and challenge us this morning. Asking each of us the question of how we respond to Gods call. What do we do to answer? Do we listen? Take the time to hear. I want to offer some ways and practices after our first discussion. So the big question.
Do you think you are in a place where you can hear God? If He said follow me, are you ready? Or could you even hear Him?
I believe we are here to be challenged and sharpened. I did not answer as we went around because I am going to share thru the time we share. Being transparent and letting you see me. I am happy to say God talks to me often, not always what I want to hear but what I need.
Beginning with when I first became a believer God has said things to me. It can be as simple as you can have this. I am here with you. Slow down. What are you waiting for? So we can see I might hear but don’t always respond well. My start for this is with my current situation. David and Ric have walked thru this with me. I have for many years been stubborn about relationships. I felt like I had failed so badly before that their was no reason to try again. I was not giving God a chance, not listening for Him or His words. I made up my mind. Slowly over time and as my sword clashed against many of the men around this table. My ears were opening. I have prayed and been prayed with and for. I was ready after a time to try. So out I went, damaged and thinking I could give it a go. Notice I said I. I looked for what I wanted… things like no kids and blonde hair and a pretty smile. Then I hoped they would conform to my radical thinking about relationships… things like no sex and not being alone because I deal with a sexual addiction. Taking separate cars to events and dates… you understand it was not simple to date me. I tried at least ten different what I thought were good matches…nothing. No sparks, no one that could meet my unrealistic expectations. I was ready to give up. Then I heard from God while praying about giving up… He said is it my turn yet. Are you ready to be lead and do my will in this. I had been thinking by doing what I felt was right, based on what I learned and the teachings I had. I knew how to treat a lady, to honor her and be respectful. I didn’t ask God for whom to do that to and for. So I stopped looking and waited to be lead. He did lead me to a lady soon after. She was a struggling believer that had strayed. Been in my life for over a year and a half and I never saw her. Till one day I got a prompt. You are ready, try here. I was confused. This girl is not in church, not serving God. Not what I was looking for. I want a partner for ministry. I prayed and heard trust me from God. So I did. I began a courtship based on respect and building her relationship with me and God. I started taking her to different churches, Saturdays some Sunday afternoons even a Wednesday. I watched her grow and open up to God. It was cool and amazing. I watched years of church hurt and relationship issues disappear. She grew up in church but ran away. She was back and ready to move forward. For me also, I was involved with someone. There was intimacy without the need or any physical sin involved. I won’t say that their was no temptation but she respected my needs to not be in situations where I could fail. My addiction to past physical sin could harm our blossoming relationship.
Good story so far, it seems like I listen to the prompting and hear God. Happy story, but their’s more. You see I listened and I was moving forward. I prayed, I sought counsel. Things were well enough I chose to take a vacation with her. We went to the beach. (Separate rooms) we had fun we got sun. on the way home we talked and a sensitive subject came up. I won’t bore you with details but it was a theological difference that needed addressing. That turned into me being open to another look at the future. You see I was shown by listening and praying and talking thru with my brothers a co dependency I did not see up close. I asked God what to do. He said not now. He said wait. He had just told me trust Him a short time ago… do it His way. I did…I was… now it was still broken. That’s when I heard you did all I asked. You did what I called you. The other person like you is broken and has free will. She was not able to respond in kind. I have a plan for you, don’t worry. So here is me all broken up about doing it His way and still losing…but did I. God was right there all along involved and invested. Did His plan line up with my results…no. They did however teach me to listen and trust Him. I lived I put myself in a place to be vulnerable and willing to try again. The girl met God again. She is still in church she is His. So even if that was all, the whole thing was for it is worth it. So following and hearing are a key. If I would have not done so I might have missed the joy in being a part of the story. His story with a great and glorious ending, you all are a part of this story. You participated and didn’t know it. You men of God rode out a time and part of my journey. So coming here this morning is part of the story. I guess know we can ask again.
Do you hear God, are you willing to follow Him? We don’t know the answers to the questions. We can’t study for the big test… there is no study guide. Just a Holy Spirit waiting to guide you. Slow down my friends, enjoy, we don’t know the answers to the questions. We can’t study for the big test… there is no study guide. Just a Holy Spirit waiting to guide you, slow down my friends enjoy the ride. Take time in your prayer life to listen when we ask. Give Him a chance to answer and walk with you. Often we can just take the teachings we have and make a decision based on sound thinking. That does not make it God’s will. I am reminded that we are not called to an easy life for following. I hope that this illustration shows you the positive of the encounter I have went thru. I have no remorse or bitter feelings. I think that I am truly better prepared for my next challenge because of it. I wasn’t called to start a ministry or a movement. I was not asked to follow a man people thought crazy and risk being beheaded. I didn’t need to be at physical risk. Just to place trust in someone who has already shown me so much love.
So what do we think? Do you have a time God took you on a adventure that you thought was going one way and turned to another course. Did you find the lesson in it, or the benefit for others? Did you get mad?
Closing today I would love to pray for those not here and also to think about the people in our path we have either moved on from or out grown. Did we leave them behind? Is it time to go pick them back up and bring them along? We have all grown thanks to the bond we form around this gathering. The Wild Men of God, but let’s be just that and look to Him today and all that follow for the next steps.