How to Hear God | Week 1: God Speaks (and he isn’t always mad)

God is speaking and he is not always mad. While it may seem confusing, hearing from God is something we all can learn to do. We don’t have to wonder if God speaks—he does—and you can learn how to hear His voice.

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    >> Welcome to Crossroads Anywhere.
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    I'm Lena Schuler, the crossroads anywhere, community pastor.
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    >> I'm Greg McElfresh, community pastor on the east side of
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    >> That's right, the east side of Cincinnati, because we
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    actually have communities meeting in all different parts of
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    Cincinnati and Lexington and maybe where you are right now.
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    Crossroads Anywhere is its own community, a community of people
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    who's engaging with the church online with ultimate hopes to be
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    in a relationship with other people and with God as part of the
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    best reflection of the church.
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    >> Yeah. You know, speaking of God, we throw this term around
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    here a lot: I heard from God, God said to me.
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    Can we all just be honest and say, what do you mean by that?
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    Well, we're starting a series today that hopefully answers that
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    question. It's called How to Hear God.
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    (static or running water sound)
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    So what did you hear?
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    Did it change when the picture changed?
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    How about when the bees came up, because those things creep me
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    So that's all I heard from then on out.
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    I smelled bacon, which wasn't supposed to happen, but it just
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    happened to my brain.
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    God speaks to us in all these different ways.
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    I don't know about you, but my life is loud like that at times.
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    So we're gonna be talking about how God speaks to us and giving
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    Him room to do so.
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    My name's Justin.
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    I'm one of the worship leaders around here.
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    And I know for me what I'm learning in communication is posture
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    Like if I'm on my cell phone with my kids non-stop while they're
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    trying to talk to me, there's -- they know, there's a
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    distraction there in between us.
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    And one of the things that helps me get into posture to hear God
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    is worship, through singing and lifting songs to Him and
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    pointing my eyes and my mind and my heart towards Him.
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    So that's what we're gonna do together now.
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    Sing with us.
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    Hallelujah is right, God.
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    (cheers and applause)
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    Hallelujah, You are king.
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    I stand in all of the truth of those words.
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    You see each one of us, you spoke and light came.
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    You spoke and separated things out.
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    You spoke and created.
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    You are bigger than I could ever imagine,
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    and yet close enough to see me and talk to me.
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    Change our perspective.
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    Lord, opened our eyes that we may be awake and see that you
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    want relationship with us, You want to speak to us, You are
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    here, You've given your life for each one of us so that we may
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    have life together.
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    King over everything and right here with us, changing us,
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    shaping us, speaking live to us and freedom to us.
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    And so I surrender to You and fall in line with all of creation
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    because of who you are.
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    Hallelujah, Father.
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    Amen and thanks for singing with us.
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    Thanks for coming in a space together and within 10, 15
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    minutes, we let our hearts come out and be exposed a little bit
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    together and say we're here about something bigger things.
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    So thanks for that.
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    In this moment, we've got a chance to make this place feel a
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    So before you grab a seat, gives somebody a smile and a
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    >> Well, welcome to church.
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    We're so glad to have you here on the Crossroads Anywhere
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    My name is Lena Schuler. I'm
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    the Crossroads Anywhere Community Pastor.
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    You know, everything that we do here on the weekend is in an
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    effort to get you into a place where you are doing life with
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    other people, you're in community because we believe that the
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    best that God has for you is gonna be found in the midst of
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    relationship with other people.
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    And so we've got locations and communities all over the country
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    for you to be part of.
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    And I get to sit here with one of my friends, Greg McElfresh,
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    who's another community pastor.
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    >> Not just a community pastor, your community pastor.
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    >> My community pastor, community pastor of Crossroads East
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    Side. I happen to live on the east side of Cincinnati.
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    And so when I get to attend a physical location, it's Greg's
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    >> That's right.
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    Yeah. You know, I think a lot of people think, ah, these
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    buildings are so big.
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    I'm going to walk in there.
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    I'm not going to see anyone I know.
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    That's one of my favorite parts of the weekend is seeing you and
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    your husband, Nick and your baby boy.
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    I just I love that even in a big space like that, you can walk
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    into an atrium, sort of our meeting space, and see people that
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    you know.
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    Yeah. Which is true across any of our locations.
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    You have the opportunity to actually walk in and see people,
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    you know.
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    >> Yeah. That's right.
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    >> What's the favorite?
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    What's your favorite thing happening on the East Side right
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    >> I'll tell you what, summertime is usually busy for everyone.
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    It's no different for us.
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    We've been doing these backyard barbecues.
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    If you'd heard about the summer social, we had that happening.
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    We're getting ready to do a big fireworks show for everyone
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    who's a part of our Eastside community and all of their friends
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    and neighbors.
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    We just looked for every opportunity we can to get people out of
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    the dark auditorium and into each other's lives, meeting
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    friends. It's pretty cool.
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    >> It's pretty cool.
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    Well, in our case, maybe outside of your living room by
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    yourself and into a community of people who's doing fun things
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    like fireworks and barbecues.
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    >> That's right.
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    >> Yeah. Cool.
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    Well, where could we find out more about what you're doing on
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    the Eastside?
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    >> You know, I think
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    is specific if you're on the Eastside of Cincinnati.
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    But you got a
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    and find any building that may be close to you and go in and
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    meet your community pastor, go in and see what's happening
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    I'll tell you what, you come into Eastside, not only will I give
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    you the cup of coffee that's free for everyone.
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    Come find my shiny dome in the atrium, I'll give you a free
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    T-shirt, I promise.
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    >> Ah, T-shirts. We love free T-shirts, don't we?
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    >> Around Crossroads.
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    >> Well, one of the ways that you can actually get plugged into
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    community coming up here in the fall is the Journey, the play
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    and purpose journey.
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    And, you know, we believe that your life isn't just meant to be
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    something you survive in, but actually something that you can
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    thrive in.
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    And we thrive when we're in a place where we have copious
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    amounts of play and purpose.
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    I don't know if you've ever used that word.
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    >> Yeah, that was weird, but the AND is important there.
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    The ampersand like I am all play, Lena is all purpose, but AND
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    we work well together.
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    That's sort of the journey that we're talking about this fall.
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    >> You think I'm all purpose and you're all play?
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    >> Mostly, mostly.
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    >> You are a lot of play.
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    >> I am, yeah.
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    So you can head to
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    to find out more about the Play and Purpose Journey.
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    nd I bet that there is actually going to be community near you,
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    whether you're on the Eastside of Cincinnati or you're in Cape
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    Coral, Florida, they're going to be community groups for you to
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    join in the midst of the Journey.
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    >> Yeah. You keep hitting that word community.
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    What is a Journey?
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    Well, Journey is different than any other series we might do
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    throughout the year in that this is really where our entire
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    church, whether you're in a building, whether you're online.
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    We want you to do the weekend content, but then we're
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    also going to give you some really great individual reflection
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    And then hopefully you find some people around you to actually
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    go through the Journey with as a community.
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    Amazing growth happens every year during Journey.
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    >> Absolutely. And if you're looking for something else to do
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    this fall, to maybe meet people and go outside of your comfort
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    zone, you could head to
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    And see the three camps that are happening this fall: Man Camp,
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    Couples Camp and College Camp.
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    You're not going to want to miss those.
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    >> Yeah, it's actually really exciting to think about Journey
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    and Camps back to back because of all the things we do at
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    Crossroads, I would say those are two of the biggest.
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    And even a way to maybe sprinkle in a little bit of purpose and
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    play before the Journey would be signed up for a Camp.
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    Whether you're doing Man Camp, Couples Camp, College Camp, both
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    of those are going to be a healthy dose of what God has for you
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    with a big play along the way.
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    >> Absolutely.
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    Well, and right now, as a staff, we are in the midst of budget
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    We're trying to figure out what does God have for us and how
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    does he want us to fuel the play and purpose that he has for
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    our church as a whole.
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    >> Yeah, that's right.
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    You know, unless you're an accountant on the other end, most of
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    us don't love budgeting too much
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    And it's actually pretty honoring thing because we get to ask
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    God, "What are the plans that You have for a church this year?
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    How are you going to match the generosity that comes in from
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    people on the team?
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    People like me and Lena and people like you?
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    And what do you want us to do with that?"
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    So if you're generous, I just want you to know we take it really
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    seriously and we're asking God, we're asking Him to tell us,
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    "What do you have for Crossroads this year?
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    What do you have for our sites?
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    What do you have for the Anywhere Community?"
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    And we're looking forward to see him move in big ways.
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    >> So if you want to join the team and become a giver today, you
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    could head to
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    and do that.
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    And today we actually start a brand new series: How to Hear from
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    And Sean's got a pretty sweet story.
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    Let's check it out.
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    >> My name is Sean and God speaks to me in the quiet times of my
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    Hearing from God started off as just a quiet still voice
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    speaking to me.
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    And sometimes it was if I'm out in public it would be, "Don't
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    say that or don't buy that.".
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    Or if I'm online, "Don't click on that.".
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    There's quite a few moments where I can think that God speaking
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    to me has had an impact.
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    One of those would be I was -- I was asleep in the middle of the
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    night and I heard a voice telling me to wake up and telling me
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    to check on our oldest son.
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    He was a teenager at the time.
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    So who thinks to have the check on your child at like 2:00 in
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    the morning?
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    But as I went upstairs, opened his bedroom door, he was still up
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    at 2:00.
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    I felt that there was clearly God telling me to intervene at
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    that moment.
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    We had a long conversation and talk about a lot of things and
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    and hugged it out at the end.
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    But there's there's no reason I would have did that if it was
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    for God telling me to go and talk to him.
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    Another time that I can think of.
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    I felt like God was was calling me to give up social media for
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    a set period of time, also known as fasting.
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    Four weeks was the set fast.
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    When I started, it was when I realized that I really had a
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    problem where I was taking in too much technology, keeping my
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    phone on me no matter where I went and constantly checking it
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    throughout the day.
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    Through the fast and actually taking this step away from social
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    media and from YouTube and Netflix is when I began to notice
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    how much separation had come in between me and in my
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    relationship with God.
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    I was used to hearing Him on the regular.
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    How was not hearing from Him?
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    How was not dreaming dreams at night anymore?
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    And in how reading the Bible just became difficult.
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    I would sit down and try to read, but my desire to read was
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    severely limited because my brain was just -- it just wouldn't
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    stay focused on doing things that were related to Him, to be
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    During the fast, that voice began to come back.
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    I began to hear it again, and now I'm very careful about how
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    much media I take in, and my quiet time is a must.
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    I don't put it on hold for anything.
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    >> Well, welcome.
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    [ applause ]
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    Yes, welcome to Crossroads.
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    We're in a new series called: Hearing from God.
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    And we are going to talk about that today.
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    But I have to tell you, when I came in and saw these speakers on
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    the LCD, the only thing I was hearing was this in my
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    head: [Run DMC, My Adidas] And walk all over coliseum floors.
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    I stood on stage at Live Aid, all the
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    All right, that's enough, that's enough.
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    I'm sorry, but when I see speakers, I'm looking for an empty
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    cardboard box so I can break dance.
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    That's what I'm doing, anybody with me.
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    I mean, I'm a hip hop kid of the 80s and 90s.
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    The only problem is break dancing might be a literal term if I
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    try to do it now.
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    So I decided not to do that.
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    But hey, we are so glad you're with us today.
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    We are kicking off a new series on How to Hear from God.
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    You know, even that term, "hearing from God "could seem strange
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    or weird.
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    And we're gonna be unpacking it in this series, because what the
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    Bible tells us is there are time tested ways for you and I to
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    hear from God.
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    And so we're taking a Home Depot approach in this series.
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    What I mean by that is" you can do this and we're going to help
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    You can do it, we can help.
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    Because we're gonna be looking at practical tools, things that
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    help us unpack what it looks like and actually help us hear
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    from God.
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    And so as we kick off the series today, what I want to do is
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    give you some vision for this series.
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    And I want to begin to lay a foundation that will apply to
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    everything else that we say in the weeks to come.
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    But first, let me tell you, the big idea today is simply this:
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    It's a skill.
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    It's not magic.
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    It's not reserved for only hyper spiritual people or people with
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    a specific bent.
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    No. All of us can hear from God and doing that, listening to Him
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    is a skill that we can cultivate.
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    Now, I will tell you, this was a hard message for me to prepare.
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    It really was, because rather than having writer's block, I had
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    writer's blah, like I just had so much I wanted to say.
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    And so to try to refine that into just a simple
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    foundation laying message was a bit of a challenge.
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    And I need to listen to God for guidance and I'm going to ask
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    Him to help me do that now.
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    God, I thank you for the opportunity to talk to just share this
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    wonderful promise with all the people who've engaged today,
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    that You speak, that You want to speak to us and that we can
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    actually learn to listen to Your voice.
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    And so we're all across the board in maybe what we believe .
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    We're certainly across the board in our experiences of this with
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    But I pray that you would take us to a new place over the course
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    of this series and that that would begin today.
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    And then as we go in that direction, it would look like -- or we
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    would look like Your Son, Jesus.
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    So it's in His name, I pray, Amen.
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    So, since this is a practical series, I thought it'd be helpful
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    to start with giving you a couple of questions just to assess
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    where are you as it relates to hearing from God.
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    So a couple of questions I want you to reflect on.
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    The first question is this: on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being this
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    is a non-existent experience in your life; 10, you hear from
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    God just like you're hearing my voice right now regularly.
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    Where would you say you are in terms of hearing from God on a
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    scale of 1 to 10?
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    Think about that for yourself.
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    Second question: If you were to pick one word to describe your
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    current experience of hearing God, what would that one word be?
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    Maybe it would be never, maybe it would be always.
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    Maybe it'd be difficult, maybe it'd be easy.
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    I don't know what it would be for you, but what would the one
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    word be that describes your current experience in hearing from
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    Third question.
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    I want you to dream.
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    It's four weeks from today.
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    This is a four week series.
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    And I believe if you apply what we're gonna be talking about,
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    that you're gonna grow in their ability to hear from God.
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    And so in four week's time, what would you like to be the one
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    word that describes your current experience of God then?
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    What would that word be?
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    Maybe it's growing.
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    Maybe it's progress.
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    Maybe it's step, step I took a step.
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    And here's what I want you to know, whatever that word is for
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    you, however much you desire to grow in this, God's desire is
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    for you even more to grow in it.
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    And His promise is to help you do it.
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    I want to give you a verse to hold on to as we go into this
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    And I hope that for you this verse will be a regular source of
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    It's Jeremiah 33:3, where God says:
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    It is one of the most beautiful truths to know that the God and
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    the Creator of the Universe wants to be in a conversation with
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    That God wants to converse with you.
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    He doesn't want to just be transactional with you, He wants to
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    be relational with you.
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    And let me tell you this: He's not always mad at you.
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    He's not always mad at you, he is pursuing you in relationship
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    and you can hear his voice.
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    Hearing his voice doesn't -- for me, it's never been an audible
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    voice, but oftentimes what it is, is it's a prompt and it's a
  • 00:28:52
    prompt that moves me in the direction of something that I know
  • 00:28:55
    to be the character of God because of the truth of the
  • 00:28:57
    scripture or because of the life of Jesus.
  • 00:28:59
    And it always looks like that.
  • 00:29:00
    It's going to be different for all of us, the pathways, the ways
  • 00:29:03
    that God will communicate.
  • 00:29:04
    But it is possible for you and I to hear from God.
  • 00:29:08
    And that's why it's critical that we do this series and there's
  • 00:29:10
    such benefit in doing it, because this is how we go
  • 00:29:12
    relationship with Him.
  • 00:29:14
    And this is how he actually gets more and more opportunity to
  • 00:29:17
    grow us in areas of our life.
  • 00:29:18
    Wherever you are, I know there's something you want to grow in.
  • 00:29:21
    I know there's some area of your life you want more power, you
  • 00:29:23
    want more peace, you want more perspective around.
  • 00:29:26
    And God gives that to you.
  • 00:29:27
    In fact, the greatest tool you and I have access to is the very
  • 00:29:31
    voice of God.
  • 00:29:33
    I want you to leverage that and lean into that.
  • 00:29:36
    And that's what the series is all about.
  • 00:29:38
    Now, I want to lay out two premises, though, right up front that
  • 00:29:41
    maybe you believe already.
  • 00:29:43
    If you don't, I just want to spend a few minutes hopefully
  • 00:29:45
    building a little bit of confidence in you in those.
  • 00:29:48
    And the then we're going to talk about some practical tools,
  • 00:29:50
    some foundations, I should say, to help us lay the foundation
  • 00:29:53
    The first premise is this: God speaks.
  • 00:29:58
    God speaks
  • 00:29:59
    He's always been speaking, He's never stopped speaking, He will
  • 00:30:02
    never stop speaking, God speaks.
  • 00:30:05
    One of the places we see this laid out in the Bible was Psalm
  • 00:30:07
    19:1-2 where it says:
  • 00:30:19
    One of the ways that God speaks is through his creation, through
  • 00:30:23
    the created world around us, throught the order, the design,
  • 00:30:26
    the beauty, the mystery that we see.
  • 00:30:28
    Whether that's looking through a telescope at stars way away in
  • 00:30:31
    the galaxies or whether it's looking at something very small
  • 00:30:34
    and micro in our own world.
  • 00:30:36
    Maybe that's one of the reasons why I absolutely love the series
  • 00:30:40
    How many people love Planet Earth?
  • 00:30:42
    Have you seen that, man?
  • 00:30:44
    I can watch that all the --
  • 00:30:45
    It doesn't hurt that David Attenborough has to be the best
  • 00:30:47
    narrator ever.
  • 00:30:48
  • 00:30:49
    (character voice) The tiger in the jungle.
  • 00:30:51
    I mean, like, I just love talking.
  • 00:30:52
    He can say anything, I love talking that guy,
  • 00:30:54
    but like it's serious, it's a great show.
  • 00:30:56
    And the thing that I know about that show is I'll watch it and
  • 00:30:59
    sometimes while I'm watching it I begin to cry or I'm moved
  • 00:31:04
    emotionally by this truth that's revealed in nature because God
  • 00:31:08
    speaks to us through his creative world.
  • 00:31:11
    Let me give you one of them that just blew me away that I heard.
  • 00:31:13
    Did you know that there is a British butterfly, it's a rare
  • 00:31:16
    butterfly, blue butterfly.
  • 00:31:18
    And the way this butterfly when it's a caterpillar gets its
  • 00:31:20
    sustenance is unbelievable.
  • 00:31:22
    Here's the deal.
  • 00:31:23
    When it's a caterpillar, you can imagine that it's very
  • 00:31:26
    vulnerable to other insects, particularly to ants who will eat
  • 00:31:30
    just about anything.
  • 00:31:31
  • 00:31:33
    So isn't it crazy to think that the way this butterfly actually
  • 00:31:36
    gets this sustenance is when it's a caterpillar it it falls off
  • 00:31:40
    the leaf down to the ground and the ants converge on it.
  • 00:31:45
    And what do you think happens then?
  • 00:31:47
    No, the ants don't eat it, because that caterpillar puts off a
  • 00:31:52
    pheromone that smells like a baby ant.
  • 00:31:56
    And so those baby ants take that butterfly into its den where
  • 00:31:59
    they tuck it away safely and they begin to feed that ant until
  • 00:32:04
    the -- the caterpillar, until the caterpillar gets enough
  • 00:32:06
    sustenance to break out and become a butterfly.
  • 00:32:09
    Friends, when I hear things like that, that blows me away.
  • 00:32:12
    That blows me away.
  • 00:32:13
    And I don't think that's random.
  • 00:32:16
    And it reminds me of something that Jesus said.
  • 00:32:19
    There's a time in the Bible where Jesus is talking about anxiety
  • 00:32:22
    and why we don't need to worry.
  • 00:32:23
    It's in Matthew 6:26 and he says this:.
  • 00:32:37
    And when I'm sitting there watching this story about this blue
  • 00:32:40
    butterfly that's fed by its predators, it's almost like Jesus
  • 00:32:43
    has sat down and is watching Netflix with me.
  • 00:32:46
    And He is saying, "Chuck, consider the blue butterfly.
  • 00:32:49
    Do you think if I go to that much trouble to make sure it gets
  • 00:32:51
    fed, I'm not going to take care of you?"
  • 00:32:52
    Man, God speaks to us.
  • 00:32:56
    He speaks to us about his care through his created world.
  • 00:32:59
    So I want you to know God speaks.
  • 00:33:00
    The second premise is thisL What God speaks is for your joy.
  • 00:33:05
    It is for your ultimate joy.
  • 00:33:07
    Jesus put it like this in John 15:11:
  • 00:33:17
    Now, let me be very clear, that doesn't mean that everything you
  • 00:33:21
    hear from God is gonna make you feel joyful in the moment.
  • 00:33:24
    There are a lot of times in my life where I know God is speaking
  • 00:33:28
    and the thing that He is speaking, whether because it's right
  • 00:33:30
    there in the word or it's a prompting I had, I know it's in the
  • 00:33:33
    direction of Jesus, but I just don't want to do it because it's
  • 00:33:36
    uncomfortable, it's difficult, it's hard.
  • 00:33:40
    And yet, even in those uncomfortable, difficult, hard places,
  • 00:33:43
    when I take those steps of obedience toward the voice of God
  • 00:33:46
    and what I think he's saying, maybe not in the short term, but
  • 00:33:49
    always in the long term, they've all proven to be for my
  • 00:33:52
    ultimate joy.
  • 00:33:54
    So I want you to know that God speaks and you
  • 00:33:56
    don't have to wonder if He speaks.
  • 00:33:59
    But we can learn and need to train in learning to hear His
  • 00:34:02
  • 00:34:03
    And so what I want to do is just lay some foundational
  • 00:34:05
    principles that are always true, no matter your preference, no
  • 00:34:08
    matter what it is in terms of the way that God speaks to you,
  • 00:34:10
    because maybe God will speak to you different the way He speaks
  • 00:34:12
    But these foundations are always in place.
  • 00:34:14
    Three things that have to be in place to hear the voice of God.
  • 00:34:16
    Number 1 is face-time.
  • 00:34:20
    Face-time. I'm not talking about the Apple app
  • 00:34:22
    That would be really cool if you could download an app and God
  • 00:34:25
    pops up and He talks to you.
  • 00:34:27
    That's would be awesome, all right.
  • 00:34:28
    But that's not what I'm talking about.
  • 00:34:29
    Here's what I'm talking about: face time.
  • 00:34:30
    We have to prioritize face time with God if we're going to grow
  • 00:34:35
    to trust God and to hear His voice.
  • 00:34:38
    I mean, isn't it true in any relationship?
  • 00:34:39
    Think about somebody you trust like the person you'd leave your
  • 00:34:42
    keys with when you go on vacation so they can water your
  • 00:34:45
  • 00:34:46
    That person.
  • 00:34:47
    And my guess is you spent significant face time with that person
  • 00:34:51
    and that's why you trust them.
  • 00:34:53
    There is a track record in the relationship that causes you to
  • 00:34:56
    say, "I trust this person.".
  • 00:34:58
    And it's true in the human, so why wouldn't it be true with our
  • 00:35:01
    relationship with God that if we're going to grow, to trust
  • 00:35:04
    that this is the voice of God.
  • 00:35:06
    That happens if we invest face time relating to God, face time
  • 00:35:11
    builds trust.
  • 00:35:13
    There's an old story, it's a true story of an amazing high wire
  • 00:35:17
  • 00:35:18
    His name was Charles Blondin, and he would do these incredible
  • 00:35:21
    highwire things.
  • 00:35:22
    And one of the things that he's famous for is he did a high wire
  • 00:35:26
    across Niagara Falls and he was literally walking across
  • 00:35:30
    Niagara Falls way up high or nothing but a thin high wire.
  • 00:35:34
    And then he decided to up the ante and at another point he did
  • 00:35:37
    it again, but this time he took a wheelbarrow with him across
  • 00:35:42
    the wire.
  • 00:35:44
  • 00:35:45
    And he gets to the other side safely and everybody's going
  • 00:35:47
  • 00:35:48
    They're so blown away by this experience.
  • 00:35:50
    And then Charles Blondin issued this challenge: Would anyone in
  • 00:35:54
    the crowd like to get in the wheelbarrow with me and walk
  • 00:35:57
    across Niagara Falls?
  • 00:36:01
    How many people you think took them up on the offer?
  • 00:36:04
    That'd be a big fat zero.
  • 00:36:05
    That's right.
  • 00:36:06
    That'd be a big fat zero.
  • 00:36:07
    No one wanted to do that.
  • 00:36:09
    They saw him do it successfully.
  • 00:36:11
    They saw him do it with a wheelbarrow successfully
  • 00:36:14
    Why didn't anybody want to do that?
  • 00:36:16
    Because there's a difference between belief and trust.
  • 00:36:21
    You can believe a set of facts, you can know them to be true.
  • 00:36:24
    If you were in the crowd, you know for a fact that Charles
  • 00:36:27
    Blondin has the ability to walk across the Niagara Falls high
  • 00:36:30
    wire with a wheelbarrow.
  • 00:36:32
    You saw it.
  • 00:36:34
    But that's belief.
  • 00:36:36
    Trust is getting in the wheelbarrow.
  • 00:36:40
    And what I want you to know is that God is inviting you and I to
  • 00:36:45
    get in the wheelbarrow.
  • 00:36:47
    And if we spend face time with him and we develop a relational
  • 00:36:50
    trust, then we will begin to hear his voice more clearly.
  • 00:36:55
    One of the ways that this has impacted me recently was I was
  • 00:36:58
    challenged, you heard it in the story, in the video that opened
  • 00:37:01
    And I would say I had the same challenge to to take four
  • 00:37:04
    weeks and in those four weeks, to just pull away from media, to
  • 00:37:08
    pull away from, you know, whatever it is that I would check on
  • 00:37:10
    my phone regularly, all of the podcasts that I regularly listen
  • 00:37:13
    to, even the shows that I would regularly watch.
  • 00:37:16
    The one exception that was given as you can still watch things
  • 00:37:18
    like the Animal Planet or Planet Earth, because those are
  • 00:37:20
    things that connect you to the heart of God.
  • 00:37:21
    So maybe that's why I love the show so much, because for a month
  • 00:37:24
    that was all I was watching. [laughter]
  • 00:37:27
    And here's what struck me in that month.
  • 00:37:30
    It struck me that it is so easy for the white noise around me to
  • 00:37:36
    crowd out my face time with God, to dim my ability to hear him.
  • 00:37:43
    And in that month, something changed and I just got more
  • 00:37:46
  • 00:37:47
    I was able to hear Him more clearly and I've been able to
  • 00:37:50
    maintain a different rhythm after that
  • 00:37:52
    I'm still -- it's not -- it doesn't mean I'm doing all the media
  • 00:37:54
    fasting I was doing, but I am prioritizing face time with God
  • 00:37:58
    and I'm experiencing the benefits that come with that.
  • 00:38:00
    If you want to grow to hear the voice of God more clearly
  • 00:38:03
    I want to encourage you, get in the wheelbarrow and build in
  • 00:38:07
    face time with God and trust Him and build a relationship of
  • 00:38:10
    trust with Him.
  • 00:38:12
    So face time is one of the foundational things that must be true
  • 00:38:15
    to grow in hearing from God.
  • 00:38:17
    The second thing is we need filters.
  • 00:38:21
    We need filters because guess what?
  • 00:38:25
    God is not the only person trying to get your attention.
  • 00:38:28
    There's a bunch of people, a bunch of folks who want to get your
  • 00:38:31
    There's a bunch of people who would love for you to be under
  • 00:38:33
    their authority.
  • 00:38:34
    There's a bunch of things that would want you to be going in
  • 00:38:36
    So we have to have filters when we're engaging with God.
  • 00:38:40
    And we're going to talk a lot about some of the big filters.
  • 00:38:43
    So I'm not going to spend a whole ton of time on these, but just
  • 00:38:45
    to list a couple of them we're gonna do a week where we talk
  • 00:38:47
    about the filter of God's Word, the Bible.
  • 00:38:50
    Let me tell you something.
  • 00:38:51
    God is never gonna tell you something that conflicts with what
  • 00:38:55
    He has already revealed to be true in the Bible.
  • 00:38:58
    So that's a good filter for us if we think -- sense a prompting
  • 00:39:01
    or it's like how does this line up with what's in the Bible?
  • 00:39:04
    That's why it's important to prioritized face time so you can
  • 00:39:06
    read the Bible and know what God says in there.
  • 00:39:08
    I mean, think about it.
  • 00:39:09
    When you're in our culture and you want people to know who you
  • 00:39:12
    are, what do you do?
  • 00:39:13
    Well, you start an Instagram following, then you start a YouTube
  • 00:39:16
    channel, and then you write a book.
  • 00:39:18
    God wrote a book.
  • 00:39:20
    God wrote a book because he wanted us to understand his heart.
  • 00:39:23
    So we'll spend a whole week talking about how do you read the
  • 00:39:24
    Bible and how does that play into hearing from God?
  • 00:39:27
    And the other thing is He's given us the gift of community, wise
  • 00:39:29
  • 00:39:31
    And we need wise counsel when we're trying to discern, is this
  • 00:39:34
    Is this some other voice?
  • 00:39:36
    How do I make this decision?
  • 00:39:37
    That's why we need community.
  • 00:39:39
    We're going to spend a whole week on that.
  • 00:39:41
    So I'm not going to dive into those right now, but I am going to
  • 00:39:43
    There's a big filter that I think maybe an overall filter to
  • 00:39:46
    apply to all of those things and I'm going to give it to you
  • 00:39:48
    It's in a question form.
  • 00:39:50
    Filter everything you think you're hearing from God through the
  • 00:39:52
    lens or the filter of this question.
  • 00:39:55
    Will this make me live more like Jesus?
  • 00:40:00
    Will this help me live more like Jesus?
  • 00:40:04
    It's kind of trite and pithy, you know, it was all in
  • 00:40:06
    wristbands: What Would Jesus Do? Right?
  • 00:40:08
    I mean, it's trite and pithy, but but at the core of that is an
  • 00:40:10
    absolute foundational truth: God's desire for you and for me is
  • 00:40:15
    that we grow in the character and the competence of Jesus.
  • 00:40:19
    And so when He's communicating to us and conversating with us,
  • 00:40:22
    it is to grow our hearts.
  • 00:40:23
    It is to grow our life direction, is to grow our desires to be
  • 00:40:26
    those that put us in the place to be more like Jesus.
  • 00:40:31
    This is laid out very clearly in the New Testament.
  • 00:40:32
    There's a letter that was written to the early followers of
  • 00:40:34
    Jesus called the Book of Colossians.
  • 00:40:36
    And in Colossians 1:28, it says:.
  • 00:40:47
    Mature in Christ.
  • 00:40:50
    What's God's desire for you and for me?
  • 00:40:53
    To grow up.
  • 00:40:56
    Grow up.
  • 00:40:59
    Grow up.
  • 00:41:00
    That's what God is up to in our lives.
  • 00:41:03
    He wants to take us from baby spirituality to acting like
  • 00:41:06
    infants spiritually to growing up to be mature men and women
  • 00:41:10
    who can actually operate with the same character and spiritual
  • 00:41:13
    maturity that Jesus had.
  • 00:41:16
    And so as he's talking to us, it is all in that direction.
  • 00:41:21
    And I think it's really important that we have filters that help
  • 00:41:23
    us determine that.
  • 00:41:24
    That question for me is a very, very helpful filter.
  • 00:41:26
    I also say that question is important because if there's one
  • 00:41:29
    thing that concerns me about cultures like Crossroads, and I'm
  • 00:41:34
    a part of Crossroads culture, church culture is how
  • 00:41:38
    increasingly frequent it is for people to put at the beginning
  • 00:41:42
    of any decision they've made, "I think God's calling me to..."
  • 00:41:47
    Or "I think God's telling me to...".
  • 00:41:49
    And people use that all the time, they'll say, "Well, God's
  • 00:41:52
    calling me to do this or God's call me knew that.".
  • 00:41:54
    Let me be very clear: God calls people to do things all the
  • 00:41:57
  • 00:41:58
    God has called me to do things, that is absolutely true.
  • 00:42:01
    But I'm a pastor and so, as you might imagine, I've got a lot of
  • 00:42:04
    data on this one.
  • 00:42:06
    And here's what the data tells me.
  • 00:42:08
    The data tells me that the majority of things for which people
  • 00:42:12
    feel called to do are things they would want to do on their own
  • 00:42:16
  • 00:42:18
    Now, I'm not saying God wants everything to be unpleasant in
  • 00:42:23
    your life, but I'm just saying if you think everything you want
  • 00:42:27
    is what God wants, you are not hearing the voice of God.
  • 00:42:32
    That's just not the way life works.
  • 00:42:33
    That's not what maturity looks like.
  • 00:42:35
    And so we have to be careful if we're saying, if we find
  • 00:42:38
    ourselves saying, "Well, I think God wants me to do this.
  • 00:42:40
    I think God wants me to."
  • 00:42:41
    That's why we need filters.
  • 00:42:42
    Because let me tell you the biggest challenge between
  • 00:42:44
    Chuck hearing from God, it's the voice in Chuck's own head.
  • 00:42:50
    I probably shouldn't tell you guys this, it might sound
  • 00:42:51
    grotesque, but I have a me monster living in me.
  • 00:42:55
    I mean, it's a real monster.
  • 00:42:57
    It raises its ugly head.
  • 00:42:59
    It wants things that it shouldn't want.
  • 00:43:01
    It cries when it doesn't get its way.
  • 00:43:02
    I mean, I have a real me monster in me and I've got to know that
  • 00:43:07
    when I'm hearing from God how am I discerning that from the me
  • 00:43:10
    monster in me that wants what it wants?
  • 00:43:14
    And that's where filters come in, like the Bible, like
  • 00:43:17
    community, and like just the simple question that says, "Hey,
  • 00:43:20
    is this -- is this going to help me live more like Jesus?
  • 00:43:25
    I'll tell you a realtime example for me, and I've been honest
  • 00:43:29
    and open about this over the years, is my relationship to food.
  • 00:43:34
    So I know nobody else has had this journey, but like I've had
  • 00:43:37
    times in my life where I've been really focused on weight loss
  • 00:43:40
    and how I'm eating and I've lost weight.
  • 00:43:43
    And then I'll gain weight and then I'll lose weight and then
  • 00:43:46
    I'll gain weight and then I'll gain weight.
  • 00:43:48
    And then I'll -- I know I'm the only person who's had that
  • 00:43:50
    experience, but like, that's been my journey.
  • 00:43:52
    And so as I think about that and wrestle with that, I know God
  • 00:43:56
    wants more from me in that area.
  • 00:43:57
    I know that's not the relationship He wants me to have with
  • 00:44:00
  • 00:44:01
    And so as I was reading one day, there was a verse in the Bible
  • 00:44:05
    that jumped off the page to me, it's First Corinthians 6:12.
  • 00:44:08
    And it says this:.
  • 00:44:20
    And the truth is, there are times when food is dominating in the
  • 00:44:25
    relationship I have with it, whether I'm going to food for
  • 00:44:28
    comfort or for celebration, whatever it is that food is in a
  • 00:44:31
    place in my life that is dominant and I don't want that.
  • 00:44:34
    And I know that's not what God wants for me.
  • 00:44:35
    Will this help me look like Jesus, if I address this, if I deal
  • 00:44:38
    with this?
  • 00:44:39
    Yeah, I think it will.
  • 00:44:41
    And so I lean into the filter of community.
  • 00:44:43
    And I'm really thankful I have a physician who's also a
  • 00:44:46
    follower of Jesus, fellow Crossroader.
  • 00:44:47
    And I went to my annual physical and he was like, "Hey, you're
  • 00:44:50
    checked out, everything's good.".
  • 00:44:52
    And he said, "Is there anything else you wanna talk about?".
  • 00:44:53
    I said, "Yeah, I want to talk to you about my relationship to
  • 00:44:56
    food and how this is an ongoing struggle.".
  • 00:44:58
    We had a really good conversation and he had been learning some
  • 00:45:02
    things and kind of going in a direction of understanding more
  • 00:45:05
    about the connection between our eating and our relationship to
  • 00:45:08
    it and what it says about our emotions and our spiritual
  • 00:45:10
    We had a powerful conversation and he recommended a tool to me.
  • 00:45:13
    He recommended tool and said, "I think you should try this and
  • 00:45:16
    just see if it works.".
  • 00:45:17
    And so because I know I'll get e-mails if I don't say it, I'm
  • 00:45:21
    going to tell you what it is, but I've got to give you some
  • 00:45:23
  • 00:45:24
    I am not a paid advertiser for this.
  • 00:45:27
    I would love for them to send me a check for telling all of you
  • 00:45:29
    this, but I don't think it's going to happen.
  • 00:45:31
    So I just want you to know that.
  • 00:45:32
    And if you try this, it is buyer beware.
  • 00:45:35
    If it doesn't work for you, don't blame me.
  • 00:45:36
    Don't say, "My pastor said I should try this
  • 00:45:38
    Don't do that.
  • 00:45:40
    We good, we good with that? All right
  • 00:45:42
    So that's an app.
  • 00:45:43
    It's called Eat Right Now.
  • 00:45:45
    And I'm finding it to be helpful for me.
  • 00:45:47
    I'm only three weeks in, but I'm finding it to be helpful
  • 00:45:49
    because it's not about calorie counting.
  • 00:45:51
    It's not about that, because I just don't have the energy to do
  • 00:45:53
  • 00:45:54
    And I know that's not the underlying foundational thing.
  • 00:45:56
    And so what it's helping me to do is giving me tools and it's
  • 00:45:59
    giving me space to think about how can I change my relationship
  • 00:46:03
    to food, the what, the why and the how of what I'm eating.
  • 00:46:07
    And I'm finding to be helpful.
  • 00:46:09
    And here's what I know.
  • 00:46:10
    I know that as I grow in this area, this is an area where God
  • 00:46:14
    wants me to filter my relationship with food through these
  • 00:46:17
    lenses, through this filter.
  • 00:46:19
    And as I do that, I think I'm gonna look more like Jesus.
  • 00:46:21
    I think I'm going to have what I would call maybe a healthy
  • 00:46:24
    relationship to food and not be dominated by food in some of
  • 00:46:29
    the ways they've been dominated by food.
  • 00:46:33
    And so my encouragement to you is as you grow in this journey of
  • 00:46:37
    hearing from God.
  • 00:46:38
    Make sure you have healthy filters in place because God would
  • 00:46:42
    want that for you.
  • 00:46:43
    He wants that for all of us.
  • 00:46:44
    And he provided those filters for all of us as well.
  • 00:46:48
    So face time, face time foundational.
  • 00:46:51
    We're not gonna hear from God if we don't prioritize face time
  • 00:46:53
    with him.
  • 00:46:54
    Filters. We need filters because all of us have to discern
  • 00:46:58
    whether it's God or us, where there's God or some other voice
  • 00:47:01
    that once our attention.
  • 00:47:02
    And then finally, we've gotta follow through on what we hear.
  • 00:47:05
    We've got to act on what we hear.
  • 00:47:07
    Obedience grows your ability to hear from God clearly.
  • 00:47:12
    Obedience, follow through grows yours and my ability to hear
  • 00:47:16
    from God clearly.
  • 00:47:17
    That means following through on the big things and the small
  • 00:47:19
  • 00:47:20
    Let me give you maybe a maybe a smaller example of how this
  • 00:47:22
    played out for me just this week.
  • 00:47:24
    You ever have one those days in your schedule where it's like
  • 00:47:26
    you're just wall to wall meetings?
  • 00:47:27
    You just got like one thing to do and then the next thing to do,
  • 00:47:29
    then the next thing to do, and the next thing to do.
  • 00:47:31
    Wednesdays are like that for me every week.
  • 00:47:34
    And so I was kind of in between meetings and I felt this ping, I
  • 00:47:38
    would say it was a prompting, just a thought.
  • 00:47:41
    And the thought, I believed, was in the direction of living and
  • 00:47:44
    looking like Jesus.
  • 00:47:45
    And it was, "Hey, see that guy over there?".
  • 00:47:46
    It was a coworker of mine.
  • 00:47:47
    "I want you to go just check on how he's doing."
  • 00:47:50
    And I'll just tell you, like I just finished one meeting, I
  • 00:47:53
    trying to grab my computer, get some water and get to the next
  • 00:47:56
    meeting in time.
  • 00:47:57
  • 00:47:58
    nd my first response was like, "Can I do that later?
  • 00:48:02
    I don't want -- I don't want to do that right now."
  • 00:48:05
    And I just felt that prompting.
  • 00:48:06
    And again, I'm learning. I'm
  • 00:48:07
    like all right, if I --. I'm Gonna
  • 00:48:09
    follow that.".
  • 00:48:10
    So literally, I just went up to him and i'm like
  • 00:48:11
    that's when I got to know my hey, man, how are you doing?
  • 00:48:13
    Guy that I work with every day.
  • 00:48:15
    And he wasn't -- he wasn't a crisis, but he was at a point where
  • 00:48:19
    based on something specific that was happening in his life,
  • 00:48:21
    that moment, he was kind of an anxious point.
  • 00:48:24
    And I was able to sit there and listen to him, encourage him and
  • 00:48:28
    just pray for them, just bless him in that moment.
  • 00:48:30
    And that may have been a small thing, but I know that that was
  • 00:48:32
    what God wanted me to do.
  • 00:48:34
    And I think that was helpful to him.
  • 00:48:35
    I think it was encouraging him.
  • 00:48:37
    And so whether it's a big thing or a small thing.
  • 00:48:40
    The more that you do that, the more that you follow through on
  • 00:48:42
    those promptings, the easier it is to hear the voice of God.
  • 00:48:47
    So I've said a lot. I've
  • 00:48:49
    given you a lot today.
  • 00:48:50
    I've tried to give you a vision, big picture.
  • 00:48:52
    Also trying to give you some foundational things.
  • 00:48:54
    So let me summarize it in one simple scripture, Proverbs 3:5-6,
  • 00:49:00
    from the Book of Proverbs, a collection of wisdom it says:.
  • 00:49:13
    That's the journey we're going on together over the next four
  • 00:49:16
    weeks as we learn how to hear from God.
  • 00:49:18
    Trust in the Lord.
  • 00:49:20
    Again, it's about prioritizing face time, being willing to get
  • 00:49:24
    in the wheelbarrow with God and grow your relational trust.
  • 00:49:29
    And lean not on your own understanding, that's about let's make
  • 00:49:32
    sure our filters are in place so that we're filtering through
  • 00:49:34
    the right ways.
  • 00:49:36
    Is this voice of God? Is this
  • 00:49:37
    going to help me look more like Jesus?
  • 00:49:39
    What does the Bible to say about this?
  • 00:49:40
    Let me lean into wise counsel and community.
  • 00:49:43
    In all your ways, acknowledge Him, means recognize Him, go in
  • 00:49:47
    His direction, it means follow Him, and as we do that, He will
  • 00:49:51
    direct your path.
  • 00:49:54
    Friends, God is speaking and He wants to have a conversation
  • 00:49:58
    with you.
  • 00:49:59
    He wants you to trust Him.
  • 00:50:01
    He wants you to grow in your ability to hear Him.
  • 00:50:05
    But I would imagine that given the room and given the size of
  • 00:50:08
    the people who are engaging, that there are some people who are
  • 00:50:11
    hearing this and they're just saying, "Man, I want to hear from
  • 00:50:14
    God desperately, but it just feels like He's silent."
  • 00:50:19
    You've been pleading with God maybe for months, maybe for years,
  • 00:50:22
    trying to get an answer to a question, trying to understand
  • 00:50:25
    something that happened in your life, asking him to do
  • 00:50:27
    something for you, just wanting to grow in that way and feeling
  • 00:50:30
    like, "God's not talking to me."
  • 00:50:32
    "What's wrong with me or what's wrong with you?
  • 00:50:34
    God, I'm not hearing you.".
  • 00:50:35
    I know there are people who are feeling that way right now.
  • 00:50:39
    You might feel this might be for everybody else around me, but
  • 00:50:42
    it's not for me.
  • 00:50:45
    If you're in that place, I just want to encourage you to hang
  • 00:50:49
    in there and lean in over the next several weeks.
  • 00:50:53
    Lean in.
  • 00:50:56
    I believe God wants to communicate to you.
  • 00:50:59
    And want to encourage you to lean in on what we're about to do
  • 00:51:02
    right now.
  • 00:51:04
    We're going to have an opportunity for you today to hear from
  • 00:51:08
  • 00:51:09
    In a moment, whether you are tuning in online or whether you're
  • 00:51:12
    in a room, you're going to have a chance to interact with a
  • 00:51:14
    real person who is going to listen to God on your behalf and
  • 00:51:17
    they're going to share words with you that reflect God's heart
  • 00:51:19
    specifically to you.
  • 00:51:21
    It's called encouraging prayer.
  • 00:51:23
    And why do I have confidence in knowing what they say is going
  • 00:51:27
    to be God's heart for you?
  • 00:51:28
    I know that because God says that that's what happens when we as
  • 00:51:32
    followers of Jesus listen for His voice and communicate what we
  • 00:51:36
    hear with each other.
  • 00:51:37
    It's called the gift of prophecy.
  • 00:51:39
    And when you hear that word you might think fortune telling.
  • 00:51:41
    That's not what I mean.
  • 00:51:42
    That's not what the Bible means when it says prophecy in this
  • 00:51:45
    particular case, in 1 Corinthians 14:3, it says:.
  • 00:51:54
    So, this is not an opportunity to have a fortuneteller come and
  • 00:51:57
    tell you about your future, it's an opportunity to interact
  • 00:51:59
    with the person who wants to share with you something that will
  • 00:52:02
    strengthen you, encourage you and comfort you.
  • 00:52:05
    And I would encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
  • 00:52:09
    So wherever you are, you're gonna get more instructions.
  • 00:52:11
    But I'm going to pray.
  • 00:52:13
    And as you engage in this, I believe God's going to speak.
  • 00:52:16
    God, I thank you for this opportunity.
  • 00:52:18
    Thank you for just the fact that Your voice can be heard.
  • 00:52:22
    Thank you for the gift of community
  • 00:52:24
    What's about to happen now is one of the ways that you speak to
  • 00:52:26
    You speak to us through other followers of Jesus, other people
  • 00:52:29
    who are hearing your heart and sharing it with us.
  • 00:52:32
    So God, for everybody who stays, and I do pray everybody would
  • 00:52:34
    stay, I know that you have a word for them.
  • 00:52:37
    Speak Lord.
  • 00:52:39
    We want to be listening.
  • 00:52:41
  • 00:52:43
    >> Well, one of my favorite ways to be encouraged and built up
  • 00:52:46
    and to hear from God is actually when I ask for prayer from
  • 00:52:50
    someone else.
  • 00:52:51
    I am always amazed at how great I feel afterwards.
  • 00:52:55
    I'm always amazed at how encouraged I am.
  • 00:52:57
    And oftentimes I actually hear from God when someone else prays
  • 00:53:01
    And so we have the opportunity for you right now from anywhere
  • 00:53:05
    you might be sitting to receive encouraging prayer.
  • 00:53:08
    Even if you're alone watching this, I want you know there's a
  • 00:53:11
    whole team of people waiting to pray for you.
  • 00:53:14
    So you can text your name and a prayer to the number on the
  • 00:53:16
  • 00:53:17
    And what's going to happen is the people on the other end,
  • 00:53:19
    they're not just going to add your prayer to some prayer
  • 00:53:21
    requests list that people pray for later.
  • 00:53:23
    They're gonna sit and they're going to ask God if he has
  • 00:53:26
    anything for you and they're going to text that back to you
  • 00:53:28
    Man, there's an opportunity for you to hear from your father
  • 00:53:31
    today. Don't miss it.
  • 00:53:33
    >> Yes, absolutely.
  • 00:53:34
    And, you know, all week long, we hope that you hear from God
  • 00:53:38
    and we hope you have a great week.
  • 00:53:39
    So we'll see you back next week for week two of how to hear from
  • 00:53:42

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Chaser—a few questions after the weekend service to start conversations. If this is your first time in a group, or your group has new members, take a few minutes and introduce yourself. Two truths and a lie is always a good place to start.

  1. If you stuck around to practice hearing from God, how did that go for you? Share your experience.

  2. Let’s unpack some questions from the message:

    • On a scale of 1-10 how confident are you in your ability to hear from God? Explain your answer.
    • What is one phrase you would use to describe your present state of hearing from God? (Deaf? Comes in loud and clear? One good ear? What?)
  3. Read Psalm 19:1-2, share a time you believe God spoke in your life.

  4. We heard about the three ways to hear from God. Facetime, Filter and Follow Thru. Where are you right now in each of those areas? What’s your next step to grow?

  5. Do you believe Jeremiah 33:3 that God is going to tell you great and mighty things, or do you think he’s going to slam you with judgement? Why?

More from the Weekend

Dream a little. It’s four weeks from now. What is one phrase you would like to use to describe your practiced ability to hear from God? What is one step you will take this week to move in that direction? Then, try it out. Take a minute of silence to hear together in your group. Share that experience together.

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Aug 4, 2019 28 mins 55 sec

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