How to Hear God | Week 2: God Speaks in Scripture

Hearing from God can feel confusing. Like, how do we even know its God speaking and not our own thoughts? The difference between our thoughts and God’s voice is scripture. The more we act out on what we hear in scripture, the more we will see God’s power at work in our lives.

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    Well, hey, guys, it's great to have you tune in with us.
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    My name is Tim and I'm the community pastor of Crossroads
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    Mason.
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    It's a community in northern Cincinnati.
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    In fact, that's where I am right now.
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    And you may not know about who Crossroads is, but we are one
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    church with multiple physical locations all around Cincinnati,
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    down into central Kentucky and with people all around the
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    country who are streaming and checking stuff out.
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    And if you don't know who we are, we have really three
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    objectives: We want us to know God, get connect with other
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    people, and make an impact in our world together.
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    And hey, you've joined us in the middle of this series called
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    How to Hear God.
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    And we're not talking about some philosophical, ethereal, how we
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    hear God.
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    We're not talking about
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    some, (deep character voice) "Tim, thou must doeth this and that."
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    I'm talking about the practical, nitty gritty, tangible ways
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    that people hear from God everyday.
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    Father, I thank you for your faithfulness.
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    I thank you that I've cried out to you many, many times.
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    You've pushed through the noise to break through.
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    Show me your goodness, your kindness, your faithfulness, your
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    power, Lord.
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    I need more and more of you, God.
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    So, I come before you to say that, ask you, bring more of you,
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    your spirit, your power.
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    More of who you are, God.
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    I pray all this because of who I see you to be in Jesus.
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    Amen
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    This place is built, it's run by great, great leaders
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    So, if you're a leader in here or if you have an interest in
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    being a leader, we have an awesome event coming up on August
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    24th.
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    I just want to thank you, because we at Crossroads prayed for
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    this and Jesus prayed for this.
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    And you're an answer to prayer.
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    You are.
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    You're in your position because people have been praying for
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    you.
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    You're a huge, huge blessing.
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    And I want to encourage you that you are a qualified shepherd.
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    God has called you for a season like this for people like that.
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    It's the nitty gritty of spiritual formation with other people
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    that makes us feel like we're having an impact on the world.
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    The Leader Summit is going to be great.
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    Listen, if you're leading people around here, you should have
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    It's coming up on August 24th.
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    For more information, go to Crossroads.net/leadersummit.
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    Well, hey, welcome to Crossroads.
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    My name is Tim and I'm the community pastor at Crossroads
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    Pastor at Mason, we're in northern Cincinnati.
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    You're like, "Where the heck are you?".
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    We're right here at our Crossroads Mason location.
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    And if you live in northern Cincinnati, I want you to know we'd
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    love to have you here.
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    We'd love to introduce you to some people here in our building
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    and get to know some folks.
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    And a small way we can say thanks for coming, I want to give you
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    a little gift, one of these Crossroads tumblers.
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    So if you find me and come here, I'll snag you one of these or
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    you can actually go to our welcome center and get connected
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    with someone in our atrium.
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    You know, we've got a lot that's happening around here.
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    You might be streaming from five or 10 miles away.
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    I want to invite you into the amazing things that are happening
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    here, things like a concert we have called Hillsong Young and
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    Free that's coming up in September.
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    Or this 5k, 10k race called the We Run Race in October where
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    we're going to race, have some fun.
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    And in so doing, raise money to build this amazing playground
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    for kids with special needs right across the street from our
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    You know, also, you might be a parent saying, "I want to help my
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    kids grow.
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    I want them to know about God.".
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    We've got a great place to do that here.
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    It's called Kids Club and all the stuff we have a kids club we
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    say is safe, fun, and welcoming.
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    So we'd love to invite your kids.
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    And all those things are great ways that you can get connected.
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    And so if you want more different information, you can go to
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    Crossroads.net/Mason.
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    And if you don't live in the northern Cincinnati area, that's
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    You can just go to Crossroads.net/locations.
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    You get connected with any location that's in and around greater
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    Cincinnati, down into central Kentucky.
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    And if you live nationwide somewhere across the United States,
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    go to Crossroads.net/anywhere.
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    We want to help all of us plug into relationships with other
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    people.
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    That's when the good stuff starts happening.
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    One of the best ways we actually help people get connected is
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    this thing we do annually, it's called the Journey.
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    You may say, "What's a journey?".
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    It's not just an 80s band.
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    The Journey is actually something that we do where everybody
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    who's part of Crossroads gets involved, adults, students, kids.
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    And we do three things.
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    We listen to a weekend message.
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    We do individual challenges.
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    And third, most importantly, we get into a small group to
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    discuss it.
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    And this year's Journey, it's called the Play and Purpose
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    It's saying, "Hey, we've got to be high on play.
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    Having fun, having rest and high on purpose in our lives.".
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    And I think this topic is going to push all of us.
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    And I think the best part for all of us here is getting into
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    community.
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    If you live in the northern Cincinnati area, I'd love to just
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    help plug you into relationships and small groups of people.
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    And we want to do that with you no matter where you live.
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    If you want more information, just go to Crossroads.net/journey.
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    We're going to be starting that in September, and we want to
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    help you get connected here in coming weeks.
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    Well, you know, there's a word that I heard growing up and in my
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    early 20s and I thought that's a dirty word, it's the word
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    submission.
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    But until someone defined it, that's actually when my
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    perspective changed.
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    They said, "Tim, submission is simply making yourself sub to a
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    larger mission.".
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    And I thought, I can get behind that.
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    That's really good.
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    See God asks for our submission all the time.
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    He says, "Hey, I want to be sub to the mission with your
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    marriage, with your dating relationships, with your
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    friendships, with your parenting.".
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    He also says, "Be sub to my mission with your money.".
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    And my wife and I, we made that decision with our finances some
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    years ago.
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    And we've seen amazing things happen through our giving.
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    Quite honestly, though, the most amazing things have been
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    happening in us through our giving when we have put ourselves
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    sub to God's mission.
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    You have an opportunity to do that right now.
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    You can go to Crossroads.net/give
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    and help fuel this amazing mission that God's doing through our
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    church and also see growth in yourself.
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    Hey, we're in the middle of this series called How to Hear God.
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    And now we're going to hear one person's story about how they
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    are hearing God.
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    One of the ways that God speaks most frequently to me is through
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    reading the Bible, through Scripture.
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    I am a big, big time reader.
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    I'm a writer.
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    I like words.
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    I get caught up in stories and narratives.
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    And so I love to read Scripture because although the Bible's
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    divided up into little books, it's really just one huge
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    narrative about God rescuing us from ourselves, from our bad
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    choices.
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    Oftentimes I see myself in other characters or in what God has
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    done in the past, and it gives me a framework for what He may
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    be doing now.
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    As I got into Scripture, I started to hear from God.
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    I would -- I would not hear his voice audibly, but things that
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    are happening in the story or specific words in the page would
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    have to jump out and get me.
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    And I perceive that to be God speaking to me.
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    And the more that I acted on those things, the more that I saw
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    God do more things in my life.
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    And it really just pulled me into the Bible completely.
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    I used to have a science background, and so if you do an
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    experiment and you keep getting the same result, you start to
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    think like this is actually true.
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    This is how this thing works.
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    You mix these two chemicals and this happens.
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    So I kind of approached the Bible in a similar way.
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    God says, try something.
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    I go and try it.
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    And when it turns out the way God says it will turn out, when it
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    turns out even better than I could hope, I have to assume that
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    God is speaking to me through that passage or through that
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    Scripture that I have been reading that day.
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    So one of the most important times that God spoke to me through
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    Scripture was about five years ago.
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    Me and my wife had been married for three or four years.
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    And at that point, we were ready to have children.
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    And it seemed like that should be a pretty easy thing to do.
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    And we tried and tried and tried and like an entire year passed,
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    maybe even more and we were not successful in her getting
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    pregnant.
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    And we began to doubt like maybe there's something wrong with us
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    or maybe we waited too long.
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    And God took me to a really ancient and tiny book called Joel.
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    It is about a prophet named Joel who speaks to God's people.
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    And one of the things he says is that God will give you back the
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    years that were taken from you.
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    And I feel like he said, just wait and keep trying.
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    Now, I want to say that like the next day we were pregnant, but
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    we waited six more months.
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    And by the time Christmas rolled around, we were pregnant.
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    And we're super excited.
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    And I was thinking back to that Scripture: God will give you
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    back the years that were taken from you.
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    And then it even says he will give you even more than that.
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    We found out we were pregnant at Christmas.
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    We went into the first ultrasound in January and found out that
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    we were having twins.
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    And so the first thing I thought was like, "That's what God said
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    in the book of Joel, he would give you back what was taken from
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    you. And he'll give you even more than you had the first
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    So not only were having one kid, we were having two.
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    And I don't know how to explain that, except that I read that in
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    Scripture.
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    I feel like it wasn't wishful thinking.
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    It wasn't, "This is what I want God to be saying to me.".
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    I couldn't get it out of my head that God had pointed me to that
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    Scripture that specific moment.
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    It was hard to wait.
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    It was hard to hold onto that promise, but it was eventually
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    fulfilled about a half a year later.
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    And when we found out that we were having twins, literally, the
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    first thing I thought of was that Scripture and Joel and how me
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    and my wife have been holding onto that promise and praying it.
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    And that's what happened.
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    My name is Caleb and one of the primary ways God speaks to me is
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    through the Bible.
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    Hey, everyone.
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    You can clap for that.
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    I love that story.
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    I work with Caleb.
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    He's awesome.
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    It's great to be with you here on week two of the series that
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    we're calling How to Hear God.
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    We're exploring the idea that there might just be a God who has
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    something to say to us.
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    And if that's the case, how exactly does that go down?
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    And I was at Crossroads East Side last weekend with my family.
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    That's where we regularly gather as a part of Crossroads.
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    And I experienced what many of you experienced, which was the
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    invitation to come forward at the end of service for prayer.
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    And in -- I think Chuck said something like, "Hey, sometimes we
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    can hear God through the words that other people might pray for
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    us. Maybe God will do that for you today.
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    If you want to do that, get up out of your seat and come
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    forward.".
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    And it was so amazing to witness in the room that I was
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    in hundreds of people at the same time got up out of their seat
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    and said, "I would like to hear God.
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    I'm gonna get up out of my seat and go and try to do that right
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    now."
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    And as I thought about that for this weekend and I learned that
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    it had been repeated at every site, in every service that we
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    had, I came to the understanding that today was even more
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    important than I thought.
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    Because today we're gonna talk about the foundational way that
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    we all need to hear from God, and that is how to hear God
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    through His Scripture.
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    And the reason that I say it's the foundation of all other
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    hearing is because it's in the context of the Bible that we get
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    exposed to the language of his spirit.
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    God has a language.
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    I don't know if you realize this, but we actually form language
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    of all different kinds in all the different groups that we are
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    Maybe you have a family group text.
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    And if I were not part of your family, I might not understand
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    some of what goes down in that group text.
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    I asked around and some of the people that I talked to said that
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    they do things like this.
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    Like one person told me that their group text that they have
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    sends SpongeBob memes back and forth.
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    That's kind of their language that they have.
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    And I have a friend who tries to slip country music lyrics into
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    her conversation because a couple of her friends always pick up
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    on them and it's like their secret language.
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    My husband and I used to be big watchers of the show called
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    Friends.
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    And so, of course, when we got a cat for Christmas this last
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    year, I, of course, had to sing (singing) Smelly Cat, Smelly
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    Cat.
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    And if you don't watch Friends, you have no idea why I just sang
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    that.
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    That's the exact point.
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    There's a language of relationship.
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    There's a language that gets developed when we are exposed to
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    people over a long period of time and we can communicate
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    effortlessly that way.
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    We actually learn that those words or that meme or that quote or
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    whatever you're saying, it comes not just with those words, it
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    comes with so much more.
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    It comes with the whole history of that relationship.
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    And it comes with all the meaning that only you know is even
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    there.
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    This is language just like in the Bible.
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    My friends and I actually went on a trip to Asheville.
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    There were four couples.
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    We went to Asheville, North Carolina, and some of our language
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    was crafted on that trip.
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    We show up in the house that we rented and there are four
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    couples who all brought food and drinks to share.
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    And apparently you need two things when you do a trip like we
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    were gonna do, where you're gonna hike and you're gonna raft
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    and know, just have fun.
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    No kids, just grownups.
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    And you need beer and you need granola.
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    Those were the two things that all four couples brought.
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    I don't -- we didn't talk about it, but right then and there in
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    the kitchen, #beer&granola was born.
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    We still use that hashtag today and it recalls the whole
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    experience of the trip.
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    Like when we were sitting around the fire and somebody said,
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    "So. what were you like in high school?".
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    Because none of us knew each other then.
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    So we start talking about high school.
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    And one of the women said, "What did you wear to your prom?"
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    And oh, a light bulb went off for me because I said I can
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    actually show you because I remembered my junior prom dress was
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    in a magazine ad that year for one of the big makers of prom
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    dresses.
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    So thank you, Google.
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    Twenty seconds later, we were looking at this.
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    Which one of those beauties do you think I wore to my junior
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    prom?
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    Sequins we're very in, but I don't want you to go to bed
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    wondering so...
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    Oh, yeah, baby, I brought it with me.
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    Got some cammo, jewel toned head to toe sequins.
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    Come on, this is awesome.
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    So my friends did what you're doing is -- Thank you.
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    They snorted out their beer and dropped their granola on the
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    ground because they were laughing so hard.
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    And they said, "No, you did not wear that dress.".
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    And I said, "Oh, yes, I did.".
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    And the legend of the prom dress was born.
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    You cannot imagine how many times that picture showed up somehow
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    in the context of this group of friends.
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    How can you resist that?
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    It became part of the fabric of our relationship.
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    It's the way that we talk to each other and it's baked in all
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    kinds of good, meaning.
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    That prom, it actually happened to be one of the more formative
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    nights of my entire teenage life.
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    They know that about me and now they know what I wore.
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    When we expose ourself to the Bible, that is exactly the way
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    that it should feel with God
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    We meet him in the course of history.
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    We get to see what he's been like.
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    We get to know his character.
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    We get to see what He cares about, though even some of the exact
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    words that appear over and over and over again.
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    And they start to sink in in such a way that we can now see a
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    little bit better, hear a little bit clearer in our own life
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    about what He might be doing and definitely hear better what He
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    is saying.
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    I'm passionate about this because this is the thing that has
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    unlocked and exploded the voice of God in my own life over a
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    long period of time, and I still get excited about it.
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    If we cannot get excited about hearing the voice of God, I don't
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    -- I get excited about that.
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    I find that it still amazes me and it still draws me in and it
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    still makes me want to come back for more.
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    And that's what I hope today will do for all of us, is leave us
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    wanting something more from God, wanting more of his voice.
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    The same thing that got us up out of our seats last week, I hope
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    will propel us today to actually start to read the Bible in a
  • 00:28:21
    new way.
  • 00:28:22
    I knew that the Bible had a phrase for this kind of life, and
  • 00:28:27
    it's called being led by the spirit.
  • 00:28:30
    When we learn the language of God, we actually open up a whole
  • 00:28:33
    life that the Bible calls being led by the spirit, because his
  • 00:28:37
    spirit is speaking.
  • 00:28:38
    And if we know his language, we can be led by that spirit on a
  • 00:28:42
    daily basis.
  • 00:28:43
    This is actually the life promised to anyone who wants to be a
  • 00:28:47
    follower of Jesus.
  • 00:28:49
    And sometimes I feel like I have settled and that we have
  • 00:28:53
    settled for something that's far, far less than that.
  • 00:28:58
    I knew that this happened in my life.
  • 00:28:59
    I knew this dynamic of hearing God through Scripture was
  • 00:29:02
    happening in my life.
  • 00:29:03
    And so in preparation for this weekend, I thought, you know
  • 00:29:06
    what? I'm just going to take a note anytime I hear that
  • 00:29:09
    happening naturally.
  • 00:29:11
    I'm just going to open a note on my phone.
  • 00:29:13
    I'm going to make a quick: What is it?
  • 00:29:14
    What do I hear?
  • 00:29:15
    What's going on?
  • 00:29:16
    Just to remind myself.
  • 00:29:17
    And I started compiling this note and I didn't really look a lot
  • 00:29:20
    I would just add to it over the last probably I would say about
  • 00:29:23
    eight weeks, maybe about two months.
  • 00:29:25
    And so I had this open and I would add to it and I was doing
  • 00:29:28
    this little experiment, just hoping to maybe get a couple of
  • 00:29:31
    examples that felt, you know, real and timely for me in my
  • 00:29:35
    And what I found was, whoa, something I did not expect.
  • 00:29:40
    I found the richness and the frequency with which it was
  • 00:29:44
    happening was a surprise even to me who knew what was
  • 00:29:48
    happening.
  • 00:29:49
    It really did surprise me.
  • 00:29:51
    And there were three categories of ways that God was speaking to
  • 00:29:55
    And I'm going to take you through each of those categories for a
  • 00:29:58
    chunk of our time together today.
  • 00:30:00
    They are: God was trying to lead me.
  • 00:30:05
    This has to be the most common thing that I hear is that we want
  • 00:30:08
    God to lead us.
  • 00:30:10
    We want we want direction from him.
  • 00:30:11
    Well that was happening.
  • 00:30:13
    Lead me.
  • 00:30:14
    The other thing that I noticed is that he was trying to help me
  • 00:30:17
    learn, learn and grow and mature.
  • 00:30:21
    And the last category was he was trying to lift me up.
  • 00:30:26
    He was just trying to encourage me.
  • 00:30:29
    And every single example as I went back to kind of compile them,
  • 00:30:33
    I notice every single one fit into one of these categories,
  • 00:30:37
    some fit in to more than one.
  • 00:30:40
    And the first one was lead.
  • 00:30:42
    So I'm a pastor and people talk to me about how they feel about
  • 00:30:45
    And this has to be the most common thing that somebody wants
  • 00:30:49
    I want that.
  • 00:30:50
    I want God's direction for my life.
  • 00:30:52
    And usually we mean that in kind of big picture ways, like what
  • 00:30:55
    am I going to do and what relationship and what job and where
  • 00:30:59
    am I going to go?
  • 00:31:00
    And those are great questions to ask God.
  • 00:31:02
    But rather what I saw over the last handful of weeks are tiny
  • 00:31:07
    ways that he was trying to intercept me, to lead me every
  • 00:31:11
    single day, even in ways that I didn't suspect that he would
  • 00:31:15
    even care about.
  • 00:31:16
    One of those examples happened when I was pulling in my
  • 00:31:19
    driveway.
  • 00:31:20
    So I drive a big Expedition because I have four kids.
  • 00:31:23
    They got to fit in something.
  • 00:31:24
    They've got to fit in something.
  • 00:31:25
    So and my driveway is like a one lane until you get to the top
  • 00:31:28
    where it widens out so you can kind of swing into the garage.
  • 00:31:31
    So I'm driving and I have to maneuver kind of weirdly because we
  • 00:31:35
    had an extra car sitting in the -- at the top of the driveway.
  • 00:31:38
    So I have to kind of swing around and back up to get the
  • 00:31:40
    Expedition in the garage.
  • 00:31:42
    And so I'm doing this.
  • 00:31:43
    And as I'm doing this awkward backing up and turning around
  • 00:31:46
    thing, I hear in my mind: the good you ought to do.
  • 00:31:53
    Those words just flashed through my head in such a way that I
  • 00:31:56
    couldn't ignore them.
  • 00:31:57
    The good you ought to do.
  • 00:31:59
    And God knew I would instantly recognize it from my reading the
  • 00:32:03
    day before in the book of James.
  • 00:32:05
    James 4:17, says:.
  • 00:32:14
    Now, why would God say this to me?
  • 00:32:16
    Because the car that I had to maneuver around it was a car that
  • 00:32:21
    three months earlier we had decided to donate to the Wheels
  • 00:32:25
    Ministry here at Crossroads, and we had never followed through.
  • 00:32:31
    And God cared about that.
  • 00:32:32
    And he was trying to lead me in the right direction.
  • 00:32:37
    Why didn't I?
  • 00:32:38
    I don't know, why wouldn't you have the title, the guy's
  • 00:32:41
    email, the plates are expired.
  • 00:32:44
    All of the -- the getting it over to 45 minutes away.
  • 00:32:47
    All the reasons that I had God demolished with that one phrase:
  • 00:32:53
    The good you ought to do.
  • 00:32:56
    And within 10 days, we had gotten rid of that car that had been
  • 00:33:00
    sitting in our driveway for three months because I realized God
  • 00:33:03
    cares about this.
  • 00:33:05
    He's got someone's name on this car and I'm out of line with
  • 00:33:10
    what he wants.
  • 00:33:11
    So he wants to lead me someplace new.
  • 00:33:13
    I had all kinds of examples in this category.
  • 00:33:16
    I wish I could tell you all the stories.
  • 00:33:18
    I had trouble picking which ones because there were so many.
  • 00:33:21
    Just a couple other quick ones I had where I felt super weary at
  • 00:33:25
    the -- right at the beginning when I first started taking this
  • 00:33:27
    note on my phone.
  • 00:33:29
    I was feeling very weary.
  • 00:33:30
    I'm in school and my spring semester ran straight into my summer
  • 00:33:34
    semester and I had no break.
  • 00:33:35
    And I was just -- I didn't want to cram anything else in my
  • 00:33:37
    brain. I was just weary.
  • 00:33:40
    And he led me out of that weariness through a story that I read
  • 00:33:45
    in the Book of Exodus about how he provided in the desert for
  • 00:33:48
    the nation of Israel.
  • 00:33:53
    My daughter asked me a question one day, "Mom, if church, we can
  • 00:33:56
    seize church on the computer.
  • 00:33:59
    Why do we have to go?".
  • 00:34:02
    And I thought, "I can see why she would be asking that
  • 00:34:05
    question."
  • 00:34:06
    And there's an answer that I had just been reading in the book
  • 00:34:11
    of Hebrews and I was able to talk to her about that and why it
  • 00:34:16
    matters that we actually gather together and what God does
  • 00:34:19
    uniquely when we do.
  • 00:34:22
    I also avoided a fight with my husband at the outlet mall.
  • 00:34:28
    You men get very grumpy at outlet malls, may I just say.
  • 00:34:32
    And my husband was no different.
  • 00:34:34
    He doesn't like rugs and candles and suitcases as much as I do.
  • 00:34:38
    And he got super grumpy, said something snarky, and just as I
  • 00:34:41
    was about to respond, bam! Intercepted
  • 00:34:45
    by God.
  • 00:34:46
    Totally changed my response to him, totally changed it.
  • 00:34:49
    How many of us wish we could rewind and have a do over in one of
  • 00:34:54
    our relationships and how we responded to someone?
  • 00:34:56
    It doesn't happen all the time, but it did happen that day
  • 00:35:00
    because God had access to me, quick access where I would
  • 00:35:06
    immediately recognize his language.
  • 00:35:11
    So what do I do after this happens?
  • 00:35:15
    Well, I follow.
  • 00:35:17
    That's what we're actually called, we're followers of Jesus.
  • 00:35:22
    And anyone who wants to hear the voice of God, the best thing we
  • 00:35:25
    can do when we hear it is to follow where the spirit is
  • 00:35:29
    leading.
  • 00:35:30
    That's what his job is.
  • 00:35:31
    It turns out the spirit has a job, in John 14:26 that says this:
  • 00:35:46
    That's exactly what was going on.
  • 00:35:48
    He was trying to lead me and he would bring to remembrance his
  • 00:35:52
    words that came with all the context that I knew that they had
  • 00:35:59
    and all of our relationship together.
  • 00:36:03
    The second thing I noticed is that he was trying to help me
  • 00:36:05
    learn.
  • 00:36:06
    Now, someday I'd like to be a grown up, but I'm not, I guess
  • 00:36:12
    yet.
  • 00:36:13
    We all have growing to do.
  • 00:36:15
    And he was trying to help me learn.
  • 00:36:17
    This is another category of my notes.
  • 00:36:19
    And I was on Instagram one day.
  • 00:36:21
    I'm sure you never spend any time scrolling Instagram like I do.
  • 00:36:24
    And I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a meme and it
  • 00:36:27
    stopped me because I don't know, I guess I'm a pastor.
  • 00:36:31
    I'm interested in spiritual sounding things.
  • 00:36:33
    And so I just stopped and considered this for a moment.
  • 00:36:36
    And this is the meme that I found.
  • 00:36:38
    I know you've heard this sentiment, this spiritual sentiment
  • 00:36:40
    that everything happens for a reason.
  • 00:36:43
    That's a very popular thought.
  • 00:36:45
    And just as I was considering it and doing a little head tilt
  • 00:36:48
    about what I really thought about it, what I heard was, "Don't
  • 00:36:53
    be blown around."
  • 00:36:57
    I had to search this one by the word blown because I couldn't
  • 00:37:00
    quite remember where it was, but that's what I do.
  • 00:37:03
    I know that's God.
  • 00:37:04
    I know it is.
  • 00:37:05
    I know that's from the Bible.
  • 00:37:07
    This time I couldn't quite remember where.
  • 00:37:09
    So I got on to a search function and I searched the word blown.
  • 00:37:13
    And here's what I found.
  • 00:37:14
    This is absolutely -- this is absolutely what he was saying.
  • 00:37:27
    Do you know how many spiritual means you scroll by on a regular
  • 00:37:31
    basis?
  • 00:37:32
    Do we have a grid for which one of those is right?
  • 00:37:37
    What's true?
  • 00:37:38
    What's just making us feel better in the moment?
  • 00:37:40
    God wants to intercept us and teach us how to recognize his
  • 00:37:45
    truth.
  • 00:37:46
    I started collecting memes with this sentiment because I
  • 00:37:49
    realized, "Oh, I hear this all the time.
  • 00:37:51
    Oh, everything happens for a reason.
  • 00:37:52
    That sounds really nice, right?"
  • 00:37:54
    Well, what if that reason is physics?
  • 00:37:57
    That's what one of them says, "Everything happens for a reason
  • 00:38:00
    and it's physics.".
  • 00:38:02
    Or what if someday everything is going to make perfect sense?
  • 00:38:08
    So I can just believe that everything happens for a reason.
  • 00:38:12
    Is it?
  • 00:38:14
    My life experience certainly does not bear out that someday
  • 00:38:18
    everything will make perfect sense.
  • 00:38:21
    Is that true?
  • 00:38:23
    And if so, what part of that is true
  • 00:38:25
    Or maybe this one is the closest to truth of all, and the truth
  • 00:38:29
    is sometimes you're just stupid and you make bad decisions.
  • 00:38:35
    That might be the truth for me.
  • 00:38:36
    That might be the closest one to the truth.
  • 00:38:38
    And lastly, maybe this is all for not and actually nothing
  • 00:38:44
    happens for a reason.
  • 00:38:45
    It just doesn't.
  • 00:38:48
    It took me no time at all to collect these, and I kept going
  • 00:38:52
    back to the verse that God doesn't want for me to blow around
  • 00:38:56
    in the wind.
  • 00:38:57
    He doesn't want for me to be led astray at some moment where I
  • 00:39:01
    can't figure out which one of those is closer to the truth.
  • 00:39:04
    He wants to help me learn.
  • 00:39:07
    And unfortunately, he also wants to help me learn about myself.
  • 00:39:12
    And the reason I say unfortunately is because sometimes it isn't
  • 00:39:16
    very pretty.
  • 00:39:18
    Like this, as I was driving onto my street one day, I -- you
  • 00:39:23
    know, I just kind of glanced up.
  • 00:39:24
    Nothing, doing nothing, just kind of caught a glimpse of a
  • 00:39:28
    neighbor's house.
  • 00:39:29
    And the woman who lives there, I was like, "I really do not like
  • 00:39:34
    her."
  • 00:39:36
    This is what's going on in my head.
  • 00:39:38
    All I did was catch a glimpse of the poor lady's house.
  • 00:39:41
    And in my inner dialogue here's what's happening.
  • 00:39:45
    Boy, she's really frowny.
  • 00:39:47
    I like smiley people, she's super frowny.
  • 00:39:51
    And, you know, she has this nervous energy.
  • 00:39:55
    She always makes me feel uneasy, like I can never just feel
  • 00:39:58
    at ease when I'm around her.
  • 00:39:59
    She's not very pleasant.
  • 00:40:01
    She just kind of don't like to see her.
  • 00:40:04
    You get it.
  • 00:40:05
    Right in the middle of this terrible train of thought I hear
  • 00:40:10
    three words, harassed and helpless.
  • 00:40:15
    And this one really got me, you all, it really got me.
  • 00:40:20
    Instant change.
  • 00:40:23
    It was an instant change.
  • 00:40:25
    I could -- if I could draw it for you, it would be like a flood
  • 00:40:28
    that, like, rushed over me from head to toe.
  • 00:40:31
    It was an instantaneous change because God knew that I might not
  • 00:40:36
    be able to write this Scripture down for you word for word, but
  • 00:40:39
    I would know it.
  • 00:40:41
    And here's what it was, Matthew 9:36-37:
  • 00:41:07
    That one hurt because I like to think of myself as a nice
  • 00:41:11
    person, as somebody who cares about other people and actually
  • 00:41:15
    wants to love them.
  • 00:41:17
    And right in the middle, I realized I've got to see this about
  • 00:41:22
    myself.
  • 00:41:24
    And man, God loves this person and maybe I could join him in
  • 00:41:28
    loving her instead of driving by her house, having terrible
  • 00:41:32
    thoughts that I just affirm in myself.
  • 00:41:39
    The last thing I noticed was that God was trying to encourage
  • 00:41:43
    And after that interaction, I need a little encouragement.
  • 00:41:48
    But that was the other major category that I noticed.
  • 00:41:52
    And sometimes the voice of God trying to encourage me through
  • 00:41:57
    Scripture was just a quick one.
  • 00:41:59
    Like sitting at a stoplight or walking into a meeting or
  • 00:42:04
    One of my favorite verses, which I only really thought about
  • 00:42:08
    today was that I heard several times was: I can do all things
  • 00:42:14
    through Christ who strengthens me.
  • 00:42:15
    And that would pop up sometimes.
  • 00:42:17
    And then actually this just happened earlier, but I was thinking
  • 00:42:21
    of it and it was on my note because I was speaking somewhere
  • 00:42:24
    else.
  • 00:42:25
    And every time I speak or maybe almost every time I speak
  • 00:42:31
    anywhere, I will remember suddenly Psalm 45:1.
  • 00:42:36
    And it's part of my history with God.
  • 00:42:38
    It's part of our shorthand.
  • 00:42:40
    It's part of the way that maybe you text your friends an
  • 00:42:44
    abbreviation or a phrase or something like that.
  • 00:42:46
    And God knows that I know this verse because it's part of our
  • 00:42:51
    history together.
  • 00:42:53
    Psalm 45:1 I read the week before I ever spoke at Crossroads for
  • 00:42:57
    the very first time, and it says:
  • 00:43:07
    God knows me, he knows I like to write.
  • 00:43:10
    He knows I love words and I'm actually very comfortable with
  • 00:43:12
    them on paper.
  • 00:43:16
    And this verse will often come back to me as his shorthand to
  • 00:43:21
    encourage me before I speak, to say,.
  • 00:43:24
    "Hey, I've got you, you've got this, it's all good.
  • 00:43:29
    It's all good.
  • 00:43:30
    Just as comfortable as you feel writing, you've got
  • 00:43:33
    it. You should feel just as comfortable speaking.".
  • 00:43:37
    And he still uses that because he knows it will take me all the
  • 00:43:40
    way back to the very first time.
  • 00:43:44
    The other shorthand, I like to think of this one, honest to
  • 00:43:48
    goodness, as like sort of a prom dress that I have with God.
  • 00:43:53
    This next one is definitely part of our history together.
  • 00:43:56
    And think about it, this is how you encourage your friends,
  • 00:43:59
    If one of your friends is like really low about something or
  • 00:44:03
    they're very worried about something, what are you going to do?
  • 00:44:06
    You're going to say something like, I know you.
  • 00:44:11
    I know what you're like.
  • 00:44:12
    You're gonna be fine.
  • 00:44:13
    You've got this.
  • 00:44:14
    Or maybe you do have some words of wisdom for them because you
  • 00:44:18
    know them.
  • 00:44:20
    That's how we encourage each other.
  • 00:44:22
    And God uses Psalm 139 for me a lot because it's my favorite
  • 00:44:27
    Psalm.
  • 00:44:28
    It has been for as many years as I can remember reading the
  • 00:44:31
    Bible.
  • 00:44:32
    It's always been my favorite Psalm.
  • 00:44:34
    And I don't know about you, but I have a bad place.
  • 00:44:37
    Do you have like a mental, emotional sort of bad place?
  • 00:44:40
    If you go into a bad place in your head, what does that look
  • 00:44:44
    like for you?
  • 00:44:45
    For me, my bad place is: you're alone.
  • 00:44:51
    No one knows you.
  • 00:44:56
    No other moms and very few other moms have as many kids.
  • 00:44:59
    You're by yourself.
  • 00:45:01
    No other women really do what you do.
  • 00:45:03
    You're alone.
  • 00:45:05
    That's my bad place.
  • 00:45:09
    Psalm 139:.
  • 00:45:41
    Sometimes all I hear is, "Ali, I know you.".
  • 00:45:48
    And it immediately takes me back to Psalm 139 and I'll read it
  • 00:45:53
    and I'll remember I have a God who knows me.
  • 00:45:55
    He'll just say, "I know you."
  • 00:46:00
    We have a prom dress because we have a history and we have a
  • 00:46:03
    fabric and there's a foundation and he can draw on it because
  • 00:46:07
    I've exposed myself to the Bible just enough to have learned
  • 00:46:11
    some of the ways that he might try to talk to me.
  • 00:46:17
    In those three buckets, in the three different categories that I
  • 00:46:20
    discovered as I sort of compiled this note: Lead, Learn, and
  • 00:46:27
    Lift Up.
  • 00:46:28
    I was thinking about those kind of after the fact.
  • 00:46:30
    I'd already seen it.
  • 00:46:32
    I'd drawn them out.
  • 00:46:33
    I had written them down and I was like, oh, I like it it, you
  • 00:46:37
    I had encouraged at first, but, you know, three L's are better.
  • 00:46:42
    And I've looked at those and I thought to myself, "Oh, that's
  • 00:46:48
    what every good dad does for their kid."
  • 00:46:54
    Whether you have a good dad or you have a bad dad or anywhere in
  • 00:46:58
    between, I think we can agree that good dads want to lead their
  • 00:47:02
    kids, that good dads want their kids to learn.
  • 00:47:06
    They want them to grow and mature and grow up in all ways.
  • 00:47:10
    And good dads always want to be the voice of encouragement for
  • 00:47:15
    their children.
  • 00:47:16
    Always.
  • 00:47:18
    Isn't it funny, I later thought, as I was thinking about this,
  • 00:47:22
    that Romans 8:14 says:.
  • 00:47:25
    .
  • 00:47:33
    As we learn his language, we open ourselves up to be led by his
  • 00:47:37
    spirit in some way it happens that in that leading we end up
  • 00:47:41
    feeling like we're part of the family.
  • 00:47:43
    We end up feeling like we have a God who knows us, who loves us,
  • 00:47:46
    who includes us in his plans.
  • 00:47:48
    And this is the way that it happens.
  • 00:47:51
    And friends, I do believe that God speaks in many other ways.
  • 00:47:54
    I love seeing all the videos that people send in about how God
  • 00:47:58
    speaks to them.
  • 00:47:59
    I, too, have experienced God speaking in many other ways.
  • 00:48:02
    But I will tell you what, none of them I would ever be as sure,
  • 00:48:08
    as confident, and as rock solid as I feel when he can take me
  • 00:48:12
    into His Word and I can understand him there.
  • 00:48:16
    I think that many of us spend our lives reading billboards and
  • 00:48:20
    reading -- wanting quotes, spiritual quotes and also sifting
  • 00:48:24
    our own thoughts or hoping that God will speak to us in some
  • 00:48:28
    way that we could ever understand while we overlook the very
  • 00:48:31
    way that a good father told us to go and learn.
  • 00:48:39
    Jesus actually affirmed this.
  • 00:48:40
    He says the goal of Scripture is not perfect
  • 00:48:42
    knowledge, definitely not perfect knowledge.
  • 00:48:45
    It is instead to find Him.
  • 00:48:49
    Listen to this interaction he had in the Book of John 5.
  • 00:48:53
    He's talking to some Pharisees and these are religious leaders.
  • 00:48:56
    Not just any kind of religious leaders.
  • 00:48:58
    These guys literally had the Hebrew scriptures memorized word
  • 00:49:02
    It was part of how you became a Pharisee.
  • 00:49:04
    They knew the scriptures.
  • 00:49:06
    I mean, they knew the scriptures.
  • 00:49:10
    And Jesus says to them:.
  • 00:49:29
    Jesus says it's not about how well you know, the scriptures,
  • 00:49:32
    it's about can you see through them and understand who I am?
  • 00:49:36
    He was called the word who became flesh.
  • 00:49:39
    He is the word of God.
  • 00:49:41
    And all the life that we could ever want begins with a
  • 00:49:44
    relationship with him.
  • 00:49:46
    He criticized these religious people because they had everything
  • 00:49:50
    memorized and yet they didn't recognize Him.
  • 00:49:53
    And they were using the Scriptures to the wrong end and they
  • 00:49:57
    missed it.
  • 00:49:59
    The Bible exists to point us to Jesus.
  • 00:50:03
    It's Him we're looking for.
  • 00:50:05
    Better one verse, seriously, better one verse that leads you to
  • 00:50:09
    him than knowledge of all kinds of all different books and all
  • 00:50:14
    different concepts in the Bible.
  • 00:50:15
    Better one verse that you actually encounter Him.
  • 00:50:21
    And I'm passionate about it because this is -- this is life.
  • 00:50:24
    This feels like life to me.
  • 00:50:26
    This -- His voice feels like it's leading me to life, that's
  • 00:50:30
    being given by the Father through His Son and unlocked through
  • 00:50:34
    the voice of His Spirit for you and me here and now.
  • 00:50:38
    It feels like life.
  • 00:50:41
    So how do we start?
  • 00:50:43
    How do we get to the point where we can actually hear God
  • 00:50:46
    through His Word?
  • 00:50:47
    Well, I'm so glad you asked.
  • 00:50:51
    There is no substitute for exposure and time.
  • 00:50:57
    Just like in any other relationship that we have, there is no
  • 00:51:00
    substitute for time spent together and just repeated exposure
  • 00:51:05
    to get to know the language that you're gonna develop together.
  • 00:51:09
    There is no substitute for that.
  • 00:51:12
    The other thing I think that we can do is we can agree here and
  • 00:51:15
    now today to drop our story about the Bible.
  • 00:51:20
    I actually do think that this would help because I've had this
  • 00:51:22
    story, many of you either have or have had this story about the
  • 00:51:26
    Bible and it goes like this:
  • 00:51:29
    The Bible is so boring.
  • 00:51:31
    Oh, it's so boring.
  • 00:51:33
    It's so hard to understand.
  • 00:51:35
    Sometimes I don't even know what I'm reading.
  • 00:51:37
    It's so frustrating when I get stuck on something I don't know
  • 00:51:40
    and I don't know the guy and I can't remember the date and
  • 00:51:42
    what -- Who's the king?
  • 00:51:43
    And it's just so frustrating.
  • 00:51:46
    And I think part of the reason is we get caught up in that and
  • 00:51:51
    we could instead begin to read it in community.
  • 00:51:55
    Maybe sometimes one thing someone else has said to me is enough
  • 00:51:59
    to get me over the hump of understanding the thing I just read.
  • 00:52:02
    It's so helpful to do it in community.
  • 00:52:05
    And we actually have an app where you can do just that.
  • 00:52:08
    And part of my job, because I really care a lot about this, is I
  • 00:52:12
    get to pick the Scriptures that appear in the app.
  • 00:52:16
    And so I've put some in there, especially this next week, to
  • 00:52:20
    address some of the things that we've talked about today.
  • 00:52:22
    There's some chapters from the Book of John where Jesus talks
  • 00:52:25
    about the Holy Spirit and how he's going to connect with his
  • 00:52:28
    disciples and all of how that works.
  • 00:52:30
    And I love those chapters.
  • 00:52:32
    And there's some other things you're going to encounter over the
  • 00:52:34
    next couple of weeks in there that I've picked on purpose.
  • 00:52:38
    And it's so cool to read it in community, because if you don't
  • 00:52:43
    understand something or you have a question, probably someone
  • 00:52:46
    else has journaled and had that question and maybe someone else
  • 00:52:49
    is asking or answering that question.
  • 00:52:52
    And sometimes we can actually help each other understand.
  • 00:52:59
    A win for me would be if in 40 days you said to me, "Ali, I feel
  • 00:53:05
    about the Bible like you started to feel about water."
  • 00:53:09
    This is a gallon of water.
  • 00:53:11
    And a couple of years ago, I started to drink a gallon of water
  • 00:53:15
    a day just because one of my kids said, "Let's do something for
  • 00:53:19
    Lent."
  • 00:53:20
    Usually, you know, as tradition goes, you give something up.
  • 00:53:23
    And I thought, I think I'm going to take something on as opposed
  • 00:53:27
    to giving something up.
  • 00:53:28
    See, I knew in my head that the experts, medical experts say
  • 00:53:34
    that my body should have a certain amount of water every day.
  • 00:53:37
    I knew what that was and I just didn't want to do it.
  • 00:53:42
    I don't like it.
  • 00:53:43
    It doesn't taste very good.
  • 00:53:44
    It's kind of a pain to carry something around and it makes me
  • 00:53:48
    pee all the time and that's sort of annoying.
  • 00:53:50
    And so I you know what?
  • 00:53:52
    I know what's good for me.
  • 00:53:53
    And also, I don't care.
  • 00:53:55
    I just don't want to do it.
  • 00:53:57
    Totally my attitude.
  • 00:53:59
    I'll just drink my Diet Coke at lunch and have a glass of wine
  • 00:54:02
    after work or something, that was pretty much where I was.
  • 00:54:05
    Nice, right?
  • 00:54:06
    So I took on a gallon of water a day for 40 days.
  • 00:54:10
    And a year and a half later, I was still carrying around this
  • 00:54:13
    gallon of water to which my co-worker said, "You and all the 20
  • 00:54:18
    year old guys that work out at Gold's Gym are the only people
  • 00:54:20
    that carry around a gallon of water.".
  • 00:54:22
    And I was like, I don't care.
  • 00:54:23
    It's working for me because I was seeing there's an X factor
  • 00:54:28
    here.
  • 00:54:29
    There's some things that are happening to me that I can't put my
  • 00:54:32
    finger on, but I know they're the water.
  • 00:54:34
    I know they are.
  • 00:54:36
    I didn't -- I thought my skin was fine.
  • 00:54:37
    Apparently, it could have been better.
  • 00:54:39
    My skin started to look better.
  • 00:54:41
    I -- My nails were different.
  • 00:54:43
    I felt different.
  • 00:54:44
    I woke up. One
  • 00:54:45
    of the weirdest things is I would wake up easier in the
  • 00:54:47
    morning.
  • 00:54:48
    I was like, "Why do I feel better?".
  • 00:54:50
    It took me a while to notice that one and that is -- that is so
  • 00:54:54
    what I want for a new life to take hold through reading the
  • 00:54:58
    Bible, for me, for you, for all of us.
  • 00:55:01
    Because it takes a while of constant exposure to start to notice
  • 00:55:06
    that things feel different.
  • 00:55:11
    I wish I could tell you it was a one and done, but it's not.
  • 00:55:13
    And so in 40 days, if you feel about reading the Bible like I
  • 00:55:18
    felt about drinking a gallon of water, then this will have been
  • 00:55:21
    So I'm going to pray for us.
  • 00:55:25
    Father, thank you for Your Word.
  • 00:55:27
    Thank you that we can find You there and that Your voice is
  • 00:55:30
    loudest when we meet you there.
  • 00:55:32
    Please teach us Your language and help us to be able to hear
  • 00:55:35
    Your voice.
  • 00:55:37
    In Jesus name, I pray.
  • 00:55:38
    Aman.
  • 00:55:40
    All right.
  • 00:55:41
    Thanks, everyone, we'll see you next week.
  • 00:55:44
    Thanks for tuning in with us today.
  • 00:55:45
    Hey, if you want any more information about Crossroads, how you
  • 00:55:48
    can get plugged in, take next steps, it's really simple.
  • 00:55:51
    Just go to Crossroads.net
  • 00:55:53
    and in the bottom right hand of your screen you can click our
  • 00:55:56
    chat button and get connected with a person.
  • 00:55:59
    It's a real person who will answer your questions.
  • 00:56:02
    Hey, we'll see you next week for week three of How to Hear God.
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. Have you ever thought of God as a friend who wants to know and be known by you? Why or why not?

  2. It was said this week-end that the Bible is the foundational way of knowing God, not learning a book, but knowing God. Have you ever looked at the Bible that way? If not, how have you viewed the Bible?

  3. Do you think you can develop an ongoing, fun relationship with God, like you have with friends?

  4. The Bible is a key way that God speaks to us. God uses the Bible to lead us, to help us learn and to lift us up.

    Can you identify which one of those things you need the most right now?

  5. Read Psalm 139 together. Actually have 2 different people read Psalm 139 outloud from a different translation of the Bible. Do you know there are many different translations out there? Try New English Version and also try The Message. Talk through all the different things that God is saying to you as you read that Psalm.

More from the Weekend

We got some great challenges given to us today. Which one will you commit to doing?

I’ll read the Bible for the next 40 days (the App or a Psalm a day is a great way to start) I’ll read it in community (we can text each other in this group) I’ll drop reading it light a text book (dull and boring), I’ll start reading it like it’s a relationship (alive with possibility)

Pick one and let the adventure begin!

0 people are discussing these questions

(This stuff helps us figure out how many fruitcakes to make come December)

You must include at least one person

Got it! Enjoy your discussion.


Aug 10, 2019 56 mins 33 sec

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