Friday, July 24, 2015

Do you Listen?

Do you Listen?

There is a big difference between not hearing and not listening.  Not hearing usually has to do with being hard-hearing or having trouble hearing. However, listening is a skill that must be developed and practiced.  You can hear and not listen. 

It is important for Christians to listen to God. We need to listen to His voice.  He may speak to use  through His Word(meaning you have to read your Bible regularly).  He may speak to you through the Holy Spirit who lives and dwells inside of you and acts as a conscience and guide. He may speak to us through prayer. He may speak to us through a person or an event.  He may speak to us through your small group leader, Sunday school teacher, or through the preacher's sermon.  God speaks to us in a variety of ways, but are we really listening?

It's easy to have God's voice drowned out by our busy lives, the distractions around us, by the undealt with sin in our lives, our bad attitudes, narrow minds, or own opinions.  Maybe we don't listen to God because we are too busy talking or trying to control our lives or situations?  Truth is God is always speaking to you and me are we listening?

God isn't always speaking to us like a scolding parent or boss.  He speaks to us to encourage us, remind us of things, comfort us, strengthen us, give us wisdom and discernment, and all sorts of things.  Yes, He may speak to us to warn us of danger, remind us of consequences, or convict us of sin, but God desires a relationship with us and in order for us to have a healthy relationship with God it has to be through Jesus Christ.  We have to truly surrender to God and His plan of salvation.  We have to allow God to transform us and work in our lives and we do that by listening to Him.

Many of you continue to struggle in your sins or faith because you refuse to listen to God in order to develop or grow your faith.  Many of you try to do your own thing and have become set in your  religious routines or ways and refuse to listen to God's guidance and promptings.  It's time you truly learn to not only hear and recognize the voice of God, but to look for it.  To be sensitive to it and not only hear it, but listen to it and respond. 

We have too many churches and too many Christians who do not listen to God and who are missing out on truly growing and experiencing God because they refuse to listen or don't take the time or know how to listen to God.  If you learn to listen to God in your daily lives you will experience greater peace, purpose, healing, love, contentment, hope, forgiveness, and wisdom.  I encourage you to start practicing better listen skills so you can fully experience the power and love of God in your daily lives as we prepare for eternity.

 Proverbs 1:5
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.

Thursday, July 09, 2015



I've been told before "you're never serious", because I like to laugh and joke a lot, and truth to told I enjoy laughing and making others laugh.  But just because I love humor, being funny, funny things, laughter, making others laugh, etc...doesn't mean I'm not serious about certain things. I am serious when it comes to my faith. That doesn't mean I don' t fail or struggle in anyway, it simply means my eternity isn't something to joke about and not take serious.

I have noticed however, that a lot of folks don't take their salvation, eternity, Christianity, or their part in the church body very serious.  You can tell in their lack of commitment or consistency.  Being a Christian is all about totally surrendering yourself to God and becoming a devoted follower to Him. It should mean transformation for our lives. Change.  Commitment. Devotion. Service. Yet, most church I've been a part or have seen  lacks serious committed members. 

Churches are full of those who claim to be Christians and church "members" yet, they aren't consistent in their attendance, giving, or serving.  They are hit and miss and aren't consistent in their faithfulness to God and the church.  This is why churches attendance numbers fluctuate up and down because of inconsistent worshippers.  People don't give of their time, talents, or finances to the church like they should.  They are not using their gifts to serve God faithfully through the church.  People aren't willing to step up and lead. Yet, they will give all of these things to little league, their hobbies, social organization, and other things? Why? Is something temporary suddenly more important than something eternal?

I think the truth is many just don't take their salvation and faith seriously. Many think if they've been baptized or "saved" they have secured their place in heaven and they can go back to living their normal earthly lives that is primarily about them and their wants and little about God. This is the wrong attitude to have and one of the tricks satan uses to blind us to the truth and reality.  We need to take our faith serious and getting saved or baptized isn't just a free ticket to heaven at the end of your life, its only the beginning of your faith journey as you should be preparing for eternity.

We need to take our faith serious.  We need to take our church attendance/involvement  serious. We need to take our giving to God through the church serious, whether that is financially, our time, or our service.  We need to realize that while salvation is a free gift from God, it's not a free ride to heaven.  It requires us to follow Jesus daily and grow in our faith and mature into a growing Christian.  We need to take our faith more serious than we do anything else, it's not a joke. Hell isn't a laughing matter. 

If you take your faith seriously, then you'll be taking time to study your bible regularly, you'll develop a serious prayer life, you'll be a faithful member of the church and be committed to being there faithfully for services, bible study, small groups, Sunday school, worship services, special programs, or whatever your local church does.  We all take vacations and get sick and sometimes our jobs take us away but that should be the exception not the norm,  otherwise we should be committed to being involved in our local church.  So, yes going to church services, being involved in the local church, and being the church does matter and should be taken seriously.

Finally, we need to take ourselves seriously when it comes to our faith. We all have talents, resources, and abilities we can be using for God.  Why should our jobs, hobbies, or kids sports get all of our money, time, and talents and then give God little or nothing?  It really means we really don't take God or His church or salvation all that seriously or we misunderstand the importance of it all? This world we live in is temporary and while we are here for a little while, it's about being the church, serving, growing, maturing, giving, and doing for the Lord through His Church.

I pray you start taking your faith serious.  You get real about your Christianity and be faithful to God. Be faithful to His Church.  Be committed and consistent in your walk with God, and take it serious and be and remain faithful. We don't want to be like the christians God mentions in the book of Revelation. Eternity is coming, are you taking it serious?

Revelation 3:16(NIV)
16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.