Tag Archives: Matthew 25:21-23

The Voice

11 Aug

“I am the good shepherd;I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”  John 10:14


At rehearsal this week we learned a song written by a team member that has a tricky instrumental bridge–  three pairs of two hits that aren’t on the downbeat, but somewhere between one and the and of one.  I couldn’t analyze or notate it.  I had to listen and let it sink in until it became a part of my musical soul. _____________________________________________________________________

I’m in a season of soul-listening to Jesus.  Not because I don’t know His voice– I do– but because other voices around me are so loud and insistent, and my soul gets fractured trying to attend to so many different sources.

And I miss The Voice.

The Ministry Voice incessantly chatters a long list of “shoulds” that assault my soul like water-torture droplets on my forehead.  The Good Shepherd reminds me that He didn’t meet every need while He walked the earth, but He did accomplish all that the Father asked.

The Perfection Voice clucks its tongue with the slightest imperfection and screams, “Loser!”  The Good Shepherd asks me to do the best I can with what He’s given me for His glory, and lovingly whispers, “Well done.”

The Righteous Voice reminds me of my rights, especially the right to be offended when others don’t honor my rights.  The Good Shepherd draws me to Himself, nodding His head and assuring me He understands.

The Self-Interest Voice rises in pitch indignantly as circumstances and people’s needs creep into my agenda.  The Good Shepherd lovingly teaches me that He came to serve (not to be served), and that I am not above my Master.

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By the end of the rehearsal the team was tight because we listened to the songwriter until we each knew the progression.  Then we practiced it until it was collectively ingrained and unconscious.  We were able to get past the mechanics of the rhythm and give our attention to Jesus.

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Ready for Sunday

Today I am having one of those “DUH!” moments.

  • How can I lead others to the Shepherd if I’m not listening for His voice?
  • And why do I listen to the other voices?  Their goal is too enslave me; the Good Shepherd wants to set me free!
  • He has made my spirit to connect with Him at the deepest of levels.  “Deep calls to deep!”  Why to I settle for a shallow shadow?

So what needs to change?

Time spent with the Good Shepherd, at His feet, listening to His voice– to the exclusion of all others.  When I am thoroughly saturated in His truth, the lies become clear and lose their hold on me heart.  Fakes fade in the presence of The Voice.

He knows me.

I listen to Him.

Full stop.

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Reality Check

28 Jan

We prayed for one of our own.  For anointing, power, and fortitude.  Because he was ordained a few days before.

My call to ministry came with an onslaught of emotion – “Really?  God you want me?”  “There is NO way I can do this!”  “I know you are with me – You and me… we’re gonna change the world!”  “How can this be????”

From excitement to sheer terror in tenths of a second!  But gradually, an under-current of adventure and a thrill of rising to the challenge took over, and I was off.  Off to take on this thing called Ministry, called and empowered by the Ruler of the Universe.

Days later, Reality grabbed my feet and pulled me back to earth with arms clothed in petty misunderstanding.  And it wasn’t long before character assassination and my own sin tripped me up and threw me down the stairs into discouragement and frustration.

This week, as we prayed for our friend, my mind ping-ponged between my call to those of Mary and Paul (Saul).  Before Reality had a chance to strike at them, God called him out.

An angel told Mary that she would be the mother of Messiah.  She was afraid (Luke 1:29-30), confused (v34), willing (v38), excited (v39), humbled, enraptured with her God (vs46-56), introspective (Lk 2:19), and filled with wonder (v33).   As she and Joseph dedicated their firstborn son at the temple in Jerusalem, God added Simeon’s prophecy to all that was in her heart: “This Child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul, too.” (vs34-35)  Up front Mary knows this call she has received is both glorious and grim.

Paul, too, looked into his future and quickly saw the dual aspect of God’s call (Acts 9:1-19).  Struck blind and led to the home of the disciple Ananias, to whom God had spoken and arranged to restore his sight, Paul knew right away he would have the privilege of being used mightily by God and of suffering for Jesus’ name (v16).  In fact, his preaching, just days after God called him, at the same time astonished the Christians and caused the Jews to conspire to kill him (vs20-23).

Then my imagination pictured Jesus– the ultimate example.  The most important and history-changing Call in the universe could not be fulfilled without the most horrific Suffering of all time.

And so we prayed for our compatriot, knowing that God will never leave him (or us) (Mt 28:20; Heb 13:5); that his and our adversity proves we are co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17); and that, although we will have trouble, Jesus has overcome the world and all its sufferings (Jn 16:33).

God does not call us for warm fuzzy feelings of significance; the more intense the call, the more intense the hardship and suffering.  So why run into it?  Why push into hurt, abuse, slander, back-stabbing, threats, and even the possibility of physical violence?  Why trade away a life focused on my comfort and 40-hour work weeks?

Simply, to hear two words: “Well done.”

Tomorrow is Sunday (again).  We may walk into a glorious day full of praise for God and what He is doing among the people we serve.  There may be hurt and pain in every conversation and around every turn in the halls.  Or a confusing combination of the two.  Neither changes God’s call.

God, help me to serve, sure of your call and in the power of Your Spirit.  And please use me to inspire those I lead to do the same.  For Your glory.

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