God Wants Your Ears to Tingle

“The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ And the Lord said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.’ ” – 1 Samuel 3:10,11 Our topic for today is the wonderful story of the prophet Samuel. It begins with this profound statement by the author: “And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” What does this mean? Simply put, everyone wanted to hear from God. They wanted to see what He was doing, but they were unable to hear, see, or feel it. They wanted to experience something but they were disconnected from Him.  Samuel’s mother, Hannah, has a miracle pregnancy and as a result, commits him to the Lord as

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God Has an Idea

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 I remember when Shepherd’s Grove was located in St. Callistus in Garden Grove, California. We were looking for a way out of our lease, which was very expensive and crushing our ministry. We could not afford it and had no place to go. As we attempted to buy the building, our landlord had already sold it but didn’t inform us. Because our landlord contract gave us the first right of refusal, we could have easily pursued legal action, but we chose not to. We didn’t think that was a good or wise use of our time or money. I took the landlord’s actions as a sign that maybe God had something else in store. Pastor Russ had been in conversation with the former pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church and

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Hearing the Voice of the Beloved

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27 I would like to talk about one of the most important aspects of living the life Christ offers us. Jesus makes it clear this is something every Christian should do, and that is hearing God’s voice. The voice of the Beloved — God is speaking to us right now, right where we are.  God has a word for you today. That word might come through me, but more likely it will come directly to you, by Him. When we come across someone who hears God’s voice, many of us think of them as being special, a little strange, or super spiritual. But actually, they have an openness to the spirit.  The truth is, God loves to talk to everybody. And when I say He loves to talk to everybody, I don’t mean just Christians.

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A Compassionate Touch

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” – Mark 6:34 While there are many words we can use to describe how healing happens in the church, if I were to pick one, it would be compassion. Nearly every time Jesus restored, touched, or taught in the Bible, it says that He had compassion for the people He was helping. In fact, this familiar word literally means to “suffer alongside.” The term passion, which is often used to describe the cross, comes from the french word for suffering, which is pati, and when you add the prefix co, it means to “suffer with.” Truth is, there’s great healing power in offering sympathy and tenderness to an emotionally-wounded neighbor, and since we live in a world that can’t seem to stop

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Give Up Credit, Even if It’s Due

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23 Harry Truman once said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” And though this statement wasn’t made specifically in the context of ministry, it pretty much encapsulates how Jesus led. Rather than managing His reputation, our Lord spent all of His time pouring into others. In fact, the bulk of His energy was invested in a motley crew of twelve disciples who came from all walks of life and were as diverse as they could be. Though there were large crowds of people who followed Him, He didn’t seem to care about having their adoration. On the contrary, He preferred sitting down with His closest friends and working through the issues of faith with them. He welcomed their honest inquiries, and

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Prepare Your Feet

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” – Isaiah 52:7 In addition to equipping our minds, hearts, and hands for action, the fourth and final thing we should do to proactively move from a place of waiting to preparation is to ready our feet. Just as Jewish worshippers cleansed their legs and feet during Mikvah as a symbolic way of asking the Lord to guide their coming and going, we should listen to His voice before we commence or stop any forward motion. When I was in college, I had a spiritual mentor teach me to pray every day, “Lord, please let me be in the right place at the right time doing the right things with the right people.” And though it seemed simple then,

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“…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” -James 1:19

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