Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shh... listen.

I had the wonderful privilege of being a program tech at the DC Metro Region's Committee/Leader Weekend at Rockbridge Alum Springs (what I like to call the DCMRCLW@RAS) last weekend.

As a program tech, I essentially made sure the slideshows were ready, the music was cued and loud, and the lights were on (or off) when needed.

The major bonus here is that I got to sit and listen to each talk the keynote speaker gave. Susan D. Hill was the speaker for the weekend and she spoke primarily about her experiences with hearing God's voice and how she'd learned to listen.

Pause the story for a second... I've been sporadically praying for the past couple months (maybe years) to learn how to hear the voice of God better. Odd, wouldn't you think? No, how about God.

Resume the story... As I sat in the tech booth and listened, I came face to face with the reality that God does speak to people. I'm not sure where I got the idea, but I assumed that nowadays he just didn't want to... or didn't need to... or something. I assumed that maybe God was just tired of talking after yelling at the Israelites for a few hundred years. It's funny how I'm so wrong sometimes.

Susan told story after story after story about how God had spoken to her through circumstances, through dreams, through conversations, through his word. In countless ways, God had reached out to her and captured her attention. He had spoken to her.

I think sometimes it's easy for me to write things off as false, untrue, or impossible when I haven't seen first hand. I'm so bound by my own experience that it's really hard for me to accept things in faith. I've read a lot of the Bible. I've read countless examples of God speaking to people. In fact, Friday before I left for Rockbridge, I read Exodus 34:6-7 in which God is meeting Moses FACE TO FACE and proclaiming truths about who the Lord is and what his character is like.

I read all these things and yet I still can't believe that God speaks to people. I sit in the tech booth at Rockbridge and listen to someone talk about times the Lord has reached out to them and spoken and I doubt. I think how weird this person is. I think of how strange they are... how bizarre this is. Scripture is overflowing with examples of the Lord speaking to people and yet when I have an opportunity to hear a person speak first hand, I don't accept it.

Thanks be to God that I was able to come to this weekend. I left a firm believer that God still speaks to people. I don't think I have it down just yet. I still struggle. I'm still learning how to listen. I don't expect to get it overnight.

Sunday morning as we were eating breakfast. One of the men at my table shared an experience he'd had hearing the voice of God just the day before. During the night session, he was drifting off to sleep during the speaker's message. During his short sleep, he had a dream his friend Mark was serenading him and as he approached him, he yelled, "WAKE UP!" He jolted awake, embarrassed that he'd fallen asleep. As he sat there listening, his favorite number, 1337, popped into his head and for some reason, he decided that he needed to look at the verse Mark 13:37.

(Here comes the crazy part.)

Mark 13:37 reads: "And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake."

Whoa. Now, if that isn't God speaking to him, I don't know what is.

God still speaks to people. I'm convinced he does. I don't think he's ever stopped speaking... I think we've stopped listening. I know I have. I am so distracted by my phone, Facebook, emails, Twitter, my new job, friends, my dog, EVERYTHING! I think the key is learning how to tune your ears, eyes, and heart to seeing, hearing, and perceiving God. He's everywhere--I just need to pay attention.

I just need to stay awake.

P.S. Susan D. Hill has a book called Closer Than Your Skin. I haven't read it yet, but I'm very excited to. If you're interested, check it out.

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