When He Speaks

This weeks post is from a guest contributor, LakeView Church’s Worship Director, Stephanie.

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3,4, NIV)

Recently, my grandfather was admitted to the hospital twice in a one a week period of time…(don’t worry, he is doing just fine now-but thanks for asking!) During these hospital trips I found myself headed to St. Mary’s in downtown Madison. I parked in a certain spot in the ramp, on a certain level so that I could easily take the walkway into the hospital and then take the correct elevators to the wing that my grandfather was admitted to. I had a routine. I liked my routine.

You see, I am not so very good at directions. When someone tells me to “go North on 51 and then head Northwest on 113”,  I go into an internal panic and ask a questions like, “Does that mean I take a right when I come to the red building with the statue of the painted cow in the front yard?” It is honestly that tragic with me and directions. Thank God for Google Maps…(can I get an amen?) This is why I have a specific hospital parking protocol. To avoid panic.

But on this hospital trip with my grandpa, we were waiting, and waiting and WAITING for test results. During this time the hospital hours went from day to evening, and with that a new safety protocol was enforced. In other words, my routine was completely sabotaged! After 7pm, the door that led me directly to the hallway that would take me straight to my car was locked and a man with a badge stood to guard that exit. The panic started.

We had just found at that we could go home. It was time to grab our stuff and go pull up the car for Grandpa.  I was carrying all of his belongings while clumsily pushing my work bag and his oxygen tank on top of his wheeling-walker. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my exit was locked. Uh oh. I was disoriented and had no idea which hallways led to the correct exits. I was all turned around because of my directional impairment and I found myself on the outside of the hospital, carrying all of this baggage, on the exact opposite side of the parking ramp….in the pouring rain. Fantastic.

As I began the long and wet re-route back to my car, my grandpa’s wheeling-walker hit an unfortunate bump in the side walk. All of my work belongings spilled out onto the ground. My heart raged. I bent low to collect my rain soaked items and the complaints began spilling out. “God, I’m just trying to help my grandpa. All I want to do is find my car and take him home. I can’t believe this happening! I am just trying to do the right thing and everything is going wrong for me…” The junk in my heart tumbled out before Him just like my work bag on the wet sidewalk. In that moment I felt the Holy Spirit tenderly speak. He spoke with kindness and love straight into the middle of my self pity and junk attitude. I heard clearly and peacefully these words:

“I am so glad you got re-routed, it’s the first time you’ve thought to talk to me today and I like talking with you.”

I began to cry, right there, in the rain. His kindness led me straight into repentance (Rom 2:4). As cliche as it sounds, I literally began singing in the rain. My raging heart did an immediate turn round because I was overcome with joy that I belong to a God who loves me AND likes to be with me even when I am disoriented, soaking wet and grumpy. Hallelujah! He loves me—the pressure is off. He likes me—it’s going to be okay. I turned my face up to the sky and enjoyed the rain fall, I welcomed the inconvenience, I embraced the longer route because He was there with me. Suddenly there was no place I would rather be.

His word tells us that He speaks to us, and that we know His voice (John 10: 3,4). I encourage you to find connection with Him now, in this moment, before routine kicks in or before the challenges of the day overwhelm…He is speaking to you with His kindness, love and acceptance.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today? I bet what you hear will be really great.

Bless You.

Stephanie


Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash

More Than You Can Bear

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:12-13a, NIV)

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t show you all of His will for you? There have been so many times in my life that I wished God would just tell me His whole plan for me! However, in my experience, He typically gives only one or two steps at a time. When I have the faith and courage to take the step He’s shown me, God reveals the next step, and then the next, and so on. One step at a time He leads us along the path He’s laid out for us–but He only shows us the next step.

In John 16, Jesus told His disciples they couldn’t handle knowing God’s full plan. If they’d known the full details about Jesus’ death, resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the persecution they would suffer as followers of Jesus, they probably would’ve abandoned ship right then and there. I don’t think any of us could’ve walked the path the disciples walked if we’d seen where the path was leading. And I’m not convinced we would walk the path laid out for us if we could see all the twists, turns, bumps, roadblocks, and dangers ahead.

Maybe one reason why God only shows us a step at a time is that revealing His full plan to us would be more than we could bear.

Thankfully, He doesn’t have to give us the full download all at once. Instead, He gave us Himself, His Holy Spirit, who guides us one step at a time into the truth and will of God. May the Lord forgive me when I get frustrated because I can’t see more than a step on the path ahead! My prayer for this week is that we will trust God and take whatever step He’s called us to, even though we can’t see what lies beyond it.


Photo by remi skatulski on Unsplash

Chosen and Filled

Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God…” (Exodus 31:1-3a, NIV)

In Exodus 31, God is giving Moses instructions for building the Tabernacle, the place where the presence of God would dwell among His people. He chose Bezalel, filled him with the Holy Spirit, and gifted him with Spirit-empowered gifts of art and craftsmanship to oversee the work.

Chosen. Is that a word that describes you? How would it make you feel if you knew that God knew you even before you were born? What if we swap out the names in Exodus 31:1-3? Fill in your name like I did below:

Then the LORD said, “See I have chosen Andy son of Tim, the son of Bob, of the Fuqua family, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God.”

How would it make you feel if God Himself spoke those words about you? Loved. Infinitely valuable. Beautiful. Confident. Courageous. Humble. Called. Planned. Special. These are words that come to my mind. God knew you even before He created you. He knew every decision you would make (including the decision to follow Jesus). God chose you, called you, justified you, and has a plan for your future glorification (see Romans 8:28-30). He has given Himself to you, the Holy Spirit to enable you to fulfill your calling, to glorify Christ in your life. If you’ve been chosen, you’ve also been filled.

Living daily by the power of the Holy Spirit begins with understanding who you are as one chosen by the Most High. Let both the joy of the privilege and the weight of the responsibility rest on your soul for a moment. My prayer for this week is that we will walk with both confidence and humility as those who are chosen and filled.


Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

Always

This morning in worship we sang a great song by Kristian Stanfill. The lyrics to the chorus go like this:

O my God, He will not delay,
My Refuge and Strength always.
I will not fear, His promise is true,
My God will come through always,
Always.

Simple words to a simple, easy-to-sing tune, and our congregation sang their lungs out – even though this was the very first time we’ve done this song at PBC! The Holy Spirit moved in and started his work of healing and transformation, and the church caught the awareness of God among us. It created, for me (and most others, I’d guess), a holy moment – one of those instances leading worship when you are in God’s “zone.”

Take a few moments and watch the song below. Spend some time meditating on the truth that God will always be with you. Allow yourself to feel the emotion in the music, and express that emotion to God. Have you ever been “in the zone” with God? What was your experience like?