Silence!

I have not been silent about the events of the past few days. I have not turned a blind eye or a deaf ear. True, I haven’t written anything here but I have not been silent.
I have not been silent on the street.
I have not been silent in my office.
I have not been silent in my home.
I have not been silent at the coffee shop.
No, I have not been boisterous and in people’s faces about my concerns and fears over this election. I have not been outspoken about anyone who was elected or not elected. I have not taken to the streets in protest. I have not been feisty on social media (at least I hope I haven’t been). I am just saying,

I have not been silent.

Instead, I have been crying out. I have been crying out to God. I have been pouring out my heart to Him. I have been outspoken in my concerns for this nation; for this world. I have been “up in God’s face”; making sure He has heard me.

I have not been silent.

And we can’t be silent at least we can’t be silent with God. And with that said, we need to be silent in this world for a time. I am not saying that we ignore the problems that we have as a nation, but we need to be silent in this world, now, and focus on crying out to God. For how can we expect to change the world if we are too busy talking and not listening to God. How can we change the world if we are taking to the streets and not on our knees, listening to our Father. How can we make a difference if we aren’t listening to one another. We need to be silent, now, so we can cry out to God. We need to be silent so we can listen. We need to be silent.

There is too much noise.
There is too much fear.
There is too much hate.

Silence and Listen. God wants to say something…

The Pastor -|—

All I Want

Father God,
there is much that I want.
Sometimes my list looks eerily like a letter to Santa.
I want this…
I need this…
I must have this…
All things that I think will make me happy.

But none of them bring you glory.

—————————–
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” 
(Psalm 32:9)
——————————

And then I am quickly reminded of what brings You glory.
You are glorified when I seek to be instructed by You.
You are glorified when what I want is You.
You are glorified when my happiness is wrapped up in You.
You are glorified when I am satisfied in You.

And so I seek instruction from You.
I seek wisdom from You.
I seek to glorify You.

Teach me
Lead me
Show me

And therefore, all I want for Christmas is YOU,
oh God.
All I want for Christmas is YOU.

The (seeking) Pastor -|—

Ramblings of a Listening Disicple

Listening is never easy.
It’s hard work.
It means doing something active.
You can’t be passive and also listen.
It takes focus.
It takes determined attention.

To truly listen is a loving act.

You can hear someone making noise,
but that’s not listening.
You can see someone trying to communicate,
but that’s not listening.
You can be aware of someone trying to transmit data,
but that’s not listening.

Listening is focusing, receiving and processing.
Listening is caring about the communicator.

Listening is hard work,
especially when we are talking about
God.
Listening is scary,
especially when we are talking about
God.
Listening is awesome,
most especially when we are talking about
God.

For when we are listening to God;
when we are receiving from God;
when we are obeying God;
we are participating in God’s most awesome and perfect will.

Listening is still scary but it is also awesome.

Oh God, speak to me.

I’m listening…

The (listening) Pastor -|—

Sometimes ~ A Prayer

Holy God,

Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball and
sometimes I wish I had an email that laid everything out.

Sometimes I wish you would mail out a memo and
sometimes I wish you would shout from a mountain top.

Sometimes I wish you would hire a plane to fly a banner across the sky and
sometimes I wish you would even send me Morris code for me to decipher.

But You don’t do those things,
for You do things in a better way;
for You are far more
intimate and
close and
personal.

You, oh God, do things in a way that I need to trust You.
But,
sometimes I get impatient.
Sometimes I become irritable.
Sometimes I do not trust you.

Send Your Holy Spirit and speak to me.
Send Your Holy Spirit and convict me.
Send Your Holy Spirit and draw me closer.

And may my sometimes be taken away that I may always,
love you,
trust you,
and
follow you.

So…

speak to me, Lord,
I’m listening…

Amen.

Jesus was homeless

I am still in Branson, MO on family vacation getting some much needed rest.  It has been great to slow down these past couple weeks to recharge the ole battery. But the reason I am writing today is to reflect on something my wife shared with me last night.  She was searching the Internet for various ministries in the Branson area and came across a ministry called “Jesus was homeless” (see http://www.jesuswashomeless.org).

Why do I bring this up?

Well…I am sitting here on the patio at this really nice resort, sipping my diet dew all the while there are homeless people nearby trying to find shelter from the rain that is falling.  We are enjoying time resting, reading, swimming, playing volleyball and eating too much while others struggle to find something to curb their hunger.  Then I saw a quote on the Jesus was Homeless website that read “We worship a homeless man on Sunday but avoid the homeless on Monday”. 

Interesting and true.  It makes me wonder if we should add another “activity” to family vacation. 

What would it look like if when we planned a vacation we checked out local ministries first and arranged to volunteer there at least one day?  How would that change our outlook of vacation and change it’s purpose?  But more importantly…how would it change your outlook on God’s children who can’t enjoy vacations like you and me?

I have never considered that before.  Rest and renewal is important but this life is only temporary. 

Amazing what one thinks about when life slows down.  Maybe I need to find more moments like this to listen to God.

-edh-

Quiet

June has been unusually quiet…

…I guess I shouldn’t say “usually” since most Junes are quiet for me (and for many pastors).  It just means the end of a busy program year (i.e Release Time, Confirmation, Sunday school have ended for the summer).  But for many people things can pick up a bit with youth trips, weddings, VBS, etc.  I guess it is just a different kind of busy; a refreshing one.

In any case…around here things are quiet…for now.  VBS is not until the week of July 19; I don’t have any youth trips planned this summer (having only a couple kids makes youth trips difficult); but I do have3 weddings this summer (2 in June and 1 in July) and 1 in the fall.  It’s going to be “busy” but still quiet around here.

It is also kind of eerie to look out my window and not see kids running around (my window looks out onto the elementary playground).  I have gotten so used to the sound of kids yelling and screaming and running around that it almost feels like I have been “Left Behind” now.  But the reality of school being done will hit me eventually.

So with the quietness I am using my time to refresh and catch up.  Like I mentioned in my last post I have been doing a lot of reading.  I want to read as many books as I can in a variety of subjects this summer.  One starting place…my bookshelf…which contains many books I have purchased but haven’t read yet.  Maybe you can relate…you see a book that you must have so you buy it.  You bring it home and place it on the counter, bookshelf, coffee table or wherever and kind of forget about it.  Then you find another “must have” book so you buy that one.  And the process continues.  Well…I need to stop buying books and read what I got, so that is what I am doing (after I read the book I just bought…I guess I just can’t quit cold turkey).

And…with the “new found” quietness I am doing some listening.  It is too easy to get caught up in all that “must” be done that we can forgot (or just plain fail) to listen to God.  Whatever my case I am taking time to just sit and listen (and “no”…that is not a politically correct way to say that I am being lazy).  When one is (too) busy one has a tendency to rely on ones own strength and energy, but when you sit and listen to God, then comes a powerful reminder that God is God and you don’t go it alone.  My strength is not enough, but God’s strength is more than we will ever need.  Praise be to God for that.

So…I am enjoying my quietness and I hope you find some quietness of your own to enjoy.  If you’re “too busy” force yourself to stop for a well and be quite:
–Read a book outside.

–Go for a walk…alone (without listening to your iPod, etc).

–Go for a bike ride…again…alone.

–Enjoy a cup of cup while watching the birds in your feeder.

–Unashamedly daydream.

–Pray and read your Bible (of course).

–Golf.

–Do whatever calms your spirit.

Enjoy some quietness and listen to the gentle voice of God.  God has much to say to you.

Praise be to God!

-edh-

Listen!

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.  In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.”  (1 Samuel 3:1)  Doesn’t this make you wonder who’s “fault” this is…God’s or the people?  My answer would be the people…not listening.  And even today I think many people could say verse 1 is true today; that the word of the Lord is rare and that there are not many visions.

But I would beg to differ…

…for the word of the Lord is very prevalent.  How often do we pray; asking for something very specific; and then wait for that specific thing?  Then…upon not getting it or not hearing an answer soon enough, we think God is not listening (“The word of the Lord was rare…”).  But is the word of the Lord rare?  NO!

The thing is, sometimes the word from the Lord is “No” or “not now”.  We don’t necessarily like those answers, but a word from the Lord is not rare.  We need to learn to listen and trust that God knows what we need.  We need to learn to shut up and listen for a word from the Lord.  We like to talk to God, but we don’t always like to listen.  I heard a quote one time (I am not sure who said it) that went like this:  “When you speak, you are sharing what you already know.  When you listen, you learn something new.”

There is a lot to learn from God…we just need to listen.

From the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book, hymn #513 “Listen, listen , God is calling, through the Word inviting, offering forgiveness, comfort and joy.

Listen…God is talking to you.

-edh-