Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Hearing" God? Really?

I freely confess that I check the Amazon site daily for Kindle freebies.  In fact, in all of my time in owning a Kindle I've only paid a grand total of .99 for my collection.  (It was for volume one of H. Orton Wiley's Christian Theology.)  Every other title is a writer/publisher promotional limited-time offer freebie.

If I have to pay for a book then I want a hard copy in my hands.  Freebies, however, I'll gladly take electronically.  Beggars can't be choosers.

Searching the Kindle freebie section is a mixed bag.  Big-name publishers occasionally bless the unwashed masses with a *good* book.  Many in the freebie section, however, are self-published.  Consequently, several of the free offers wouldn't have seen the light of day if an established publisher was the only route.  Short, grammatically dubious books hit the wifi all the time.  Not to say they have no merit but let the buyer beware.

Apparently Christians really want to hear the voice of God because that style of book keeps cropping up in the freebie section.  People are downloading them and bump the titles up into the top 100 list.  It gives me pause.

Why do we need books on how to hear the voice of God?

Yes, I know that anecdotal books can be intriguing, even downright fascinating.  Yes, we need to be reminded that God is heard in his Bible, impressions of the heart and circumstances.  However, what I'm getting at is that it is so unlike how people heard God in recorded biblical history.

For example, when God first revealed himself, prophetically speaking, to young Samuel, he spoke in words.  While the young man mistakenly thought that it was Eli calling him, it just took one short lesson to get the boy to listen to Yahweh communicate in sentences.  Samuel heard God audibly (or at least he thought it was audible but they were words, nonetheless).

We preachers (yes, myself included) have butchered one Old Testament passage beyond recognition.  How many sermons have exhorted us to listen for the "still small voice" of God  by recounting Elijah's experience at Mount Sinai?  There's a problem.  God spoke not in an impression to the despondent prophet but in a voice.  It may have been still and quiet compared to the natural disasters Yahweh displayed before he began speaking—but he did, in fact, begin speaking.  Words, sentences and paragraphs!  Elijah had a back-and-forth conversation with Yahweh!

When the Father spoke to Jesus once while some wrongly said it thundered (while others said an angel spoke) at least they heard physical sound.  Nothing about an impression of the heart.  God can get noisy when he wants to be.

In another post I wrote of a friend's very real encounter with the voice of God during an intense weekend of lay ministry that you can read here.  (I shamelessly beg you to read it.  It's thrilling!)  Again, he heard words.  Two different times.  The first time he thought they were spoken by a human.  He followed up on the first and it opened a floodgate of seekers.  He followed up on the second and people got saved.  And he didn't need anyone to teach him how to hear the Holy Spirit.

Francis Schaeffer claimed to have heard God's voice.  Uncle Bud Robinson and Asbury professor T. M. Anderson claimed to both hear and see Jesus.  Even John Wesley speculated on hearing angelic music with the death of the saints.  Whether audible or not it sure wasn't a still small sound in the heart.

If God talks to you, if he uses words, sentences and paragraphs to speak to you, you won't need a book to teach you how to hear him.

Read the Bible.  Be open to your heart impressions.  Be mindful of your circumstances.  I am, by no means, belittling and despising the usual avenues of learning God's will.  But let's be careful when we try to teach others how to hear God's voice.  Sometimes we hear him speak.  Other times we "hear" him "speak."  Let's be clear about the two.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Speaking at Abney Street on June 4th

Old-time family friend, Jack A.C. Lawrence, asked if I could teach the Wednesday evening lesson for him at Abney Street Church of God on June 4th.  I've spoken there several times and look forward to seeing the good saints at Abney again.  Service begins at 7 P.M.

By the way, if you haven't read his call to ministry testimony, click on this link and be inspired.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Preaching at Rippling Waters Campground

On Sunday, June 1, I will preach at the Rippling Waters Campground Chapel by the Lake.  
Morning worship begins at 11 A.M.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Preaching Again at Jones Avenue Church in Oak Hill

On Sunday, June 22, I will preach at the Jones Avenue Church of God in Oak Hill, West Virginia.  I've preached for them twice before and it should be fun!

Jones Avenue Church of God
Jones Avenue
Oak Hill, WV  25901
(304) 465-5401

GPS directions
  37°58.285' N
081°09.133' W

Morning Worship begins at 10:45 A.M.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Exorcism Interrupted by a Cell Phone

   This is one of the best YouTube videos I've ever seen.  I think I can tell that it's real and not faked.  I believe in demons and I believe in demonization but this...uh...uh...

 

It's sad and hilarious at the same time!

Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm a Writer, Not an Author

We all have things that annoy us, little grievances against the idiosyncrasies of others or life.  One, for me, is the widespread use of the word "author."  

My English professor in college, Dr. Robert Bland, brought this to my class' attention over twenty years ago.  He held that it was wrong for a person to describe himself as an author because author comes from the word "authority."  It's self-aggrandizement for a person to call himself an authority on something (even if he is).  It's for others to call him an author.  For himself, "I'm just a writer."

Remember: just because a person wrote words to form a book it doesn't mean he's an author on the subject.  "Writer" is safer because he can be a poor writer or an excellent one.  How can one be a "poor authority?"  A person is either an authority or he isn't one.  Let others decide for themselves if he is.

There are other words that, if used, should be used only by others to describe us (if they will) and not used by us to describe ourselves.  Take "theologian," for example.  It seems presumptuous for a person to call himself such a vaunted thing as a theologian or, to use the the archaic word, a "divine."  No, we're just Bible students.  Others may (or may not) choose to call us theologians but that's up to them.  Another word is "professor."  We are teachers.  Others may call us professors.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

John MacArthur, Ian Murray Discuss Martyn Lloyd-Jones



The late Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899—1981) is one of my favorite preachers.  The Welsh Calvinistic Methodist defined preaching as "logic on fire."  In fact, his book, Preaching & Preachers, is the closest articulation of my own philosophy of preaching.

Enjoy this 2014 panel discussion of Lloyd-Jones, pastor of Westminster Chapel, London.

Moving Sermons to My YouTube Page

I have been transferring my audio sermons from sermon.net, my present hosting site, to my YouTube page at The Wesleyan Pulpit.  It makes sense because YouTube has a larger internet footprint than the site I now use.  I may do away with the sermon.net site altogether.

UPDATE: I deleted my sermon.net account today.  I only have my YouTube channel.