Are You Listening To God?

Are You Listening To God?

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Talk is cheap.”

Today, there’s no shortage of talking, texting, or tweeting.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking. It’s a good thing. People are built to talk, and with technology making it easier, we are.

Talking is important to friendship.

A good friendship is marked by good conversation. Good conversation usually means an exchange of sorts. One person talks, then the other, and repeat. However, sometimes a one-sided conversation is necessary, when one person talks the whole time and the other just listens in support.

I took a long walk the other day. My whole purpose was to walk and talk with God. The weather was as perfect as I could want. The topics were plentiful. I unloaded many prayers that morning.

But as I neared my home, it dawned on me. I spent about an hour walking and talking to God, but I didn’t give Him time to speak to me. I wasn’t taking the time to listen.

Scripture on Heaven

Scripture on Heaven

Whenever anyone brings up heaven, what do you think about? What comes to mind? Is it the thought of people floating on clouds? Playing the harp? Just singing all the time? There not being anymore pain or suffering? Daylight all day long? Does it bring excitement and anticipation into your life? Does it sound boring?

We have so many ideas and thoughts of what heaven will be like we’ve even made tons of movies about it. At the end of the day, there is not one single person who has been here on earth who has been in heaven…except for Jesus.

It’s interesting that we default to making up what heaven will be like “for us” or look around to other ideas to try to get a glimpse into heaven, when we have something…and someone who can tell us firsthand what heaven will be all about. Be encouraged to spend time with God today, pray, read the Bible, and reflect on what the future has to hold for followers of Jesus.

Here is what the Bible has to say with scripture on heaven:

Getting Religious About Spirituality

This is a guest post by Matthew Brough, Pastor of Prairie Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg, Canada for over 13 years. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife, Cheryl, and their daughter, Juliet. You can visit his site Spirituality For Normal People, and contact him here and on Twitter. If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

Getting Religious About Spirituality

“I’m spiritual, but not religious.” I’ve heard this little phrase hundreds of times, but I’m not convinced. After years of working as a pastor, of trying (though often failing) to put Jesus first and truly trust Him, I have come to the conclusion that spirituality needs religion.

When I say spirituality needs religion, I am not talking about doctrine or theology, although they are important. What I mean is spirituality needs to be structured.

“I’m spiritual but not religious” is like saying I don’t want to follow any rules or patterns in relation to God. This is an attractive idea because we get to be in charge. We can do what we want, when we want. I can be “spiritual” while drinking a latte at Starbucks, while biking, while sleeping in, or while watching Netflix.

For most of my life, this was the kind of spirituality I practiced. It was an “I believe in God but I don’t really want anyone or anything to tell me how to connect with God—I’ll do it my own way” kind of spirituality. This, of course, meant not really connecting with God at all.

Is Our Faith Too Small?

This is a guest post by Cory Johnson, Church Planting Resident at 121 Community Church, who is planting Austin Life Church in Austin, TX. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

Is Our Faith Too Small?

I was reading in John 6 today, a story I’ve heard, and I’m sure most have heard countless times – Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand.

But this time reading it, God spoke to me as if I were reading it for the fist time. (That’s the great thing about God and His Word. We will never exhaust all that we can know of Him. He’s just too great!)

In the story, there is a group of 5,000 men (women and children present, but not included in the count; typical for that time and day) who were following Jesus. Jesus then poses a question to Philip…

“Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

It’s a question many of us would ask. It’s a simple question of seeing a need and asking how to meet that need. In any sphere of life, we come across questions like this every day.

  • “How are we going to serve this many people?”
  • “How are we going to pay the bills this month?”
  • “How do we help this troubled teen?”
  • “How do we help restore this marriage?”
  • “How do we pay for college?”

The questions are as many as people in the world, and more.

Most of the time, I, and I imagine most people, seek to answer these questions as best as we know how. We try the logical approach, like Philip did – “With this many people, 200 denarii won’t even buy enough food.” We try being creative with the resources we already have, like Andrew did – “Well, we have 2 fish and 5 loaves to work with, but realistically, that’s a joke for this size of crowd.”

Most of the time, we try to answer our questions, our needs, in a way that makes sense to us, that we can come up with, that we can accomplish on our own strength and mental power.

The problem with that? The needs and questions we face each day are all too often much bigger than we can handle on our own.

The good news?

Back to Basics: Coveting

In this series, Back to Basics, it’s my hope to shed some insight about the freedom I found in Christ through some personal stories from my early years of wrestling with fear of Old Testament law.

Back to Basics: Coveting

In the early 80’s, as part of a diversity program, the Denver Independent School District bused kids from the suburbs of South Denver to urban North Denver for K-3rd grade, and reversed the route during 4th-6th grades.

After a couple years of watching buses load and unload South Denver kids in front our aged, red-bricked schoolhouse, it was time for me to get on the bus and head south to a modern school building for 4th grade.

For a kid traveling south on I-25 back in those days, it was a treat to see the mountains to the west each morning. That part of Denver belonged to everybody. But as we crossed over the Platte River, the contrast was clear.

We were in the land of the new, two-story houses with the neat lawns and the nicer cars. As the bus squealed into the school parking lot, you could see moms and dads walking kids to the entrance. There weren’t any liquor stores within walking distance. No gang graffiti was in sight. All looked good.

This was my first real look at life on the other side, and as I rode the bus each week, I began to covet that life.

From what I knew, coveting was a bad thing mentioned in the 10 Commandments and responsible for bringing banishment to Cain, trouble to Jacob, and heartbreak to King David. I didn’t want to covet, but as a kid, I didn’t know what to do with it.

I’d find that even though I’d move to a decent Texas suburb, attend college and get a good job upon graduating, coveting never took a vacation.

Unfortunately, it never will.

Type A Christianity

Type A Christianity

We all have our thorns, right? Some are more obvious than others. Some lead to tougher earthly circumstances than others. Some feel debilitating while some are just plain annoying. Nevertheless, they are unwelcome interruptions that hold the potential of affecting our relationship with the Lord and with those around us.

And one of the very unfortunate tendencies among believers is to play the comparison game, and I am just as guilty as the next guy. It happens in a number of ways, but I would like to focus on one particular avenue the enemy takes in order to cripple Christians when it comes to comparing our thorns.

Who can relate to this scenario?

You’re sitting in a Bible study, church service, or even a big worship event. The speaker or facilitator starts to share what they’re setting up as a deep, dark secret or huge confession. They proceed to spill the beans on this devastating stronghold they just HAD to get off their chest and you’re left sitting there dumbfounded thinking, “Seriously? That’s it? That’s the big, ugly, dark sin you’ve been carrying?”

Please tell me I’m not the only one with both hands in the air right now?

But it’s true, right? It feels a little bit like when a spoiled, rich kid starts complaining about having to settle for Gucci instead of Louboutin. “I mean, how do you even cope with life?”

So there you are, squirming in your seat because your wretchedness is glaring at you in the face harder than ever, and not just because you’re that much more aware of your “real” sin but because now you’ve also managed to trivialize the sin of another believer.