A Cone of Silence?

Even Amazon cannot sell me a cone of silence.

Perhaps you’re not familiar with the concept. You can get a quick explanation here.

Suffice it to say that the idea is a device that would create a soundproof barrier between you and everyone else around you. If you don’t understand why anyone would desire such a device… I don’t really know what to tell you except that many of us have a hard time finding moments without noise.

It seems that, even for a guy like myself that has a great appetite for quiet, it can sometimes be very difficult to shut out all of the noise and truly listen. And I don’t think I’m unique.

I’ve observed that many of us are actually addicted to some kind of noise. For some it’s their go-to binge on Netflix or default playlist on Spotify, for others it may be Fox News or a podcast that clogs the air. For some it may just be the inner recitation of the to-do list that rattles on in an unending directive of productivity.

But, whatever the noise, it’s something that appears to be epidemic in our society. And it keeps many of us from hearing the voice we most desperately need to hear.

As followers of Jesus, there is no greater need than to be attuned to the Spirit of God. It’s the voice we need to recognize, respond to, follow.
When God was teaching Elijah some hard truths in 1 Kings 19, He spoke in a low whisper. When Isaiah was describing the way God would lead his people, he wrote:

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isa 30.20)

Through the New Testament we’re instructed to walk in the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit, and yield to the Spirit. But it seems that, as a voice within us, it can easily get confused for our own voice, but they are not the same. And discerning one from the other becomes so very much easier when we simply spend some time focusing our hearts and minds—or more our spiritual ears—on God.

This is why I so would like to find some functional cone of silence—to block out everything else and tune my spiritual ears to the voice of the Spirit. But this is not the way the world works. Even Jesus stepped away from all of the crowds and busyness to spend time alone with the Father. So we know we need it as well.

But maybe it’s not as complicated as we make it.

Maybe it’s as simple as the psalm instructs:

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

Maybe I don’t need a cone of silence. Maybe all I need is to switch off all of the voices I can and listen for the One that I most desperately need. Maybe I can trust Him enough to just be still.

Well… of course I can.

Father, teach me to sit down, shut up, and be still… and know that You are God.

A Contagious Faith

It is one thing for people to hear the song you sing. It is quite another when they begin to sing it too. I suppose that, in our day, one of the marks of a song making a mark is that covers of the song will start popping up on Youtube.

This seems to be the way the faith of the Thessalonian believers was making a mark on their part of the world. In the first chapter, Paul points out that their faith was seen in their desire and practice of imitating him and imitating Christ in such a way that they had become quite an example to others (1 Thess 1.6-7 – discussed HERE).

But he goes on to explain how he has come to know this. He explains in verse 8:

“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.”

These believers had not merely shared the hope of the gospel in proclaiming it all over that part of the world. They shared it indeed, but they lived it in such a way that their confidence in God, their faith, had “gone forth everywhere.” The way they lived was spreading this hopeful joy in the person of Jesus wherever they went. Continue reading A Contagious Faith

Revision of Vision

Dwelling upon the many powerful moments this week, the second phrase to which our attention has been drawn is simply, “Enlarge the Vision.”

Every pastor has something of a vision of seeing lives transformed. But, when faced with the challenge to expand or enlarge that vision, it can seem like being accosted about our lack of faith. We want to see God work in amazing ways but don’t really believe that He would do that – not in us or in our circumstances.

I could put a pretty “holy” spin on that by telling you it’s because I recognize what an unworthy tool I am and that, for God to do anything at all in and through my life, it’s nothing short of miraculous…but that would only highlight the absurdity of thinking what God can do is in any possible way dependent upon me. Ridiculous, no?

I have a small vision (if any at all) because I have a small faith. Continue reading Revision of Vision