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.

The Great Commissioning

In just four days our team will load up on a bus and hit the road for Detroit.

Yesterday, on this Father’s Day morning, our Calvary family prayed over us. They prayed for our safety as we travel, as we step away from the comfortable confines of Stephens County.

They prayed for our smooth navigation and safe arrival and return. They prayed that we would serve well the people with whom we come in contact. They prayed that we would grow and stretch and put the gospel of grace into action. They prayed that we would go and serve and make a difference. They prayed that Jesus would shine through us.

They prayed that we would grow and that the kingdom of God would be grown through us.

Continue reading The Great Commissioning

Praying for Little Girls

I’ve been praying for little girls for about 25 years.

You may know that I only had one daughter born to me, my One and Only SweetPea. But even before I had her, I was praying for little girls.

Four years ago today, the fulfillment of many of those prayers came to pass as my oldest son took vows to love and protect and provide for one of those little girls for whom I had been praying day after day for his entire life. You see, when you love your kids, you pray for the most important and powerful provisions for their lives.

As I look back on that day four years ago and wish Mickey and Jessica a happy anniversary, I remember a day just a few months later when we met another one of those little girls for whom we had been praying for so many years. We knew who she was when we met her and I believe it is because of the uncountable hours we had spent praying for who she would be and how she would grow and how passionately she would love Jesus.

Mickey and Jessica on their wedding day!

One month from yesterday, my Lion Heart will take a similar vow to pour out his life in sacrificial love for his precious Kathleen. Tori and I will sit on the front row and see that beautiful girl walk the aisle and make that boy with the biggest smile and over-the-top hugs absolutely melt with her very appearance at his side.

These precious little girls, all grown up into beautiful, godly young ladies, have added such depth and love to our family that overflows with rowdy, messy, boisterous love. They just seem to belong. Perhaps it’s because of the ways we have prayed for them over and over and over again for all of these many years.

Of course, you may be wondering if we were really doing all that praying for someone we did not even know. I was out for a walk a few days ago, thinking, praying, reflecting, when the soundtrack in my brain pulled up a song I had not heard in many years. It sounds just as cheesy and 80s-ish as you might imagine, but I remembered the many moments over the years that I have watched these growing boys and wondered where that little girl for them might be.

I encourage you to give it a listen.

Those words so often worn out in Proverbs 31 ring out:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

To my two oldest sons I must simply say, well done. You’ve found her – now love her well.

To my two newest daughters, know that I have loved and prayed for you far longer than you have known my son and I am so immensely grateful for you.

To the rest of my sons, run to Jesus… that’s where you’ll find her.