Learning to Listen
For several summers in a row when I was in high school I attended various Christian summer camps with friends. I have yet to learn whether these week-long Bible camps are “normal” for youth outside the Bible-belt, but I loved them. They offered the opportunity to experience all the normal camp activities (hiking, swimming, archery, etc.) while also providing the chance to explore Christian faith alongside good friends. An additional benefit was that the praise music we sang at the worship services gave me a full appreciation for the meaning of the word “campy”.
As cliche and campy as some of my camp experiences may have been I also had some of my most meaningful spiritual moments during these weeks away. At the age of 16 one camp counselor (who I had gotten to know as well, I guess, as you can get to know any camp couselor after just two days) asked me if I had ever thought of going into ministry. I hadn’t, and was quite sure that I never would again. But his question stuck with me.
I also learned what I believe it means to listen to God. During one large-group Bible Study session the speaker told us that time alone with God and with God’s word was often the key to greater understanding. She read to us this verse from Mark 10:21:
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
We were then told to go find a quiet space somewhere in the room or out under the trees and spend 30 minutes with that verse, and only that verse. She suggested we write down at least 25 things we learned from or saw happening in this verse and that the real reward would come if we kept with it for the full amount of time.
At first I dreaded this assignment. I wanted to be taught about Scripture, not to just sit and read. Plus, I thought, this 30 minutes was time I was not spending doing something more exciting. But I did what I was asked.
After the 30 minutes were up we all reassembled in the room and the instructor asked “How many of you found your greatest insights in the first 10 minutes?” A few hands went up. “How many of you learned the most during the next 10 minutes?” A few more hands. “How many of you believe you got the most out of that verse during the final 10 minutes?” I raised my hand, along with the majority of my peers.
Since that time, some of the most influential spiritual moments of my life have come from simply sitting with God’s word. I do not believe that just because you spend time in Scripture that you will suddenly have all your questions answered, or that every life decision will be easy. But I do believe that time spent with God and with God’s word is the best way, and sometimes the only way, to really hear God speak. If we can force ourselves to slow down, focus, and spend time in the presence of God, we may be surprised by what we find.
An important Voters Assembly will be held on January 28th following worship. At this meeting information will be presented about the potential scope and cost of future building renovations. Updates will also be given about the Capital Campaign we are beginning this month.
Our current Sunday Morning Bible Study topic is the book of Philippians. All are invited to join the discussion starting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Child care is available.
Prayer requests: Please keep Don and Shirley Shasteen in your prayers. After some complications and several surgeries on Don’s left leg, a long rehabilitation process is expected. Please pray for continued healing, peace in living with new impairments, and strength for both Don and Shirley as they work through rehabilitation.