Dave Everson

Extending Vox

a face in the crowdAt any given time, I have our sermons planned out for at least six months. Not written. Mostly not even outlined. But I know the series topics and the gist of each message. It’s not unusual for those plans to shift, especially the more distant ones. But in general, I find that God’s way-ahead-of-time guidance is just as helpful as the last-minute kind.

The plan was to wrap up the Vox series this week. Even as Kim was delivering the last installment on Sunday, I expected that his “Amen” would be the end of it. But when the service closed, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we weren’t done.

There is so much that could be said about listening for God. Books upon books have been written about the subject. Even if we spent a year teaching on it, I guess it would be natural to feel like we had barely scratched the surface.

And really, that’s the essence of following Jesus. There is always more to know. Always a gap between what is and what ought to be. Always a dark corner of the heart where the truth of the Gospel and the power of God’s presence have yet to clean and remake us. Always more to learn and live: deeper grace, stronger devotion, greater love, firmer hope. Always someone whose life and heart can be healed by encountering Christ in us.

I never intend my teaching to be exhaustive. Instead, I work to create a reasonable jumping-off point for anyone to engage more deeply on their own or with their friends and family. I’m OK with the reality that the Vox series will leave a lot unsaid. What bothers me is that we haven’t considered what to do when listening gets hard. And that means the jumping-off platform is still too wobbly to trust.

So I’ve decided to shore it up. We’ll take the rest of August to look at three issues: when God seems silent, when his voice is hard to distinguish from others, and how a whole church can listen to and follow God’s voice together.

I’m still figuring out how that will affect the rest of the upcoming teaching schedule. For those who like to look ahead, you’ll have to stay tuned. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, start listening for God’s voice. Reflect on the ways he has used the story of your life to communicate with you and reveal himself to you. Travel again the familiar contours of his heart and relearn its terrain. Ask him to speak. And listen.

Photo Credits
A face in the crowd: Gwenael Piaser; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license