October 13, 2013 – First Baptist Church Edmonton – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato
GodStory, Act III: Israel
Key Event #6 of 37, 1 Samuel 3:1-21; 4:1a
Title: “Listening…and Speaking”
Today’s story brings another KEY EVENT in the 3rd ACT of the GodStory…ACT III is all about God’s people named ISRAEL….a people chosen to keep God’s promise of restoration alive….and the crazy thing is that these chosen people keep on messing it up and putting God’s promise in danger!
Last week we were with God’s people in the wilderness…we saw God show up and provide for meat & bread for the people…even in the midst of their non-trusting and complaining…
Now we move ahead 300 years…God’s people made it through their 40 years of wilderness wanderings and made it to the promised land. But the promised Land is not all peaches & cream (milk and honey). Yes, there is freedom but there is also folly. In the promised Land God shows his people how to grow up and worship…but they ignore God’s ways for living the God-blessed life…they turn their hearts away from the living God…
They complain, and whine, and grumble…they demand a flesh & blood leader instead of a God who lives in a cloud of Glory & Light – –
Thus there are hundreds of years of Judges ruling over the people…but it gets so bad, that the people of God reach an all time low….in the book of Judges we read that “all the people did what was right in their own eyes….”
God’s promises of hope and restoration for the world are again in great danger!
The people of God have lost their way!
But GOD once again finds a way to keep his dream alive…and this time, it comes through a teenager…a teenager who grew up in the church (temple)…under the parenting/mentoring care of Eli the priest…
[ READ THE GODSTORY…with multiple voices, 1 Sam. 3 ]
3 Quick Thoughts as we dwell in/live out of the GodStory today…
1) In the midst of yet another messy time…GOD SHOWS UP…God moves towards his people… God speaks, God calls, God gives another chance… and God uses the least likely people to get God’s work done… Samuel! Not the son of a priest, but an outsider who has a soft-heart towards others, and a soft-heart towards God.
2) GOD SPEAKS…God’s Call, God’s voice changes us…it gives us strength and courage to do things we might not think were capable of doing! God does not look on the outside…he’s not looking for strong, brilliant, people…God is looking for those with hearts who will stop to listen…CAN WE SLOW DOWN & LISTEN? ?
3) GOD SENDS…God’s Call, God’s voice sends us… Samuel is called to speak…as a teenager, he is called to speak to Eli…words of challenge but words that are also spoken with a gentle heart and a humble spirit…HOW MIGHT WE SPEAK PROPHETICALLY TO ONE ANOTHER? [w/ gentle hearts & humble spirits ]
* * * * * *
“Speaking Prophetically” Insert information here:
SPEAKING PROPHETICALLY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
[with credit due to Rev. Ryan’s ministry mentor, Bill Roycroft, who passed away late 2009]
Definition: Prophetic words are quickened words from God…God takes a scripture and quickens it in your heart.
Prophetics words are about: building up, stirring up and cheering up. They should bubble forth like springs of living water and fall gently like rain.
How will we know that our words are prophetic and NOT pathetic?
i) People’s hearts will bear witness (people know when hear the voice of God)
ii) Our words will be consistent with scripture. “If it’s not in scripture then it’s an ‘interesting experience.’”
iii) If it’s a word from God’s heart, it’s obviously positive (not judgmental, condemning or shaming). “My heart is stirred by a noble theme” (Psalm 45:1). Speak TRUTH in LOVE (Ephesians 4:15). Be suspicious of dates, times and calamities.
iv) God is always singing an “ongoing song” to his people. Prophetic words help to turn up the volume.
v) The results of a prophetic word will be: peace, freedom, salvation.
vi) Prophecy’s purpose is to reveal Jesus. To put the life of Jesus on display.
Where do we start?
i) Set aside time to sit with God. . . find scriptures, dwell in them, memorize them and see where God wants you to use them (your favourite scriptures, the Revised Common Lectionary, the Narrative Lectionary are good places to go)
ii) Trust that the Holy Spirit is already working through you
iii) People are looking for comfort and encouragement. . . be God’s voice of comfort and encouragement
iv) Keep it simple
v) Use common sense
How do we stay the course?
i) Stay in the scriptures, “hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21)
ii) Keep your heart clear. . . get proud and you’ll become resentful & bitter
iii) Remember that God is gracious
iv) Be yourself! Be natural, gracious & comfortable
v) You’re going to make mistakes, stay humble
Some words of wisdom:
– Be available
– Tune up the song of the Spirit for people
– We can ALL encourage others, so listen to the HOLY SPIRIT
If you’re still feeling hesitant to utter a prophetic word, here’s a real simple place to start that reflects the heart of God – – say “Peace be with you” or “I love you.” Or declare to someone that they are “God’s beloved.” You can NOT go wrong with that can you?