Before Kristi and I bought our house here in Cypress, Kristi had done the work of finding what she called the “perfect” house, just what she had hoped and prayed for. I was excited to see this great house, and was anticipating all the amenities we had been looking forward to. So I had high hopes and was so happy it was all working out…until I opened the door. All the excitement and high hopes were chased away first by the smell. The place stunk of stale smoke, garbage, and like pets had been using it as a bathroom. Not only that, there were iron burns and stains in the dirty carpet. The walls were full of holes as if someone had put their fist through it in a number of places. The ceiling was stained with who knows what and the place was just filthy…and I thought, this is my wife’s dream home?!? But there she was all excited, showing me each room completely ignoring the grunge, smells, and I didn’t even want to think what that stain was on the wall. The whole time Kristi kept saying we will fix and paint this wall like this. We will put this kind of flooring over here… “Can’t you see it?” Frankly, I could not see it at all. All I could see was the mess this house was and no way would I want to live here. Kristi’s vision of the house allowed her not just to see what could be, but what would be. As she worked with contractors, she was able to have this vision become reality! Now, I even love our house and thank the Lord Kristi had the vision to see it become reality.
As we live out this journey of God’s unique call on our lives, a journey of following God’s lead and listening to His direction, He gives us a vision or has us envision what He wants us to do. A vision or something we envision is an image that God gives to motivate us, like those compelling images of hungry children or the earthquake in Haiti that move us to help in some way. Most every Biblical character had some kind of image to compel them on to answer God’s unique call on their lives like:
Noah: an Ark
Abraham: a nation – a son
Joseph: a dream of people bowing before him
Moses: a free nation – the Promised Land
Joshua: victory in a new land – take back the land of his forefathers
Ruth: to be redeemed
Nehemiah: a wall
Esther: that she could make a difference
David: to be a king
Solomon: wisdom to rule and build a temple
Prophets (Like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, etc…): God’s people to return to Him
Paul: for people to see Jesus
Peter: salvation is for Gentiles…
Now sometimes God gives us a personal vision, but most of the time God wants us to personalize an existing vision, like when we go and help another ministry or when we serve the vision of our church. We make their vision our vision. So the question is how do we see what God wants us to see? How can we keep from being like I was with our house and be so taken by the mess that I couldn’t see anything else? How can we be more like Kristi and see the compelling and motivating image God implants in our mind?
As you experience this week through your personal Unique Call devotions, small groups, and Sunday’s sermon, you will be given great helps. So I encourage you to participate and be listening to God. If you have not yet picked up a devotional, please do and start working through it. As well, there is still room in many of our small groups, and we would love for you to attend. If you missed a week you can go online www.cypresschurch.net and view the small group DVDs. The Sunday sermons are up on our web page as well.
Anyway, what I wanted to chat with you about is this idea about listening to God. I was reading an article the other day in Leadership Journal (Spring 2010) by Gordon McDonald called, “Your Most Important Conversation,” http://www.ctlibrary.com/le/2010/spring/importantconversation.html. The article is about William Wilberforce and how as he was seeking God’s unique call on his life. He was able to “see” what God wanted him to do as he spent time in conversation with God. Yep, I said “conversation” with God. William talked to God and heard from God. Now there was no mention of audible words from God, though we know God can do that, but it was a sense that God was talking. The article is a challenge to make time to listen to God, to set aside moments to think through issues and questions and consider what God is saying and to pose questions and topics and wait for God to guide your responses. In those responses, we hear God. Now the article has a great list of questions and I recommend you read through them, but one example might be to set aside a few minutes and ask yourself, “As I survey the day, I saw God in…” and fill in the rest. Maybe questions like, “What made me happy today, or sad, or got me riled up?” Or get a little more introspective and ask, “Are there mistakes I made today or things I am not proud of?” Or a little more forward thinking and ask, “If I had all the resources and time available what would I like to do for the Lord?”
As we consider these and other insightful questions with a pure and sincere heart, God will speak through the answers. As we gain these responses we will begin to see those motivating images and God’s personalized vision. Wilberforce did and it made a huge difference in the world at that time.
God wants you to live His unique call for your life and it is vital to practice listening and to learn to hear Him. Why not try a little conversation with God. If you do, let me know how it goes. I would love to hear from you.
May God bless you as you seek to live God’s unique call on your life.
Journeying the Unique Call with you,