Thursday, October 11, 2007

hearing God's word, today

In chapel at RBC Ministries yesterday, we were blessed to hear Dr. James Grier speak. As he spoke the word, I sat there enjoying it, but realizing I had hardly adequately prepared my heart, though I believe God had been working on me during the morning before that time. But I sat trying to be prayerful and concentrate on this wonderful message from Scripture, speaking of the presence of God from Genesis to Revelation.

Dr. Grier for me reminds me of how the Puritans preachers must have preached. It's spoken well and naturally, plain and unadorned (not the fancy language he is more than capable of) but flowing over with the word of God and application interspersed, all tied well together in this theme. I left with a sense of vision and what it's going to be like in the final dwelling place of God with redeemed humankind in Jesus.

I often am hit with the good of the message afterwards rather than when I'm sitting there hearing it. We need substance to come in from God and his word. Only that by the Spirit will change us, not any charisma, though if that's the personality of the speaker, then it's fine. But I appreciated the plain way Dr. Grier spoke, and it made me want to hear more of God's word and really let that word settle, shape and remake my life, even as in my eyes certain things seem (and really are left to myself) out of my reach. That reminds me of the prayer ("collect") for this week which I pray several times daily at least on weekdays.

How do you hear God's word? And how might we better hear, receive and respond to it?

14 comments:

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I like plain spokeness too - I'd much rather be taught than preached at. And you're right, it does make me want to learn more!

Mark Goodyear said...

You said, "I often am hit with the good of the message afterwards rather than when I'm sitting there hearing it."

That reminds me of Wordsworth's definition of poetry. He said it is emotion recollected in tranquility. That's what I hear you saying. Sometimes the poetry of a message doesn't come for you until later when you reflect on it.

That's true for me too.

For me, your last question is a scary one. I think of God's Word in light of John 1. The Bible is the final authority for me, but I also know that God's Word is much much bigger than just the Bible.

Mark Goodyear said...

(And hey look, I got my picture back!)

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan,
It just came to me as a human voice somehow mediating God's voice to us. Especially in retrospect.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mark,
Yes. Nice definition of poetry. It should grip you and not let you go, and of course that's after you've heard it.

I think Scripture is written in such a way as to grip us with this story of God and not let us go until we begin to see our story in God's Story (his ongoing story).

Ted M. Gossard said...

Hey, Marcus, and I like that picture, too!

Every Square Inch said...

Grier's preaching sounds centrally faithful to the bible - adorned not with human wisdom, funny stories, seeker friendly anecdotes but with the Word of God. How quaint! ;-)

KM said...

I like the Jonathan Edwards style too -- messages that force attention to the content (Scripture) and don't distract with the presentation (sound & fury). I do, however, like to hear some engagement and investment. How that "hears" varies from person to person, but I think you can always tell when a speaker is invested in his/her message. It's hard to hide that. :-)

I discovered last week that to hear effectively I have to sit down as an auditor (hearer) but not as an auditor (critic). I can't hear if I'm being proud. I can't hear if I'm being impatient. And I really can't hear if I'm ticked off with some human somewhere, whether the preacher or some other person I'm in relationship with. All those things will block me... So I've learned I have to deal with those things before I sit down.

As for messages I most enjoy -- they're the ones that engage my whole mind (intellect, emotions, and spirit), not just one part or other; the ones that stretch my perceptions, preconceptions, and knowledge; the ones that challenge me to live better, stronger, whatnot -- and then help me visualize what that means pragmatically. Yeah?

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI,
True. It was definitely steeped in Scripture and came across in story form of that although no different than if he would have done it years ago. To the heart with neither a wasted second or word.

I saw him like Moses when he spoke, but knowing him as a past teacher, he was like a good friend afterwards- of course I'm blessed to say.

(and all of this, even though he's a five-point Calvinist!-ha. though I don't say I understand completely where he is theologically-)

Ted M. Gossard said...

KM,
I hear you. There definitely was engagement and investment. He talked about tears he has wept mostly over his own sins and failure to be a good steward. And he has just come from preaching at Spurgeon's Tabernacle in the UK, nothing new with him- as he travels all over the world, and is a philosophy teacher par excellence- I know this firsthand. But he is open and vulnerable.

It was a time which moved you to want to hear more and be more obedient to the word of God.

I hear you too, on hearing. Yes, if I'm not trying to deal with known sin I don't hear as well. I try to shut out all else if I think I have an opportunity like we did Wednesday.

NaNcY said...

How do you hear God's word?

well, today i heard it come out of my own mouth.

And how might we better hear, receive and respond to it?

probably by stoping what i am doing, listening, and not rolling my eyes and complaining.

in the words of my dear friend's mother when he was going through a hard time, and was well past the pitty part,...she advised that sometimes one just has to pull your head out of your ass. it shocked him so much that it brought him right out of his problems. good old mom!

in other words, sometimes it is best to get over myself and be grateful.

if i pay attention to what God can say through a speaker instead of what i think about the speaker, the songs, the place, or whatever else i can find wrong...then i can usually hear a word from God.

Martin Stickland said...

You are as 'Mad as a box of frogs' Ted!

I thought I was the silly one but your comments really cheer me up especially when I am having fun and games with Dopy Dell the PC.

Have a great weeekend!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Great points and related to what I'm going to send off today.

Yes, when it's about us, or about others instead of about God and his will, and our place in that- then we lose out.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Martin,
Yes, my wife lets me know how silly I am, but I've learned the ropes with her and even get her to laugh at me once in awhile.

You do have a good gift of humor and we need that in this world.

Good weekend to you,and have fun with your computer.