Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Turn Down The Silence!

Disclaimer: This will be a reflective post in the "journaling tradition" of Brandon Scott as opposed to the "insightful tradition" of Mike Cope, the "encouraging tradition" of Kim Quile, or the "comical tradition" of Grant Boone.

Yesterday God spoke to me. Actually we had a nice long talk. Well actually he did most of the talking.

No, not in a deep, Sean Conery-ish, audible voice, but rather in a still, quiet moving of my spirit. How he spoke is not the issue - But make no mistake about it - He spoke.

And what he said is particularly not the primary point of this post either.

No the real deal is that God spoke to me.

Here is how the day unfolded:

When I woke up I thought that God was trying to tell me something but I was in a hurry to get the gym to build up my beaten down temple so that God would have a nice home. So I really didn't hear Him.

Later that morning He painted me a sunrise and gave me my family which, while I was really grateful for this, never took the time to thank Him for because I was in a hurry to get to work at the ministry I work at and do some really important work for God. So I really didn't talk to Him.

In between work and I was driving to my Spiritual Formation class and I could've sworn that God was trying to get my attention but I turned on the radio to get the weather report because I was flying out later that day so I never caught what he was saying.

In my class we focused on the spiritual disciplines as tools to get closer to God and I know God was almost shouting at me about my lack of space for Him to work in me but I had no time to deal with those tough issues because as soon as class (Spiritual Formation class - no less!) was over I was going to rush to the airport and catch a flight to Dallas so that I could attend a (get this) Church Planters conference so I just couldn't deal with my lack of spiritual disciplines - I had to focus on planting a church for God!

Then a funny thing happened. A storm appeared and lightning and floods and thunder came on the scene. Could it be God was trying to give me a glimpse of His power in hopes that I might be drawn into His presence? No. It was simply a distraction which soaked my pant legs and canceled the last flight (my flight) out of Abilene and caused me to have to spend $100 that I didn't have and drive 3 hours that I didn't have. What a pain! Did God not know my plans?

(Insert Napoleon Dynamite saying "idiot!" right here)

Of course God did. And he also know that my priorities can get out of sync quicker than N'Sync broke up.

So he put me in a car and drove with me to Dallas.

And He told me to not turn on the radio and for some strange reason I didn't. He told me to not get on the cell phone which of course, I fought Him tooth and nail and made a few calls because - hey - that silence was deafening.

And then it happened. God began to speak to me in that silence. He told me of ways that I live out of balance, out of step with His spirit, and rushed. He told me that before I can make His home better I better have room for Him to live. He told me that families can be taken away and I better be grateful because before you know it they'll be gone. He spoke of missionless ministry and the sin of working for God without God working in me. God used this silent, rainy drive to convict me of taking a class on spiritual formation and yet not allowing my own spirit to be formed as it should. And here is the kicker - God actually said, "Joel, before can plant a church you must allow me to be planted in the soil of your priorities, your time."

I almost turned on the radio to listen to some music (Christian of course) but I didn't. I drove on letting God speak. And something happened on that quiet journey that I don't think would have occurred on the planned plane ride - I listened.

It was quiet ... and I loved it!


Greg Kendall-Ball said...

Good stuff, Joel.
Especially the Napoleon Dynamite reference.
I hope you have many more days like that one!

DJG said...

Amazing how Satan can use "Church Work" to keep us away from God. Some of my deepest walks in the dessert spiritually have come when I am the busiest at church. I pray God will continue to impress on your heart (and mine) to be still and KNOW!