Found this last year and wanted to share it again this advent season. It’s kids telling the story of Christ’s birth with very high quality video. It’s worth your time to watch it.
Dec 22, 2012
God spoke to me this morning. That is, I read Acts 14 and I absolutely loved reading Scripture this morning.
So like I said, God spoke to me, He told me about these Christian brothers of mine. Paul & Barnabas. These guys went to the city of Iconium and the Jews there are less then friendly, in fact, they hate them. They hate the Gospel they are preaching and they hate that people are believing the Gospel they are preaching and they plan to stone them.
You remember what stoning is right? One guy stands there while everyone else throws rocks at them until, if it goes as planned, they die. So what do you do if you find out someone is going to stone you? Unless you are stupid you leave before it happens.
Well Paul and Barnabas aren’t stupid so they go to another city and it says in Acts 14:7 “They continued to preach the Gospel.” So see God spoke this to me. It was exciting, it was great to hear about how the Gospel spread after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension through the preaching of the Gospel.
These words God spoke to me were not audible, they were not in my head, they were in my Bible. I read these Words of God in Acts 14 and I was encouraged. After that I wrote a prayer, here’s what I wrote.
“I love spending time listening to you God. I don’t often enough though. I listen to Tony, to Nathan, to Laura, to mlssoccer.com, to a bunch of blogs, to a couple of really funny TV shows, to Facebook, to twitter, I even listen to people cry when they get kicked off The Bachelor. I listen to so many people, real and fake, believers and unbelievers. It makes me wonder where my own heart is God. Cause now I’m speaking to you and I don’t do that often enough either. I talk to Facebook, to our blog, I talk to Tony, to Nathan, to various youth, to Laura, to people all day, but not often enough do I stop and talk to you.”
It went on, but I want to stop and ask the obvious next question.
Why do we listen to so many words from so many people more than we do to God when He speaks to His people in the text of Scripture?
I expect you’ll answer that question like my two year old Berkley answers every question right now.
Cause I don’t.
We figured out that she answers us like that and is only half listening to the questions, check out the video below to see what I mean.
Well that cracks me up, and if you are anything like me you are going to find yourself giving that answer to just about every “why” question people ask you today.
Hey, Why did you take my pen? Cause I did.
Why didn’t you clean up that mess? Cause I didn’t.
You want some pizza? No. Why not? Cause I don’t.
But the more I think about it, that’s my answer to this bigger question too and really that’s pathetic.
Why don’t I listen to God more? Cause I don’t.
Which of course means I’m not gonna really consider the question at all.
If I really think about it though, the answer is closer to…
cause I don’t care what God has to say
or cause I don’t believe it is God speaking to me
or cause I don’t believe I can understand it
or cause I don’t care as much about God who is invisible as I do about my friends who are visible.
or maybe simply cause I’m bored with you God.
That may be your honest answer and if it is admit it, I think sometimes we try to fool God in these things. “God, I’m to busy to read Scripture. I have too much homework and I have to run errands.”
Well come on, you can’t fool God, He knows your thoughts before you know them.
So go to God in prayer and tell him, “God your Word bores me, but movies and March Madness, that is intriguing stuff.”
Then plead with God in the name of Jesus Christ like only we who are believers can that the God who made you and the God who redeemed you would give you a desire to read and enjoy His Word, the Scriptures.
Which reminds me, You ever read the book of Nehemiah?
If you remember, Nehemiah is the cupbearer for the king of Persia. This is one of those jobs you really don’t want. It works like this: people bring food to the king, you eat it and if you don’t die then it is safe for the king to eat. It’s like when people test products on animals to see what will happen, only the cupbearer is the animal.
So Nehemiah learns that the walls of Jerusalem have been destroyed and he prays to God reminding God of His promise to restore His people Israel. God grants this prayer and the king lets him go to work in Jerusalem rebuilding the walls.
While there Sanballat of Samaria, Tobiah the Ammonite, Geshem the Arab, and the men of Ashdod come up with plans to stop the walls from being rebuilt.
Listen to this as God speaks to us in Nehemiah 4:7-8,
“But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.”
So Nehemiah and the Jews are doing construction work and they hear that they are going to be attacked.
How would you respond?
Option A. Gather weapons and stand guard
Option B. Pray for God to protect you
We read in Nehemiah 4:9 about what they actually did, “And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night”
They did both. They first spoke to God asking for protection, asking for Him to grant their request. Then they put up a guard of people day and night, they wore swords as they built, they had men with spears and bows stand next to builders, they put people with trumpets on guard to warn of any attacks.
They prayed and they moved to action. Not one or the other, but both. Prayer first, followed by action.
Here is the connection. If some of you are honest, you are bored with God. You are less interested in God’s Word than just about everything else in your life. At least that is what our actions are showing.
So Pray. Pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior.
God will hear you. Pray that you would be given new taste buds, renewed love for the Scriptures, desire to sit and listen to God speak to you through Scripture.
But also act.
Don’t just pray that you would have the desire and stop there.
Open a bible and read, commit to read Nehemiah over the next few days, read through the Gospel of John, just read.
But go to God in prayer and go to God in action. Go to the Scriptures, these are the Words of eternal life.
In John 6 Jesus leaves the people by crossing the sea to Capernaum. He is with the 12 disciples and others follow in boats. Besides the 12 there are other disciples, who are people who seem to believe, going to hear more of what Jesus is saying. There are also grumpy Jews who are looking to find fault in Jesus and then even others who are just along for the show.
Then Jesus gives this speech that among other things says this (remember this is before the last supper and no ones knows about communion yet):
So as you read this, I want you to see if you can figure out why this speech might weird people out.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”” (John 6:53–56)
Anything odd about that?
Yes, cannibalism tends to weird people out. We know He wasn’t talking about actual cannibalism, but that’s what the people heard.
A few verses later in John 6:66–69 we read the results of this speech. “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.””
That it, isn’t it?
That’s why we listen to God speak in His Word.
That’s why we pray to God in the name of Christ.
“The Office” may be way more funny than Scripture and March Madness might draw us in as we root for underdogs and favorite colleges.
But the Bible, the Scriptures are the Words of eternal life and we find ourselves with Peter asking this question we already know the answer to.
Lord, Where else would I go? You have the Words of eternal life and we have believed, and have to to know that Jesus is the Holy one of God.
So where else would we go? Nowhere. So we go to God in His Word and we listen to the Creator of the universe and everything in it speak to us.