“Listen carefully and open your heart. Drink in the wise revelation that I impart.”
—Proverbs 22:17 PASSION TRANSLATION
Listen. This word is to govern our hearts even as the ministry theme is to govern our actions, and if we will attend to it we will walk in wisdom and joy and contentment.
It’s not a new word from the Lord. It is ancient and powerful. From the beginning our listening determined our destiny. Eve listened to the serpent, and so drew humanity into ruin. Adam listened to Eve, and so the fall of humankind was perilous and complete. Noah listened to the Lord, and so the generational line of men was preserved.
Listen. Life hangs in the balance.
Our life with God is a listening life, as Jesus makes abundantly clear throughout the gospels. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This phrase appears eight times in the gospels. A variation, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” appears seven times in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
The listening life is a life attuned to the unique frequency of God’s voice, a life alert to what the Father is doing and how he is moving at any given moment. When God speaks (and he’s speaking all the time), he only speaks what is real, what is true, what is life. The key is: are we listening?
It is not easy to listen to the right voice, for many voices clamor for our attention and demand our allegiance. The chaos and cacophony of everyday life often drown out the voice of God, and we are easily distracted. And when things are hard, when we are traveling the valley of shadows and God feels far away or absent altogether, then listening is grievously difficult. But this may be the most important time of all to be listening, because in that difficult place God is the only one who can tell you what’s going on.
Listen. Because listening is what Jesus did and it’s what he is doing now. “But even though he was a wonderful Son,” Hebrews 5:8 tells us, “he learned to listen and obey through all his sufferings.” As a son Jesus didn’t automatically or supernaturally know everything his Father wanted—like us, he had to listen in order learn the pathways of real life.
Real life is what Father is offering to each of us. It’s ours—a lovely, beautiful gift from him—if only we’ll listen.
Thus our prophetic word as a body for 2018. This
is the year we listen. This is the year we truly live.
Being a part of a faith community—here at Wonderful Mercy or elsewhere—is more than a Sunday thing. It’s more than church attendance, more than placing a window peel on our car, more than agreeing on doctrinal beliefs.
To belong to a faith community is to share life together.
This life together must be real and authentic. We often confuse being relevant with being real, and real is what the human heart is hungry for. Sociologists tell us that millennials are especially eager for the real thing, but it’s not just millennials who are looking for the authentic. It’s all of us.
The invitation to experience real community, to do life together, is a reflection of the godhead itself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all together, always together. The intimacy that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit enjoy is almost impossible to overstate.
It would never occur to Father, Son, or Holy Spirit to go it alone. It’s nowhere on the landscape of possibilities. Why would we, then, made in the image of God, imagine that we have the capacity or freedom to go it alone? Surely such thinking is madness!
We have the freedom to be in this thing together—and that’s the only freedom we have.
Not that it’s easy or instantaneous. Life together is messy because we are messy. Scott McKnight observes, “Brokenness is part of what it means to indwell the church in the world today. A broken people is, in fact, what we are meant to encounter in the church because the church is sacred space for the flow of God’s grace and love and healing holiness."
we discover this remarkable flow of grace and healing? Often it’s in ordinary churches
where ordinary people are doing life together: real, true, beautiful, and uncut. It's not
the sort of thing that grabs the headlines. But it is the kind of thing that
meets the deepest desire of our hearts.
is that we step into the adventure of learning why God has drawn us to each
other at Wonderful Mercy. We might have ended up anywhere—why here, why now,
why among these people? And what is on God’s heart for us as we do life
We invite you to join us as we share life together…on Sunday mornings, in our Life Together groups, and in all the ways that people who care for each other find connection with one another.