Posts Tagged Hearing

Sermon Roulette (Pick 1 of 4) Four Sermon Outlines: Pick Which One You Like RSUMC 20150426

Sermon_Roulette Four Sermon Outlines: Pick Which One You Like

We Told You So Acts 4:5-12

The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” [NRSV]


Cornerstone, Jesus is the

  • Power from the Cornerstone
  • Truth from the Cornerstone
  • Salvation through the Cornerstone

Our Shepherd Knows Our Needs Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff– they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long. [NRSV]


The shepherd leads the sheep to what they need

  • Daily Bread
  • Daily Walk
  • Daily Struggle with Evil
  • Daily Worship

1 John 3:16-24 God Jumped In First

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us–and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us. [NRSV]


Love is an active verb not just a cognitive affirmation

  • Christ Acts Before We Do
  • God Loves Frist
  • Our Response to Grace and Love is Commitment
  • We Obey because God Has Already Moved in to Help/Save

John 10:11-18 Listening and Hearing

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away–and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” [NRSV]


Listening and Hearing

  • The shepherd and sheep listen for one another
  • Listening because we can
  • Listening because we have to
  • Listening to see what we choose to hear
  • Listening to be found by God
  • Jesus has hardwired our connection

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Acts 2:1-21 “Flaming Tongues” JUMC 20120527.1100

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 

2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

2:12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ [NRSV]

The Miracle of Pentecost is “Adudibility.”  Our ability to hear

  • It is about our hearing.
  • It is a miss reading to call this witness of the Spirit an encounter with ‘speaking-in-tongues.’
  • The heart of the text rest on the 2.8, “How is it that we all hear..”

Hearing is a treasure.

  • Sometimes we have diminishing hearing…
  • Other times we have selective hearing…
  • Still other times we hear nothing or noise..
  • And at times, we hear clearly.

This passage is about hearing clearly God’s word for own heart, our own need, the message that fits the challenge we face.

Are we hearing God speak to our hearts

Are we listening?

Have we heard it all before?

What is the truth in times of division?

Some in the text are not ready to hear. The message is available but they are not receptive. Peter warns us not to be afraid of Hearing What God has for us to know, believe, experience, or do.

For all those who heard in their own language and heart, received something that applied to their own lives, own communities and circles of influence. It is from this day of witness and hearing that the Good News is spread beyond Jerusalem into the known world. God speaks, and some folks are listening.

In this great time of hearing Peter preaches.

His words of encouraging, Hear this:

  • God’s Spirit is with us, speaking to us all.
  • Spirit talking and listening call for willing ears.
  • So listen up and find salvation, guidance and faith.

How do you know when God is speaking?

Typically it is not in voices of unknown languages,

But in our own experience.

God’s Spirit speaks to hear our mind and heart, where we are thinking, processing, worrying, stuck and spiritually hungry.

God’s spirit is the invisible presence at work for our benefit.

This is one of the litmus tests of knowing the spirit.

If it is not for the good of community, it might just be for some one and not God at all.

Just this week, I have received a challenge to my spiritual hearing.  Maybe some of you have as well..

conflicting messages from God.

Someone interrupted our music practice and wanted us to turn off the power and leave the building. Was this God speaking so just a prank?

It is true that sometimes hearing God’s call in our lives is an interruption.. Just as in the Pentecost story in Jerusalem.

It was not a common sight to see flames coming from the sky, resting on people and they becoming conduits of the divine message.

We’d like to think that something that impressive would grab all our attentions, but it did in the text and it does not reach all people at the same time today. Listening and trusting what we hear might call for actions that would be ridiculed or ignored by others.

But listen to the text, listen to Peter:

The Spirit’s message to the community and not just one person.

God has a message intended for each of us, in our hearts.

God has a word that intended for all of us, shared for listeners.

After much prayer, reflection on this text and conversation with other members, pastors, friends in the faith I have come to understand and affirm the following:

  • Though we are all one in Christ, we don’t all hear the same things from God. (right/wrong, good/bad) God works through our limitations.
  • The message from God always regards salvation, our broken-relationship-made-whole-through-Christ.  Billy Graham’s “I preach Christ and him crucified every time.”
  • Some people will disagree with our interpretations and faithful actions. Our call is to be listening to God and faithful to God, and not people’s opinions.
  • God can speak through different languages, cultures, traditions, and experiences and that’s ok with God.
  • Bottom line. We need to be open to how ever God might be speaking to us, but its generally a public address for God is interested in transforming the whole world.
  • God does not work to get attention for God, but works to draw us closer to God’s heart.

50 Days since Easter:

Christ still lives! Does our life give witness to that Good News?

Disciples were willing to be messengers

Disciples were willing to take time to explain and help others understand what had been heard.

Disciples are folks like us, willing to hear and tell today.

  • Don’t be quiet, Don’t be afraid, Don’t be left out.


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