Connecting Point – May 8, 2024

We all need to be able to hear clearly from the Lord if we're to have the discernment and direction we need for our lives. That belief was emphasized for me this morning as I read the story of young Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1-21.

Samuel was a gift from God to his mother Hannah, who had prayed fervently and faithfully for a son, promising the Lord that if He responded to her prayers she would dedicate her son to Him. The Lord responded to her prayers and gave her Samuel. And in 1 Samuel 3 we find the young boy helping the priest Eli with caring for God's Tabernacle, where the Israelites came to worship the Lord. One night while in the Tabernacle the Lord spoke to Samuel. And Samuel, having never previously heard from the Lord, asked Eli how to respond. Eli said to Samuel, "When the Lord speaks to you say, 'Speak Lord, your servant is listening.'" Samuel did what Eli told him to do, and the Lord gave him direction for his life as well as for Eli and God's people.

I have often said that the keys to success in the Christian life are:  1) the ability to hear the Lord, 2) the faith to believe the Lord, and 3) the courage to obey the Lord.  Hearing, believing and obeying the Lord are crucial components for those who want to live victorious, overcoming, powerful Christian lives. So, how does the Lord most often speak to you, and how do you respond when He does speak to you?

Jesus Himself said in John 10:27: "My sheep hear my voice . . . and they follow Me."

One of the clearest ways the Lord speaks to us is through His Word.  The Psalmist wrote, "How sweet are your words . . . Your commandments give me understanding" (Psalm 119:103-104), and "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).  That's why it's important to hear the Word (through preaching and teaching), read the Word (on a daily basis), study the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), and meditate on the Word (Psalm 1:1-3).  If we are not regularly hearing, reading and studying the Word of God, we are missing out on much (if not most) of what the Lord wants to communicate with us.

The Lord also speaks to us through His Holy Spirit in our inner being.  We read in the Old and New Testaments of the Lord speaking to His people by His Spirit (Acts 8:29, 13:2). When these believers heard from the Lord, they didn't hear Him shouting down at them from Heaven.  They heard His voice in their inner being, as they were praying and seeking direction from Him. The Lord also at times speaks to His people through angels as He did in the stories of Abraham, Joshua, Daniel, Joseph, Mary, Phillip, Paul and others. The Scriptures also teach that God oftentimes speaks to us through other individuals (Proverbs 15:22).  Throughout the Bible we find God speaking through prophets, kings, lay-persons, etc.  God can also speak to us through the circumstances of life.  Revelation 3:7 says, "This is the message from the One who is holy and true. . . He opens doors, and no one can shut them; He shuts doors, and no one can open them." Oftentimes the Lord utilizes circumstances in our lives to get our attention and give us direction.  It's obvious as we read the Bible and study history that the Lord is constantly speaking to His people, striving to communicate to us His Word, will and way for our lives!  Jesus Himself said in John 10:27: "My sheep hear my voice . . . and they follow Me."

"What are some things that hinder our ability to hear from the Lord, and know His will for our lives?"

So, "What are some things that hinder our ability to hear from the Lord, and know His will for our lives?" Sin in our lives hinders our ability to hear from the Lord.  Sometimes the Lord stops speaking to us when we are in overt sin.  At other times, the sinful focuses of our lives keep us from hearing clearly what the Lord is speaking to us.  Distractions in our lives such as busyness,  hurt, adversity, misguided desires, ungodly friendships, etc. also hinder our ability to hear from the Lord.  It is often very difficult to hear and discern what the Lord is saying to us when our lives are cluttered and hindered by such distractions.  One other thing that hinders our ability to hear from the Lord that I read in today's text in 1 Samuel 3 is the fact that so often we rush into the presence of the Lord saying, "Listen Lord, your servant speaks", rather than saying, "Speak Lord, your servant listens." Oftentimes we are so focused on getting the Lord to hear what we have to say, that we don't take the time to listen to what He has to say.  Hearing God usually takes time, concentration, effort, honing our sensitivity to the voice of the Lord, etc.  But when our primary focus is "speak Lord" rather than "listen Lord", we are well on our way to hearing, believing and obeying God - which are the keys to success and victory in the Christian life.

What I want you to believe today is that: 1) The Lord wants to give you direction for your life, 2) The Lord will speak to you as you study His Word, listen to godly mentors and strive to live a godly life, and 3) and that the Lord will respond to you as you say to Him, "Speak Lord, Your servant is listening."

Mother's Day Header

MOTHER'S DAY is a great day for families to attend Church services together. For many Churches Mother's Day is one of the highest attended Sundays of the year, because it's a time when children intentionally attend a worship service with their mother or grandmother as a demonstration of their love and appreciation for them, and when husbands attend a worship service with their spouse for the same reason.

Also, on Mother's Day at Celebration we honor birth mothers, foster moms, step mothers, "stand-in-the-gap" mothers, spiritual mothers, etc. So moms of every kind, use your influence and give your best effort to get your family members to come to Church with you on Mother's Day. Their lives may be transformed because they joined you this Sunday at Celebration.

Way Of The Wise

This Sunday at Celebration we will be beginning a new series titled, THE WAY OF THE WISE. In this series we will be learning from the Old Testament book of wisdom, Proverbs, wisdom principles that will enable us to make better choices which will lead to us experiencing God's best in our lives, circumstances and relationships.

Beth Moore Celebration Church

The Living Proof Conference, led by renowned Bible teacher Beth Moore, will take place June 21-22 at Celebration on Airline. Women from Churches within our region will be joining us, so we are anticipating that the Conference will sell out. You can register yourself and your friends at www.celebrationchurch.org/aspire. Tickets are $90 per person, $50 for students, or $75 for groups of 10 or more.

Summer Camp

Registration is open for our 2024-2025 School Year at Crescent City Christian School for students 3 years - 12th grade, and for our CCCS Summer Camp for Children. We also have openings for children from 6 months of age through 3 years of age in both our Celebration Early Learning Center (2001 Airline Drive) and our Crescent City Christian Early Learning Center (2701 Transcontinental Drive). To learn more about these opportunities, go to www.crescentcitychristian.com or call 504.885.4700.

Pastor Dennis

Gratefully yours,

Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
dennis.watson.96

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