“God Spoke to Me!”
Sermon: “God Spoke to Me!”
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from January 30, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
First of all, thank you for the happy birthday serenade this morning. Unfortunately feeling every year because I made the mistake of forgetting that my snowblower has a reverse on it and pulled a muscle in my lower back. So if I look like I'm moving a little stiffly it's, it's healing, it's minor, but don't worry about.
In our scripture lessons this morning, first of all, we've got the continuation of that story of Jesus going back to his hometown and trying to, uh, well reading from the scroll of Isaiah and then starting to preach to the congregation and saying, and they're hearing the prophecies have been fulfilled.
And of course they didn't want to hear it. They didn't want to hear it. I mean, as I said last week, this is, still the hometown boy, not somebody that should have this kind of wisdom or that kind of a claim.
And frequently in life, we come up with these times when somebody doesn't think that we're the person that should be able to do whatever it is. We shouldn't be the one with the authority to say something, or we shouldn't be the one that's asked to do something and yet we are.
Jeremiah on the other hand was very young when God called him and God called Jeremiah. And said, Hey, I want you to go and tell everybody what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong. Now you can just imagine if Jeremiah says I am, but a boy, first of all, there's a really strong possibility that that means he was not yet old enough to be bar mitzvahed.
Which means he was probably under 12 or 13 years of age, because once they had the bar mitzvah, they were considered a man. Now, if Jeremiah is saying, I am about a boy, you can just imagine what the people that he is being sent to talk to are going to think about his words of wisdom. I mean, how many of us sitting in this room are going to listen to some 12 year old wet behind the ears kid come in and telling us about what we're doing wrong in life.
And if you think that I'm too far off base on that, look at how a good number of the world leaders treated, Greta Thunberg or how they reacted to a young poet from the last inauguration, where did these kids come up with this kind of wisdom? Why should we listen to that?
And it's easy to pass it all off. It's because they were kids, but each and every one of us gets called to do things in life. And you know, it's one thing if. Well, of course we have the societal thing too, you know, if we say, God spoke to me, most people are going to go. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Right. We've heard this before. And it's normally associated with actions that aren't so wonderful. You know, that person is hearing voices.
But God does speak to us and God speaks to us in a myriad of ways. Maybe instead of vision, as Jeremiah was probably having. Anybody ever have one of those visions? Would you know it, if you did?
More often than not the way God speaks to us is through somebody else, it's through somebody else. I can tell you that back in 1989, about this time of year, I was having some career issues because the person that owned the business that I worked for, wanted to retire.
And there were only a handful of us that worked for this business. He wanted out and basically wanted me to decide whether I was going to buy him out or whether he was going to close the business. And I was struggling with that because I really didn't want to work six days a week.
So I had this conversation with God, and ask for guidance.
A couple of weeks later the, the interim pastor at our church came to me after church and says, when do you have a day this week to come in and talk with me for a little bit.
I said, yeah, we can make something work. So we set up a time and I came in and we sat down in his office and he says, now he says, I think we need to share a faith stories.
And since you probably don't understand what I'm asking, I'll go first and Art Stanley proceeded to tell me his life story and the whole time I'm listening, I'm sitting there thinking, no, that's my story. That's my story.
And he finishes, he says, okay, now it's your turn. And I said, but you just told my story, and he says, that's what I thought here you might be interested in this and handed me a pamphlet for open house at Wesley seminary. I had never considered seminary.
Now was God calling? Was God directing? I don't know, but I do know the God spoke through Art Stanley.
Now God calls us all in different ways. We don't always get something quite that clear. Does anybody ever had one of those urges to pick up the phone and call somebody?
You ever think that that's God telling you to do something? Have you ever, maybe had to go back in the house because you forgot to pick something up when you were leaving, and because of that delay, you were not in the accident on your route. You ever think maybe that was God speaking to you?
Or maybe, you're creating something in the kitchen and you discovered that you were out of a key ingredient and you go running to the store and you get to the store. And there's somebody there that, you know, that just needs to talk.
You ever think about the fact that that might be God speaking to you. You see, God speaks to us in all kinds of ways. You've got calls us to do things in all kinds of ways. And sometimes we don't want to do them.
Anybody that's ever been on a church nominating committee knows that there are times that people just don't want to do it.
Sometimes It's the way it's done.
Back when we lived in falls, church, Virginia, there is a lot of discussion about getting some of the Hispanic people, parents, especially in the school system too volunteer.
And it wasn't until someone spoke up and said, hold it, you can't ask for volunteers in the Hispanic community because in that community to volunteer is saying, I'm better than you are. I can do it better than you can. If you want your Hispanic parents to be involved in the school. You have to go to them and specifically saying, we think that you could really help us out on this and that you have what God wants, what God says we need, then they'll do it, but they won't volunteer. And once they realize that they started having very many more of Hispanic parents involved.
Now where was God speaking in all of that? I think God was speaking in the person that shared that that's the way that needed to be done. That's not the only place.
Where does God speak in our lives. And that brings us to one other thing. How does somebody else know that God is speaking to you or calling you to do something?
We have a lot of people out there that, as I said, many of us will think they're crazy, but they say, God spoke to me. And now some of them are on TV on Sunday mornings.
God spoke to me and…
And this is one of those occasions where I think God speaks in strange ways. When I was preparing for this morning sermon, I was thinking about this song. Show me from my fair lady. Words, words, words, words, just show me. That is Eliza Doolittle singing to Freddy. Last night we're sitting there. I'm doing some things Debbie's got, the TV is on in the background. There's nothing on network TV on Friday nights or Saturday nights that's worth watching by the way, if you're not into the sports. So she's turned Netflix and after a couple of, movie choices that we decided weren’t worth it. Ah, this is always good and puts on my fair lady. And I said, it's unbelievable that you decided that's what we were going to watch tonight. because the song show me was an example I was going to use in the sermon.
Was that God speaking? I don't know. It depends on whether you will hear it or not. Show me words, words, words, words, don't mean a thing. Show me if we think that God is calling us to do something, first of all, we can't be afraid to respond to it. We have to be willing to respond to it. We have to try to respond to it and the response isn't by saying that we heard God speaking to us. The response is to do what God is asking us to do.
The folks in Nazareth couldn't understand that Jesus could be who he said he was. Because they weren't willing to listen and because their lack of faith made it so he could not do what it took to show them. They said, do for us here, what you did in Capernaum, or while we've heard you did in Capernaum, but they really didn't believe that he could, and so he couldn't.
We are called all the time to do things by God. It might be the little things. It may be calling a friend. It might be picking up that one item that the person in front of you and the checkout line had to put aside because they didn't have enough money. Maybe picking that up and paying for it and giving it to them. We hear all these instances where God asked us to do something and saying that we are Christians isn't enough. God says, show me not words.
Jeremiah wouldn't be recorded as a great prophet in the scriptures if all he did was say, you sure God I'll pass the word along, but he lived out God's calling. Would Jesus even be someone that we were here to worship? If all Jesus ever did was speak?
If there were no miracles, if there were no signs, if there were no healings, if there was no compassion shown, would we even be here?
Words aren't enough? And yes, God speaks to all of us, but God's words come with action. And we are called to do the same thing. Let us pray.
Gracious God. We do know that you call us in very many, sometimes unseen or unnoticed ways, help us to always be open to your will and your word and your leading. We pray Lord for this earth and especially for the things that we have done to it, and that we can find some ways of undoing them. We see on the news about the meat that has been recalled because the water that was used to water, cropland and feed cattle, contain PFAS. And so that farmer has lost his livelihood and his land.
You have given us the knowledge and have called us to find ways of correcting that.
We pray for the people of Ukraine as they live between two powers, we asked that leaders would keep calm heads and avoid violence.
We pray for our brothers and sisters on the east coast that are without power and facing single digit temperatures and high winds, we ask that you would provide ways of keeping them safe. And we pray for all those who are working to restore that power and clear the roads.
We ask for your patience and your presence and your healing touch on all of those who are dealing with illness or injury or recovering. Restore them not only to health, but to wholeness with community.
And this day we lift up our brothers and sisters at first Presbyterian church in Alma, as they will be celebrating the installation of the new pastor this afternoon. We pray that that would be a long and fruitful ministry together.
And for our own congregation, Lord, we pray that we would hear your calling and that our actions would show that we are truly working to build up your kingdom to listen to your will and your words to be one with your spirit. All of these things we ask as the name of the one who taught us to pray together, saying our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.
As it is heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.