I just returned from Inspiration Point Bible Camp where I have spent the last few days teaching in their CheckPoint program. It is a year-long discipleship and ministry training program. The students spend time studying God’s Word, serving, and developing ministry tools. One of the interesting components of the program is to develop “practical” ministry tools such as car maintenance, cooking for groups, financial planning and home maintenance skills like electrical trouble-shooting, etc. A typical day for the students could include an in-depth morning study on the Holy Spirit, followed by preparing lunch for 25 people, spending the afternoon roofing a building and then off to an evening of ministry to children and youth. I love this program.
The reason for the broad set of tools in the program is that all of life is a ministry opportunity to serve and bring others into contact with God and His people. These young adults can confidently start a monthly meal program for the community, help a neighbor change the oil in their car and teach someone what the Bible tells us following Jesus is all about. The CheckPointers will leave this program with lives that have a passion to serve the Lord as well as a confidence that they are equipped to do what God has called them to do.
To fully accomplish this, the students need to be willing to listen; not just hear but listen. There needs to be a humility that enjoys the fact that others can teach me. I have been blessed by seeing their hunger to acquire more so that they can serve and love better. The students want to live their lives in a way that the Kingdom of God grows and Jesus is proclaimed. But to live a full and expanding life like this requires a receptiveness to continually listen with a sense of expectancy.
This Sunday’s message will be on God’s call of Samuel. Samuel is the key figure chosen by God to transition from the period of the Judges of Israel to the Kings of Israel. He was a young boy living in the House of the Lord in Shiloh during a time of half-hearted passion for God. The connection to and acknowledgement of God’s reign throughout Israel was largely going through the motions. God was about to change that through the calling and subsequent life of Samuel.
In I Samuel 3.10 we see that God called out to Samuel and he listened.
It was in this simple reality that things began to change for Samuel and Israel. God was able to use one life in such a significant way that many lives were impacted. We clearly see in the pages of Scripture that as Samuel lived out his days he was a very good listener – of God and people.
It is really no different for any of us today. There is much for us to listen to as we live out our days. We are in need of a great deal of listening in relation to God. He speaks to us through the Bible and through the Spirit that lives within us. We also can grow in effectiveness in ministry as we listen to others. Finally, we grow in our ability to connect to the world that Jesus loves as we listen to our neighbors.
So, I invite you and encourage you to listen with expectancy. This means that God is revealing Himself to you as well as using you in His Kingdom. This is a key element of what life is about for God’s family.
Pastor Nick Mundis