Still Listening

Where does all disappointment come from? Doesn’t it happen when we have expectations and those expectations aren’t met?

There were some big positives about the meeting last night:

  • Moving Chairs. So many people came to the meeting that we had to rearrange the chairs 3 times to add enough seats for everyone. This means there was a lot of interest and a large group of people that are excited about what God is doing at Chase Valley.
  • Communion. We shared the Lord’s Supper together. This was a powerful statement of unity as we each served the one next to us.
  • Information. We were able to share a lot of information about the specifics of the financial situation with a diverse group of people who don’t normally sit in on finance or leadership meetings.

I was also expecting to hear, how is God answering peoples’ prayers? Last week when the group met we agreed to pray for a week and then return to share how God was speaking to us. There was not an opportunity last night for those returning to say, “This is what God said to me during my prayer time…” I left still wondering, “How has God been speaking to the leaders in my church?”

Well, God is still talking. I’m not done listening. I would like to know what else is He saying?

6 Responses to “Still Listening”

  1. 1 Jim Chase August 27, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Billy, I too wish we had been able to spend more time on that part of the conversation last night. However, I trust that the conversation will continue, and that we will all have the opportunity to hear what the Lord is saying. Allow me to share what the Lord is impressing upon me.

    Having been a part of Chase Valley’s leadership in various capacities for much of the last 13 years, I have had the privilege of experiencing wonderful times of blessing and adventure, as well as times of intense, fiery trial. Through it all, the lifeline of prayer has been central to the journey. This season, while seemingly existential, is truly no different. The concerns are many and deep, but I endeavored to speak less, and listen more.

    As I prayed, what the Lord impressed upon me was not a practical way forward or an inspired, pragmatic solution. Instead came a deeply personal question, “What is the motive of your heart, Jim?” I love that over the last few months, we have begun to experience a deepening freshness in our relationships, our worship and our ministries. Clearly, attendance and giving growth are necessary to establish financial balance and health. But again, the question burns in me, “What is the motive of your heart, Jim? Is it to save the building, the property, the thing you call the church? Have I not saved My Bride already? The things you treasure are but temporary; I am eternal. I called you to reach the lost and unchurched, to free the oppressed and grow more disciples for Me. For Me, and the glory of My Name. What is the motive of your heart, Jim?”

    I rejoice that once again we are talking outreach. But the caution in my heart is the motive. It is not for our sake that we reach out, but for the sake of Christ and eternity. If we fail to have the right motivation, the efforts will not prosper. Our compassion for the lost must be a true compassion, not one that masks a material desire. I want to be where God is. Period. Seek first the Kingdom. Forget not our First Love. Trust and obey. And pray without ceasing.

    The fullness of the Lord’s wisdom is manifest through the Body – generally, no one person sees the whole picture. But as the Spirit speaks to our spirits, the fullness of Truth is made known. So what I sense is at most merely one possible part of the word He wishes to speak. And so I too remain in listening mode, and desire to hear more from the Lord and the people through whom He chooses to speak. Open my heart, Lord, and open my ears to hear what You have to say to Your people.

  2. 2 Sarah Chia August 27, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Over the last week, several different Bible verses came to mind. For example…

    Romans 13:7-8 “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

    Phil. 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (On a similar note, Matthew 6:33)

    Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

  3. 3 BethIvy August 27, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    i can definitely see why that would be frustrating. it’s often so hard for people to hear God speaking, especially when we’re doing a lot of talking.

    but i guess what comes to mind is this:
    “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

    your church having communion together and taking an interest in the issue, like you said is a huge blessing. it shows the spirit of God is working in them. as your church struggles, perhaps God is working in them to grow them up into spiritual adults in His Kingdom.

    keep hoping. hope and pray in the Spirit. it’s kinda like what God’s teaching me with concordia: baby steps. churches sometimes need baby steps to get to where He wants them to go.

  4. 4 Joey Davis August 28, 2008 at 9:39 am

    I believe that disappointment comes as we sift through the desires that are in the deep parts of our hearts and souls. We must not forsake the continual desire that gnaws in us for the disappointment that waits each morning on the doorstep. On that same doorstep awaits God’s mercy that is new with each morning sun. Be blessed my friend and encouraged! Ok…with reading “Without Wax” and your post, along with the book that I am reading, I am inspired to post 🙂

  5. 5 Kristin August 29, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Jim, (and billy) I enjoyed so much of what you wrote.

    So much of what God has been speaking to me takes the form of “getting serious”. Basically what I feel we’re being challenged to do is get serious, get radical. Get a gut check on our “pride” level? Should we not be a church that is willing to sell everything. Even the chairs we sit in, in order to pay what is owed to others in the community? What kind of witness are we when we do not, at minimal, pay what is owed?

    Are we holding on to things like land, refrigerators, a building, etc that we cannot afford simply because we feel like if we somehow sell those things to pay a debt that we have failed? Why is is about US so much?

    I am in Dave Ramsey mode. I am of the mindset that if you cannot increase revenue by “income” (we’re all tithing which is pretty impressive), then your next step must be to liquidate assets. Sell everything. Then if you have to re-buy you do it using Gods model whereby you raise the funds FIRST and you build second. We, as the hands and feet of Christ, should not be slaves to the lender.

    This is a radical thought-process. But I’m pretty sure the person we’re supposed to be modeling our lives after was a pretty radical dude.

  6. 6 Al Sr August 30, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Billy I admire your faith and committment to the Lord, keep working the Lord will make it happen on his time

    Keep listening to the Lord, follow his direction and above all don’t give up, you can make a difference

Comments are currently closed.


Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: