Hearing His Voice.

Last night at church, it was Wave Wednesday. Wave Wednesday’s are special bible study nights that feature a guest teacher/preacher. This Wave Wednesday featured Michael R. Murphy, a pastor from Sydney, Australia who has been in ministry for over 30 years. Btw, my church’s (Wave Church) lead pastor and his family are Australian. The accents are AWESOME.

The topic of the lesson was “How Do We Hear God’s Voice?”

I was raised in the church, okay? For most of my Christian life BEFORE I decided to pursue a real relationship with Christ, I was told/taught that I should, and if I was close enough to God, would hear clearly, loudly, and boldly the deep, confident, comforting, and very audible voice of God. I expected and hoped to hear Him in a conversational volume: “Hey Tobi, you should go to [insert awesome place where God wants me]” or “Tobi, the college you should go to is [insert the best university ever].”

Well…I didn’t. And it felt like failure. Did I not ask the right questions of Him? Was my prayer ignored? What did I do wrong?

What I learned last night was the voice of God isn’t necessarily going to be a booming baritone in my ear. Pastor Mike gave some guidelines to help us listen correctly and hear from the Lord.

Using his hand, he presented these tips:

1. (Thumb) The infallible Word of God. When you are believing and listening for a breakthrough or message from God, you must first ask yourself…what has He already said about your situation? Is what you’re asking or hoping for in line with the Word of God? 1 Peter 1:25 “But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.” (NIV) God’s words and commandments have not and will not change. So again…when you’re waiting with an expectant heart, what does his word say? I’m sure we’re all guilty of just standing and waiting for the answer to just pop into our conscious thoughts. Well, friends, sometimes the answer can be found if you just turn a page…think of an open-book test.

2. (Index finger) The desires of your heart. We all know the keystone scripture, Psalm 37:4 ‘Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ My fabulous study bible [Tyndale Life Application Study Bible] breaks down that verse. “To delight/commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust in him, believing that he can care for us better than we can ourselves. We should be willing to wait patiently for him to work out what is best for us.

3. Counsel of those you trust. This is easy. When you are surrounded by godly counsel, it’s not a chore to ask them for advice grounded in faith, to request their intercession on a certain issue, or to seek some type of affirmation.

4. Circumstances. Sometimes God may bring a scripture to your remembrance that can speak to your specific circumstance. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the best notes on this topic, but if you’re a college student with no job, no way to pay for your next semester, and your next trip to the Cashier’s Office/Fin. Aid Office results in a “it’s been taken care of”…you’ll “hear” Him loud and clear.

5. The peace of God. When Pastor Michael reached this point, he said “Have you ever made a decision of faith and felt completely sure about it? Like you were perfectly at peace with your choice? That’s the all-encompassing peace of God. Now what about a decision you made and after you made that decision, you felt uneasy, you kept thinking about it, and you felt doubt start creeping in? That may not have been the route God intended for you to take.

I’m still learning how to listen for God’s direction, instead of using my knowledge to make what I call an “analyzed and informed decision”. It hasn’t been completely easy– it may never be– but it’s important to me that I try to make positive progress.

Whether it’s a “small, still voice” or “like many waters”…

I’m listening.

-Misfit.

 

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Jesus Culture in Concert.

JC concert 2

"We won't be perfect, Lord...but we'll be yours."

“We won’t be perfect, Lord…but we’ll be yours.”

On May 19, I attended a Jesus Culture concert. It was the Charlotte, NC stop on the Still Believe tour with Kim Walker-Smith.

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know about my last Christian concert experience featuring HIllsong United. Can I just say that this concert may have been even better? Even with my excitement at how great it was, I hesitate ever-so-slightly at calling it a concert.

For all intensive purposes, it was a concert. I bought a ticket(premium/VIP, if I might add), had to present a physical ticket at the door, and I had a seat…but it was a great worship experience. I said it in my post about Hillsong; in venues such as coliseums and arenas where large groups of people come together to worship as one, I always imagine what Heaven will be like. Where people of different colors, of different walks of life, of different “sides of the track”, of various occupations and fields of study come together with abandon with one purpose: to praise the name of the Most High.

Their newest album drops tomorrow and I’m uber excited. If you don’t know much about them, check out the “Still Believe” album by Kim Walker-Smith and the brand new(tomorrow) album, Unstoppable Love. You won’t regret it.

Until next post…

-Misfit.

Being Christ-ian.

This post is going to be blunt.

Social media, the world wide web, and our human nature to want a “role model” has created a big problem in many Christians.

We follow Christian celebrities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We like their pictures. We say “aww” when they post about their spouses and kids. We love and/or envy their wardrobes. We want to know where they shop. Who is their tailor, seamstress, hair stylist, personal makeup artist? Unknowingly, we begin to follow their “life” with Christ, not the message of Jesus Christ.

Why do we even have Christian celebrities? The only Christian “celebrity” should be Jesus Christ.

Don’t get me wrong. Is it great that these people are using technology to spread the Gospel? No. Is it a problem that some people have become the model of Christianity…even though they are but men? Absolutely.

I love the music made by Jesus Culture, Hillsong United, and Israel Houghton, but…do I need to love and/or be obsessed with them? No.

There has been a transfer of “obsession” from secular artists, characters, speakers, or celebrities to those who have achieved “stardom” talking about God.

We should NOT be obsessed with pastors. We should NOT “follow” tele-, e-, or mobile-evangelists. We should NOT “be like” Christian artists.

We are called to be like Christ. We are meant to follow Jesus.

I don’t model my Christian walk after any human. Nobody should.

We should model our Christian walk after Christ.

Read the Bible for yourself. Don’t rely on instagram-size bites of the Word. Find out about God for yourself. It’s worth it.

Be Christ-ian.

 

-Misfit.

I Used To Hate Hymns.

I used to hate hymns in church. I used to dread that part of service.

As a person who loves to sing, praise and worship, and enjoy great music…those sad, sorrowful-sounding compositions just deflated my excitement. I’ll even stretch and say that it offended me. Yep, I was offended. How do you get me excited, hype, and happy with some LIVE praise and worship, then just shoot me off my high with a segue into the slowest hymn in history?!

I now realize that my previous dislike of these songs was just a preference for upbeat music. I never really paid attention to the lyrics and message in the hymns…only what it sounded like to my uninterested ears. Today, I still don’t like how sad some hymns sound, but I appreciate and understand that the words and message in the song is much more important.

Some of my favorites are It Is Well With My Soul(this song got me through an extremely low point in college), Great Is Thy Faithfulness, I Need Thee Every Hour, and Higher Ground. I truly believe that my growth in Christ has brought me to this point. Sometimes I find myself singing these songs randomly in the car, around the house, or even sitting during church.

I serve the same God that inspired the authors and composers of many of these songs so long ago. Isn’t that amazing? God is always relevant, His word doesn’t and will not change, and his love and faithfulness is everlasting.

If you’re anything like I am with slow hymns, next time you hear one, try not to think about how long it’ll be before the song is over. Read and understand the message in the lyrics, tap into the Holy Spirit that was there when it was written, and thank Him because you can. The words are sometimes so simple, yet powerful.

Happy Sunday.

-Misfit.

So I Smile :)

A friend who hasn’t seen me in about 6 months told me last weekend,  “You look happy. There’s a certain glow about you.” As if I wasn’t already in a great mood and feeling good, that complement made me feel amazing.

I’ve referenced my new happy in a previous post, but I’d like to revisit the topic.

I’m happy because….I know that since I’m #TeamJesus,  God is always on #TeamTobi.

I’m happy because….genuine smiles feel so much better than fake ones.

I’m happy because….my life isn’t perfect, but it’s kinda sorta great.

I’m happy because….being unhappy wastes time.

I’m happy because….darn it, I choose to be.

Choose positivity, beautiful people.

-Misfit.

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The Best Compliment

Today at work I received arguably the best compliment ever.

An associate told me, “You’re a good Christian.”

Simple,  right? Not “you’re beautiful”, “you’re smart”, “you have a gorgeous smile”, etc…just a simple observation about my Christ-likeness.

She doesn’t know much about my personal life, what church I attend, the details of my relationship with God or anything like that, but something about what she sees everyday made her say that.

I want to assume that she sees “The God in me.” I’ve talked about wanting people to see that in a previous post. It’s so awesome and humbling to hear someone say that. I can’t take the credit for it at all. The Holy Spirit is continuously working in me and I’m glad and grateful that the results are visible.

-Misfit.