We’ve been listening to Bob Hamp at our Life Group on Wednesday nights. Check him out here. The series we have been working on is Freedom.
Two of his stories I wanted to share so I won’t forget them and because they hit me hard…
The first story was one he told about a conference. There was a speaker who rarely ever “called people out” over the platform but in one of his speaking engagements, He stops, looks over at a guy in the audience and says, “God says, ‘I want to call you Jeffery.’” Sounds simple and the man was wearing a name tag that said, “Jeff” so stands to reason that’s his name. The man began to weep. Later that day, Bob saw the man and asked him about the Word. Jeff told him that he works in the children’s ministry at his church and the night before, they had a rambunctious group and there was one little boy in particular who kept asking to call him “Jeffery”. Finally, Jeff took the boy aside and the boy asked again if he could call him “Jeffery”. Jeff told the boy, “I don’t know you that well and only people who love me call me Jeffery”. Bob made the statement to the effect of “Isn’t it just like God to think of such a witty way to say, ‘I love you.’”
The second story he told was about him and a friend trying to exercise their spiritual gifts. They were at his office talking and praying and asking God, “What do you want us to do?” His friend had a picture in his head of this man and a little girl with pigtails at a burger joint not too far away. They decided to go to the burger place. If memory serves his friend’s wife joined them. So they were there and no one was fitting the description of the man he saw. Bob ordered his burger and was chatting up the cashier when someone tapped him on the shoulder. It was a man he knew who fit the description. He began telling Bob that his daughter was in trouble. There were more details to the story but that isn’t the point. The talked to the man and prayed with him. Bob’s friend who had the picture in his head, was so excited and his faith was stirred by what had happened that he called another friend of his and was excitedly telling him what had happened that evening. He ended the call by telling his friend, “Dude, we have to LIVE like this.”
As we journey through life it is easy to forget gifts we once worked to stir up and to strengthen. It is easy to put things on like prayer on the back burner. It is easy to forget who we really are because life has come along and defined us in so many other roles and through situations.
Today one of our friends from church was sharing his experiences of going on missions trips and how some things always go wrong but his faith is in God. It was funny to me because my experience with God has been that when He tells me to do something, everything begins to fall into place perfectly. When God told me to go to Alabama, I began to make the necessary changes in my life to go and everything began to fall into place perfectly. When God put the Hubs and I together, everything began to fall into place…we moved 300 miles, both got jobs, places to live, everything just worked. Things work so well in my life when it is “THE GOD thing” that I barely remember the things that things that come against us because they kind of faded into the background and weren’t big things in the long run. When God told us to buy a house, everything worked out smoothly. I’m not saying each one of these things were easy…everyone one of them required risk and a lot of hard work. Because God told us to do it, there was no stopping or turning back. That’s my experience. Everyone experiences God differently.
Saying all of that to say this, yes, I’ve had seasons in my life when I didn’t hear God tell me anything or lead me about anything. I don’t like it but I still believe in Him. Yes, I’ve had seasons in my life when God spoke to me strongly about some things and not at all about other things (usually the things I wanted him to tell me about). I may have experienced some frustration (*this is possibly an understatement) but I still love Him.
I can say this for sure….I would rather “live like this” than live without Him. I would rather have Him leading me to do things that might not be comfortable for me than to live without Him.
Dudes, we have to live like this.
We have to make listening to Him and following after Him and obeying Him our way of life. It is the great adventure.
We have to live this, we just have to. I’m desperate to live this.
The lyrics to a song run through my head tonight, “Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing.” God, please awaken my soul to live; to truly live. To live You. To listen for Your voice and follow strong after You. Please help me to live every day. Help me to listen and tune in to You. Please help me to be sensitive to your leading and follow even before You verbalize what You want. God, like the Bible says in Jeremiah, take the stony places of my heart and massage out the hardness until my heart is once again a heart of flesh a soft beating place. Jesus, please awake my soul again.
In Jesus name, Amen.