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Finding the Voice of God

Finding the Voice of God

Language is beautiful, and powerful. We use our words to communicate in all sorts of different ways: story telling, songs, poetry, text messaging, even in our work emails! But what happens when you cannot communicate in those traditional ways? Does that mean we lose connection to those around us?

During my ten years as a teacher in special education, I saw how communication extends beyond simply speaking and listening. Teaching the deaf and hard of hearing, I had students whose communication style did not match my own. They relied on their capabilities and strengths to communicate and connect with those around them. Here are a few examples:

  • “A” was completely deaf. She was born into a family that communicated through American Sign Language (ASL) and utilized interpreters, when they were available, to communicate with others who did not know ASL. 
  • “B” had a body that was severely limited by disability, and was able to communicate when utilizing a cochlear implant to hear and used his eyes to look between two choices.
  • “C” was impacted by multiple disabilities including hearing loss, autism, and Down syndrome. This meant utilizing multiple forms of communication including picture pointing and a picture-based speech generating device. 

These are just a few examples of the many different communication modalities my students would use. A modality is the specific method, procedure, or way something is expressed or experienced. No two people communicate exactly alike and there are so many different modalities of communication. My world of communication was broadened and deepened so much by the students I worked with each and every day. I was challenged to learn new ways of connection, meeting my students through their choice of expression. Regardless of the modality my students used, each one had genuine rich connections with family, friends, and school staff. Communication extends beyond the words we speak or the messages we send, and leads to the beautiful connections and relationships these students so boldly displayed. 

 

The Word of God

My students broadened my experience of communication and it had an unusual side effect. I began thinking about my communication with God, wondering if I was limiting my experience and connection with him because I was trying to use my modalities and not his. What modality does God use to communicate? 

2 Timothy 3: 14-16 (ESV) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (emphasis mine).

Scripture itself tells us that Scripture is how God communicates with us. 2 Timothy says the sacred writings, the Bible, is “breathed out by God” for us. God spoke, and others wrote down his words. God wrote me a book. He breathed out all of Scripture to talk to me. As a teacher and book lover, this thought stopped me in my tracks. God, the Creator, wrote me a book. It is like having a dedication line at the beginning of the book that says: 

“For Allison, My beloved daughter, this is for you.”

I love to peruse top book lists, see what others are reading, and maybe choose a few to put on my own reading list. The most sold book in the world is the Holy Bible, but it is shocking to hear that we cannot even pinpoint the exact number of units sold. The current best estimate from research that was done by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 2021 says that number is between 5 to 7 billion copies. There is a reason there are so many units sold, and that is because the book isn’t just dedicated to me. Open your Bible and you won’t find my name in it, but yours. God wrote you a book too, with a dedication just for you.

 

The Voice of God

I have never audibly heard the voice of God. I believe people have, and will audibly hear the voice of God, but at this point in my life, I am not one of them. I do not get to sit at a coffee shop and talk with Jesus like I might with a friend or colleague. I don’t even get to use another communication modality like ASL, pictures, or eye gaze to directly form that connection. Communication with God looks different from my day to day form of communication. But I have experienced Jesus through the Scriptures, and Jesus will bless us for our faith without sight. 

John 20:29 Jesus said, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ 

No longer do I have to wonder where God’s voice is. I know where to find it every time I need it. He wrote it down for me in the Bible, which I am so blessed to have. It is a challenge reframing my view of the Bible as more than just a book to be read, to be viewed rightly as God’s voice being transcribed for me. This is not a one and done learning moment. It is constant training of my brain, each time I am searching for God’s voice, to remind myself I know exactly where it is and how to find it. 

 

Into the Word Together

Journey into God’s word written down for us in the Bible. This is not a natural or easy thing to do alone, but once you are a part of God’s family, you not only have a book dedicated to you, but brothers and sisters who will walk beside you on the journey toward Christlikeness. So join me and others from Christ Community and engage with theFormed.life to daily equip ourselves to be formed by God’s word and God’s ways with God’s people. We study and wait together, in anticipation of the day Jesus returns. One day we will be in the physical presence of God. No more will we have the barriers or lack of sight, sound, and touch. To that I say, come Lord Jesus, come. Until that day, join me in seeking God’s voice, through the Bible, the book he wrote for us. 

A Lasting Legacy Can Be an Act of Faith

A Lasting Legacy Can Be an Act of Faith

A Lasting Legacy Can Be an Act of Faith

 As Christians, we are called to be stewards — stewards of our faith, of our loved ones, and of the things in our lives that God has blessed us with. Estate planning is a meaningful way to care for yourself, your family, and the communities and ministries close to your heart. 

For many Christians, this critical life task can be an important way to put their faith into action and create a lasting legacy that upholds their values and beliefs for generations to come.
 

Why Estate Planning?

When you make a will, you have the opportunity to contribute to the people and causes you love on your own terms. Just as God’s love sustains us and unites our communities around a shared purpose, estate planning can sustain your personal faith today, tomorrow, and for years to come. You have the power to communicate your wishes and steward your resources with care, purpose, and compassion. 

In the New Testament, we read that the early Christians were known for their radical generosity, using their resources to care for their community and some selling property and giving the proceeds to be used for those in need (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37). 

This trajectory is rooted in the history of the Israelites setting aside the edges of their fields for gleaning by widows, orphans, the poor, and the needy (Leviticus 19:9-10, Deuteronomy 24:19-22).

Today, the seeds of generosity have been planted for you, and you can pull from these deep-rooted traditions to create an estate plan that sustains a legacy of selflessness. 

 

Your Faith, Your Family, Your Legacy

Estate planning is also a powerful way to communicate with your loved ones and your family. When we think of what it means to be a steward of everything God has entrusted to our care — our families, careers, and finances — it is easy to forget about the final act of stewardship we have after we leave this earth. 

How will our lifetime of stewardship impact those we love after we are gone? Creating a will empowers you to pass your faith forward and steward your resources in ways that continue to support what matters to you. You can communicate important financial, healthcare, and end-of-life wishes in your estate plan and through your last will and testament to support your family and those who may be charged with your estate. 


Getting Started with Christ Community
 

 As a member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, our purpose is to serve you and your loved ones in your faith, influencing our community and world for Jesus Christ. That’s why we have partnered with FreeWill, a secure online estate planning resource that allows you to begin building one element of your legacy of faith – at no cost to you. 

This simple, self-guided platform offers step-by-step guidance on how to direct the use of  what God has given you in ways that honor the word and work of the Lord. 

No single generation builds a church. The beauty of Christ Community is in all of us who take up the cross, build lives around the Bible, and love the church. 

Resources:

Generosity Paper

Visit FreeWill.com/cckc to get started today

Living a Generous Life: Planning a Lasting Legacy

Humble Confidence…

Humble Confidence…

I am a big fan of Mike Rowe and his podcast “The Way I Heard It.” Recently, he had two episodes that highlighted an important truth. We could use a little more humility and a little less certainty in our world. In episode 181 entitled “Off by Roughly Two Trillion” he recounts a time when he was narrating  a science program and he proclaimed with certainty there are over 200 billion galaxies in our universe. Two weeks later, he had to re-record that episode because new data had come out indicating the number was actually closer to two TRILLION galaxies. He was off by quite a bit, but he sounded equally certain in both recordings. A few weeks ago in episode 185, Mike Rowe proclaimed he was “Off by Roughly Two Trillion, AGAIN!” In this episode, he reveals that new, new data seems to indicate the figure of 200 billion is more likely correct. Again, with great certainty, he proclaims these “facts” to the world.

I remember interviewing at Christ Community for my job back in the year 2000. I had no idea where Kansas was on the map (don’t judge me, the weatherman stood in front of Kansas and I was never good at geography). During the interview I was introduced to several ideas and thoughts which drew me in. One of the ideas I heard from Pastor Tom which I could not shake was that of “humble confidence.” This was a phrase I had never heard before, and it not only struck me as profound, but it captivated me as a theological principle because of its rich meaning and broad application to real life.

I enjoyed, and am very grateful for my upbringing and how it molded me. I was blessed to attend a Christian liberal arts college where ideas were not spoon fed as “the way.” Rather, concepts that theologians have debated for centuries were presented fairly from all angles and we were taught to think and decide for ourselves where we landed in the debate and what we believed. In this kind of setting, I think I learned that the idea of certainty was something reserved for a very small number of ideas, especially when it came to theology. There are core beliefs that all orthodox Christians can agree upon, but entire denominations were formed over the disagreements people have had over the secondary issues we find throughout Scripture. So, while I had this basic understanding and held this viewpoint, I did not have a word to summarize this framework. When I heard “humble confidence” I was captivated. YES!

I can be humbly confident in my ideas, but I could be wrong. I am not certain about most things. This does not make these ideas or theological truths less meaningful or important, but when people far smarter than me can debate both sides with equal credibility, who am I to say my way is THE way?

What I loved was that Tom Nelson, who was really smart, was humble enough to say “I could be wrong.”

This year I have often asked myself where all the humble confidence has gone in our world. The opposite of humble confidence is certainty. One author I read recently equated certainty with the lack of humility and I think I agree. When I present myself as certain about something, I communicate I am right and you are wrong. I communicate “end of discussion.” In casual conversation as well as more formal communications coming from all sources, I get the sense of certainty rather than humble confidence. The way I see “x” is the right way to see it and, by implication, your way is wrong. I wonder if more civil dialogue would take place if  we would approach the table of conversation with the posture of “I could be wrong.” Would we be more “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19)?” Would we, as Saint Francis prayed, be more likely to “seek to understand rather than be understood”? 

I know I could use a strong dose of humble confidence in my life. What about you?