Emily Vermilya - Acts 15. Discerning the voice of God lies at the heart of our desire to shift from asking to listening. But what if God’s leading seems unclear or leaves open a number of options for us in terms of next steps? What do we do when what we discern lies in direct contrast with what another brother or sister is hearing from the Lord? Examining the account of the Jerusalem Counsel (Acts 15), the Early Church models for us the role of others in helping us discern God’s voice and encourages us to become a community of people who engage in corporate discernment.
Steve DeNeff - 1 Samuel 16:1-13. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance… The Lord does not look at the things man looks at… the Lord looks at the heart.” On discernment as the single most important practice for dealing with complexity in our contemporary lives.
Ethan Linder - Amos 2:6-12, 8:11-12. “I will send a famine through the land--not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” On yearning to hear the voice of God, only to find we’ve lost our hearing.
Steve DeNeff - Ezekiel 3:1-11. “The voice said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what I am giving you – eat this scroll – (and) let my words sink deep into your own heart first; then go to the people in exile.” On the importance of putting ourselves before the Word and obeying it, whether anyone else does or not.
Steve DeNeff - Mark 9:14-27. In this well-known miracle is a parable for the contemporary Church. Like the father’s boy, we have been “robbed of our speech” (v.17). In the eyes of the public, we cannot speak because we cannot hear (v.26) and we cannot hear because we no longer believe (v.19, 29). We are “disenchanted,” by our overcrowded beliefs. Whenever we’re speechless, the solution is not to keep talking - though, often, that’s what we do - but to really listen, first to God and then to others before we know what the gospel really means for our world today.