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.
Emily Vermilya - Matthew 13:3-13; 16-17. Listening is an art form necessary for those who desire to know, understand, and follow God. The parables of Christ call us to move beyond merely hearing the proclaimed word to truly listening for the fullness of the voice of God. Though usually offered as simple stories, the parables require us to look beyond the obvious for the deeper intended message and meaning. In the Parable of the Sower (as it has often been entitled), we find a reminder that in order to receive the Word of the Lord and see it flourish in our lives, we must refocus and commit ourselves to cultivating soil in which it can take root and grow.