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A Voice in the Dark: Listening to Obey

Greetings from the Center of Hope! Recently, I had the privilege of exploring 1 Samuel 3 with a congregation in Northwest Iowa. In the passage, Samuel heard a voice in the darkness call his name three times, not knowing the voice was God. All three times, he ran to Eli, who was the High Priest of Israel at that time. Each time, being sent back to bed. However, on the third time, Eli understood that the voice was from God and gave Samuel the words of response if God called him again. No surprise, God called for a fourth time, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). The Hebrew word used for “listening” is shama meaning “to hear with interest” or “to hear so to obey.” Samuel was not going to just hear what God had to say. He made the conscious decision beforehand to obey whatever God was going to say. And this is an important takeaway that we can all take to our hearts. Do you listen to God with the intent to obey? In other words, do you approach God’s Word with the stance of obedience?

As a ministry worker at the Center of Hope, I aim to keep my ears open to hearing a word from God. I understand that God speaks to us through His inspired Word and the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Listening is vital in any relationship, especially with God. And guess what? Responding is also vital. As followers of Jesus, we need to understand that when God calls, we are expected to respond with action, with obedience, which will result in a changed life. However, it saddens me that many of us want to hear God’s voice desperately….unless we need to change. Unfortunately, that is not how callings from God work. As followers of Jesus, we are called to carry our cross, to live life in humility viewing others as more significant than ourselves, to proclaim His message of hope to the broken, to care for the poor, to live out the Great Commission, to love God and our neighbor through everything we do, to be holy, set apart, people for His purpose…to be people eagerly waiting to hear His voice with the intent to obey. That is what we are called to do and be.

But you may say, “But Adam, those are all broad callings. What about our specific callings?” To answer that, I would say this, “You need to embrace your broad calling as Christians to embrace your specific callings.” The reality is God does not, in most cases, speak to us verbally as He did with Samuel. Often, we don’t know the exact direction God wants us to go. Yet, we know from God’s Word who God calls us to be. And if we embrace our calling to be who God wants us to be, we will naturally do what God calls us to do in whatever circles we find ourselves in. We just need to actively seek out His voice.

At the Center of Hope, we recognize this and have been listening for the intent to obey. We aim to be faithful with the resources given to us, to use them to create opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus. In recent years, we expanded our Bike Ministry to include whole families that has opened doors for new relationships, we merged with Destiny After Hours Clinic to start the Center of Hope Free Evening Clinic to care for the uninsured in Sioux Falls, we started the Earn-Your-Way program that has empowered our guests to use their God-given gifts to bless our community, we expanded what we offer in our Care Center to better serve the struggling, and MORE. We now changed our Open Hours to be even more available to our guests. And why do we do these things? Because we know who we are in Christ and are eagerly listening to obey FOR HIS GLORY!

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