Luke 5:16, John 7:39
Friday, August 2, 2013
Define your own Listening Room time and space
SPECIAL TIME, SPECIAL PLACE
REMEMBER the story about the Japanese pastor who had a cabin in his garden which was his Listening Room? It’s a nice idea – but not practicable for everyone. What’s important is to find a special time and special place which is ‘away’ from the usual activities. For me, I need to get away from desks, screens, books and anything that reminds me of church administration!
When Jesus was in and around Jerusalem, it seems that the Mount of Olives, east of the city, was His special place to retreat to in the evening, hear God and pray (Luke 21:37). As He travelled across Israel, he found other Listening Room places:
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
The prophet Daniel, 600 years before Christ, had an upstairs Listening Room:
…in his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem.
You can talk to God and hear His voice throughout the day – and so you should. But to be sensitive to His leading, His words of love and encouragement (challenge, too) takes a bit more. Think of it as fasting from routine and activities if you like. For love to grow, it is worth investing in some special time and close attention.
CREATE YOUR OWN LISTENING ROOM
Maybe you have already begun to set a special time and place to meet the Lord. Are you a ‘morning person’ or an ‘evening person’? Do you have a Listening Room space and is it working for you? If not, try a different time, a different place. Ask God for His wisdom on this – He wants to meet with you.
– Describe your Listening Room time and place to someone else e.g. in your group.
– To safeguard this, what changes have been, or will be, necessary e.g. when you get up or when you watch TV or other routines.
If you had a personal appointment with David Cameron or with a top civil servant or a wealthy benefactor who was interested in your cause, you wouldn’t let anything get in the way or interrupt. In your Listening Room, you have an appointment with God who said “Let there be light!” and started the process of creating the universe.
– What might get in the way of your time with God?
– Who or what prevents you? Who is behind that? Who opposes you spending this time with God and hearing from Him, really?
Discuss what happens day to day with others who are working with the same aspirations – and the same difficulties. Work out some strategies together and resolve, with them, to guard this time.
DRAW NEAR WITH EXPECTANCY
Relationship with God in the Bible moves from being a dutiful obedience with priests as intermediaries (e.g. in the exodus from Egypt in the desert) to a generally joyful (if sometimes penitential) personal experience in the Psalms of David, through to Jesus’ bridge building open invitation.
For us, this is about coming close to God to experience His life and joy:
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good, and your should will delight in the richest of fare.
Jesus said: “If anyone is thirsty, let them come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
This isn’t just about us being blessed in this close relationship, although it has to start there. This is the foundation of our mission – others will start to be blessed by what we receive from God in the Listening Room. So think of your time with with Jesus as a joyful, divine appointment – and the most essential part of your equipping for the mission He has for you.