C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

When things are going well, He often speaks in a whisper and we have to listen closely.  How do you know if it is God speaking to your conscience or if it is bad pizza from the night before?  I won’t tell you that it is always easy, but I’ll give a few guidelines that I believe will help you distinguish between the two.

Before you begin seeking God’s will, make sure your heart is in a position to do WHATEVER God says.  It’s important to decide that before asking God for His will.

Next, ask yourself if one of the options or possibilities are in disagreement with the Bible’s teachings.  (This assumes that you have to be reading the Bible and learning so you can know it’s teachings.)

For example, if you see three options and one of them calls on a little white lie, go ahead and mark that one off.  It is NOT God’s will even if it is the easy option or most attractive to you.

If you still have two options and you aren’t feeling God’s leading strongly towards one of them, remember that God also speaks through the “Church.”  (The “Church” is the people, not a building.)

Don’t ask everyone you know for their opinion.  Go to a few trustworthy, wise, godly people that care about you and explain the situation.  God can sometimes make things a bit clearer by talking to other people that love Him and you.

You can also look at the circumstances.  Once again, you have to interpret the circumstances through the Bible.  It’s not always a “given” that you take the most attractive option that presents itself.

If the options are:

  1. Take a high paying job.
  2. Keep the job that you have.

God may want you to stay at your present job to reach someone.  That’s where listening to God is more important than a knee jerk decision to the most attractive option that seems to present itself.

If you have sincerely prayed, “God, I’ll do WHATEVER You ask me to do” and you have really sought His will through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the Church, and you don’t feel like He is saying “wait,” then make the best decision that you can.

I really believe if you “delight yourself in the Lord, that He will give you the desires of your heart.”  After going through all of these steps with a sincere heart, make a choice and don’t look back.

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Shut Up and Listen!

December 21, 2012

Most Christ followers would say that their prayer life is not what they feel like it should be.  While saying this, they have in mind that they aren’t TALKING to God enough.

Jesus had a specific time in the morning while it was still dark when He went by himself to a quiet place to pray.  We probably picture Jesus pouring out His heart to God as He prayed.  I think that is one thing that He did during this time, but I also believe He was simply quiet during this time too.

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person did all the talking and you couldn’t get a word in anywhere?  Maybe they didn’t seem to care about what you had to say?  You just want to staple their lips together!

If you’re in a relationship with God, He isn’t only interested in hearing the shopping list of the things that you want Him to do.  He wants time to speak too.  Most Christ followers say they want to hear from Him but won’t be still and shut their own mouth long enough for Him to say anything.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Other versions says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

Sometimes we need to sit and listen!

How does God speak?  Henry Blackaby teaches that God speaks to us mainly in 4 ways.  He speaks through the Bible, through prayer, circumstances, and through the church.

Let’s look at the first way that I mentioned.  God speaks to us through the Bible.  For example, if you are a Christ follower and haven’t been baptized, you don’t need to ask Him if you should be baptized.  He’s already told you to do that in the Bible!  Just DO IT!

If you are holding a grudge against family member or an old business associate, you need to forgive them!  The only prayer that you need to pray regarding forgiving is perhaps for the strength to follow through on forgiving them.  Don’t even ask if you should forgive them.  (That’s another subject, but if you’re interested further in forgiveness, try:  https://eddiepoole.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/she-cant-forgive-him/)

Sometimes God only gives us one step at a time.  If He’s revealed to us that we need to spend more time with Him and we haven’t done that, he may not tell us anything more until we do the last thing that He’s told us to do.

Pray about your next step with God, shut up, and LISTEN.   When he reveals that step, TAKE THE STEP.  THEN ask for the next one.  

Ever feel like your passion for God isn’t as strong as it used to be?  Maybe you’ve walked with God for many years, you want it back, but you can’t kid yourself.  The passion is gone.

Romans 12:11 tells us to “never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor.”  If this verse is telling us to keep our zeal, then it is acknowledging that we can loose our passion.

I’ve been there.  My heart is for God.  I would NEVER decide to commit some terrible sin or make a conscious decision to move God to the backseat.  I just looked up from life one day and realized that my passion wasn’t what it used to be.

If our passion isn’t as strong as it used to be, what do we do to keep it or get it back?

If we continue doing what we’re doing, we’ll continue to get what we’ve been getting. 

When our passion fades, it’s time for some pretty major changes.  God is worth it.

5 Suggestions:

1.  Get Rid of Any Sin:  Sin can cause you loose your passion for God.  It could be something you are doing that you never meant to be involved in.  It could also be something that you aren’t doing that He told you to do.  Have you felt like God wants you to serve in your church but you reason it away?  That’s sin too.

It could be the sin of busy-ness.  Be brutal in examining your life.  Ask God to show you any wicked way in you.  (Psalm 139:23-24)

2.  Shake Up The Place of Your Quiet Time:  You have to make time for God if you find you’ve squeezed Him out of your life. If you don’t have time to have a quiet time with Him or to serve in your church, you’re too busy.  Jesus met with God “very early while it was still dark.”  (Mark 1:35)

About once a week or so, I like to change the atmosphere of where I meet with God.  Sometimes I’ll go to the park.  I’ve been known to go to a cemetery and pray.  (It helps you get things into perspective real quick.)  I even stopped at a winery once and sat there for over an hour, seeking God.  Shake up the atmosphere!

3.  Set the Tone of Your Quiet Time: Find a couple of praise songs that really move you and start your time listening and singing to God.  One that does it for me is “What a Savior” by Laura Story.  Another good one is “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redmon.  Raise your hands and really speak your heart as you sing along, whatever the song.  (Just pick a private place or people may stare.  Lol)  Read your Bible.

4.  Go to Church EVERY WEEK:  We shouldn’t have the mindset that we’ll decide on Saturday night what we’re doing on Sunday.  Going to church should be the default for our lives.  It’s just what we do.  There really shouldn’t be any discussion or staying home once or twice a month because “we’re tired.”  It’s an hour!  If you need more “me time,” stay home on Saturday from the ballgame or whatever.  Get your butt to church EVERY Sunday.

5.  Begin to Serve in Your Passion:  If you feel God’s presence when you serve the homeless, do that.  If you love it when a child lights up when you show them love, volunteer in your church’s children’s ministry.  God has never called us to be “Pew Potatoes”.  He doesn’t want us to just come to church every week and “soak up the Word.”  We have to put it into action and for most of us, we’re called to serve in the local church.

James 2:17 says that “faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.”

What are some other things that a person can do to reignite their passion for Christ?

Westboro Baptist Church

God gets the blame for ALOT of dumb things that humans do.  Jim Jones had people drink poison Kool Aide because “God” told him to do that.  “God” regularly tells the Westboro Baptist Church “Wackos” to protest at funerals of our country’s heros.    I’ve heard of pediphiles say that “God” told them to molest the kids that they harmed.  Did God REALLY tell these FRUITCAKES to do those things?  How do we know?

Sometimes my wife will speak a sentence to me and I know EXACTLY what she means because I’ve known her since college and we’ve been married long enough to have a 19 year old child.  I understand where she’s coming from.

I also have a couple of old friends that come to my church.  Sometimes we might say something in reference to an adventure that we had in our college years and the other one will “get it”.  Other friends standing nearby may hear the same words but won’t “get it” until we explain what we meant.

What makes that understanding possible when such few words are exchanged?

We understand each other.  We have a history with each other.  We also know the personality, passions, and hearts of each other.

Hearing God is like that too.  That’s why it is SO important to know His word when listening to Him.

I once had someone tell me that it must be God’s will that they continue the affair that they were having with a married man.  They had prayed, “God, take these feelings that I have for him away.”  When the feelings didn’t leave, she reasoned that it must be God’s will for them to be together.

She would never had thought along those lines if she had known God better through the pages of the Bible.  If you think you’re hearing from God. there is a test to measure it by.

If what you’re hearing conflicts with clear instructions in His Word or His character, it’s not God.

The 66 books of the Bible tell us what God is like.  We learn His passions, what He loves, and even some things that he doesn’t like very much.  The Bible tells us things that we shouldn’t be involved in if we want to know Him.  It even gives us some instructions on how to know God’s heart.

It’s hard to hear and understand someone that you don’t know very well.  It’s also hard to understand what someone means when you don’t know their background.

If you’re REALLY interested in hearing from God, get to know Him through the Bible. Then when He speaks, you will be prepared to better understand Him.

He will also speak to you through the Bible when you prayerfully read it in the quiet.  Make a habit of it!

Sometimes I wish I could just pick up the phone and call God like I can my friends.  When I want to do His will but I’m just not sure what His will is, that can be frustrating!

Then, when you start hearing Him speak, do you ever begin doubting and wondering if it’s just bad broccoli from the night before?  Maybe it’s just me.  lol

5 Reasons We May Not Hear From God:

1.  You Don’t Belong to Him:  

This is a tough one to start out with but I didn’t write the book.

“Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:47

People aren’t born Christians.  Being an America doesn’t make you a Christian.

Growing up in a Christian family doesn’t make you a Christian & God doesn’t have grandkids.

If you don’t belong to God, you won’t hear Him speak.  Each person has to make the decision by himself as to if he will follow Christ.

A  person that wants to hear from God should ask themselves if they have ever given their lives to God, through Christ, and accepted His forgiveness of sin.

2.  Sin In Your Life:  

“If I had been cozy with evil, the Lord would never have listened. But He most surely did listen, He came on the double when He heard my prayer.” Psalm 66:18-19  The Message

If God has been telling you that there is sin in your life and you won’t listen to Him, the next time you talk to Him, guess what He’s likely to say?  He’s going to remind you about the sin.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”

1 John 1:9

3.  Mistreat Your Wife:  

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  1 Peter 3:7

What does this mean?  God won’t hear your prayer if you mistreat your wife.  God is serious about loving her as Christ loved the church.  (NOTE:  Christ gave His life for the church.)

4.  Lack of Quiet:  

“Be Still and Know that I am God”  Psalm 46:10

Life gets too loud.  There are alot of voices telling you what to do all day long.

-Radio

-Television

-Kids

-Boss

If we want to get hear God’s heart, we have to find time to shut off all of the noise so we can hear God’s voice.

HE USUALLY DOESN’T SHOUT.  

You have to really take time to listen.

5.  We Forget the Poor  

Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.”  Proverbs 21:13

This is a barrier that people don’t usually think about.  Proverbs is really clear here.  God won’t be speaking to us if we only think of ourselves and not those who aren’t as fortunate.  God is serious about showing compassion to others too.  Be a jerk to the poor and He won’t hear your cries.

God wants to communicate with us.  He took drastic measures to make that possible when He sent His only Son to die in our place.  Communicating with Him must take place on His terms and not ours.  He is serious about this following Jesus thing.

I’m sure there are other barriers that may keep a person from hearing from God.   This list challenges me.  Does it challenge anyone else?

God is calling you to a purpose BIGGER than yourself.

There is so much more to our lives than ourselves.  God is ALWAYS at work around us and if we’re not tuned into Him, we’ll miss Him.  He wants us to be involved in His work but He’s not going to force us.

There are people that you look in the eye everyday that:

  • Have secrets that they have never told anyone.
  • Their marriage is breaking up.
  • Feel helpless about their situation.
  • Have recently lost someone that they loved.

God is calling you to a purpose BIGGER than yourself. 

Life should not be about you or your desires if you follow Christ.  It’s about Him.

Sometimes when we see a need it’s time to stop saying, “I’ll pray about it” to feel better about ourselves and DO SOMETHING!

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”  -John 10:10

That fulfillment is not going to come by having the biggest bank account or climbing the ladder at work.  It won’t even come by just checking into church every Sunday.

If you want the FULFILLED life that Jesus promises, you have to give it ALL to Him without holding back. 

So…  you might have to rearrange your ENTIRE LIFE to do that???  OK

If that’s what He wants you to do, then do it.  Don’t hold back.

All I know is that God is calling His followers to a purpose BIGGER than themselves. 

Maybe He wants you to keep your routines that you already have.  Maybe He wants you to spend more time with Him and go after your present life with more passion.

Personally, I don’t want to get to the end of my life with regrets that I never followed Christ into fulfilling the purpose that He had for me.  I want that for you too.

Go for it and don’t hold back.  Let’s make a difference in the people’s lives around us.  God is at work.  Be sensitive to His voice, listen, and DO SOMETHING to make a difference when He speaks!

Every parent wants the best for their kids.  One challenge is that even if you’ve raised other children, all of them are different and NONE come with an owner’s manual.  Sometimes we don’t even know what to pray.

I don’t know much but one thing that I have learned is that I can depend upon the Bible for advice and guidance in every situation, including raising my children.  God’s Word does not come back void!

Though I love it that God always hears my heart when I pray, sometimes we can pray things that aren’t really God’s will.  We think it’s the best thing but only God sometimes knows best unless He shows us.

When we pray Scripture for our children, we can rest assured that we are praying in line with God’s will.  My favorite passage to pray for my children over the years has been Philippians 1:9-11  It’s a passage that the Apostle Paul prayed for some people that he loved in the Philippian church.

You can pray it for your kids like this:

And this is my prayer: that (Insert Your Child’s Name)’s love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that (HE or SHE) may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ

How do you pray for your children?

This year I had the privilege of coaching the Rockies at the Mt. Juliet ballpark.  It was a great experience.

One thing that was different about this team is that all of our players were Christ followers and we took the philosophy that we wanted to help encourage them in their walks with Christ, as well as help them become better baseball players.

There were a lot of really cool things that happened this year but one thing that I’m especially proud of is our guy’s sportsmanship and Christian example.  Win or loose, our guys had a tradition of asking the other team to pray with them after the game on the pitcher’s mound.  That’s a practice that had never happened, as far as I know, at the ballpark.

Almost every one of our 13 guys led prayer at least once.  Some of them were really challenged as an 11 or 12 year old boy by the prospect of leading 30 people in prayer but they did it.  It was a great example to the other team and the coaches as they led in getting down on one knee in front of the whole crowd, confessing their Savior, and leading everyone in talking to God.

As adults, we need to remember that when we face a task that is intimidating but we know God wants us to do it, we need to push our fears aside and trust God.  Thanks for the example Rockies.

On a couple of occasions when a player on the other team got hurt, our guys got together in the dugout and prayed for him.   (As adults, when we see a hurting person or someone asks us to pray for them, why wait.  Pray right then.)

We saw a teammate with anger issues begin to allow Christ to help him through his frustrations.    (It’s always cool to see someone allowing God to work in their hearts in an area.)  There were other things that made it obvious that Christ was at work on the team and in our hearts.

I’m just really proud of all of our guys and our season.  We finished first in the league and second in the tournament.  I’m most thankful for a God that had an impact on our team and our league this year.

Ryan Scott, my son Matthew, Jason Faucett, and Mickey Manis helped coach.  Eddie Suey helped also helped us out in the dugout.  I really appreciate you guy’s help and examples.

Go Rockies!

God Will Blow Your Mind

January 2, 2012

God has blown my mind at times as I think back on my journey with Him.  There have been times when He has come through in unexpected ways.  On some occasions, I’ve asked Him to do something and He answered my prayer in a way that wasn’t what I asked but better than what I had in mind.

I remember once when I was in college, I was driving my car and God’s Spirit just filled the car.  I can’t describe how awesome it was and I don’t know why it happened.  In the process, He answered a prayer that I had prayed and it was one of those unexpected ways.  That experience was unexpected and not something that I can just “reproduce.”

God chooses when and where He will show up.  He’s GOD and He gets to choose that.  Not us.

There have been a few times when I’ve prayed and God didn’t show up, or so it seems.  The time that always sticks in my mind was when I was in student ministry.  One of my volunteer’s 16 month old son, Brandon, got very sick.  Brandon’s dad and I spent 3 nights in the hospital, asking God to heal Brandon.  Brandon died.  I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t understand why God didn’t heal Brandon.  How could that not be His will?

In dark times like when Brandon passed away, even though I didn’t know what in the world God was thinking, I’ve felt His presence.  In some ways, in those dark times I have felt God’s presence the strongest in my journey.  I don’t understand it but I’ve learned to trust Him when I don’t “get it.”

I share all of this to say this:  God wants our total commitment no matter what.  God wants us to go ALL IN.  If we really want to experience God in our lives, we can’t just try God out on a trial basis.  We can’t “try God” and if it doesn’t work, have “Oprah”  or something else as a Plan B.  Experiences with God come through total abandon to Him.

I read this week about the Knights of Templar.  An important part of Knighthood was to be a Christian.  When the Knight was baptized, however, he was baptized with his sword sticking out of the water.  It signified that his whole life belonged to God except for what happened on the battlefield.  It was like telling God, “You can have all of me except don’t try to stick your nose in on what I do to my enemies, God.  You’re not welcome in that part of my life.”

Again, if we want to experience God in unexpected ways and have Him blow our minds, He expects total commitment, no matter what.  When we are totally committed to Him is when He shows up most often.  That’s when we experience His presence and see His fingerprints in the most powerful ways.

In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine.  You are the branches.  If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.  Apart from me you can do  NOTHING.”

If you are following Jesus, I encourage you to do whatever it means in your life to be ALL IN.  Do something about that secret sin that no one knows about.  Forgive your neighbor that hurt you.  Stop being selfish and begin helping the poor.  Whatever He is telling you, do it now!  If we want to experience God in a BIG way, maybe we need to make some BIG changes in our lives.  Stop putting it off.

Connect with Him in a 100% way and you’ll begin to experience Him in ways that will blow your mind!

Has God ever blown your mind?  How?

Unexplainable Coincidences

December 22, 2011

“Unexplainable coincidences” seem to be a lot more common for Christ Followers than to the population at large.  (Answers to Prayer)

An old friend asked me to give an example of an “Unexplained Coincidence.”  Here’s one:

When Marla and I first got married, I was an Operations Manager.  In my mid-20’s, I had a pretty good resume with about 120 people under my management.

After a couple of years, I felt like it was time for me to move on so I began sending out resumes.  My resume was strong and I sent out about 100 resumes.  I didn’t get ONE PHONE CALL from a prospective employer.  Not one!

I prayed, “God, either You want me to stay here or I’m looking in the totally wrong direction.”  Someone should have called unless you are preventing it.

Marla said, “Eddie, I think God may want you to go into full time ministry.”  I wasn’t convinced but I agreed to send out 3 resumes.

It was crazy!  Suddenly, lot’s of potential churches were lining up to talk to me about being their youth pastor, from only 3 resumes.

Realizing that I may have to move from Tennessee and also that my family wouldn’t understand, I prayed, “God, if that’s what you want from me, all I ask is that you let me know 100% that it’s You talking to me and not bad pizza from last night.”

Marla & I went to Charlotte, NC for an interview at a church.  We didn’t feel good about the church after the interview but we promised to pray about it for a week.

In the meantime another church in Charlotte, Woodlawn Baptist, called.  I told them, “I’m praying about a church right now.  I’m supposed to give them an answer in a week.  If I don’t feel like that church is God’s will for us, I’ll call you back in a week.”

Woodlawn said, “ok” and hung up.  After a week of praying, we told the first church “no.”  Upon calling the Woodlawn back, they said, “Eddie, last week you were praying about another church.  This week, we’re praying about another candidate.  Sorry….”

Another week went by, then Woodlawn called me back.  They said, “Eddie, the guy we were talking to about the position was in Alabama.  He was perfect in our opinion, but he turned us down.  In turning us down he asked us, ‘Would I be out of line if I recommended someone for this position?’”

Guess who this Alabama boy recommended would be a great fit for this church in Charlotte, North Carolina?  He told them to call a guy in Tennessee.  Eddie Poole

So…

God had someone in Charlotte give Woodlawn Baptist my resume.

Woodlawn called me.

I told them no.

They called someone in Alabama who told them to call me.

What are the odds of that?  God answered my prayer.  I told Him “All I ask is that if you want me to move & go into full time ministry, I have to know 100% that it is You leading me.”

Woodlawn could have called anyone in the country, but they called one of 2-3 people in the WORLD who would have pointed them back to me.  I knew that he was leading me into ministry, 100%.  Coincidence?  I think not!

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