Are we listening?

March 13, 2011

Just doing a bit of research for this post created a fascination that will go at least a bit farther than this page.  I found two very interesting websites that I plan to spend some time visiting…Take a look:

“The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

We believe we are conducting the most profound search in human history — to know our beginnings and our place among the stars.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.” (

Pretty interesting, huh? Here’s another site.  But as you read remember, somebody out there is listening to you read….

“Listening To Space

The weight of imagery associated with space is overwhelming. We can all look at space, in pictures on television, in books, and on the internet, but in popular culture, we have no sense of what sounds are evident in space. In film, on television, and indeed in documentary, space is usually depicted as an aural void. And indeed, most people associate space with silence.

This is in fact a misnomer. A great percentage of our scientific understanding of space has been derived by listening to space through radio telescopes. The data we glean from listening to space is every bit as significant and important to our comprehension of the Universe as more traditionally understood optical observation.

Even the scientific perception of radio astronomy is largely visual. Despite the fact that objects are observed and recorded using radio, their emissions are represented using graphs, diagrams, graphic visualisations and other visual media. Many objects, do however, emit radiation in the audible band, making it possible to hear the Universe. Space, as it turns out, is a very noisy place, with each planet, star, nebula and cluster, containing its own sonic signature. And yet, very few people have ever heard space. Hardly any of us could describe the sound of a single planet or star.

Radio Astronomy is an attempt to address this, by publicly broadcasting sounds intercepted from radio telescopes. Radio Astronomy enables listeners to tune into to different celestial frequencies, hearing planets, stars, nebulae, and the constant hiss of cosmic noise. It reveals the sonic character of objects in our galaxy, and in the process perhaps make these phenomena more tangible and comprehensible. The project is indeed radio astronomy in the strict sense – a radio station devoted to broadcasting sounds from space.”

Perhaps the reason these to sites are so fascinating is that we have just finished a good book by Clive Calver about the Holy Spirit

Alive in the Spirit
Or maybe it’s because we are in the middle of a good book by Bill Hybles on the same subject.

Well, not exactly the same subject.   The websites are about listening to space, whereas the two books are about listening to God. But it does raise the question, to what are we listening, or are we listening at all?

It’s like everyone has a favorite radio station, whether it’s  new age or new rock or new country.  Sky.FM has 36 different music options, while lets you type in a band’s name and they will play only music that sounds like them. Our listing options are so vast and technology so great that, a few years ago the FCC broadened the number of stations so that in theory at least, you could get a different station FM signals every .2 MHz! That’s potential for 200 stations in a given listening area.  We are indeed listening.  But to what are we listening?

Not to change the subject, but to focus it a bit more, I remember driving down a road one rainy night and a distinct voice in my head said, “Watch out for the deer!”  I took my foot off the accelerator, and just as I did, a deer jumped into the road.  If I hadn’t taken my foot of the gas, there is no question that there would have been a wreck.  I believe it was the Holy Spirit warning me.

There have been many job opportunities where God’s Spirit has spoken a definite, “NO!” and an unclear decision came instantly into focus.  Recently I was just going through my day when the Holy Spirit clearly and distinctly told me, “Pray for …” and a name was given.  I had not seen this person for fifteen years, had hardly given them a moments thought, but for the next hour I prayed earnestly for my friend from bygone days.  This morning the same name was mentioned in the Pastors prayers for his congregation, and I understood the reason for the prompting.

Recently Pastor Pete and Pastor Bill (oh, and Pastor Clive) have mentioned, in their own words that the beginning of our ability to hear the Spirit of God is first to be willing to hear the Spirit of God, then to desire to hear from God with a willingness to be obedient. It also may include repentance, it will probably including waiting.  It certainly includes paying attention to what He has already told us through His Word.

I believe that a hindrance to hearing also includes what we are currently choosing to listen to, so we may have to remove all the polka music from our houses.  OK, maybe it’s not polka music, maybe its videos or internet garbage, you get the point.  We can’t listen to Mozart and Metallica at the same time.

I think there is one more piece of good news we need to remember about listening…God wants to talk to us more than we want to listen to him.  So as soon as we are ready, he will speak into our lives.  And it can be the kind of daily, walk/talk that will carry us through anything that life throws at us.

Warnings?  Yes.  Direction?  Yes.  Encouragement?  Yes.  Admonition?  Yes.  Hope?  Yes.   Is there anything that the Holy Spirit can say to you that you don’t want to hear?  Probably, but if we are willing to listen, and willing to obey he will speak.  I like what Bill Hybles says in, The Power Of A Whisper. It’s simple and profound at the same time.  I wish I could write like that.  But when it comes to hearing God, God is not the problem.  Hybles says, “God is near, God seeks, God speaks.  Three important truths that we should remember when we wonder if it is worth the effort.

It is.

So while this waiting time has been difficult for us, God has not abandoned us.  In fact I have heard his voice more in the past six weeks than I had during the previous six months.  He is waiting to talk when we are ready to listen.  And he has something important to say.

I’m all ears.


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