Greetings for Rev. Brian Vickers

Blessings Cooksville Family!

Here is the link to this week’s service:

https://youtu.be/p_N1pge60o0

As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.

And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.

And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.

Blessings,

Rev. Brian

Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – b_d_vickers@hotmail.ca

January 17, 2021

Prelude: He Hideth My Soul - William Kirkpatrick, arr. Mark Hayes

Opening Video:“Hear From God”

Welcome & Greeting:

Lighting the Christ Candle

Hymn: “Shout To The Lord”

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:

The Lords Prayer

Scripture:

1 Samuel 3:1-20 New International Version (NIV)

3:1 The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.
3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy.
9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.
12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.
13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.
14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”
15 Samuel lay down until morning and then opened the doors of the house of the Lord. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision,
16 but Eli called him and said, “Samuel, my son.” Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
17 “What was it he said to you?” Eli asked. “Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.”
18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.

Solo:Lord, Thou Hast Searched Me Out - words from Psalm 139; music by W. Gilchrist

Message: Can You Hear Him

Verizon – one of the big telecoms in the states – has based almost all of their advertising on one question – Can you hear me now?

In the ads – the spokesperson travels all over asking into his phone – can you hear me now – you don’t hear the response – but the implication is – yes – hinting at the possibility of getting great coverage and reception if you sign up with them.

I find it kind of ironic that they use a phrase that I’m sure everyone who owns a cell phone has used many times before – but usually in frustration.

How many times have you stood there with your phone in your hands – believing your phone signal has died – and repeated – Can you hear me now? We never want to give up on that phone call – we keep hoping that the other person will still be there – and the reason we do that is simple – we want to be heard – to be listened to - and to be understood.

What if I told you that God asks us the same question all the time? God wants us to hear Him – to listen to Him – and to respond to His voice. All throughout history God has been speaking to us – in fact – the writer of Hebrews begins his book with these words – in the past – God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways. (Hebrews 1:1)

There are a lot of people – even very faithful people – who claim to know God and Christ – yet they still won’t admit that God still speaks to us today.

If I was to ask you what the last thing God spoke to you was – would you be able to say that He gave you a promise – or spoke a word of encouragement – maybe even a rebuke – – or would you be more likely to say that you’ve never heard God Speak?

God is speaking to His people – the question is – can you hear HIM now – Do you know His voice?

In in the scripture that Jim read today – Little Samuel – Sammy – is lying in the temple – the candles were still lit – so it’s probably about 2 or 3 in the morning – and he can’t quite get to sleep. His mind’s probably racing from everything he learned that day.

You see – Sammy was about 8 or 9 years old and he was living with Eli – the priest. His mother had dedicated him to the Lord as a baby – so Sammy – was learning the function of a priest under Eli.

So here he is trying to get some rest and he hears somebody call his name. He runs to Eli and says – Here I am – what did you want? And Eli – probably resenting being woken up by the boy – says – I didn’t call you – go back to bed.

So – Sammy goes back to the sack and the same thing happens. He hears somebody call his name – wakes up Eli – and Eli says – It wasn’t me.

When the same thing happens a third time – Eli figures out that God is the one calling out to little Sammy. So – Eli gives Sammy some instruction on hearing from God – and the next time he hears the voice of God – he acknowledges who it is and then listens to what God has to say.

You see – in the beginning – Samuel didn’t quite know what was going on. He thought that it was Eli calling him – he wasn’t tuned in to God – the Scripture says – the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

If he was tuned in to God – he would have known that it was God who was speaking to him – and he would have listened intently the first time God called.

So – what about you – are you tuned in to God – can you tell when He’s speaking to you?

There are many voices screaming at us today. TV – Netflix – YouTube – the radio – twitter – and many more voices - all are trying to get us to listen

But in truth – not every voice deserves to be heard – so how do we get to the place where we recognize that it’s God speaking?

I want to suggest – that more easily hearing God is bound up in two concepts – familiarity – and sensitivity.

To start with – Sensitivity – is being someone who expects – listens for His voice – and then gives God the opportunity to speak – and then listens intently when God does speak. Sensitivity simply means you are sensitive to the fact that God will speak.

I want you to take note that – there is a world of difference between hearing and listening. Hearing simply indicates that you have heard something – like if you hear someone cough in a crowd – while listening – is actually an active thing – something that you do – rather than just notice.

To recognize God’s voice means that you believe that He still talks – not just to people – but specifically to you. The reason you know this – is because you have heard His voice many times. And that is the familiarity – like being able to pick out the voice of a friend in the midst of the crowd. You recognize it – because you know it – and are always listening for it. What are you listening for?

A outdoorsman and his friend were in downtown New York City – walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns – taxicabs were squealing around corners – sirens were wailing – and the sounds of the city were almost deafening.

Suddenly – the outdoorsman stops walking and says – I hear a cricket. His friend replies – What – You must be crazy – You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!

No – I’m sure of it – says the outdoorsman – I heard a cricket – I still think you’re crazy says the friend

The outdoorsman listened carefully for a moment – and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes – beneath the branches – and sure enough – he located a small cricket.

His friend was utterly amazed – That’s incredible – said his friend – You must have super-human ears!

No – said the outdoorsman – My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you’re listening for.

But that can’t be! – said the friend – I could never hear a cricket in this noise. Yes – you could – came the reply – It all depends on what you’re listening for – Here - let me show you.

He reached into his pocket – pulled out a few pennies – they still have pennies in the states – and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. And then – with all the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears – they watched as every head within twenty feet turned to look and see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.

See what I mean – asked the outdoorsman – It all depends on what you’re listening for.

God spoke to Samuel – and Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice. Why? Because he didn’t – know – God.

Samuel had been doing all that he knew to do – and he listened for the voices that he knew. His mother – Hannah – had given her son to God – but so far – he had really only been in the service of the priest – Eli – and although Samuel has performed well – and he had a good reputation – and was obviously very conscientious. He knew Eli’s voice – he didn’t really know God – so he couldn’t recognize God’s voice.

Have you ever heard God’s voice? People ask me if I’ve ever heard God’s – actual – audible voice – and I responded – never audibly – it’s way louder than that. That might not make much sense to some – but then it’s hard to explain how God talks to us.

We read through the bible and hear the different stories of how God spoke to certain people. Like when God and Adam were just chilling in the Garden – shootin the breeze and chit-chattin. Or when God spoke to Noah and told him to build a huge boat.

How about when God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. Or even in the New Testament when God spoke to Mary through an angel and told her she would have His baby.

We can’t help but think – Wow – I wish God would speak to me like that. But you know what would happen if God spoke to us like that – pretty sure we’d run for the hills – it would literally scare us to death.

While God doesn’t necessarily reveal himself to us in those ways today – He does reveal himself in various other ways. In Ephesians chapter 4 – it says – And God Himself gave some to be apostles – some prophets – some evangelists – and some pastors and teachers – he did this for the equipping of the saints – for the work of ministry – for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Whenever you watch or listen to a service like this – you’re hearing from God. He speaks though Mardi’s prayers – through Joys music – Yeah – he speaks through me – and the readers - He speaks through other ministers and services you may watch and hear.

And God speaks through His Word – one of my favorite verses in the bible is Psalm 119 verse 105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

You first learn how to hear from God by following His written word. The more you are familiar with God’s written word – then the easier it will be to recognise and understand other ways that God will use to speak with you.

And in Romans 8:16 – saint Paul tells us that – The Spirit - bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God – This is also known as the inward witness – or inward intuition.

The Holy Spirit will verify that you’re doing the right thing or going the right way – If you’re going in the wrong direction – or making the wrong decision – you’ll feel an uneasiness on the inside – and that’s the Holy Spirit letting you know something’s up.

And God speaks through the inward voice – or the voice of conscience. Have you ever heard of the – still – small voice? This is it – it’s not real strong and overwhelming – it’s not screaming out – DON’T DO THAT!

Rather – it’s your own spirit speaking to you – and it mostly speaks in just a word or a phrase. Maybe if you’re planning on doing something or going somewhere – the inward voice may say – Wait – or – Not Yet – or – Stop.

But sometimes God – WILL – seem to speak loudly to us – in the book of Acts – Chapter 10 we hear that – While Peter thought about the vision – the Spirit – said – to him – Behold.

Now – if God speaks to you like this – it’s gonna seem a lot louder on the inside. It may even seem audible – like you can hear it with your ears – because it – is – so strong. But this rarely happens – it’s not an everyday thing.

So – God speaks to you through His word – through different types of ministry – through the Holy Spirit on the inside of you – through your conscience – and sometimes – through the authoritative voice of the Holy Spirit.

So – chances are - you’ve had the opportunity to hear God’s voice at some point or another – but still – the question remains – Can you hear Him Now – Are you listening?”

For us to hear God – our ears need to be unrestrictedly wide open – and ready to hear all that He has to say. We can’t simply hear what we like – what we want – or even what makes us feel good.

There might be a reason why we don’t always want to hear Gods words – and it’s this – if we don’t hear Him speak – then we can plead ignorance – and we don’t have to do what He asks.

Can you hear Him now? God is still calling – He calls us by name – and He wants us to KNOW He’s calling US!

In the story of Samuel – God does what He seems to habitually do. He calls Samuel by name – not once not twice – but five times – It took a while for Samuel to finally hear God’s voice – but God is persistent – He has a voice for you.

One last point – if you want to be able to hear God’s voice – I’ve said that you should develop familiarity and sensitivity – but you also have to have the proper attitude to be able to hear God speaking.

One man – we’ll call him Alfred - went to church one Sunday morning. He heard the organist miss a note during the prelude – and he winced. He saw a teenager talking when everybody was supposed to be bowed in silent prayer. He felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate and it made him boil. He caught the preacher making a slip of the tongue five times in the sermon by his actual count.

As he slipped out through the side door during the closing hymn – he muttered to himself – why do I bother – what a waste of time – nothing but a bunch of clods and hypocrites!

Another man – Quinton – went to church one Sunday morning. He heard the organist play an arrangement of Amazing Grace – and he thrilled at the majesty of it. He heard a young girl take a moment in the service to speak a simple moving message of how her faith makes her able to face life. He was glad to see that this church was sharing in a special offering for the hungry children of Nigeria. He especially appreciated the sermon that Sunday – it answered a question that had bothered him for a long time.

He thought as he walked out the doors of the church – How could anyone come here and not feel the presence of God?

Both were at the same church – on the same Sunday. Each found what he was looking for.

What are you looking for and what are you listening for? God is speaking – and He’s still asking – Can you hear me now?

Amen.

Video:

Song:“Here I Am Lord”

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn:“How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”

Benediction and Commissioning

Postlude: Intermezzo - Gerald Bales

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