April 14, 2024, Message by P. Kevin Clancey

The following unedited transcript is provided by Beluga AI.

Who have I in heaven but you? Beside you, I desire nothing on earth. My heart and my flesh may fail, but God, you are the strength of my life and my portion forever. you’re all I want. you’re all I need. You are the prize, King Jesus. You are the prize.

Set our eyes upon you, fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, shunned the shame of the cross, endured it to break open, just break open this amazing new covenant, this amazing kingdom.

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2, ESV)

Lord, we thank you for it. We thank you for your spirit who dwells within us. And even in the midst of our struggles, Lord, you are with us. You do not leave us nor forsake us. And Christ, you are the victor. And in Jesus’ name we pray, and God’s people said, amen, amen, good.

Good to be with you tonight. Hey, I got good news. Talking to Ats and Aiko, their friend Julie, who was incredibly healed from deathbed cancer, is going to come speak to us, not next Sunday, but in two weeks.

So, bring your friends to hear an inspiring testimony, all right? That’ll be good. So, she’s going to be here April 28th. So, how’s your Bible reading going? All right, good. We’re in Samuel now. All right. It takes a little turn for the better. You know, Judges is pretty, Judges is kind of a low point, but you know, now we got at least somebody who hears the voice of God. In fact, that’s what we’re going to talk about tonight. We’re going to talk about Samuel, hearing the voice of God. I was going back and forth.

You know, I go through these. You know, I say I’m going to read, I’m going to preach on a passage that we read that week, and then it’s, and then I do the same thing on Thursday night, by the way, with our men’s Bible study. I pick another passage that I’m not gonna preach on, so it doesn’t have to be redundant for those guys. And so we look at those, and I was really tempted. I thought initially I was gonna go with David and Goliath, because, I mean, that’s just such a good story.

You come against me with sword, spear, and shield, but I come against you in the name of the Lord God of Israel, the army of hosts. You know, and you’re gonna cut, you think you’re gonna kill me and feed me to the beasts of the field? I’m gonna tell you, I’m gonna kill you today. Not only you, but I’m gonna feed your armies to the beasts of the field, I love. Listen, that’s what, I mean, I’ve had this debate before. How can heaven be heaven if we can’t gloat? We can’t trash talk, yeah.

Yeah, I mean, there is trash-talking in the Bible, baby. I love every place in the Bible they trash talk. I get excited, I love it. When Elijah taunts the prophets of Baal, it’s like, “Hey, where’s Baal? Is he off at the john? What’s he doing, man?” I guess that’s the little sports guy in me. I just, I love biblical trash talk, so that gets me excited.

But I thought I’d do something even more practical. For your sake, I wouldn’t just dwell in trash talk.

And so, we’re gonna be in 1 Samuel 3, and I’m gonna take this passage of Samuel’s first encounter with hearing the voice of the Lord, and I’m gonna do what they told me not to do in seminary. They told us in seminary, when you read a passage, preach specifically on that passage. I’m using this passage to do two bounces on the diving board and jump into a broader teaching on hearing the voice of God.

So, if you wanna call any of my seminary professors, if they’re still alive, and say, “you know, Kevin broke your rules,” they’ll probably go, “Who’s Kevin?” So, all right, here we go. 1 Samuel 3:1. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days, messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. One night, Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed.

The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the tabernacle near the ark of God. Suddenly, the Lord called out, ‘Samuel.’ ‘Yes,’ Samuel replied, ‘what is it?’ And he got up and he ran to Eli. ‘Here I am, did you call me?’ ‘I didn’t call you,’ Eli replied. ‘Go back to bed.’ So he did.

Then the Lord called out again, ‘Samuel.’ Again, Samuel got up and went to Eli. ‘Here I am, did you call me?’ ‘I didn’t call you, my son,’ Eli said. ‘Go back to bed.’

Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am, did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy, so he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.'”

So Samuel went back to bed, and the Lord came and called as before, Samuel, Samuel, and Samuel replied, speak, your servant is listening, and that unlocked a history, a lifetime, of hearing the voice of the Lord, and the Bible says of Samuel that he heard the Lord, and he was a judge over Israel until he anointed Saul as king, and it says that none, get this, none of Samuel’s words fell to the ground.

He spoke faithfully for the Lord, and his word was true. And so, God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord. A rock, our strength, and redeemer. The voice of the Lord was rare, visions were rare. We got that from the book of Judges. Israel had fallen off, but God does not quit, and he uses faithful people.

The book of Ruth, which we did not dive into – you know, we got through with the book of Judges. The book of Ruth is actually, the book of Judges is a negative illustration of what happens when God’s people abandon the covenant, but inside of that, there were still faithful people. The book of Ruth is a story about what happens when God’s people do obey the covenant, and it’s a very lovely story of redemption and grace.

And it fits into then David’s genealogy as Boaz and Ruth are his great-grandparents.

And so it gives us a hint of Israel’s best king to come. And so God is not done with Israel. God is not done with his plan. And Hannah, Samuel’s mother, is another faithful person. And she cries out to God, and she prays to God. And God uses that, dear ones. God uses that crying out. There’s different kinds of prayer, right? There’s weak prayer. And you know what? God even hears weak prayers.

But there’s prayers that, like, well, you know, God, if you’re there and if you’re listening, maybe you could help me out of this jam I got with the IRS and whatever. You know, it is April 15th tomorrow. So, you know, maybe you can help me out here. That’s OK. If that’s all you got, pray it.

But there are places in the Bible where it says, “cried out.” He cried out. He cried out. Hannah cried. She cried silently. Eli thought she was drunk. She cried silently, but she was passionate about her prayer.

We studied in our men’s Bible study the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4. And it says, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel.” He cried out. There’s something about that, crying out.

There’s something about praying in passion, praying in desperation. There’s something about saying, “God, if you don’t move here, God, I need you. God, I’m crying out to you. God, help. Help.”

You know, when Peter was sinking, right? When Peter got out of the boat and was sinking. And you know, he walked on water for a while. Way to go, Pete.

You know, we think, “Oh, Peter lost his faith. He looked at the wind and the waves.” Yeah, the other 11 didn’t lose their faith. They stayed in the boat. Peter gets my props as the man of faith there. He got out of the boat, alright? He didn’t have perfect faith, but he had enough to get out of the boat. He walked on water, but he began to sink. You know what Peter did when he began to sink? He cried out.

He didn’t say, ‘O thou sovereign of heaven, if it beest thy will, help thy humble servant in this most dire situation.’ you know, he was about five feet two, Peter was. All right, so he’s about 62 inches. I don’t know how fast gravity takes you down in water. Brian, I don’t know exactly the amount of time he had between when his feet started to go and his head was going under. If anybody here could figure it out, it would be you or your son Isaiah. You know, you guys got those kind of brains.

But anyway, he had a short period of time. And so he just said what? He said, “Lord, save me.” He cried out. All right, when people cry out to God, he moves. God doesn’t give up on his people.

The voice of the Lord was rare, but somebody was crying out, whether it’s God honoring Hannah’s prayer, God’s honoring somebody’s prayer here, and he speaks to Samuel. The voice of the Lord is reintroduced into the people of Israel. The voice of the Lord is reintroduced.

Visions and prophecies and God saying, “I’m not giving up.”

And we’re going to keep moving forward in this. But Samuel didn’t recognize the voice of the Lord. Guess what? We live in a day and an age where the voice of the Lord isn’t rare. Or doggone it, it shouldn’t be.

Because we live after Acts 2. And Acts 2 says this, in those last days, that’s these days, people, and I’m not saying that eschatologically, please. You know me, I’m not saying, oh, my goodness. I got stuck at a yellow light today.

It must be the sign of, you know, that was in the Olivet Discourse. You know, all right. Are you guys tired of my sarcasm about that? All right, so I’m not tired of my sarcasm about that. I enjoy it.

So, but last days, we’re living in the new covenant, the days of the spirit, and he says, ‘In these last days, in the days of the Spirit, in the days of the New Covenant, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.’

Just in case you don’t understand what “all flesh” means, we’re going to take on age and gender. your young men and your young women will prophesy. And your old men. There’s hope for people like me. We can still hear the voice of God. We might have to turn up our hearing aids. What? We can hear the voice of God.

Your old men will dream dreams and have visions. Even your menservants and maidservants. Economic distinctions, not rich or poor. The poor will hear “all flesh.”

So, if the voice of the Lord is rare, then it’s rare because we’re not listening. If you have the Holy Spirit, you can prophesy. If you have the Holy Spirit, you can hear God speak.

And I’m going to talk about some of the primary ways that God speaks. And I’m going to talk, not first, but second, I’m going to talk about the most important way to hear the voice of God, and then the most important way to be able to discern those other voices.

But there are two ways we discern what is the voice of God. The number two that I’m going to talk about is knowing the Bible. But here’s number one: understanding what the voice is saying. Because the different voices in our head give us different messages.

There are at least four voices in our head. Maybe three, but I’ve kind of divided up into four. There is the voice of the flesh. There is the voice of the devil. There is the voice of legalism, or as I like to call it, the voice of your mother.

That voice never leaves you. There is the voice, right? How many of you are adults and you still go, “Hey, I’m going out. I better wear clean underwear in case I get in an accident.” Because what a ridiculous thing that they taught at mom’s school. Because she’s afraid that they’re going to think poorly of her at the hospital because you got bad underwear.

But it’s the voice of your mother, the voice of the shoulds and shouldn’ts. It’s also the voice of your father. It’s a little joke there, but then there’s the voice of God.

Now, here’s the deal. All the voices in your head speak in the same voice. They don’t come with accents. It would be easy to discern the voices in your head if the voice of the devil sounded like Jack Nicholson. “Johnny’s here.” Then, I’ll be like, “Oh, creepy.” It would be easy to distinguish the voices in your head if the voice of God sounded like Morgan Freeman. But they don’t, they all sound alike. So, you distinguish the voices of your head.

This isn’t rocket science, people. By what they’re saying, by what the voice is saying, by content. The voice of the flesh is the voice that’s about me. It’s about my comfort, my wants, my desires, my satisfaction, my pleasure, my security. It’s about good things happening to me.

Now, let me tell you something. It is not evil to desire good things to happen to you. Jesus appeals to that desire. Hey, you want to live forever? In glory? I mean, C. S. Lewis says our desires are too weak, not too strong.

We ought to desire good things, but our flesh doesn’t desire good things. Our flesh desires lesser things that take us away from the best things. And so, that’s the voice of the flesh.

Christians will come to me and they say, “Man, God’s talking to me. What’s God saying?”

He said, “Buy lottery tickets. you’re going to win the lottery.”

It’s like, I don’t think God’s saying that, man.

“You don’t? I think that was God.”

And that actually could be. There could be a rare occasion.

I do know of one woman, and this woman, this is one of the reasons I believe this came to this woman because she was not the least bit prone to buy lottery tickets. She was morally opposed to it. She thought it was a terrible scam, and the Lord told her, “Go in there and buy a lottery ticket and you’re gonna win.”

And she said, “Lord, you know I’d never buy a lottery ticket.” And she did, and she gave all the money to missions, every dime of it. That was the voice of God.

But if you’re like, “Buy a lottery ticket because I wanna get out of this debt that I put myself into by reckless spending,” no, you’re just gonna get into deeper debt. Now, listen, dear ones. I don’t think it’s a terrible sin to buy a lottery ticket. If you’re a good liberal Democrat and you want to pay more taxes, lottery tickets are a great way to do it. you’re just paying taxes. Great, if you want to pay taxes. You know that people say, “People ought to pay more taxes.” There’s no logins, you’re paying more taxes.

Go ahead, pay more taxes. That’s for me and my house, no thank you. Till they spend it better, they can spend less, I think. All right, anyway, that’s the voice of the flesh. And maybe my objection to taxes is the voice of the flesh. I wanna keep more of my money.

College, I still remember college. Chico State, hanging out with all the young life Christians, all the inner varsity Christians, all us Christian kids, post-Jesus movement, Christian kids cruising on campus. We got our little Bible studies going on. We got stuff going on.

And these Christian boys, and a day like today would hit in Chico. You know what I’m talking about? A beautiful, sunny spring day would hit in Chico. Now, in Chico, you would not have to wait for April 14th for that day. It would happen at the end of January, or maybe it happened on Valentine’s Day. And you’d get a day like today, 70 degrees, the sun is shining. And these little college co-eds, these little cute girls, would come out of the dorms and they would do something that was somewhat distracting.

They would wear bikinis and sunbathe in the middle of campus. All right, they would do that. And there would be bike accidents, guys riding off the bridge because men are visible and these guys are college boys and they’d be looking and ogling.

Then these college boys would start getting prophetic words from God about who was going to be their life partner. And it was always the girl with the best figure, the best tan, and the smallest bikini, who was a Christian. She loved Jesus, but she was smoking hot.

And they would say, “Oh, the Lord’s told me I’m going to marry that girl.” And quite honestly, and I don’t mean this to sound insensitive, it was never the overweight girl with the good prayer life. You know, who would actually probably make a great wife because she’s got a good prayer life. You know, and, you know, maybe even her weight indicated that she liked to cook. I don’t know. Good wife. Good potential there. Whatever. It was never that girl that the Lord was speaking to him about. It was always Miss Christian Campus Beauty Queen.

And I remember, even back then, I had the discernment to think, “Yeah, I think that’s the flesh. I think I know how college boys’ flesh works. You paying attention, Sidney? All right. Just beware. I know how college boys’ flesh works.” That was that. I don’t think there’s a voice you got. All right.

The devil. The devil is the accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10 says the devil is the accuser of the brethren. The devil says you’re no good. They’re no good. I’m no good. God is no good. The devil is always accusing.

The devil is always accusing. He’ll go after you. He goes after you. He goes after your salvation. He goes after your confidence. He goes after your trust in God. All right.

I think everybody, the devil is not creative. He’s just persistent. I’ll bet everybody in the room has heard these words. Messed up and you sinned in some way, or you didn’t behave as Christian as you thought you ought to. Just a show of hands.

All right, really, you can raise your hands. You don’t have to be introverts. You can raise your hands if it’s true.

Have you ever heard these words in your head? “Oh, you call yourself a Christian?” That was a head nod. That was not a wave. All right, there you go. I’m still trying to get away with being an introvert. All right, there you go.

All right, everybody. I’ve heard those words. You heard those words? Yeah, we all heard that, Peter. Have you heard those words? All right. That was a real bold hand wave. That was like, “All right, you guys remind me of Tim Hawkins.” you know, the Christian comedian Tim Hawkins.

So, Tim Hawkins, he goes, he goes, ‘Yeah, I go to a hand raising church.’ He goes, ‘How many of you go to a hand raising church?’ And all these people raise hands. He goes, ‘All right, how many of you don’t go to a hand raising church?’ And then he mocks them. He says, ‘Oh, kind of hard, isn’t it?’

All right, so you call yourself a Christian? I’ve heard worse things than that. Oh, my gosh. The devil calls me bad names, cuss words.

And I’ve heard people say, ‘Well, you know, people who hear that, that’s because they heard it as a child.’ Listen, nobody in my family, my parents loved me. My parents never called me those names. Nobody in my upbringing called me those names that come from the evil one. Oh, my gosh. Terrible names. And I used to repeat them. I used to agree with him. ‘Yeah, that’s what I am. I’m just…’ And then the Lord just spoke to me. Then I got the voice of God. The voice of God said, ‘Kevin. What? You know my book?’

Yes, I do, Lord. I was in seminary at the time. Not only do I know your book, I know it in Hebrew and Greek. I mean, I really didn’t, but I knew a little bit then, you know, I’m becoming proficient. I’m an expert on your book, like every seminary student thinks they are. And he says, ‘In my book, do I ever call you any of those names?’ Like, well, no, you don’t. ‘What do I call you?’ And then all these names from the Holy Spirit started rushing at me. Son, child of God. Royal Priesthood? Beloved?

Prince? Co-Heir? Oh! He says, “Well, where do you think those other names are coming from?” I think I’ve told you this story before, but at the time, Saturday Night Live was really popular, and I used to watch Saturday Night Live. Dana Carvey would do this skit on the church lady. Anybody remember the church lady?

And what was the church lady’s main phrase? She would be, you know, scolding someone and self-righteously putting someone down about their behavior. Then she would look at them and go, “Could that be Satan?”

And I mean, it was so hilarious. This is how God speaks to you in your own language. I love humor. And the Lord says, “Where do you think those names come from?” And immediately, a picture of Dana Carvey pops in my head. “Could it be Satan?”

And from that day forward, 40 years ago, about, yeah it was about 40 years ago, from that day forward those names have not stopped coming at me but I don’t receive them anymore. You know, here’s one, here’s one I get called. I don’t know if anybody gets called this.

Here’s one I get called, and it won’t be a cuss word or anything. Here’s one I get called. I get called the worst person ever. Anybody ever hear that? Am I the only one who hears that? Karen, you heard that one? Yeah, yeah, I hear the, “you’re the worst person ever.” All right?

Now look at, all right, I just, again, show of hands. Am I? You guys have known me for a while. Am I the worst person ever? Yeah, I mean somebody raised their hand this morning. Sydney, thanks. Thanks. All right.

I love you, Sydney. All right, so, you know, and I think about that, you know, really? Really? I mean, I might not be very good, but really? I’m like below Hitler? Come on, you know? Come on. That’s the devil. He’ll accuse others, right? He’ll accuse others. He’ll accuse other Christians.

Oh man, I saw something set me off the other day. It was a theologian, and it was a picture that made him look really wise, and it was one of those little statements that sounded so wise and so profound. And it said this.

It said, you know, most Christians don’t really have a relationship with God. Most Christians in church don’t really have a relationship with God. They have relationships with other people who talk about God. And, you know, somebody put that up like, ‘Isn’t this wise, and isn’t this a corrective to the church and all that?’ And the minute I read that, I put down in the comments, ‘How does he know what’s in the heart of most Christians? How does he know what is in the heart of most Christians?’

I didn’t put the next thing that came into my mind, because, dear ones, you need to thank the Lord with all your heart that in my sermons and in my social media content, I edit. Amen.

Isaiah hears probably more than most of you on things that come up on the screen with me. But even you and your brother Jacob, in our times together, do not hear everything that comes up on the screen. I have a very vivid screen. I have a very loud screen.

I have a screen that says all sorts of language and thoughts in it that just are not appropriate for public consumption, and I edit. So all I said was, “How does this man know what’s in the heart of every Christian?” I did not put after… No, I’m not even going to say… I’m not even going to pretend to say it.

Yeah, actually, somebody… I got affirmed in that. Somebody… Yeah, somebody… Nobody argued with me. Somebody actually said, “Yeah, these kind of broad generalizations aren’t worth a dime.” Yeah. You get… Yeah. Yeah, you get barraged. Yeah.

I love that. Oh, yeah. Bring it, baby. Bring it. Let’s fight. Let’s fight. Bring it. I will fight with you in a godly way. In fact, I will post things, too, and I try to stop this, but I will post things that are provocative. Yes, yes, I will.

And people have called me on it and said, “you know, Kevin, you don’t have to always like say, you know, dare you, dare you to take a fight with me.” So, yeah, I’ve tried to calm that down.

What’s my point? Oh, the devil will accuse other Christians.

Now, let me be clear on this area of judging, and I’ve told you this before, but it’s so important, because people will always tell us, ‘Oh, you’re judging, judging is wrong.’ It’s like, ‘Well, what are you doing?’ you know, they’re doing, but guess what? No. Here’s where judging is right. We get to call balls and strikes. All right, if somebody came into me, just listen, this makes obvious sense. you’d all agree with this, right? Some guy comes into me and says, ‘Pastor, I no longer love my wife.’

I love this other woman down the street, and so I’ve started an adulterous affair with her. I’m going to leave my wife and my children, and I’m going to have her. She’s going to leave her husband and their children, and we’re going to break up both those families. We’re going to get married together, and we’re going to leave our spouses with the kids. We’re going to go off and live in Florida, because after all, love is supreme.

I’ve actually had somebody tell me something very similar to this, because the Bible says love is supreme, and I love this person, not my husband. So you’re okay with that, right, Pastor?

And I say, no, I’m not okay with that. Let me judge that. That’s wrong. That’s a sin. That is a terrible thing to do to your children, to do to the person you promised to stay with.

It’s a terrible thing to do to the community. It’s a terrible thing to do to this church. It’s a terrible thing to do to that family over there.

It is a terrible thing you’re planning on doing, full of death, destruction, and evil. Oh, you’re so judgmental. Dang right I am. Yeah. It’s bizarre, Sidney, how many people want their pastor’s endorsement on sin.

‘In my case, this is okay, right?’ Because if I say it’s okay, then that eases their conscience. Their conscience is being bothered. And I love not being that guy.

Well, I don’t love it because when people reach that point, the situation they’re bringing to me is very hurtful. So I don’t really love it.

But I have no problem being judgy at that point. No problem whatsoever. That’s wrong.

Here’s what I can’t judge about that person. you’re a terrible, evil person because you fell in love with this other person and you’re planning on leaving. you’re just rotten. you’re horrible. you’ve never had a relationship with Jesus, have you? No. I have no right to say any of those things.

You know why? I don’t know any of those things. God knows their heart. I don’t know their heart.

I know the intentions of their behavior, which I have every right to speak into. I do not have the right to speak into the condition of their heart that I don’t know about. You understand? I don’t have a right to speak of their motives.

Don’t say this, dear ones. Don’t say, “Oh, I know why they’re doing that.” No, you don’t. No, you don’t. I hear people say that a lot. “I know why they did that. They just want this and this and this and this.” Name-calling is a form of that.

They’re a this, and this, and this, and this. That’s the kind of judgment we’re forbidden to make. The kind of judgment that theologian made. Most Christians don’t have Jesus in their heart at all. You don’t know that one bit. Well, you can judge a tree by their fruit. Okay. You said most Christians. Do you know most Christians? Have you interviewed two billion of them to find out what their fruit is and to find out where they are in their maturity level in Christ?

And have you walked with them for months or years to discern what kind of character they have? Dude, you have not. Let me tell you something. When people talk that way, here’s the judgment I make, because I found out it’s true a lot. They’re not talking about other people, they’re talking about themselves.

This is not always true, so I can’t be all judgy on this one either, but people will tell you about themselves and their attitude toward others. It’s just the way it works.

All right. Oh, that church down the street, they’re not preaching the true gospel. That’s why they have so many people; they’re selling out. All right, now you may have evidence of that, but I doubt it. I doubt it. That’s the devil. you’re no good, they’re no good.

Here’s his worst ploy. He’ll do his work and get you to blame God. Why did God kill my nephew with cancer? He didn’t. Sin, Satan, the devil, all conspired to bring cancer on earth.

It’s the work of the devil, and the devil will do his work and then get us to blame God so we don’t believe in him. It’s the number one reason, it’s the number one excuse anyway, whether it’s a reason or not I’m not sure, but it’s the number in our culture. The problem of evil is the number one reason people have a difficult time believing in God.

How can there be a good God if there’s so much hurt, evil, destruction, pain in the world? Good question, it’s a good question.

You know how the Bible answers it? The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He took all that on Himself. He drank the dregs of it, so you don’t have to do it alone.” He doesn’t say He’s going to come and erase it all. He said, “I’m going to drink that, and I’m going to rise from the dead, and I’m going to change all that eternally. But it’s not all going away. Not right now. But one day it will.”

And we have a God who doesn’t erase suffering.

We have the only God in all the religions of the world who embraced it. He said, “Yeah, I know.” So when I go to God, man, this really hurts. You know what I get? “Yeah, I know. I know.”

I was shoveling garbage, right, downtown Bremerton, homeless people. It’s been good this last week. I’ve been so grateful. I don’t know who’s cleaning up, but it’s been good. And I don’t like to clean up. I don’t like cleaning. I don’t like cleaning up my mess, let alone other people’s. I really don’t like cleaning up other people’s mess.

All right? I just don’t. It’s like, I’m not your mother. I don’t need to clean you. And we got homeless people, and they camp out at our church in Bremerton.

And again, I don’t want to speak this into being. This last week’s been awesome. But many times it’s not awesome. And most of the time it’s just cardboard boxes and little garbage and stuff. It takes me 10-15 minutes before a Bible study to clean it up.

Well, I grumble about it. It’s like, ugh, I don’t like doing this.

And one time, we had on our back deck, we had this huge mess. It was just disgusting. I mean, it was huge. And I went back there to clean it up. And God bless him. Josh, for those of you who know him, Josh D’Intinosanto, brought his four kids down, let them play in the nursery, and he joined me. That was such an encouragement. That made that job so much better. And we were actually playing homeless person bingo, which probably isn’t a really good thing.

A sanctified game to play, but we were like, ‘Oh, hey, I found a needle. Okay, that’s one, you know. Oh, here’s a broken bourbon bottle, that’s two.’ I won’t even tell you some of the other stuff we found, but you know. But there have been many times, not one. There have been many times I’ve shoveled feces out of our planter boxes and parking lots. I don’t like that. So when that, that time that there was the huge mess, right? God, I don’t like cleaning up other people’s messes. Here’s the voice I hear.

I know, Kev, that’s what I did. And I did say that stupid prayer years back that I wanted to be like you, didn’t I? Oh, stupid prayer, stupid prayer. Now I’m cleaning up other people’s messes.

But yeah, the devil will accuse God. God did that. He is the accuser of the brethren. He’s the accuser of you. He’s the accuser of others. He’s the accuser. That’s the voice of the devil.

Then there’s the law, the shoulds and shouldn’ts, all right, that leads us up into shame.

If you grew up in a religious household, if you grew up in a fundamentalist household, if you grew up in a Catholic household, there’s probably lots of shame and lots of shoulds and shouldn’ts and lots of, you know.

My wife, you know, she grew up, both my wife and I grew up good Irish Catholic. And she went through a period in her life where she got in a couple car accidents, which my wife is so perfect. I have this perverse pleasure when she messes up in some way. It just makes me kind of happy.

It’s like, hey, I’m as perfect as you think. Are you, Mary Poppins? You know, it’s kind of nice.” And so, she got in these two car accidents. Since nobody was hurt and they were just, she felt horrible about it. She was like, “you know, they weren’t her fault. It’s like, fair enough. They weren’t her fault.” But one of her aunts said this and actually meant it. In all seriousness, “What have you done to upset God that he’s… That he’s doing this to you?

And my wife said, ‘Can you believe she said that?’ She goes, ‘What have I done to upset God?’ And I looked around and said, ‘Well, plenty. I mean, obviously. Obviously.’ I think what? I tell stories. What? No, I mean, she’s just like. She’s like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’

But that was a part of our upbringing, you know, kind of like this one to one correspondence. Good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people, and there’s a lot of shame. And religious people will do this to you.

The religious people will give you the shoulds, and, well, you know, why are you sick? There’s more sin in your life. Why is this happening? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it’s a legalism and it’s a harsh religion. And so that’s another voice in your head. All right?

And so here’s the last one. The voice of God. It is the voice of encouragement, strength, comfort, strategy, the way back, correction. That’s how New Testament prophecy works. That’s how the voice of God works. It gives you courage to keep going. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s always nice.

Sometimes, edification is corrective. You know, it’s a hard word. God says, “Hey, don’t do that. Stop doing that. you’re messing up. you’re going the wrong way.” God will say that. “Repent.” He’ll say that, but he’ll also encourage and he’ll also comfort.

And sometimes when people are sitting under the voice of the devil or the legalisms, the Lord will come and speak a very comforting, encouraging word to that person. A very comforting, encouraging word. I don’t even know what nine words I spoke to this person. I have no recollection. I have the recollection of the event.

I have no recollection of what I said. But she came out of a very legalistic religious system full of shame and shoulds and shouldn’ts. And she married a very legalistic, self-righteous husband and they were in a very legalistic, straighten everybody out kind of ministry.

As often happens in those kinds of systems, the foundation, the wall begins to crack, because the foundation is not good. So this guy ended up committing adultery, leaving her. Mr. Self-righteous, behave, behave, behave, and she was devastated.

And almost lost her faith in God, you know, what’s going on, and fortunately she met a friend who was a good Christian friend, sympathetic, and she came. They started coming to one of our women’s Bible studies that was more along the lines of redemption and healing, and she was kind of cautiously stepping into this kind of semi-charismatic church. And you know, I’ve heard in the past, these are all devil worshipers in disguise, and you know, oh, they talk in tongues, oh, but you know, she was so hurting, she was like, you know, what I had before didn’t work.

And I got hit powerfully by the Holy Spirit right around that time in my life, and I came back from this conference. The leader of that Bible study was all excited, and she said, “I heard God really gotcha, you know, I heard.”

“Yeah,” I said, “man, it was something.” That’s when I started praying for people, and they started dropping. You know, I was like, “wow, that never happened at our church before.” And you know, my hand was shaking, and the Holy Ghost was all over me. I’m like, “yeah, it’s great, you know, I’m having fun.”

So this lady, bless her heart, this is so foreign to her. She’s been taught her whole life this is the devil, you know, but she’s so hurting. She’s like, “okay, pray for me.” It never happened to her in her life. I just put my hand on her, I said, “Jesus,” she’s on the floor.

Then I spoke nine things over her. Here’s how I know I spoke nine things over her, not because I remember, but her friend who brought her to the Bible study had her little pad out, and she wrote down nine things that I spoke over this woman. Later, this woman was now a part of a healing ministry for people coming out of trauma, her and her friend.

And she was a part of our church. And her friend came up to me and said, ‘Remember when you prayed for Jan, and she fell to the ground?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I remember that.’ She said, ‘you remember those nine things you said? Pastors lie.’ ‘Oh, yeah, yeah, sure, yeah, those nine things, wasn’t it?’ I don’t know. I might have said, ‘I don’t know.’ I might have just said, ‘Sure, I remember.’ But I didn’t. Don’t judge me. You can judge the behavior. Pastors shouldn’t lie, but you don’t know what a rough day I had.

So I don’t remember if I said I did or I didn’t, actually. But she told me this. She said, those were nine pretty specific things. And she goes, in the last 18 months, I’ve watched all nine of them come true. It’s pretty good. I didn’t know that woman from Adam when I prayed for her. I didn’t know her past. I learned of that all after I said those prayers and spoke those prophetic words. That’s the God of encouragement. That’s the God of strength. That’s the God of comfort.

I remember God spoke to me about evangelism when we planted a church in California, just two words. But these two words imparted strategy to me. I was complaining to God about how hard it is to evangelize people. Because I was in my 30s or 40s, and I was thinking of evangelizing 30- and 40-year-old successful Americans. Very hard to do.

Unless they go through a divorce, get a serious illness, lose a job, face a life crisis, oftentimes, there’s no crack in that armor to get through. And I’m going to God.

I said, ‘God, we’re planting this church, and I want to evangelize. But it’s so hard to evangelize.’ Voice of the Lord, two words. Here are the two words: ‘Not kids.’ What was that? ‘Not kids.’ So hard to evangelize. It’s not hard to evangelize kids. Oh.

You know, most people who make a commitment to Christ do so before their 18th birthday, right? You know that, right? Not everybody. Don’t stop evangelizing your older neighbors. But most people who make a commitment to Christ do so before their 18th birthday.

You know, the other time people make commitments to Christ? Deathbed. Sick’em, Jesus. You know, I might want to reconsider eternity. Good call. Thief on the cross. I got great news for you. Jesus honors thief on the cross. I got great news for you.

The kids. We built a children’s ministry. The Lord built a children’s ministry there. It was a great children’s ministry. And we led kids to Christ. Lots of them. Lots of kids to Christ. Lots of youth to Christ. All right?

Two words, the Lord speaks. So that’s how God speaks.

Understand the content of the voice. Now, the most important tool in learning to discern and hear the voice of God is to study your Bible. All you evangelicals out there wondering about this crazy, charismatic, prophetic person, I’m on your side. I’m on your side. Inerrant, infallible, word of God, inspired, holy.

The only place we differ is you say that’s the only way God speaks. And I say in that way that he speaks, he tells us a lot of other ways he speaks. So there you go. I believe the Bible more than you do. Neener, neener, neener.

Am I provoking again? Am I provoking again? A little bit? Okay. None of those people listen. I mean, we get four views a week, so I’m not too worried that I’ll provoke anybody too much. All right. So here we go. Here we go. Study your Bible. Now, there are very important questions to ask when you study your Bible, and the last question on this list is oftentimes the first question Christians ask. How does this apply to my life? It’s an important question, a very important question.

But, you’ll not get the correct answer until you ask the questions that are above it on this list. What does this passage say about God? Twice, as we went through the book of Judges, two people came to me and said they knew of people who lost their faith reading through the book of Judges in the Bible, because God did such horrible things in the book of Judges. It’s like, no, he didn’t.

The whole point of the book of Judges is God saying, “Look at what terrible things people do when they don’t do what I told them to do.” But they just said, “Jephthah sacrificed his daughter. How could God do that?” Whose voice is that, people? Satan, the voice of the accuser. No, Jephthah sacrificed his daughter. God never endorsed human sacrifice.

Well, why was God with Jephthah? Because he’s a faithful God, and Israel cried out to him, and he had to find a deliverer.

And by that time, they had fallen so bad, it was like, “Well, this thug warrior’s the best I got.” Well, there’s this terrible scene at the end of the book of Judges where a woman is raped and then murdered, and then her body is cut up and sent to all the 12 tribes of Israel. It’s horrible, it’s gross, it’s morbid, it’s disturbing.

“Why does God do that? No, he doesn’t. That’s the point. You ask the wrong question. you’re just thinking, everything in the Bible, God is endorsing. Hey, you know better than that.”

Hey, Eve, eat this apple. Probably wouldn’t be an apple, but eat this fruit. My bet, by the way, it never says apple. It’s just tradition. My bet is kiwi. Here’s why I say kiwi. Kiwi is a delicious fruit, but it looks horrendous. And I think it looked great in the garden, and because it was used as the fruit of temptation, God made it ugly from then on. So that’s my kiwi theory, all right? Nobody subscribes to that theory but me. I might write a book, ‘The Kiwi Theory of the Fall.’ I don’t know.

So, you need to ask this question: What is the passage saying about God? What’s the truth about God in this passage? Is God endorsing those horrible things in the book of Judges? If you understand the context of the Old Testament, you go, no.

Just read the last verse in the book of Judges, “And there was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25, ESV)

God’s saying, “This is what life looks like when every man does what’s right in his own eyes.”

What’s the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? Are you reading the Old Testament or the New Testament? You say, “Well, why is that different?” Because the covenants are different. The conditions are different. God is the same, but the conditions are different.

Prophets in the Old Testament and prophets in the New Testament prophesy a little differently. Why do they prophesy differently? Because prophets are covenant enforcers. They’re covenant lawyers. So in the Old Testament, a prophet comes as a covenant lawyer and says, “Here is the covenant that Moses gave you in Deuteronomy.”

Here is the covenant that was re-ratified in Joshua. Here is the covenant. Here are the promises of the blessings. If you obey the covenant, here are the promises of curses. If you disobey the covenant, you’ve been disobeying the covenant for a thousand years. Guess what? The Assyrians are coming. The Babylonians are coming. Here it is.

In the New Testament, prophets are covenant enforcers. They enforce the covenant. So if somebody says, “Repent and believe in Jesus,” and this is a hard word, “Repent or believe in Jesus, or you will perish.”

That is a prophetic new covenant word. Here’s another prophetic covenant word for those of you who have repented and believe in Jesus. I’m going to speak a hard truth to you right now. With all the authority of God, I’m going to speak a hard truth to you right now. That I have based on the words in this book and based on my relationship with Christ and His Spirit living in me, I’m going to speak to you prophetically.

If you have repented and believe upon Jesus, your sins are forgiven. your sins are forgiven. That’s prophetic.

That’s a New Covenant prophetic enforcement. If you came here with shame because you haven’t lived a perfect week and yet you are humble before God, and you know you blew it and you’re repentant, let me tell you something. New Covenant prophecy. Shame off you. Shame off you in the name of Jesus.

Let me give you another New Testament prophecy. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, ESV)

Yes, it does. Thank you, Stevan. Thank you, Stevan. Good. Good.

All right. What’s the author trying to communicate to the original audience?

The Bible was written for you. It wasn’t written to you. It was written in a different time, to a different culture, to different cultural situations. The principles that that passage brings forward are applicable to this day. The specifics sometimes aren’t.

The one I like to use, I’m going to use it again just because it’s easy. It comes to my mind. How many of you women prayed tonight when we prayed? You ladies pray? Okay. Only Marilyn prayed correctly. She has her head covered. The rest of you didn’t have hats on your heads or anything.

You shameless women. You come into here without hats on. What are you doing? I’ll tell you what you’re doing. you’re dressing appropriately for the culture in which you live. None of you ladies are dressed inappropriately. None of you men are dressed inappropriately. Isaiah’s got his best T-shirt and sweatpants on. you’re doing great. You succeed, brother. You succeed. All right, we’re good, we’re good. Nobody is inappropriate. That’s what Paul is talking about.

First century Middle Eastern culture for women to go out in public and to meet with men publicly without their heads being covered was somewhat scandalous. It was somewhat presumptuous, maybe a little forward, maybe a little appealing, maybe a little immodest. Paul’s saying, “Look, when you gather together and pray and prophesy with one another, do so in a culturally appropriate way, so when people accuse us, they can’t accuse us of that. Don’t give the devil.” Peter says that, “If people are going to accuse you, at least let it be lies.”

All these Christians, they still make up lies about us. Those early Christians were cannibals because they ate the body and blood of Christ. So, we can kill them because they’re cannibals. Those early Christians are idolaters. No, we’re not. You guys are the idolaters. They believe in three gods, and they worship a piece of bread. They just lied about us. They still lie about us. They’re always going to lie about us.

That’s what the devil is. He’s a liar. He’s not going to stop lying about us. Those Christians are judgy and haters. Most of us aren’t.

I’ve run around those kind of Christians my whole life, this kind of Bible-believing, evangelical Christians. They don’t hate people who belong to the alphabet soup of our culture, the LGBTQTRFP crowd. Everybody’s welcome. We just tell the truth. Broke is broke, and wrong is wrong. But hey, join us.

You’re in a crowd of people who are broken and do wrong things. We don’t hate people. We love people. You got sin in your life?

Oh, well then, you get to sit, you know, it moves this way in our church, you know, the bad sinners, people getting better, to the really holy ones, you know, it just kind of goes, flows that way. So start over here, start over here, and then, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna slide a little bit, you know, so far Aiko’s the only one who’s made it to the, to the right hand of the, of the preacher, you know, but you can all aspire. All right.

Yeah, well, I basically must tell you what I… I’m just gonna tell you, Kathleen, you should be silent in church. You shouldn’t have asked that question. You were completely out of order.

All right, now, you know what? Listen, if you throw me batting practice fastballs, I’m gonna swing at them. I just can’t help myself. I can’t help myself. If you give me an easy joke, I will go there every time.

All right, so, men and women, first century, were separate in a communal setting. They didn’t have them sitting together, all right?

Women, for the first time, both in Greek and Jewish culture, were being introduced to the scriptures and introduced on an equal learning level with men, alright? Their husbands had studied the scriptures and had been educated their whole lives, and they hadn’t. So, in this context, some guy’s up there expounding on the scriptures, and a woman over here is saying to her husband over there, ‘Is that right? Are we good?’ They were disrupting the service. Women were disrupting the service. And Paul, Paul makes it very clear. ‘Women should be silent in churches.’

Is that, this is absolute prohibition? Well, it can’t be because earlier he said, “Women, when you pray or prophesy, have your heads covered.” Nobody prayed or prophesied silently. So, women were talking in churches and he tells them what to dress when they, how to dress when they talk in church. So, women were allowed to talk in church. They weren’t allowed to be disruptive in church. If you have questions, what does he say? “Ask your husbands at home.” Stop asking them in the middle of the worship service. Stop interrupting, all right?

I will tell you, I’ve been a pastor for 40 years. All right? I have never had to separate men in church. There are women that I have to kind of say, “you know, you can’t sit next to each other.” My daughter is the worst among them, you know?

But actually, I found out later, it’s actually my son-in-law’s fault because he whispers some sly joke and then she starts laughing and tells her friend next to her and pretty soon these women are all giggling and talking back and forth. I said, “What’s going on over there?”

You know? You know who’s the worst, by the way? Just a complete aside. The worst behaved people in church? Teachers. Teachers. Yeah, they’re the ones putting gum under chairs, handing out notes, sending text messages, laughing and yacking it up with their other teachers. It’s just true. It’s just been my experience.

I’ve pastored several teacher churches where we had a lot of teachers. They were always the ones who misbehaved the most. It’s like everything my kids do during the week, I’m doing to you, Pastor, on Sunday, so just deal with it. So yeah, don’t be disruptive.

Don’t be disruptive. All right, so once we get to what’s the author trying to communicate to the original audience, then we can get to how does this passage apply to me? How does it apply to the contemporary life we live in?

The Bible has several different genres. You need to know what kind of literature you’re reading to understand what the Bible is saying, all right? You know, the Bible is literal. Take the Bible literally. No, you don’t take, nobody takes all language literal. Language is very figurative. Middle Eastern language is much more figurative.

It speaks in metaphors, it speaks in word pictures, it speaks in poetry. Oh, does that mean that the liberals are right, that all the Bible is symbolic? No, the liberals aren’t right. The whole Bible isn’t symbolic.

It speaks in letter and historical narrative. What is, what do we, how do we deal with letter and historical narrative? Take it literally. Paul says, do this, don’t do that. All right, gotcha.

Jesus rose from the dead. Was that intended to be figurative?

No, everything in the New Testament accounts intends to point us to the fact that, oh my goodness, he said he was gonna do it, and he did it, and it changes everything. And the world got changed by that historical fact. That’s historical narrative.

That’s not a symbol that, you know, oh, you know, caterpillars become butterflies in the spring, you know, and you know, by mid-April, the sun will come out one day in the Pacific Northwest to get you hungry for July when it comes out for six days in a row.

And you know, it’s not that. It’s historical, it’s fact, it’s literal, it happened. However, Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd.” you do not have wool. That would be literal.

Children, you must be like doves. You don’t have to lay an egg. Right? That’s figurative, poetic, metaphorical language. The Bible is chock-full of that.

Well, it should be easier. Call the ambulance, it’s not. Be a grown-up, study.

All right, you know, by the end of Sunday night, I get a little impatient, all right? I get a little grumpy. Call the ambulance, I’m sorry.

If you’re just beginning to study the Bible, all questions are good, right? We won’t do that to you. All right. There’s poetry, there’s apocalyptic literature, which isn’t even used today, but was a tool in ancient times to use all sorts of symbolism, to incite feelings and emotions, and not to be crammed into 21st century headlines. That wasn’t the point. In fact, I said, ‘Know your Bible.’ you know the best way, if you’re ever going to understand the book of Revelation? You know the best way to understand the book of Revelation?

Understand the Old Testament, because no book in the New Testament alludes so much to the Old Testament as the book of Revelation. It talks about the Old Testament more than any other book. All of its illusions, all of its word pictures, are pointing us back to something in Israel’s history.

There’s a parable. A parable is a story. It’s not a literal story, but it is a story that reminds us of normal things in life to make a point. Look at that farmer out there. Well, how many Israelites in an agrarian society had seen a farmer?

Look at that farmer throwing out seed. Oh yeah, we’ve all seen farmers throwing out seed. We’ve probably thrown out seed. You know what it’s like to throw out seed, right? Some of you throw out and the birds just come. Other seed you throw out and it looks like it’s going to grow, but then you get a hot Israeli summer and your tomatoes burn.

Other seed you throw out, but those doggone weeds grow. Right, Isaiah? Stupid weeds. No weeds in heaven, brother. Gardening will be glorious.

I will let you come over and tend to my meat trees. Meat trees. you’ve never heard about meat trees? Okay, here’s the deal. It’s Sunday night. It’s Sunday night. I can take tangents. There’s no meat in heaven because there’s no animal death. There’s no death in heaven. So, meat requires animal death. I would say there’s no meat in heaven, but then I’m thinking, how can it be heaven without gloating and meat? Those things need to be there, and I’ve come to this conclusion. It’s not biblical, but it makes sense. In heaven, there will be meat trees.

There will be bacon vines. There will be ribeye orchards. There will be hamburger shrubs. There will be meat trees, and Isaiah is a gifted gardener, so I’m just saying he can come over and help take care of my meat trees. There you go, Kathleen.

All right, you’ve seen a parable. you’ve seen a farmer. Some of that seed does what? It falls on really good soil, and the birds don’t get it, and the weeds don’t get it, and the sun doesn’t get it, and what happens to that seed?

One little seed produces a crop, produces food for plenty, because God is abundant. Oh, okay, so God, you’re teaching us about farming? No, that would be literal. I’m not teaching you about farming, because I preceded that story about the seed with this little phrase that I use all the time,” Jesus says, “the kingdom of God is like.” Ah, what’s the point? The point is human lives are like this. The gospel goes out. The word goes out, and some people, they don’t even receive it. The devil just snatches it away.

Other people, they receive it, and it looks like they’re going to grow, but the heat of the day, the persecutions of life, the trouble that comes, dries it up and kills it. Other people, it looks like it grows for a while, but then worldliness gets in the way, right? Worldliness, the concerns of life, and bills, and marriage, and kids, and blah, blah, blah, and career, and opportunities. I’ve seen Christians do this.

I’ve seen Christians who just start out all hungry for the Lord, but then it’s like, “Yeah, yeah, church is fine, and yeah, I’m a Christian. I bought my ticket to heaven, but you know, that promotion, this, that, the other thing,” or even more sad.

Sadly, the example I already used, you know, the wife that helped me get here, you know, she’s kind of old and tired now and there’s a young cutie and she kind of looks at me like I’m great and, you know, I’ll go get my trophy wife and live the next 20 years.

All right? And I, you know, it’s hard. It’s hard. I’ve told other people, I’ve told my wife this. I said, ‘Look, honey, you might think I have it easy, but it’s hard being a trophy husband.’ It’s just, but it’s a burden I will bear. I don’t know why she rolls her eyes as much as she does.

All right. So, different content, different. And so, Jesus saying the kingdom of God and he says, ‘But then it’s like the seed that falls on good soil, boy.’

And when we get one of those Christians, when we get one of those people, man, 30, 60, a hundred fold. All right. You get it.

All right. Finally, let me just touch on a few other ways that God talks to us. Prophecy. All right. It’s in the Bible. First Thessalonians 5. Don’t despise prophecy. Don’t despise prophecy. Don’t despise when God speaks through other people.

Here’s why people despise prophecy. There’s way too many people who say, “thus saith the Lord,” when it ain’t the Lord, thus saying it. That’s why people despise prophecy. All right.

So, here’s the problem. And here’s our responsibility. Once somebody comes to us and says, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ you know whose responsibility that now is. They just put it on your plate. It’s your responsibility. And Paul says, ‘What? Throw out what’s bad, hold on to what’s good.’ Yeah. All right. How do we test it? I just gave you two big ways. Content. Scripture. Those are two big ways. But what if it’s not clear with those two? Well, you have the Holy Spirit. Ask, ‘Holy Spirit, was that from you?’

There are people who come to me and say, “Kevin, thus saith the Lord.” It’s like, I don’t receive it. Why? Well, it failed test one, test two, or test three.

I had a young guy, I was just trying to encourage him in prophetic words. And I’d given him a little encouraging prophetic word. I said, “Look, turnabout’s fair play. Do you have a prophetic word for me?”

And he was troubled with the fact that I’m an overweight preacher, and he was in good shape. Of course, he was a chain smoker at the time.

But he said, ‘you know, the only thing I get is, you know, the body needs to be a temple of the Holy Spirit.’ And he fat shamed me. Actually, in the context where it says the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, I’m not saying it’s okay to be out of shape, but I am saying in that context, it’s all about sexual purity.

All right. So he misappropriated that. And I didn’t scold him for that, but I didn’t receive it. I wasn’t going to get shamed that day.

I wasn’t going to get shamed that day. That wasn’t from God. All right. That wasn’t from God. Right. First test. Who was that word from? I think it was from the devil. I think, you know, because it was accusing. It was accusing. And, yeah, it came from his own brokenness that that was the open door that I got through. So that word didn’t land. I didn’t take it. Didn’t receive it. Wasn’t even that it was untrue. Just like, no, I’m not going to get shamed today. All right. So. You test it. You receive the word.

There have been people who have spoken to me. It’s like, “Oh, OK. Yeah. That’s God. That’s God. All right?”

So, sitting at breakfast with a prophetic man that I only met once in my life, I was invited to have breakfast with him with another man who I only met twice in my life. I don’t know these guys at all, but anyway, they wanted me to have breakfast with him.

I think this prophetic man was a traveling prophet and he was looking for a gig, right?

So anyway, I was pastoring in California, but man, Washington was on my heart. Washington was on my heart. Church planting was on my heart. And I was a week away from coming up here to pray over the region, coming to Seattle and praying over the Pacific Northwest. And this guy asked me, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m going down to this conference in LA and then I’m going to go up to Washington. I’m going to pray over the Seattle region.’ He’s eating his chicken fried steak. He stops and he looks at me.

He says, ‘The Lord says, take the ferry to Bremerton.’ I go, ‘Okay.’ I says, ‘Does the Lord say why to take the ferry to Bremerton?’ And he goes back to his chicken fried steak. He says, ‘Nope.’

I came up to Washington with my friend. We prayed around Seattle. I took the ferry to Bremerton. And this is not a diss on Bremerton, but I landed in Bremerton and it was like I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Many people have had that experience.

And by the time I left, in my heart, I knew I was going to plant a church in Bremerton, Washington. I knew it. I knew it. And then, the Lord reminded me of this. When I was a little boy, Mick, used to play simulated sports games. This was before Stratomatic. We used to play simulated sports games with my friends. And we were like 8:9, 10 years old and we fantasized about being high school athletes. We invented a high school sports league.

We would draw uniforms and stadiums, and we got a map of the Pacific Northwest. We started with Kent, Auburn, Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton. We had all these teams, and we would draw their uniforms and pretend we were on those teams. The Lord reminded me of this as I was driving home. He reminded me, ‘Remember when you did that with your friend Danny?’ I responded, ‘Yeah, that was cool.’ The Pacific Northwest was on my heart when I was 10 years old, before I was a Christian.

He said, “Remember what team you were on, what team you put yourself on?” I go, “Yeah, it was Bremerton.” It was on a map, a dot on a map that little boys were playing and when I was 10 years old, the Lord said, “The Lord had put his finger on Bremerton, Washington.” That prophetic word landed from Mr. Chicken Fried Steak Prophet.

Then there’s other times people say, “Pastor, that’s what the Lord’s saying.” And I go, “Eh? Doesn’t fail the test, doesn’t really land.” you know what I do? I do what you should do. I pray.

“Holy Spirit, what am I supposed to do with that?” He says, “Sit on that egg. Sit on that egg and see if it hatches. Don’t throw it away, don’t scramble it. You know, some prophetic words take a long time. I found that out. Not every prophetic word you get on Sunday comes to pass on Tuesday. All right?”

Well, that’s, I talked about content. The Word from God. Encouraging, edifying, comforting, strategy. So yeah, content is one of the tests.

The other test. All right, here’s a failed test, right? Failed test.

This is not a real one, but here’s an example of a failed test. Somebody gives you a prophetic word and says, “you know what? I know you’ve been through a horrible divorce and I know you’re really struggling with resentment toward your spouse, but you know, for a season you can hold onto that anger. It’s keeping you alive.”

It’s like, no. What test does that fail? Yeah, I’ve heard that. Yeah. What test does that fail? That test, that fails the test of the Bible, people. There’s no place where Jesus says you can forgive later.

Or, you don’t have to forgive at all. All right. Dreams. Dreams. We’ve spent a lot of time in our 5:15 to 6:15 Bible study looking at dreams. And we know dreams, interpretation, application. I’m a dreamer. I don’t know that every dream comes from God. I’m not an expert at interpretation or application, but the Lord has given me dreams.

And very recently, he gave me a very profound dream about grief that was very vivid and very helpful to me, actually, at a time of real sadness. And he gave me the interpretation.

And it was just a beautiful thing. It was a very disturbing dream, but the interpretation and the application was actually very helpful. And so, the Lord does that.

And then visions. An open vision is just where you see. You see it. You see it. You know, you stop seeing Mick and Brian and Kathleen, and you see something else. And God is just showing.

I’ve never had an open vision. Maybe some of you have, but I never have. I’ve never seen an angel that I know of. Maybe the Walmart lady.

Maybe I’ve seen an angel incognito, but I’ve never, you know, seen a six-foot-ten angel with a flaming sword or anything like that. People have, though. Most visions are simply like a little movie scene that goes through your head. Right? A little movie scene that goes through your head. I don’t even call these visions. I call them prophetic pictures. But I get prophetic pictures almost any time I want to open that door. Almost any time I want to open that door, I get prophetic pictures.

Prophetic pictures, and I’ll just look at somebody and I’ll see something and that sort of thing. Yeah. Okay. What’s going on? Sometimes, I just tell the person what I see because maybe they have the interpretation.

So, a young lady at our Bremerton church who’s been leading worship for us some, I was just at home having my quiet time and she popped up into my mind. And I saw in her a tiger. I saw a tiger in her belly kind of thing, like there was this tiger.

And so, I just, you know, began to pray into that. What does a tiger mean? And I looked up “tiger” in the Bible and said, “There are no tigers in the Bible. They knew lions, but they didn’t know tigers.” But then, I began to look, do a little more research, begin to pray some more about it. And so, well, a tiger is a lot like a lion, represents some of the same things that a lion represents. That is, and it can be good or bad, right? It can be predatory.

It could be something’s chasing you, something’s after you, or the good is it represents strength, the power of God, royalty, you know. And then, and then I just, as I was praying about it, the Lord said, ‘Yeah, she’s a tiger. She’s like, she has the qualities of a lion, but here’s a difference between lions and tigers. Lions hunt in packs. Tigers are stealthy.’ So she has the characteristics of a biblical lion, but she’s stealth. She’s doing it kind of below the radar. So I told her that today.

I might have ruined the stealth, but, you know, there it is. There’s a tiger over there! That you’re a tiger. All right. So, yeah. So I just see, I see that kind of stuff. And visions. And I’m not going to tell you the vision I always tell you because I always cry during that vision. So if you want me to tell you afterwards, I’ll tell you. But you’ve heard it like 10 times and I just cry when I tell it. So I’m not going to do, I’m not going to cry.

I told it this morning, and I cried. I’m not going to cry twice in a day; I’m not going to do it. I want to maintain some sense of male dignity as my testosterone dives with old age, you know. I cry more than my wife now. You know, all these women are like, “Oh, that’s so good.” No, it’s not. It’s terrible. I know. I know you guys won’t let me leave Bible study if I keep telling you my crying stories. you’ll be like, “I’m sorry, Kevin. I’m sorry.” I’ll go to the bathroom.

You’ll be like, ‘Are you going to the right one?’ you know, it’s like, ‘Oh, we’re in that day and age. Never mind. Help him, Jesus. Get him out of this sermon now.’ How do we segue into communion from that? I love you people. This is so much fun. It’s the end of the night. I’m all giddy and silly, and you just go along with it. Thank you, Jesus. New covenant prophecy. your sins are forgiven. The Holy Spirit lives in you. Christ did for you what you could not do for yourself.

He came to seek and save the lost.

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.(Luke 19:10, ESV)

That’s the qualification to have this meal. You have to have simply the humility to repent and believe and say, “Yep, I once was lost but now I’m found. Thank you, Jesus.”

All right. If you’ve come to your senses and know you can’t do this on your own and you need a Savior, then you’re invited to the table of the Savior. Holy Spirit, as we take this meal tonight, feed us.

And Lord, here’s what we want tonight based on this sermon.

I want you all to say this prayer with me. And here’s the prayer. I’m going to say it once, and then you’re going to say it with me. It’s a real complicated prayer, so you have to pay attention. Speak, Lord, your servant listens. Okay, so on the count of three, one, two, three, speak, Lord, your servant listens. Come to this meal and let the Lord speak to you.