Hello Friends.Listen up I have a message for you. And to help keep your attention I am going to throw in some photos of yesterday as MOM and I helped our friend Zoie. She is training to be a SAR Dog and MOM and I got to get ourselves lost so she could find us. This was Zoie's most challenging training session yet and I am happy to say she did GREAT! As a SAR's Dog Zoie must listen to her handler, her mom's voice, and maybe more importantly her mom has to listen to Zoie to find those who are lost. Hearing and listening to the voice got me and MOM to thinking.
My MOM loves baseball and it's the heart of Little League season, those spring days when children get their first experience of playing on a team, of learning about the rules of play, and of listening to and heeding their coach. She can still remember that first voice spoken into her ear as she stood at home plate, gripping the bat like a lifeline, waiting for that first pitch. Some voices stay with us forever. What voices have spoken into your life? Can you still hear them?
There are voices of encouragement that urge us to keep trying, keep working, keep doing what we know is right. There are also those voices we hear that accuse us of not being good enough, of being a failure, of not deserving anything better than what we’re getting.
The voices we listen to in our heart and soul can strengthen us or shatter us, push us forward or pull us down. The power of the Voice we ultimately answer to can determine the destiny and direction of our life.
In the Gospel of John, it's the power and authority of Jesus’ voice that transforms the life of one man. It was also the voice that challenges the preconceptions of many others. Jesus, is in Jerusalem for one of Judaism’s many annual festivals. But he does not settle himself among the other pious pilgrims. Instead he wanders north to the “Sheep Gate” and the healing pool found there.
At first this seems like a ridiculous question. Of course that ill man, lying on the ground, waiting for someone to place him in the pool and to stir up some healing waters that he can bathe in. Surely he wants to be well. But where is this man’s family and friends? Where are those who might have helped him make it to those waters.
We all have “voices” in our heads that tell us good things and accuse us of bad things. We all have voices in our heads that encourage us to greatness or implode us to destruction. Jesus’ voice offers a startlingly new sound — the unexpected, unprecedented voice that offers a completely new possibility. Jesus’ voice does not offer advice. Jesus’ voice does not offer judgment. Jesus’ voice offers nothing less than the possibility of complete transformation.
The power of a voice is both in its projection and in its reception. The hit reality show “The Voice” first focuses on the purity of the verbal talent being projected. The celebrity judges listen to contestants with their back turned. With no “eye-candy” distracting them, these judges hit their “yes” button based solely upon the quality of “the Voice.” Later in the competition these judges have to pit their personal choices against each other. But before that competition they act as personal coaches for their chosen singers These celebrity coaches encourage these singers to find their own voice. To make the song they are singing their OWN song, no matter who wrote it, no matter what its style.
Hearing “the Voice,” the voice of God as proclaimed by the voice of Jesus, is what makes us disciples of the living God. But we need each other to hear the Voice and to find our own voice, the voice that God gave us when God made us. Hearing “the Voice” also makes us “coaches,” whispering voices in the ears of the others.
Cameron Lyle, a 21-year-old Division I varsity athlete at the University of New Hampshire, heard the Voice and it changed his life forever. It also is saving another life.
A couple of years ago, in a school cafeteria, Lyle allowed his cheek to be swabbed to join a bone marrow registry. He was told at the time that there was a one in five million chance for a non‑family match. Well, a few months ago he learned that he had hit the jackpot. He was a perfect match for a stranger, a 28-year old young man with cancer. Without the bone marrow transplant, that young man only has six months to live.
The kicker is that a bone marrow transplant leaves the donor in such a depleted condition that you can hardly raise your hands above your head, much less throw a hammer and discus. So to donate his marrow meant Lyle had to forfeit his final season on the university track team.
Lyle said his decision to give up athletics, to help someone else, was “kind of a no‑brainer.” Almost at the same time you are hearing this story, Lyle will be making the bone marrow donation at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.
God’s Voice is spoken most definitively, most decisively, in Jesus the Christ, “God with us” (Emmanuel). But God’s Voice is also heard in the Scriptures, in history, in nature, and in our conscience, or as Paul puts it, “conscience also bearing witness” (Romans 2:15).
Can you still hear The Voice. Is your heart still open to hearing The Voice so clearly that you could say, as Cameron Lyle did, that to sacrifice for another was “kind of a no-brainer?”