September 18 – What We Want To Hear

They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!”
They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your ‘Holy One of Israel.’”
(Isaiah 30:10-11)

Read: Isaiah 28:14-30:11, Galatians 3:23-4:31, Psalm 62:1-12, Proverbs 23:19-21

Relate: I have a few different podcasts I like to listen to. Mostly, they are from pastors that I believe preach very well. I try to keep a list of five that I will listen to over the course of the week and though one or two might change every year, for a while now that list has been Chris Hodges from Highlands, Steven Furtick from Elevation, Erwin McMannus from Mosaic, Craig Groeschell from LifeChurch, and Louis Giglio from Passion City. Two other podcasts that I also listen to that have nothing to do with the church (most of the time) are Dan Carlin and Mike Duncan. Mike Duncan is best known for his History of Rome but Revolutions is his current one and what I listen to. Dan Carlin also has two podcasts: Hardcore History and Common Sense.

In his Common Sense podcast he talked about how back in the early days of the internet he was toying around with some others on creating a “Pick Your News” webpage. The idea was to pick currently trending news stories and then write them with various spins. Their idea at the time was to run each story with three different spins, a conservative one, a liberal one, and a moderate/independant spin. In his podcast Carlin was saying that these days he wouldn’t have to actually write the spin at all. It is already there. If they were doing the page, all they would need to do is curate that various websites out there. I was hearing his voice in my head when I came to Isaiah’s rebuke of the people of his time. Carlin said, “People hear whatever they want to hear. They will read whatever they want to see. The truth is less important than the spin their favorite media sources will put on it.”

React: Is this true in our churches? Do we pick and chose who we will listen to based on what will most tickle our ears? Do we chose what church we will attend based on who will motivate us best and convict us least? Have we decided our theology is the best and/or only way to interpret our favorite scriptures we have cherry picked out of our Bibles and now listen to and read from only those who might agree with us? Are we saying to those commanded to preach the words of God, “Stop telling us what God says, we only want to hear what Calvin says.” Do we want less about how Jesus can free us from sin and more about how He can free us from debt?

Respond:

Dear God,
Please stop me cold if ever I am tempted to preach or write what I believe people want to hear, or even what I think they need to hear, rather than what You want to say. Help me to avoid the temptation to tailor Your message to what I think might get me the most clicks or compliments. On the other side, help me to be sensative to Your Spirit when I am listening to others called to proclaim Your Word. Don’t let me ever be one choosing who to hear or read based on what might best tickle my ears but rather on who best honors You by speaking truth to our generation.
Amen

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