DONOVAN MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Friday, September 22, 2017
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
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July 2009
 
We welcome our new minister, Rev. Jim Radford, and his wife Teresa
Jim and Teresa have 3 grown children (2 sons, 32 and 26, and a daughter, 24) and one grandchild (1 year old).  Teresa is a nurse at U. Va.  She is also going to continue to help her mother in Scottsville with her father, who had a massive stroke, and her grandmother, who lives with her mother.  They are not sure how they will work this out but are praying for guidance.  Jim enjoys playing the piano and singing.  They come to us from the James River Charge in Buckingham County (Farmville District), where they served for 12 years.  
Click on photos for a larger version.
Jim Radford says that he isn’t
 
“Rev. Radford” or “Pastor Jim,”

he’s just “Jim.
The Vacation Bile School theme
this year was "Camp E.D.G.E."
(Experience and Discover God Everywhere).
 
Jim told the Bible story each evening
and captured the kids' attention.
 
 
Jim has already discovered
Nancy Bolton's homemade
raspberry ice cream,
made with berries
she picked herself.
 
 
Our Ice Cream Social
and Pounding
(In the old days the members of the
congregation members brought a pound
of this and a pound of  that
to welcome the new preacher.)
 
 
Granddaddy Jim

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A Message from Jim

If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.   Ephesians 4:21


So, then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   Romans 10:17

                                                                                            

If I asked you, “What are you hearing from God?” what would you tell me?  

  1. You might say, “Ordinary people don’t hear from God—only special people….like really ‘holy’ people.” 
  2. Another response might be “God would not talk to me.  I am not worthy to be addressed by the likes of Him.” 
  3. Still another—and this would be all too typical—“I doubt that God speaks because I’ve never heard anything from Him up to now.” 
  4. And some will actually say, “Nobody hears from God.  We are comparatively insignificant, considering the immensity of the creation.”

 

     So if I claim to have heard God, or am hearing from God, would you assume that I was claiming to be holier than other people?  Would you think that I was regarding myself as worthy enough to warrant the attention of God, or that I was experiencing delusions of grandeur—being merely a speck in a fathomless universe—or that I need some psychiatric counseling to help me overcome my mistaken belief that God talks to us?

 

     What if I told you that God “speaks” to ordinary people—like me and you?  And that “worthiness” has nothing whatsoever to do with either hearing from God or even our hope that one day we will get to inherit the benefits of eternal life.  What if I said, as Jesus did in Matthew 10:29, that considering that God knows when a sparrow falls, he certainly knows you, and that He wants to communicate with you?

 

     We evangelical Christians talk about having a personal relationship with God.  But, as Dr. Dallas Willard

observes in his book, Hearing God,  how would it be possible for God not to talk to someone with whom he is in personal relationship?  If God doesn’t speak, then what we have is more in terms of an impersonal relationship. 

 

     I actually do believe that God speaks.  Francis Schaeffer wrote a book some years ago entitled, He Is Here, and He Is Not Silent.  There are way too many scriptural hints that this is true.  For example, Paul says that God has given us “the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father,’ the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:15-16).  Would this kind of intimacy be possible without having heard in our own hearts, “You are my child, you belong to me. And I love you.”?  I think not. 

 

     Look up a few of the many references in the Bible to “calling” (Romans 10:28, Ephesians 1:8, 2 Timothy 1:9, Hebrews 3:1).  Would God say that he would call us if a) he does not speak, b) we could not potentially hear, or especially c) he knows that we would not respond?

 

     Our attitude toward this entire subject, I believe, will tell the tale.  I want every individual to understand that worthiness before God is not something humans can achieve on the basis of their deeds, no matter how righteous their works are.  And yet, our unworthiness is not an impediment to God speaking or moving in our lives.  However, our hearing, i.e., our receiving and recognizing processes, may need a little fine-tuning, if not overhauling.   Unbelief (when one can’t believe it) and disbelief (when one won’t believe it) really do have a direct bearing on God’s activity in our lives, not to mention our discernment of that activity. 

 

      I want people to hear from God.  John Wesley once said, “Every man and woman ought to experience God.”  That is all we are really saying here.  The experience of hearing one word spoken by God to us would have a monumental effect.  When I say “spoken,” I do not mean an audible voice (although it could be audible) as much as an internal impression (like that “still small voice” that the scripture mentions) that we “hear” with our spiritual “ears.”  Did not Jesus say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear?”  

 

While I am pastor here in Singers Glen, what I want to happen is for you to hear from God.  If not, at this point, to actually hear, at least to believe that there is the potential or the possibility that you might hear your name whispered, to hear God confirm and affirm who you are in Him, to hear Him say to you, “You are my child, you belong to me, and I love you.”  

 

     What are you hearing?  I truly look forward to growing with you in what I hope for all of us will be a deepening relationship with God which, particularly living in the Glen, is our spiritual heritage.  William Otterbein knew the voice of God in his life, Christian Newcomer knew it, John Donovan knew it, and so did many of our resident descendants.  I want to know it, too.  Let’s listen together.

 

Jim 

 
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