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In most relationships, formality
tends to erode as familiarity grows. Recently, I called to pre-certify
a hospital stay with our insurance company. The agent asked me for my doctor's
name, I replied, "Dr. Pinon." "And what is his first name?"
I didn't know. Why would I know? We're not exactly on a first name basis.
He's never been to my home, and I've never been to his. Our relationship
is very formal, it is a doctor-patient relationship with defined boundaries.
Out of respect, I always use his title when I talk to him.
At Sul Ross University, students
call my brother Dr. Wilson. He is an associate professor of Early Childhood
development and a well-respected expert in his field. He travels all over
South Texas leading seminars for Public School teachers. I never call him
by his title. To me, he is Tim. He is my brother, not my professor.
A few weeks ago, a room full
of people called me Jimmy. No one ever calls me that anymore. To people
in the Church, I'm Pastor Jim. To those outside the Church, I'm Dr. Wilson.
Friends and family call me Jim, but no one ever calls me Jimmy anymore.
Where was I? I was at my 20th High School Reunion. Those in
the room remember me as an awkward teenager developing my identity. During
that journey from childhood to adulthood, they called me Jimmy--to them,
I'll always be that boy.
There is one relationship
where formality and familiarity blend. The more we pray to "Our Father
who art in Heaven," the more familiar we become with His voice. There
is an awesome sense of the holiness of God that accompanies our prayers.
We know we are approaching the creator God with our petitions. Yet the
more we pray, the easier it is for us to distinguish His voice from other
What does the voice of God
sound like? It sounds exactly like what it did the last time you spoke