Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you,

You are my Lord, my good above all others.

But those who run after other gods,

Shall have their troubles multiplied.

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,

My heart teaches me, night after night.

You will show me the path of life,

In your presence, there is the fullness of joy!


These are some words from the 16th Psalm which is our psalm for today.

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, the psalmist says.

My heart teaches me, night after night. You will show me the path of life.


How does that happen? How does God talk to us? Some would say He does not talk to us. Some would even say there is no “God” – therefore those who say God talks to them is the evidence of an over-wrought imagination.

Some years ago, the company I worked for was on the market, up for sale.

We were in a time of consolidation, a time of big companies buying up small companies. We were one of the few Arkansas owned, Arkansas insurance companies. The owners of the company were looking for a larger company to buy them out. For those of us just on the payroll it was a different matter. For those in sales and marketing it was not that big a deal – there is always a market for those who can sell, get someone’s signature on a contract. For those of us in the investment area it was not that simple – in an acquisition one of the keys is to cut costs – in a consolidation there would be no need for two investment departments so the investment personnel in the acquired company were expendable.

We were being looked at by a larger Kansas company. As part of their “due diligence” I was invited to the Kansas home office. There I met the investment people in that company. I talked about the investment portfolio of our company. That evening one of the investment officers of the Kansas company took me to the airport in Kansas City for my return flight back to Arkansas.

Before leaving Topeka, he said he needed to stop and get some gas. It’s funny the things you remember years later. As he was filling up his gas tank, he looked over at me and said, “How would you like to live in Kansas?”

So that’s how I ended up in Kansas for about ten years.

But that isn’t what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is what happened to me during my first year in Kansas.

I grew up in Arkansas, in Texarkana, Arkansas, to be exact. Other than for some time in Dallas, Texas, while a student at college and some time away for military training and service, Arkansas was my home.

Kansas was a big change. I enjoyed my new job, I worked with good people. I found Kansas to be a pretty interesting place. I lived close to both Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City which are great places to visit and explore.

In Texarkana I had grown up in the Methodist church. It was an important part of my life. Even after I moved to the Little Rock area, I was active in a Methodist church. But as years passed there came to be a time when God was not important to me.  Or maybe “irrelevant” would be the word. Things that were important was my career, maybe other interests, maybe I would just rather spend my off time doing things I enjoyed, rather than taking the time the time and trouble of going to church, or participating in activities which would help others. My troubles weren’t multiplying particularly – life seemed pretty good – but there was sort of a feeling of emptiness and purposelessness in life. As if my life was incomplete.

I enjoyed my new job. I enjoyed living in and learning about another part of the country.

Yet there was this emptiness.

So, one Sunday morning – out of the blue – and after an absence of some years from any church – I walked through the doors of a church – it happened to be an Episcopal church. Just like that. Nothing more than that.

As I listened the other morning as one of you shared your experience of walking through St. Luke’s red doors, I thought that described in many ways my experiences on that Sunday morning in Kansas. Someone greeted me, I was welcomed. The service was interesting, the music outstanding, the preacher had a good message – not too long.

Why did I walk through that door on that particular day?

I’ve asked how does God talk to us?

I can speak only for myself.

I had felt an emptiness, an incompleteness to my life. I felt the need to do something about it.

So, I did.

I went through the doors of that church on that Sunday morning.

I am using the word “I” a great deal – as if I did this, I did that – but the reality was that I was responding to something else – Someone else.

Not long after I was in a Confirmation class as some of you are.


During those years I lived in Kansas some of the opportunities which came my way including being part of the EFM – Education for Ministry – group at that church. Because I traveled a great deal in my job, many times on week-ends, I became active in a mid-week service (on Wednesday mornings). I’ve mentioned – Education for Ministry. Here at St. Luke’s, we have a weekday service at noon on Wednesdays. In addition, we have had a couple of similar study groups here at St. Luke’s. Presently, we have a study group that meets on Monday evenings.  


I missed Arkansas so I returned after living ten years in Kansas.

Back home I joined an Episcopal church in Jacksonville, St. Stephen’s.

There I made friends as well and have enjoyed some experiences and even some adventures. When I joined, the congregation was sort of small so everyone had to help out. We encountered some rough waters so the bishop at the time came and gave us what I call his “fish or cut bait” talk. Did we really want a church and if our answer was “yes” what were we willing to do to keep it?

Among other things that involved undergoing a serious spiritual inventory. In what ways were we individually prepared or called to serve? Who in our congregation did we feel might have the personal and spiritual qualities needed to serve? Out of that came – after prayerful consideration and a time of special study and preparation – all in conformity to church canons. – about three years all told – some who served as teachers, administrators, some as deacons and priests. I was one of two ordained as a deacon. That was 15 years ago.

More recently, I felt like maybe I needed to go to a place where I could be of more help – St. Stephen’s, a small church, had more clergy than many larger churches. With Fr Carey’s encouragement and the bishop’s approval I have been here at St. Luke’s for several years now.

I give you this information not so much as to give you a blow-by-blow description of my particular experiences but to share it with you as one person’s journey.

In recent weeks we’ve studied Job. How did God speak to Job?

Job suffered. But Job’s faith remained steadfast. In those difficult times he implored God to speak to him. And God spoke to him out of the whirlwind.

God is. There is a God and He spoke to His friend Job.

I have been blessed with a good life. I have loved ones and family and friends that I love and who love me. I have been blessed to grow up in a good family, in a good country, and had the opportunity to serve others and to serve God.

How does God speak to us?

There indeed is a God. Just as there is Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. And we are created in His image – each and every one of us.

And He speaks to us in various ways.

Sometimes He speaks to us throughour feelings of incompleteness, restlessness – – Paraphrasing the words of a long-ago saint and bishop, Augustine of Hippo, God, You have created us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until we rest in you.

My I share one last word.

God speaks to us also in His Word.

Listen especially to some of His words in today’s reading from Hebrews:


“…Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,

But encouraging one another…”



Richard Robertson