The Legend of Curt Vernon
Curt is literally two of me.
At 6'9" and 290 lbs Curt is one that you may think to feel intimidated, until you see his smile. You may be intimidated again though when he picks you up as he hugs you upon meeting you. He tends to do this, regardless of your size or comfort level.
I have known Curt for more than 7 years, though he is the most elusive of my friends. In spite of this I have been able to spend entire months with curt on two occasions, a rare thing with a man so elusive. I actually had friends who didn’t think he existed.
I met Curt when he traveled to the school I once attended. Trying to get to Nashville from Lexington, Curt wrongly took I-75 and ended up in Knoxville where he became distracted for three weeks by my friends and I. During his stay, he lived in a small loft apartment of a campus ministry I was a part of.
A number of marvelous things transpired between us all during this time, things which I don’t now have the time to detail, and you lack the attention span to read. Ask me about it in person sometime. But what you need to know is that meeting Curt led to my deciding to quit school for a time(remember when I said earlier, “the school I once attended”?) and at the time it seemed it would be for good.
During my time away from school, I landed a job, thanks to a friend, and received my first pay check when I had $2 left in my account. I had to sell some things to eat. No really, I did. E-bay became my friend, as did some old man who wanted to buy my flute from middle school band to give to his daughter.
A few months into this job, I suddenly felt very strongly that I needed to quit my job by the end of the week, it was hard to do, (very hard to do) but I did. I put in my two weeks notice on a Saturday, and 2 weeks later Curt gave me a phone call.
“Hey man! I have been thinking of you! I was wondering if you would wanna travel with me for a bit. I’m living in a van right now, and there is room for one more…” You can feel the smile on his face coming through the tone of his words.
“Wow, the timing is actually great for this because I just quit my job. Sure, why not, sounds great.” I reply.
“Awesome, I’ll be in Knoxville tomorrow night. I’ll see you then.”
“Cool.” I think, as I begin going through my romanticized ideas of life on the road. Let’s fast forward again, for the sake of your attention span, and time. Though the story of the night when he arrived merits telling at some point too and may be my next tale.
Curt and I travel a bit aimlessly. It feels that way to me at least. Curt is to excited to be right where he is every moment for it to feel that way to him, so I learn to be ok with it and let him pilot. Plus the seat wouldn’t adjust and I had to use a giant pillow to reach the pedals. So he did most of the piloting of the Astro.
Well, eventually our travels brought us to Kansas City where Curt had a number of friends. We crashed at a wonderful house of prayer called The Boiler Room which also functioned as an art studio and gallery. It is about our time there that I wish to tell you, though the other stories may come later.
This was a significant time for me because it was the first time I realized that God had been speaking to me all my life. Notice I didn’t say, “It was the first time I heard God speak to me.” or even “It was the first time I heard God speak to me clearly.” Rather, God has always been speaking and this is the time when I finally realized it. Let me explain.
You know those moments where a thought occurred to you that was much more brilliant than you could have come up with? I know you know the ones. You didn’t really think that you came up with them did you? Well, I always did, and when those thoughts began to happen more frequently and when they always turned out to be dead on, I began to trust them a little more. I even began to be so conceited as to think that I was extremely intuitive and that “my gut” was never wrong in these instances. I began taking more risks with these intuitions and putting more on the line. Like dropping out of school and quitting my job(s).
Well Curt, helped me begin to realize that this was the Holy Spirit, and always had been.
“My sheep know My Voice, they hear it and they follow but the voice a stranger they will not follow.”
I don’t want to get into all of the details and explanations of my beliefs on God and how he speaks to us, not here, not now. Remember your attention span, it’s already waning, and not even my discussing God loving you and speaking to you clearly and directly may change that. But let’s save that for another time, in person. I’m ok with that time beginning with, “Nick, you sound crazy.” I want to use this space, though, to spin a story.
See, Curt, still to this day, recognizes the voice of God more clearly and plainly than anyone I have ever met. And he knows scripture better than anyone I have ever met, which is probably a reason he is so in tune to the voice of God.
Well one day I decide to ask him about this very plainly.
“Curt, how did you begin to hear God speaking to you so clearly?”
“I don’t know that it ever began, Nick. I can’t remember a time that he wasn’t speaking to me, I think I just began to realize it was him. He was always there.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well…it’s like this. There is this passage (1 Cor. 2:6–16 is what he references) where Paul says, ‘No one can know the thoughts of a man, but the Spirit that is in him, just as no one can know the thoughts of God, but the Spirit of God’ then he goes on to say ‘but we have been given the Spirit that is from God, so that we can freely understand the things given us by God.’
And well, I just kinda realized one day, that I have the Spirit of God. I can walk in the same sync and step with the Father and the Spirit that Jesus does. And Jesus only spoke and did what he saw the Father doing, and so I have to believe that level of closeness is available to me, freely available.
This passage just helped me realize that God can hijack my thoughts any time he wants to. I have the mind of Christ, and I have the Spirit of God in me, who knows my thoughts and knows God’s thoughts, and if I have his mind then they can become one and the same. It then just becomes a matter, not of hearing, but of recognizing. That comes by practicing.
“Practicing? What do you mean? How do you practice something like this?”
“Well, I mean, let’s avoid making it complicated or too risky too early on. Just go pray. God loves to speak to you, but not only to you he loves to speak to his church. In fact he gave the gift of prophecy for that very purpose, to build up the church.
So instead of sitting in your room alone and trying to focus and hear his voice and making yourself all kinds of anxious, go pray for someone else, its irresistible to Him. He wants you to pray, he wants to talk with you, and he wants to build up his church. Ask Jesus who he wants you to pray for, and when a name or person pops into your head, don’t second guess it. Pray for them.
And as you pray for them, ask Jesus what he is praying for them, after all it says he ‘always lives to intercede for us at the right hand of God’ (Hebrews 7:25). So since he is already praying for them, just borrow his prayers, you can’t go wrong when you pray the prayers of God. Trust, and expect that when you ask God a question, he will answer it.
‘Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ (Luke 12:32)
And then if it is something that you feel compelled to share with them, especially if there is verse tied in with it, then just send them a text about it with some encouragement. I mean don’t you love getting messages like those?”
So, I went and tried it. Some of you reading this may remember getting a text message from me. I prayed for about 10–15 friends who came to mind and sent out about 6–7 text messages to friends, detailing what I saw, felt, or the thoughts that came to mind as I prayed for them and asked Jesus what he was praying for them.
Well, no one texted me back for about 8 hours. And I began sweating bullets. I started remembering verses from Ezekiel about false prophets that said, “If anyone speaks to you a word of prophecy and it does not come to pass, I have not spoken to them. This person has spoken presumptuously from their own heart.”
So I went to Curt and began explaining to him what had happened and the fears I was having. How I was freaking out and thinking I might be stoned. Or more importantly, how I was crushed, and thinking that I was the reason this hadn’t happened. That Curt really was some sort of special conduit for the Holy Spirit and that what was available to him or to Jesus, was not actually available to each of us.
All that Curt had told me, hadn’t seemed to work, and I wondered what this might mean for me, for my faith, and about my God.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…calm down, man. You’re good. You’re not a false prophet. Ok, so all of the things that you texted people…were they biblical?”
“Were they encouraging or edifying?”
“Were they based in scripture?”
“Then you have nothing to worry about. And just because they don’t exclaim that they have been blessed or visited by God through your words, doesn’t mean that God didn’t speak to you. It’s ok. Don’t let the outcome of faith discourage you from taking the risk again. It’s worth it.”
Just then, literally, the next moment after he had finished speaking I got a response back from every single person I had messaged, telling me that what I had sent them had blessed them.
One friend even said something along the lines of, “WTF, you been reading my mail? Man, thank you for sending that and for praying for me, very timely and I needed to hear that.”
So, I leave you with a challenge. God has always been speaking to you, he has always been there, and there is always a dialogue happening in your mind with something or someone. You can choose to trust that when you ask God a question he will answer back, or you can choose to be afraid to believe or put stock in it.
But even for the times that I have gotten it wrong, and made a mistake when I thought God was in something that he wasn’t, the risk is still worth it.
Every time. The risk is worth it. I’m not special, and Curt is not special, and you are not exempt. It is available to us all.
He is speaking. Will you recognize it?