Tim Bohlke » // writings

Distant Whispers

So I was reading an article not too long ago about the distant whispers of God. Sometimes I wonder why it needs to be a whisper. Why doesn’t God speak to us loudly and clearly? Why is his voice so often quiet and subtle?

Think about Samuel. God whispered to Samuel two or three times during the night and Samuel did not recognize his voice. Samuel needed his mentor, Eli, to tell him to quiet down and listen to the voice of God.

Many of us don’t have someone in our life like Eli. I have looked for that person often, but have never seemed to find him. Often there just is not that person in our corner reminding us to quiet down and to listen; that more seasoned ear to remind us that God still speaks, even if in a distant whisper.

So how do we know when God speaks? And, I wonder again, why so often when he does speak does he choose to whisper?

I do know that to have a chance to hear him, we need to quiet down… because this life, this culture is




We need to practice solitude and listening even more today, especially in the absence of others who help us tune our ears to the whisper. There is a ton of stuff that screams for our attention. Maybe God speaks in whisper s– in the quiet– because it’s




A few times in my life his voice has been clear. As I think about that, there was a weightiness in the whisper that made it stand alone. I recognized it and I long to hear it more often.

Can you think of a time when His voice broke through in your life? A time when there was a difference, a weightiness to his voice that caused you to pause, and really listen?

I do know this… I need to keep unplugging, quiet down, and relentlessly listen….otherwise I may miss it.

Random Moments

Random inspiration at needed times. I think about this often — how God has revealed himself in some surprising, random ways, sometimes in epic moments, and other times in the most common moments of the day-to-day. Through struggles, a sunset, or a quiet moment at the ocean. Through the words of a song, at the heart of a crisis, through laughter with some friends. In a picture that stirs a memory, a late night bike ride, or a random movie that  took me to another level.

The last few months have been a challenging stretch, but the last few weeks have brought some needed  encouragement and inspiration from a lot of different directions. In early September I was with some guys who finished their three-year RHYTHMinTWENTY journey, and with another group of guys who are just getting started.  The stories, the hope of an encounter with God in a fresh and new way, the depth of great relationships, and the continued pursuit of God… it was a just a glimpse of heaven, and it has for sure had a deep impact on me. It makes me want to keep chasing the rhythm this mysterious God has for me and others.

Then last friday I got to go to a Mumford and Sons concert with my son Dylan and a friend of his. Just being in the moment with them was awesome. I love Mumford. Their music is just plain fun, the lyrics inspirational, and their talent is off the charts!  It was a great reminder of how God can work through all of us, despite our mistakes and screw ups. He can reveal truth and encouragement in a ton of different ways. The guys  in that group have made some mistakes, and sometimes I wonder where they are coming from, but that does not change the amazing ways God can use them through their music.

As I was listening to “Roll Away Your Stone,” some of the words to that song really stood out that night.

” It seems that all my bridges have been burned,

But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works.

It ‘s not the long road home that will change this heart.

But the welcome I receive with the restart.”

As I was listening I was reminded how many times I have needed that restart, and I thought about the incredible restoration I have seen in my own life and the lives of so many others who needed God’s grace, who were desperate for that restart!

The last couple of weeks have given me resolve to keep my eyes and ears open to what He may have for me.next. In the most epic and most common moments, ideas, hope, inspiration can  come.

Here is to waiting, watching,  listening…



The Eye of the Storm

It is amazing how strong the bond can be to old high school or college friends. Those early stories, memories, and moments leave a mark. After many years, some friends from college came to my son’s high school graduation party this past May. It was great catching up, and they were excited to tell us about their daughter who would be starting her senior year this fall. Just recently, we heard  their daughter very suddenly died of some kind of brain tumor. It came out of nowhere and now life is very different.  Everything has changed.

What do you say? What do you do? How do you respond to what has to be the hardest thing in life to go through?  For me, it is very hard to spiritually  process these kind of moments, and I struggle to know how to come alongside others. I starred at a card we were going to send, and found there were just no words that fit this kind of moment.


But somehow, I have a sense that God meets us in those moments right in the eye of the storm. I know that in a couple of my most difficult moments — times when I was ready to walk away, times when I was not sure this God thing was real or worth it — it was in those times that He somehow broke through in unique and powerful ways.  But the whys, the typical lines… they just make no sense. Somehow in this world that is struggling and often full of such hurt, God meets us in the darkest and hardest places. I have to believe he cries with us, grieves with us, and celebrates the moments yet to come. It is impossible to make sense of it, and the questions that arise in a time like this are too numerous to mention here.

Psalm 62 does come to mind:  ”My soul waits in silence for God ONLY. For my hope is only in him, He only is my rock… ”

Still I wonder, how does his greatest gift suddenly turn into such grief and heartbreak? I don’t know, but I do believe He meets us in the eye of the storm, and he somehow walks with us right through all of it. I hang on to that. I hope for that. I need that!  And I hope my friends are able to somehow meet Him there as well.

What Makes Me Strong?

I often wonder why we know so little about the first 30 years of Jesus’ life.  As I considered this last week, what came to mind was that he was quietly preparing and strengthening himself for what was coming. I know I am so often focused on the doing, on the tasks and the adrenaline of making things happen, that I forget how important it is to strengthen and prepare myself for the moments that are coming.


Last week I was trying to get ready for two RHYTHMinTWENTY events we were about to launch in Colorado. With all that was going on I was feeling pretty overwhelmed and I was a little stressed out. I did not feel ready personally or spiritually. But in some times of quiet, the words that kept coming to me were, “be strong.” Those words came to me again and again that day; as you head into this next few weeks, be strong.  It raised a natural question for me: What do I need to do to prepare for the stretch that was coming? What is it that makes me strong?  What came to mind right away for me was not getting organized, not mulling through all the details of the events again, not going over my talks, not hitting my to-do list. What came to mind first was to seek out some quiet and solitude — to slow down, unplug from the pace, quiet down, and just listen.


We see Jesus do this throughout his life.  Even in the busiest times of his life and ministry he pulled away. When the crowds gathered, the needs were great, when it seemed logical that he would be all about the “doing,”  he headed into the wilderness to get away, to get quiet, to gain strength for the next stretch.


I am reminded again that I need to find regular times in my schedule to pull away, to unplug , even during the busiest of times. Maybe  it is during those crazy, busy, and stressful times, that is it makes the most sense.

So I ask myself again as I think about the challenges, and the opportunities of the weeks ahead…

  • What will best prepare me?
  • What builds me up?
  • What makes me strong?

The Journey is Calling

Several years ago a friend and I decided to hit the bike trail. It was one of those gray fall days, and we were cutting a trail through fallen leaves along this wandering path that went out over a bridge. Below us, a train was passing by.  I remember the tracks almost moving and the fallen leaves flying ahead and swirling behind the train as it sped through. Something about that moment beckoned us to jump on board and to see where those tracks were headed.

That friend and I still talk about that moment. It was a calling out of sorts. For me, it was God asking, “Tim, are you willing to jump on board with me, even without knowing where the train is going? Are you willing to take a chance — a risk to step out of this ordinary life?  Will you step into the unknown with me? Will you jump into a life of adventure?” When I see trains today, my mind still goes there; to that feeling and to those questions.

“Are you ready for the next step? Can you choose a direction?”  Recently I saw a train pass by at the river’s edge and I remembered that fall day many years ago, and that train that brought so much movement to my life.

As I watched the train roll by, mirrored in the surface of the water I wondered again if I was ready to get on board with where God is moving today. There are no guarantees and the destination is unsure; but the journey is calling out.

To figure out His movement, His direction, I know that I need to get to a place where my soul and senses are opened up and I can listen. But it is more than listening; I need to get to a place where I am willing to jump on board as the train passes by. But again, it is more than willingness; it is an actual jump, a leap, a movement, a choice, an action, a trajectory.

Once I’ve listened, once I’ve become a willing participant in the movement of God, I need to take the biggest step of all and actually jump on board.