Hearing a Voice?

In a discussion the other day with a minister friend, we were talking about books as we rode down the highway, and Francis Chan’s Forgotten God was mentioned. It really is a great book that addresses what I believe is the root cause of so many churches finding themselves less effective than they want to be – without the power of the Spirit of God, we simply cannot accomplish the mission of God.

I was challenged with a question: “So, how did the book impact your life specifically? What are you doing different because of it?” (This is a great question to ask someone when they tell you how good a book was.) I blathered something about trying to pay more attention to the Spirit and spending more time digging through Scripture, becoming familiar enough with the voice of God in Scripture that I recognize it more readily outside of Scripture.

Another youth minister who’d been at the meeting we were at all day had commented earlier about feeling that the Holy Spirit was pulling in a particular direction. Some in the meeting sort of chuckled at that idea, jokingly accusing him of trying to drum up support for an idea by invoking the Spirit of God as the idea’s generator. It was a lighthearted moment for most of us, but I wonder… why are we so cautious (even skeptical?) when a trusted servant of Christ with a good reputation and a level head shares that God is leading him?

When the wind blows, why are we so afraid to let ourselves be moved?

I know, I know… how do you know the wind will take you where you want to go? How do you know it’s really the Spirit of Jesus and not some other? How do you really know you can trust what you’re feeling God wants? I offer no easy explanations for these questions, but I wonder… is our fear of the uncertain keeping us from connecting with the very power to do what we ARE certain should be done? We know, for example, that the church is here to continue on His mission. Do we really think we can accomplish the mission of Christ apart from the power of the presence of the Spirit of Christ?

The early Corinthian Church may have thought so, and Paul reminded them of God’s foolishness. He concentrated only on Jesus and His death on the cross (which is not how you start a global movement of any lasting significance). It wasn’t Paul’s exceptional rhetoric that convinced those early believers – it was the Spirit of God.

Paul told them to stop fooling themselves, “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”

Do we need to stop fooling ourselves, too?
Maybe this is more of an issue within myself… How are you seeing the Spirit of God lead you? What are you doing to recognize and respond to His leading?

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