How do we hear the voice of the Lord?

How do we hear the voice of the Lord?

Job 33:14
For God does speak– now one way, now another– though man may not perceive it.

We all are wired differently. How one person hears maybe quite different to how someone else hears. It all about perception. How we perceive, hear according to our history, passion, social adjustments / growth, spiritual maturity, and emotional stability  /makeup. Positioning ourselves to be with Jesus to hear His voice is intentional. Practicing listening enables us to develop a lifestyle of responding to what we hear.

We all hear by Faith.
Rom 12:6 NAS Every man has a measure of faith…

Faith is the inevitable consequence of hearing God’s voice.

James Ryle

Jesus our example:
Jesus had amazing faith and the ability to see (seeing is hearing) what the Father was doing.

John 5:19 NAS
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing ; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

Jn 8:28; Jn 12:49; Jn 14:10; Jn 14:12

That God speaks today is an issue forever settled on the authority of the Scripture and validated in the lives of countless men and women throughout the world. God is light and will reveal Himself to anyone who will look; God is love and will communicate to anyone who will listen…
James Ryle Hippo In The Garden

Rom 10:17(NAS) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Heb 1:1-2 NASB
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

Heb 2:1-4
Heb 4: Today if you hear His voice…respond in faith.

1. God Speaks Through Scripture…
The Word of God. it stands alone as the final authority for all revelation. Our first thought should be…Does what I am hearing line up with the nature and character of God revealed through His Word?

He speaks to us on two levels through the Bible.
1. Historical Truth… the main and the plain. Undeniable instruction. Principles and precepts that apply today. i.e.  Having a renewed mind is the will of God.

  • Romans 12:2 NASB And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

2. Personal Revelation… living words to our hearts as we read.Points us to Jesus, the Father, through the Holy Spirit. (See John 13 – 16 to glean what the Holy Spirit’s role is. i.e. He will guide us into all truth… etc.)

Don’t try to force what you are reading into your life…If it is revelation to your heart and life it will fit. Usually what you are reading will be a confirmation or as a precept, concept to help you grow.

This week I read about renewing of the mind. I was curious and intuitively knew I needed to investigate this concept further. I searched for thought connected passages. As a result of my search, I discovered the Holy Spirit has a major role in renewing my mind. Therefore, I am now leaning into the Holy Spirit asking Him to renew me in the spirit of my mind. I am also reading three books to help me grasp the concept,

Three safeguards…
a. Is it Relevant to my situation without attempting to make it fit?
b. Does it bring Revelation or Clarity to my situation?
c. Is it Redemptive or bring me and others closer to Jesus and to His Church?


 

Traction…

newtraction400-2 
 

I had a great talk with Bruce Terry pastor of Liberty Church in Birmingham. He is one of the most encouraging men I know. He is also very smart and transparent. He talked about the book Traction… and the EOS system. It was an interesting talk. We talked about leaders and how the church is shifting to release talented people into the marketplace. Wise leaders understand they have the opportunity to train, value, honor, encourage, release and celebrate people into who God called them to be.

We talked about team. How visionary leaders need people to facilitate /  implement the vision. (EOS an implementer)

He mentioned that the person / persons who lead to implement the vision, are just as needed, just as important and just as valuable as the leader. When there is no one who can practically and creatively implement the vision, the idea, is powerless it remains merely a concept.

Beginning with the end in mind, the implementer develops a plan by zooming out to see the big picture, then zooming in to see the action steps needed for the big picture to become a reality. The action steps are then developed and given to creative people who understand process, who love to solve problems, and who will enlist people to fill major roles. The challenge for visionary leaders is to value, honor, encourage and celebrate the people within the implementer leader role.

During our talk Bruce mentioned he realized the importance of The Parable Of The Talents in the context of recognizing and releasing talented people. Bruce translated the parable into the church situation. Jesus was talking about people within the local church with gifts and talents. The burying of the talents happens when leaders don’t recognize nor release people into the role they were gifted and called to fulfill.

Understand Jesus had clear vision. He gave instruction, and He had implementers, the disciples.

When you go into the city you will find a man carrying a pot. He will show you an upper room, prepare there. Have the people sit in groups of fifty. You will see a colt…
Can you imagine what these events would look like if the disciples didn’t prepare /  implement what Jesus instructed them to do? No last supper. No triumphal entry. Chaos at an outreach.

gift

When people, as gifts, are unwrapped, taken out of the box and are valued, honored and celebrated, they tend to grow and enhance an organization.

Summing it up.                                                                                                                  
In order for a vision to become a glorious uplifting reality, implementers (people who volunteer, or who are hired) should be valued as gifts to the leader and the organization. When the leader recognizes the gift, they then have the opportunity to release the person to be all they were created to be… the vision unfolds, everyone wins, and growth occurs.

Tip: Don’t keep people in a box. Unwrap the gift.

Upward, Outward: Missional Community.


36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew22:36-40NIV

Epidemic…
A friend of mine has traveled extensively and spoken to numerous pastors and church leaders. As a result, he’s discovered there is an epidemic. It seems there is a vacuum in many hearts; the vacuum is often discovered when believer’s feel / sense there must be more to life than what they are living. They may be encouraged to pray, worship, journal, read books, attend conferences, attend church or meditate upon scripture to fill their void. In reality, the vacuum they are sensing may be a purpose deficit.

All inflow, with no outflow, creates a sick heart. You and I were created to flow outward, to do good works.

Eph 2: 8-10NIV
  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

We are saved by grace through faith not by works. However, we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.

Good works don’t save us, good works reveal us. 

If you and I are not giving our lives away by serving others… somewhere we, at our core, are purpose impaired.

The below diagram illustrates:

                                                                                                                                                            

Upward:Give. Upward:Receive. 
Everything in life flows from our connective relationship to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everything. He is the source of our identity. Knowing Whose we are enables us to draw near with confidence.

In Him, we live and move and have our being. Our heart connection is so important. We draw near, and He draws near to us. His promise is true. 

All life flows from our relationship with Him. We draw near to give: to give our hearts, to give our lives, to give our worship. 

I give my worship because He is so worthy, so gracious, so loving, so forgiving. 

It’s amazing… as we give, we often receive. (I personally believe we receive more than we are aware when we spend time in His  presence.) 

What we receive is a by-product of our worshipful giving. I give my time, I give my life as worship. He, in turn, pours His love and grace into my heart. When we receive, we then have something to give. Knowing Him, I can then make Him known. (I John 1:1-9)
                                                                                                                                                                 
Outward:Give. Outward:Receive. 
The great Investor invests into our lives so that we are built up, and have something to give away to others. 

He gives us love, joy, hope, faith, grace, power, talents, giftings, gifts, and passions for others. 

As I make Him known, through active love and service, He in turn, gives something back… a sense of destiny, a sense of purpose, a sense of fulfillment.

It’s in the very act of giving, laying our lives down for others we receive. We receive encouragement when someone is genuinely encouraged and cared for through our service. We also can sense God’s favor as we give away what we have received. When we bless others, we are blessed.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

My friend Shana has a new photography business. She decided to dedicate 10% of what she earns to help people in need. Yesterday, she went shopping for groceries and toiletries. She then headed up to Trotwood to deliver the groceries and supplies to women in crisis. She stayed awhile encouraging the women and children. 

                                                                                                                                                                       
Here is a snippet of her story.
 “There are days when my envy for what others have makes it hard to breathe and others when my heart aches for what others do not. Every day I work hard to be a humble servant, putting others ahead of myself in my relationships and in my business. All the money in the world would mean nothing to me if I couldn’t help others.
Today was hard and beautiful all in the same, I was able to gift a car full of groceries to the Mustard Seed Foundation in Trotwood, a home for teenage mothers. These girls are facing challenges on so many levels and I am so thankful this home exists. I was greeted with warm smiles and big hearts and I left behind a little goodness and grace.” 

Her passion intersects with God’s purpose.  

Her passion:To care for people. Her purpose:Release her creative gifting to care for others, both in her chosen profession as a photographer and giving to people in need.

Guess where her tank is filled? Shana’s life passion is connected to her life purpose. She genuinely cares for her clients and for the people in need in her community.

My wife teaches literacy enrichment.  
Her passion:Child development. Her purpose:Teaching literacy. 
She wants to love the kids as Jesus loves. She has done this well. She is loving, creative, joyful, kind and open hearted. Guess what? Kids love being with her. Her love for Jesus overflows in creative teaching.


  Note: Both are not “full time” church workers. They are full-time Jesus followers.

Where does your passion intersect with God’s purpose?

                                                                                                                                                               
Together:A Missional Community.

When we, together, worship, love, serve and care for others we become a missional community; a community on mission. 

I’ve heard it stated, “If you pursue community you may develop community, but you may not be on mission. However, if you(all ya all), as a group of people, pursue mission you will form a community.”

Upward:Give. Upward:Receive.

Outward:Give. Outward:Receive. 

Upward:Give. Give thanks and praise for what He did in you and through you and through… all ya all. Community on Mission=Missional Community.

The power of Kindness.

Serve others, good deeds a lifestyle value.

The focused power of God’s love expressed through our acts of kindness often opens hearts to the good news. Our good deeds reflect God’s love for an individual and for our community in a tangible way. 

Good deeds, create good will, that opens hearts to the good news. 
Rusaw, Swanson The Externally Focused Church


Jesus went about doing good. His nature was reflected by His action. 

I can never imagine Jesus as someone who was continually angry or grumpy or had a fixed scowl upon His face. Nor can I see Him as being self promoting or self seeking. These attitudes are against the very nature and character of God.
 

I understand Jesus is a generous person who has an infectious sense of humor. It is certainly clear people wanted to be around Jesus. He reflected a life which was characterized by grace, peace, kindness, love, joy and spiritual power. 

He was the most friendly open-hearted person on the planet! His life was attractive. He was known as a friend of sinners.

Believers are also called to reflect God’s nature toward others. We are called to be friendly open-hearted people.

We live this out through our attitudes and our actions, by being generous people who are rich in good deeds. 

Believers are servants who are committed to serve others just as Jesus served. 
John stated,
“Whoever claims to live in him, must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6, NIV

Evangelism is more than developing a certain method,
it’s more about developing spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

Reaching others is about seeking to know what He is doing, and what He wants to do in the life of the person we are talking to. 
 

We had planned an outreach for our Dayton Supernatural School of Ministry students and made some simple bags filled with granola bars, peanuts, peanut butter crackers, Cracker Jacks, breath mints. The bags were a bridge to help us connect with the people we about to encounter.


When the students returned. Most had amazing stories. 

At the end of our time together Pattie and I grabbed a couple of friends and headed to Olive Garden for a late lunch. We took two gift bags to give to the waitress at the end of our meal. 

We arrived and began to talk to the waitress and ordered. During the time I leaned into the Holy Spirit expecting to receive a prophetic encouragement for the waitress. Nothing. No sense of anything to say. I continued to wait, observe and look for a sign or a prompt. Nothing. I remember thinking, “This is a supernatural school outreach. I’m supposed to be able to hear, see, or receive a God prompt for people. I‘m leading and I’m receiving nada, zero, nothing.

At the end of our meal we told the waitress we had a gift for her and her team. We gave her our gift bags and thanked her for being such a pleasant, joyful person. When she received the bags suddenly she began to become visibly excited, thanked us, went around the table and hugged each of us and exclaimed, “This is the nicest thing I have ever experienced!” I questioned, “Really this is the nicest thing you have ever experienced?” She exclaimed, “Yes! Here at work. Yes! This is the nicest thing.” 

She then turned and quickly to give gifts to all of the people working on her shift. She returned and said, “The prep chef says, “Thank you so much for the granola bar!” 

I was stunned. I pondered what just transpired. I asked Jesus, “What just happened? I was ready to pray for healing, or to receive a word of encouragement and I received nothing. What are you doing?” 

In an instant I heard, “Im showing you the power of kindness in action.” 

We tipped big; thanked the waitress and headed home. 

Lesson learned. There is power in an act of kindness. Small things done with great love can change our world. Tip: Practice kindness in action.