Hearing God’s Voice: Discourse

The last while Amberley and I have been discussing the book “Can you hear me” by Brad Jersak. This book talks about hearing God’s voice and how it is not as strange as we Pentecostals have made it out to be. You can hear God’s voice without some sort of a heightened spiritual experience. We can hear God in everyday life no matter what is happening. Sometimes we get so caught up in the legalism of perceived Christianity and actually dampen our ability to hear from God.

This last weekend we had the conclusion to our Student Alpha course. Stereotypically during this type of weekend a leader would want to create the exact circumstances where (s)he experienced God for the first time. Even when you are trying to break the mould, you still revert to what you know from the past. This is the type of experience I was looking for and expecting. A good old fashioned, line them up at the alter, push em down and hope for the best.

Keep in mind the whole working on hearing God’s voice thing, got it? Good. Here is how it unfolded. Everything was in place and perfect for my interpretation of a spiritual experience. Stage lights, great sounding spiritually rich worship band, experienced preacher and a ton of prayer leading in. As we were transitioning into worship and I began to pray, I had a word of knowledge about praying for ourselves before we started. The prayer was simple and echoed the words of the pastor of a church we attended and loved. The prayer went like this, with a hand held on our hearts, “welcome Holy Spirit”. Fairly simple right? Maybe simple, but not without results. For those who have had experiences with God like this they know what I mean by saying, I felt like I was twitching… like I had a nervous disorder and had trouble holding my head straight. As I finished prayer we went into a powerful time of worship which seemed to continue in what God was already doing. The worship came to an end and the preacher taught on tongues and the differences the Bible gives on tongues and why praying in the spirit is important to us. The teaching was great! Easily one of the best I have heard. Then he felt to conclude. This is where the Pentecostal in me kicks in and I thought hmmmm… when do we pray for the students and see them flop on the ground like fish? I was looking forward to some good ole’ fashioned alter time. Then the whole listening to God thing kicked in. God spoke to me and said “I already did the alter call while you prayed at the beginning, I did it backwards to what you wanted”. That messed with me! So I went to close in prayer and asked the simple question “did anyone feel something significant happen during opening prayer?” Multiple hands went up. And God said to my spirit “see”. The conversations with students and leaders went until 4 am, students who wanted to talk about what they felt and were feeling. One student even came late and missed all the spiritual stuff… she still asked a leader for ministry time that night! (thank you Jesus for this crop of prophetic leaders who don’t shut you off after the service!) Even crazier students starting to speak in tongues without a Pastor laying hands on them and praying for them!

Right when I think I have everything under control God changes everything. This leads me to think that maybe more things in our Christian experience needs to change. Maybe when we think we know everything… we know nothing. Maybe when we think we know what the students need we are hindering them. Remember when we used to make the students burn their “secular” cds? What would we do now, an mp3 deleting party? Remember when we would use end times talk to a salvation call moving? Have you ever said “if you leave tonight and get hit by a bus where would you go?”… maybe just like those things have dated student ministries we should be asking God how he wants this new generation to experience Him? Maybe it will be the same as for us… and maybe it will be completely different!

All this to say, keep listening to God, even when you think you know everything you need to know… keep listening. Maybe there are things in your Christian walk that you think are based on your morals… but have really just become road blocks and religion.


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