“You're not listening!”
The members of the leaders' training group looked startled and put on their most attentive expressions. Joe, however, stayed laid back on two legs of his chair with his hands deep in his pockets portraying a 'couldn't care less' attitude.
“Don't worry guys,” gestured Don – hands in a surrender position, “I'm just demonstrating what God often has to say to his people.”
The leaders' training group, led by Don, had just finished a study series on the Church and were about to commence studying a new topic on the importance of hearing God.
“Well Joe, you'd a lot to add to the other guys' input on the Church without proffering your own personal comments – so I'm giving you first shout tonight on how you hear God. I'd like to point out that definitions need to be brief so we can get to the main study promptly – fire away Joe!”
Joe swaggered into his answer with his head swaying and furnishing a half pout. “I struggle with hearing God – but I think that's scriptural. In Isaiah 42 v14 it states that God sometimes holds his tongue for a long period. That's how I sometimes feel: no response! It also says in the same verse that there'll come a time when he'll start shouting – could do with a bit of that at times. Our world certainly could!”
“Ok, thanks Joe. What about you Mary – how do you hear God?”
“It's not so much a voice, but God often speaks to me through visions and pictures that seem to come up on a screen. Some have a definite message on which I've acted. I helped rescue a desperate young mother from going into prostitution because of husband desertion and his bad debt. God pre-told me it all in visual form.”
“Wow!! If that's not hearing God, I don't know what is.” Don removed pretend sweat from his brow. “Clive, as briefly you can, give us some theological input.”
“The best way of hearing God – it's got to be the Bible – that's God's complete revelation to mankind; it's true God speaks in other ways but you can't go wrong with the Word. Church history is littered with horror stories when the Bible loses it primacy. Is that enough for you?”
“Thanks Clive! Maureen?”
“I agree with Clive, but God does speak to me in other ways too. I hear him when I see a desperate need telling me to stretch out my hand and help. I hear him when I'm knelt in prayer telling me that he loves me. I hear him in a baby's gurgling telling me that he's the mighty Creator. But best of all I hear him through the Cross telling me how valuable I am to him.”
“That's just lovely! Thanks Maureen! Go ahead Mark – your turn, I can see you champing at the bit.”
“I hear the Holy Spirit speaking within me. Just like an inner voice that I hear as plain as verbal words spoken by you or me. Remember Jesus said that his sheep would hear his voice. There have been times when I've wandered and lost touch. When I lose that intimacy I know I need to get back quickly. I can't do without the fellowship of his Holy Spirit.”
“Very interesting Mark and it's one of the ways that I've experienced God speaking to me. I too love to hear his voice in this way. Joanne, how are you finding the leadership course and would you like to contribute?” (Joanne was already in leadership but felt she needed a boost to her ministry).
“Really enjoying it Don and yes I'd love a go. I hear God in lots of ways but mostly I've been blessed by hearing the Lord through the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the spoken words of those in ministry. Most of the steps forward in my Christian life have come about by hearing God through his dedicated preachers.”
“Jolly good testimonies guys; I'd like to give you all a pat on the back for your valuable contributions and don't forget to put your hearing aids in tomorrow.”
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