Sunday, October 5, 2008

hearing God

Please read this disclaimer: This happens to me sometimes; I just ramble until I find the nswers or go to sleep. You're welcome to join my search and send me back some of what you’ve found or ere on the side of ‘common’ sense and go on to the next few posts.

I’m right in the middle of trying to organize my thoughts, the small number I have, and write down some ideas on what I believe about knowing and hearing from God. Can one know him on this planet- earth side of the Kingdom? Well, that is what I have been thinking about lately and on the face of it, I believe that ought to be a fairly straight forward question but it hasn’t turned out to be quite so easy. But I forgot, that isn’t what prompted me to write these thoughts down today.
In a conversation with three or four other people the other day, one man said that he felt a major problem in the church in our area was that the leaders were generally untrained and didn’t know enough theology. We didn’t pursue this conversation and so, I can’t be certain that I know where he was going with that statement however I do believe I can make a fairly good guess. Actually, I had a funny thought about this idea.
The whole church was started , taught and , expanded world wide by a bunch of fisherman, tax collectors and ne’er do wells who generally, except for Paul I suppose, had not gone to graduate school or seminary. [I can only hope someone hasn’t done research on this and can offer definitive evidence of the apostles academic accomplishments, not to mention dental records!] What a dignified group ! God, knowing this about them of course, ‘used them’ to expand the church by letting them be run out of practically every town they settled in. We all know this but it just came across as rather funny to me in thinking about it. God used this bunch to start a brand new church but we don’t have enough professional leaders? How did they accomplish what they did? What did they have that we don’t have? Perhaps a big, “ Well- Duh!” is in order.
The obvious and first thing I think of is the advantage of not having a clue. Add to that dependence upon Holy Spirit . Read Acts………notice how many times you see phrases like, after we had prayed and fasted we, or…………it seemed to us that we should……. And more……they didn’t sound like they had a preconceived plan and they obviously made some mistakes. Also note, that Jesus told them that they would be taught, nurtured, provoked, guided,…..etc by Holy Spirit when Had returned to the Father. Then there were the ministry gifts that were left for the building up of the body to make disciples of all nations . Teachers and preachers, and prophets……….etc. Not natural gifting but supernatural…..(that’s another article) I’m afraid we sometimes educate ourselves beyond our place of need and dependence upon God. Isn’t that really why the church is still here, to make disciples of all the nations or people-groups? I’m thinking of a business meeting I went to once, where around six or seven people were charged with the job of developing our company mission statement. Now to begin with half these people flew in from Colorado and points west, for the most part, just for this exercise. We spent the day in a futile attempt to reduce all our collective goals into a short paragraph! We generated lots of ideas on the subject, used up numerous markers and legal pads and cost, who knows how much money, but I think we confused the issue more than clarified it. If we were honest most of us would write as our personal view on the companies mission statement, to make money for the company and hold on to our job! Anyway, where did my point go?
We were talking about the church. It just occurred to me that maybe in our effort to not get our religion wrong, we miss out on opportunities to get it right. I mean, we can and do spend countless hours in maintaining just the correct view of man’s depravity, for instance. We write and rewrite , think, pray and ponder our views and doctrines on the subject until we don’t see anymore flaws in it, and with that, we disprove our premise, that man can’t get anything right! I’m only half joking! And don’t tell me, I n this last example , we got it right because we prayed and God helped us. That sounds good but I know how easy it is to give lip service to prayer and besides, a good number of our churches don’t actually believe God would speak clearly to us in answered prayer anyway. We end up making ourselves feel better by winning the doctrine wars that go on between churches At best, we can listen intently to our highly educated advisors and preachers, and do our best to hold on to what they say is truth. At worse, we slip into guarded, paranoid , and fearful behavior and read another self help or ‘correct’ doctrine book and hope we end up on the ’approved plan’………………. I know, I know,, we do a lot of good things in the in between times and God uses ministries despite themselves but please…………….. In the words of one of my former pastor/friends, ’ I’m more fouled up than Hogan’s goat so I don’t claim to have all our solutions…………or wait, maybe I do.
Why don’t we just stop and ask God, and expect that He will answer, since he said, over and over again than he would. In that, some of us will have to try real hard to stiffle our religious spirit…..You’re the ones who are already correcting me when I capitalized the word He ; pronoun for God, even though I left it uncapitalized in the second sentence ! You might win the battle but lose the war if that is your usual approach to prayer! Just humor us ______________, well, I’m not sure what I am today…….I’ll just call myself a sometimes emerging ‘Babacosterianist’ and leave it at that.
Try reading the Bible for a week or two as much as you have a chance, especially in the ‘red letters’ but not just there. Anyway ask Holy Spirit to help you hear and obey and write down what God may be saying to you. I know, if you let yourself you can stop here and instantly get out your doctrine gun and beat me up. Don’t get me wrong,,,,,,,,,,,I agree we are to guard our doctrines but if you continue to ‘monitor yourself’ ‘ and seek first your familiar doctrine, you can see you will hardly ever actually go first person with God. At least that’s been my experience and remember ‘Hogan’s goat! I believe you’d be on pretty solid ground to accept in faith that God may just answer your prayer. As we grow and mature , some of us do find that our prayers don’t obligate God or require Him to answer in our way. That’s a given. And we don’t require or demand anything from God ….we got that. And we know we don’t have God’s perfect timing in answering our prayers. Knowing this is liberating though, we just lay back, breath deeply (the pneuma / the Spirit of God and that is where our preparation for doing the works come from………………
More later,

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