And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
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- HEAR ABOUT.
Notice that He said in verse 3, His sheep hear His voice. He made the emphatic statement that His sheep DO hear His voice. Radio and television stations transmit twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; but we only hear them when we turn the receiver on and tune it in. Likewise, God is constantly transmitting His voice to His sheep, but few are turned on and tuned in. Most Christians are busy pleading with God in prayer to transmit when the problem is with their receivers. The first thing we need to do is fix our receivers — believe that God is already speaking and start listening.
However, that takes time, effort, and focus. Second, and this is very important, most often we mistake the voice of the Lord for our own thoughts. I said the voice of the Lord comes to us in our own thoughts. This is saying that communication with God is Spirit to spirit, not brain to brain or mouth to ear, the way we communicate in the physical realm.
The Lord speaks to our spirits, not in words, but in thoughts and impressions. I learned this the hard way while pastoring in Pritchet, Colorado.
All the elders of the church were custom combiners. Six months of the year, they were gone following the wheat harvest.
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They insisted that we ordain another elder who would always be there. However, being a man, I went with logic instead of my heart. Within two weeks of the others leaving for wheat harvest, this new elder turned into the devil himself. In his reports to the elders, he accused me of stealing money from the church, committing adultery, drinking, smoking, and everything else you can imagine.
It was a terrible experience. As soon as this man showed his true colors, I knew in my heart that the feelings and thoughts I had were the Lord speaking to me, and I had dismissed them as my own. I made a decision right then and there that I would never ignore my heart again. This verse has often been interpreted to mean that the Lord will give you whatever you want and has been used to justify selfishness, greed, and even adultery.
He will make His desires become your desires. I once was planning a trip to Costa Rica, a place I had been before, and was excited to be returning to.
Listening To God
Yet, as I prayed about it, I lost my desire to go. Instead, I actually felt dread about going. The first thing I did when that happened was make sure I was really seeking the Lord with my whole heart. While on a road trip, I spent seventeen hours praying in tongues, and the more I got my mind stayed on the Lord, the less I wanted to go back to Costa Rica. On the strength of that alone, I canceled the trip. The plane I had booked my flight on crashed on take-off from Mexico City, killing all persons onboard. That is the dominant way the Lord speaks to us, and we often miss that kind of communication.
One of the most important decisions of my life came in But, more importantly, focus on spiritual growth and renewal. Be attentive to the Spirit and voice of Jesus Christ. Read prayerfully in community. And read prayerfully out in your neighborhood. In parks, cafes, and other public spaces, spend time reading Scripture and other books that nurture your spiritual life. Ask God to help you apply insights from these prayerful readings to the rhythms, texts, needs, hopes, and relationships in your neighborhood.
Praying and reading Scripture in your neighborhood, while inviting the Spirit to open your eyes to what Jesus is doing in your neighborhood right now, will transform your praying and missional life. Savor the impression, word, concept, or phrase that caught your attention as you read. How is God speaking to you? How does he want to transform you? How is he inviting you into his mission?
Is he touching your thoughts, desires, passions, memories, hopes, fears, and experiences? Is he expanding your missional imagination? How is he trying to get your attention in this moment? Enter a loving conversation with God : Respond to God in prayer. Enter loving conversation with him. Make this a dialogue, not a monologue. Verbalize and, if you desire, journal your prayers. Express your prayers through the spoken word, journaling, artistry, or any other way you want. Imitate the life, passion, and prayer of Christ : As you engage fully in life, imitate Christ.
Imitate his love, justice, grace, hope, faith, mercy, and so on. Embody and live out the readings. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Express mission afresh. Respond in missional ways to your reading and prayer. Allow your prayerful reading of the Bible to shape your theology and practice of mission.
Go individually. But, more importantly, go in community. Our mission is in communion with the triune God and his people. And mission makes our communion real and rich and dynamic.
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This communion is with God and others and creation. The whole process of this prayer is communal and relational, not individualistic. Together we announce and demonstrate and embody the kingdom of God. Together we join in the mission of God, as his Body. Contemplate and rest in the loving presence of God: Rest in the presence of God. Be thankful. Contemplate discipleship.
34 Bible verses about Refusing To Hear
Contemplate new missional actions, habits, practices, commitments, and theology. Do this individually, and, preferably, with others. Embrace repentance and change and restored relationships. Pursue fresh commitments, new missional outlooks and practices, and so on.
Contemplation must lead to gazing on Jesus Christ. So, this is not the end of a process, but the beginning of a new cycle of missional reading lectio missio. Missional reading is a process, a cycle, and a dance, that will reactivate your missional vitality. When practiced together, it can also inspire your friends, family, team, and church to join in the mission of God.
4 Reasons You Should Try Listening to the Bible for a Change
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse.
As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:.
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