Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 26

Vancouver Chinese Alliance Church

Vancouver Chinese Alliance Church My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

John 10:27

Name:

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Name:

604-266-7446

you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

p.1

A Prayer as We Begin

Lord, Elohim, You are Creator and Sustainer of all we see around us. You spoke everything into being. You are God For Us.

Lord Jesus, Emmanuel, You came that we might know You. You are the Living Word. You are God With Us.

Lord, Holy Spirit, You are the Presence of the Almighty saturating our world. You are the voice, the breath of God. You are God Within Us.

We know You love us and want to reveal Yourself. We want to encounter You this weekend and be changed.

Help us to listen. Help us to receive all You have for us.

Amen.

The God Who Speaks

Jesus certainly worked long, hard days of proclaiming the Kingdom of God in word and deed. His days were full. He was faithful. But He was never rushed. According to Him, the key to moving from “busy days” to a “full life” is complete trust in the Father for everything we need:

“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. John 5:19-20

So “hearing God” is not a technique to be mastered, but rather the intentional cultivation of a relationship … a relationship we were created for … with a Heavenly Father Who is always Present, Active, and Loving.

In fact, the main thing is not even “hearing a voice,” but rather having a deep sense that:

God is here with us and loves us

He is stretching and growing us

He is calling and gifting and guiding us as His friends and co-labourers in

redeeming the world This is the interactive or conversational relationship that we long for … indeed that we were created to enjoy!

604-266-7446

interactive or conversational relationship that we long for … indeed that we were created to enjoy!

p.2

Ways People Like Us Heard God in the Bible

(adapted from Chapter 5 of Willard’s Hearing God)

Abraham hears the voice of God telling him not to kill his son, Isaac (Gen 22)

Samuel hears God calling to him as a little boy (1 Sam 3)

Elijah and the still, small voice (or gentle whisper) as the Lord passes by (1 Ki 19)

sometimes God adds a visible phenomenon to the voice

Moses receives the call to Egypt from God at the burning bush (Ex 3)

Dove along with God’s affirmation of His Son, Jesus at His baptism (Mt 3)

Blinding light along with the voice accosting Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9)

think of all the people who heard God speaking to them through angels

Abraham and the 3 visitors (Gen 18)

Joshua and the Commander of the Army of the Lord outside of Jericho (Josh 5)

Zechariah in the Temple, Mary and Gabriel, the Shepherds in the fields (Luke 1,2)

Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb

Peter let out of jail (Acts 5 and 12)

Cornelius the Roman God-fearer being told to send for Peter (Acts 10)

Paul in the storm before the shipwreck (Acts 27)

or dreams and visions

Jacob and his vision of the heavenly ladder at Bethel (Gen 28)

Joseph and Daniel interpreting dreams

Isaiah’s vision of heaven at his commissioning (Is 6)

Joseph being told to marry Mary, and then flee to Egypt (Mt 1)

Ananias being told to go and heal Paul (Acts 9)

Paul and the man from Macedonia (Acts 16), encouraged to keep speaking in Corinth (Acts 18), and his visions of heaven with the thorn in his flesh (2 Cor 12)

John’s visions of heaven in Revelation

and of course, the most common way, through another human voice

Moses speaking God’s words to Pharaoh

all the OT Prophets speaking to Israel, her Kings, and the other nations

Jesus teaching and praying

604-266-7446

all the OT Prophets speaking to Israel, her Kings, and the other nations Jesus teaching and

p.3

Consider these promises:

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. Isaiah 58:11

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from

the mouth of God.’ ”

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you

are in me, and I am in you.”

Matthew 4:4

John 14:15-20

… our personal experiences not withstanding …

The God Who Speaks

God speaks from Genesis 1:3 onwards … God speaks to Moses … I AM God speaks to the Judges God speaks to the Kings God speaks to and through the Prophets God speaks to and through Jesus God speaks to and through the Disciples God speaks to and through His Church God speaks through His Spirit and the Word

We conclude then, that according to the Bible, the most natural thing we should expect is that our relationship with God as friends and co-labourers would include “hearing His voice” in some way. Often with words (“conversational”), but sometimes without (“interactive”), He guides us, nudges us, is telling us what we should do.

God is far more interested in speaking to us, than we are willing to listen. If we are not hearing Him, if He seems absent or distant, the problem is probably on our end!

Convinced?

604-266-7446

If we are not hearing Him, if He seems absent or distant, the problem is probably

p.4

Hearing God within the Transforming Friendship

It’s a relationship we are longing for, not a technique!

God is:

Present

Active

Loving

God longs to:

Know Us – have a close, loving, two-way, interactive relationship Grow Us – foster our growth, maturing, transformation to Christlikeness Show Us – send us as a light to the nations; to be His Presence; co-labourers in the Kingdom

the nations; to be His Presence; co-labourers in the Kingdom The Angelus , by Jean-Francois Millet,

The Angelus, by Jean-Francois Millet, 1857-9, Oil on canvas.

Our Identity from Scripture … we’re not just sinners in need of repentance:

Old Testament: Servants with elements of Friendship … and even the intimacy of Lovers (e.g. in the Song of Solomon and God wooing wayward Israel in Hosea)

New Testament: Servants Friends Children / Co-Heirs (Rom 8:17,29) Bride

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Exodus 33:11

“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’;

I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for

I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:8-10

“ You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does

not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my

Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:14-15

We conclude then, that according to the Bible, we have been created by God for an intimate relationship with Him as His Children, Friends, and Co-labourers.

604-266-7446

been created by God for an intimate relationship with Him as His Children, Friends, and Co-labourers.

p.5

Exercise: Attentive and Receptive

Being Here with the God Who is Present, Active, and Loving

Find a comfortable place to sit quietly, either inside or outside.

Take a few minutes to simply sit still. Feel the ground supporting you. In silence, close your eyes and intentionally take 5 deep, long, slow breaths. Focus all your thoughts

on your breathing.

Be here.

Now open your eyes and take in the view.

Outside: Pay attention now to what you can see. Keep paying attention. What can you notice that you didn’t see before?

Inside: Now pay attention to your feelings. How does what you are seeing on the outside make you feel on the

inside?

Can you name that feeling?

God: Choose to believe that I AM, Immanuel God is present with you. He loves you. He wants to speak with you. If you had to connect this seeing-feeling experience to God somehow, what might He be saying? … wanting you to hear?

e.g.

or … He is reminding me of His awesome power … He is whispering, “I love you” in my heart

I am with you.

I am here.

Don’t be afraid.

Close your eyes and listen. Outside: How many different things can you hear? Inside: How do these sounds make you feel? God: If Jesus were saying something to you right now, what would that be?

Close your eyes and feel with your skin. How does the warmth of the sun …, or the breeze in your hair …, or the solid ground under you … make you feel? What do you think God is feeling towards you right now?

604-266-7446
604-266-7446

Are

You

Open,

Receptive

Soil?

p.6

Hearing God Today

OK, if I’m honest … I Have Some Doubts!

Given that many of us have had experiences of an invisible and seemingly distant, silent God … and all the apparently “unanswered prayers” that we really don’t like to talk about … is it reasonable and realistic to expect God to speak with us today?

Maybe it’s just “answering machine” prayers for most of us most of the time. Those other stories and experiences of “God told me to …” must be for other people—the spiritually elite.

Let’s talk about that …

Ways People Like Us Hear God Today

(adapted from Chapter 1 of Jersak’s Can You Hear Me?)

Hearing God speak and responding to Him can happen in many ways which we might

easily overlook:

coming to faith in the first place (“No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws them --John 6:44)

hearing God “speak” through Scripture: words jump out at you; you know what you must do after reading a passage

feeling convicted by a preacher’s sermon, or words from a friend that seem to carry a particular weight … this may lead to repenting from something wrong or confidently stepping forward towards something good

a deep sense of longing for God or desire to serve Him stirred by a time of worship

the urge to pray for someone, to go and encourage someone, or a deeply burdened sense of compassion for a group of suffering people

Notice how gentle, how subtle yet real, these interactions with God usually are.

The LORD said [to Elijah standing in the cave in Mount Horeb], “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Ki 19:11-13

604-266-7446

the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here,

p.7

But Why Does He Make It So Difficult?! Why Doesn’t He Send Me a Goodyear Blimp Each Day?!

Because Small is Beautiful!

In His grace, God desires a real, full relationship with us. In His love, this is a friendship in which our growth and maturity is more important to Him than our comfort. God is stretching us towards maturity which includes autonomy (making our own decisions rather than being told what to do each moment like puppets or robots)

and Christlikeness (our true selves emerging). God longs for adult children who freely choose to regather at His banquet table and join

in His work

He wants to hear their ideas, longings, and passion.

While a child or new employee needs to be told: “Do this!”, a grown up or experienced professional can bring the delight of demonstrating their own way of doing things … completely consistent with the Father’s heart. God usually asks them, “What do you want?” God is scandalously for us: He longs to engage our faculties as free, intelligent beings made in His image. So His preference is to use quiet, gentle, subtle (i.e. easily overlooked or dismissed)

ways of “speaking” to us because He wants to interact with us, not overrule us.

us because He wants to interact with us, not overrule us . Jesus’ Listening Example: Confident

Jesus’ Listening Example: Confident and Humble

Following Jesus, we join the Father in His Kingdom Work:

CONFIDENT - we cling to the promise and expectation that God will both equip and guide us.

ANY WAY - we are open to Him “speaking” in any way He wishes (Scripture, other people, the still small voice, subtle nudge or conviction, miraculous signs, angels, dreams, visions, etc.)

ANYTIME - we are open to Him “speaking” in His time … not insisting that He speak when we command (e.g. Bible Verse Bingo)

ANYTHING - we do not limit Him to words about our own safety, security,

comfort and success (the idols of our age) …. but listen with the motives of

glorifying Him and caring for others

Communication for Transformation

(not Comfort!)

Jesus said that He was the Light of the World (John 9:5) … and then told us to go and be the same (Matthew 5:14)! By His Spirit in us, we are now His Presence in the world until He comes again.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

God has revealed His secret wisdom to us by His Spirit from 1 Cor 2:7,10, 17

Jesus watched His Father, learned to do His Father’s work, and became like His Father.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes

a light.

in fact, we have the mind of Christ!”

St. Joseph the Carpenter” by Georges de la Tour, 1645

St. Joseph the Carpenter” by Georges de la Tour, 1645

!” St. Joseph the Carpenter” by Georges de la Tour, 1645 p. 9 Ephesians 5:8-13 (NIV

p.9

Ephesians 5:8-13

(NIV used to be “for it is light that makes everything visible”)

We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate (or reflect; lit. behold in a mirror) the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18

604-266-7446

Exercise: Subtle Attraction and Aversion

John 13:3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

Take a few minutes to consider each of the following artist’s interpretations of this poignant moment.

What do you like about each one?

What do you not like about each one?

Notice the things you are attracted to

the things that repel you.

Which Jesus do you feel most comfortable with?

Consider the body posture (torso) of Peter in each picture.

What does that tell you about Peter’s inner response?

What are his hands saying in each picture?

What are his feet saying?

How open is each of these Peter’s to Jesus washing away the dirt in his life?

How open are you to Jesus?

604-266-7446

is each of these Peter’s to Jesus washing away the dirt in his life? How open

p.10

Open to Jesus?
Open to Jesus?
Open to Jesus? Picture Credits (from top): Artist: Unknown (Illustrator of “Vie de Jesus Mafa”) “Jesus
Picture Credits (from top): Artist: Unknown (Illustrator of “Vie de Jesus Mafa”) “Jesus Washing the
Picture Credits (from top):
Artist: Unknown (Illustrator of “Vie de Jesus
Mafa”)
“Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet,” Copper
Etching by Caspar Luiken, 1712.
Artist: Hermine F. Schaefer from Anne de Vries'
Children’s Bible
“Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet,” Ford Madox Brown,
1852-6
604-266-7446
p.11

Encountering God in Scripture

“Following Jesus doesn’t mean setting out to do the things He said in the Sermon on the Mount, but rather becoming the sort of Christlike person who does these things naturally.” --Dallas Willard

We long to have our quiet times with God be about more than information

we are made for

relationship with God and yearn to grow into our true, Christlike selves. The goal of the Christian life is

union with God.

Communication Communion Union

We can know His thoughts, feelings, plans, longings, love, peace, power

He is longing to speak to us, share all these things with us

the only question is whether we will take

the time to open the door, welcome Him in, and receive what He is longing to give us.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”

--from Isaiah 30:15

No good spiritual fruit is borne outside a relationship with the Father

this is the giveaway error of

New Age thinking, magic, superstition, witchcraft, and even legalistic or works-based Christianity which all seek to harness or manipulate divine power without surrendering to His loving Lordship. i.e. “If I believe these things or do these things, then God has to act.” See Acts 19:13-16 and hear this warning from Jesus to the Scripture experts of His day:

The Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify

about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 15:37-40

We conclude then that it is necessary read the Bible, AND also essential to be open to the Holy Spirit bringing this Word to life in us. He helps us to meet and know Jesus as a Person and thus be transformed into His likeness. Know the Scriptures AND know Him.

"God has revealed His secret wisdom to us by His Spirit

in fact, we have the mind of Christ!"

-- from 1 Cor 2:7,10,16.

How can we read our Bibles for transformation, not just information?

Use Matthew 8:5-13 - The Faith of the Centurion, as an example

604-266-7446

transformation, not just information? Use Matthew 8:5-13 - The Faith of the Centurion, as an example

p.12

Level 1 – Knowledge (Facts)

When and Where does this story take place?

Lord, help me to understand this passage

early in Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, just after the Sermon on the Mount

Who are the major characters and what does each of them do?

Roman Centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant

What makes this story remarkable?

Jesus does so “remotely”

Jesus is astonished at this non-Jew’s example of extraordinary faith

Level 2 – Wisdom (Truth)

Lord, help me to learn and grow from this passage

What do we learn from this story in terms of truth (doctrine or belief)?

Jesus was willing to talk to and help God-fearing Gentiles

in fact, He underscores that because of

their response to Him, they will make it into the Kingdom of Heaven while many Jews will find themselves on the outside

Words have power. They don’t just state truth, but words are expression of His Mind, spiritual forces which create, heal, and change things

The Centurion understood how authority works and that Jesus has ultimate authority over all creation

What do we learn about this story in terms of how we should live (practice)?

We should have faith in Jesus like the Centurion

although we might feel like churchy insiders,

“unlikely others” may be far closer to the Kingdom because of their simple faith

We should expect God’s Word

or words

to have life-changing power in our world today.

Level 3 – Meeting (Experience, Knowing) & Transformation (Christlikeness)

Lord, help me to know You as the Light of the World (Jn 8:12) this world (Mt 5:14).

How does my personal knowing of God or Jesus change through this encounter? What do you notice, especially about Jesus, as you enter this story imaginatively time to engage this story emotionally?

and to become Your Light in

taking the

1) I Notice: Jesus is compassionate, sensitive, understanding, willing to help I Ask: Do I believe that He really cares about my needs or the things that are important to me?

I Pray: Lord Jesus, I choose to believe that you love me, that my needs are Your personal concern, that You ache for things that I ache for, and that You want to do something about them Lord, help me to live today—touch me and change me—as someone who expects Your compassion and goodwill in every moment

604-266-7446

today—touch me and change me—as someone who expects Your compassion and goodwill in every moment 604-266-7446

p.13

2)

3)

I Notice: The Centurion is remarkably caring and compassionate about his servant inconveniences Himself to seek Jesus’ help I Ask: Do I care about others that deeply? I Pray: Lord Jesus, help me to care this earnestly for others in my life. Open my heart to feel your love for the people around me.

he humbles and

I Notice:

faith

Jesus has a remarkably strong and positive reaction to this man’s matter-of-fact expression of there is a childlike innocence in the Centurion’s trust that Jesus really appreciates

I Ask: Do I believe that Jesus could do, would do something like this for me?

I

Pray: Lord Jesus, if I am honest, as I look at my heart … I have all kinds of reasons, excuses, and

rationalizations for why I shouldn’t expect a miracle like this. I feel I am unworthy, a failure, a disappointment to You, undeserving, etc.

I choose today to believe that You love me, that You want me to be honest about my struggles, to believe

that You can do

that You love to do

these kinds of miracles today

for people like me.

Lord, I also know that Your ways are higher than my ways and that I am joining You in something much

bigger than I can understand

so maybe in Your Sovereign Will, the healing I am longing for

is

not what You are doing, but I still long to feel what You feel in this situation, and

to know whatever aspect of Your “business” You can share with me

Lord, what are You doing here?

4) I Notice: Jesus has a deep loving longing for people to find their way into the banquet of the Kingdom of

Heaven

He

wants everyone (including me?!) me to join Him there!

I Ask: Do I believe that Jesus has a room in His Father’s House for me?

a place at His banquet

table where I am welcomed and honoured as His Bride?

I

Pray: Lord, I confess that I struggle to believe that I am actually this lovable, desirable, valuable to You.

Lord, I do want my motives, attitudes, and desires to be conformed to Yours, including this attitude towards myself: please help me to see myself (and others) through Your eyes

Please help me to not argue with You today when You say You love me that comes from pushing myself up in the eyes of others

and keep me from the arrogance

5) I Notice:

I Ask:

Pray:

I

604-266-7446

pushing myself up in the eyes of others and keep me from the arrogance 5) I

p.14

Guidelines for Encountering God in Scripture

a great way for most Evangelicals to take first steps in hearing Jesus’ Voice

1. Decide again today that, as a follower of Jesus, your deepest desires are to know Him, to know His will for your life, and to be like Him

2. Enter this time with the expectation that He wants to meet with you, reveal something of Himself to you.

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be attentive to His Presence and receptive to what He is longing to give you.

4. Begin with passages that are familiar to you.

5. Don’t hurry or just dabble in this sacred process. Stretch yourself to remain present to the passage until you have met God or Jesus and prayed a prayer asking for transformation.

And don’t try to cover a lot

a few verses will usually do.

Great stories to begin:

John 2 – Jesus changes the water into wine at the wedding in Cana John 4 – Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well John 5 – Jesus heals the man at the pool

John 6 – Jesus feeds the 5000

etc.

You can also pay attention to God’s thoughts and feelings in OT passages like Jacob’s vision of the ladder (Gen 28:10-22) or Samuel’s anointing of David (1 Sam 16). or even the Psalms, e.g. Psalm 23, Psalm 51

Level 1 – Knowledge (Facts)

Lord, help me to understand this passage

When and Where does this story take place? Who are the major characters and what does each of them do? What makes this story remarkable?

Level 2 – Wisdom (Truth)

Lord, help me to learn and grow from this passage

What do we learn from this story in terms of truth (doctrine or belief)? What do we learn about this story in terms of how we should live (practice)?

Level 3 – Meeting (Experience, Knowing) & Transformation (Christlikeness)

Lord, help me to know You as the Light of the World (Jn 8:12) this world (Mt 5:14).

and to become Your Light in

How does my personal knowing of God or Jesus change through this encounter?

What do you notice about Jesus as you enter this story imaginatively

taking the time to engage

this story emotionally?

(See example on pp.13,14)

Reflect Feel Notice Ask Pray for transformation

604-266-7446

emotionally? (See example on pp.13,14) Reflect Feel Notice Ask Pray for transformation 604-266-7446 p. 15

p.15

Going Deeper ~ God Present, Active, and Loving

A good way to cultivate ongoing awareness of God’s Presence with us is to be attentive to situations which have already happened, but are still “present” in our thoughts and emotions. Take some time to pay attention to your life … allow Jesus to reveal how He is walking with you. Notice the ways in which He is Present, Active, and Loving (PAL). Hear His Voice. This exercise is designed to take you deeper into your life and develop a deeper awareness of His active, loving Presence. Be sure to pause and turn to Him when you come to the lines in blue.

Think of a situation in which you found yourself this week … particularly one connected to strong emotions. Perhaps something really good and life-giving that brought you joy … or perhaps a darker time that brought frustration, sadness, or anger.

Consider these Questions:

Date:

Facts:

What happened? Briefly name or describe the situation.

Choices:

What did you like / dislike about the situation?

How did you respond?

Pause to remind yourself that this situation occurred in God’s sight. Praise and thank Him if you can.

Thoughts:

What ideas, assumptions, strategies, etc. came to mind? Memories or associations?

Feelings:

What emotions did you experience? Name the ones that are still with you now.

How do you feel about having these feelings? e.g. ashamed that I felt pleasure, angry that I was sad

Pay attention to deeper attraction and aversion: what draws you to this situation? … What repels?

Pause to ask the Holy Spirit to help you see clearly.

Core Values:

Using the strong emotions you are experiencing as signs, what can you learn about the

things that are important to you?

What does this reveal about the way God has wired you?

What values (e.g. integrity, competence, caring, justice, etc.) connect to this situation for you?

What do you expect of yourself in situations like this? What do you expect from others?

604-266-7446

for you? What do you expect of yourself in situations like this? What do you expect

p.16

Motivations & Longings, Fears &Guilt:

How does this situation connect to things you do well?

… things you struggle with? … or are deeply afraid of?

Is there some guilt here?

What moved you to action? … or freezes you in paralysis?

Is there something here that stirs a deep longing in you?

Choose to believe that everything about this situation is part of His Purpose to build the trust relationship between you and mature you to be the Christlike person you were created to be.

Your Identity in Jesus … Ultimate Meaning:

What might Jesus be doing in this situation?

What part of your True Self is Jesus longing to develop or stretch?

What might He be calling you to do?

Where is Jesus in this situation?

Near or far?

How does Jesus feel about the situation?

Is He with you … or do you feel alone?

How do you think Jesus is feeling towards you?

Pause to remind yourself of Jesus’ great love and gentle compassion for His followers. What might He be saying to you?

Does Jesus want something from you?

What might Jesus be wanting to give you? … or longing for you to receive?

What would being open and trusting look like? … a deeper surrender? yourself that He loves with which you still struggle?

What do you need Jesus to do for you today?

Perhaps accepting a part of

Share this need with Him. Praise Him and thank Him if you can.

604-266-7446

you today? Perhaps accepting a part of Share this need with Him. Praise Him and thank

p.17

Recognizing the Voice of God

(adapted from Chapter 8 of Willard’s Hearing God)

How do we know that the message we are hearing is from God? Obviously if the content is counter to Scripture, then it isn’t from Him

but even if it’s a direct quote,

it could be a satanic misuse of God’s Word, completely contrary to His purposes, e.g. the

temptation of Christ The closest that Scripture comes to this topic are the instructions to discern the spirits: they must

confess Christ as Lord (1 Cor 12:3) or as the Son of God (1 Jn 4:2-3) helpful if we are wrestling with topics of vocation or relationships.

but actually that’s not that

If we remember that we are trying to cultivate a relationship rather than master a technique, then the

only answer is “by experience”

how do we recognize the other voices in our lives?

The three factors in the voice:

a) quality:

b) spirit or mood: the attitudes conveyed in the voice

c) content

tone, pitch, pace

Quality God’s voice has a certain calm, steady, impact on our soul, innermost being

already given assent, acknowledgement as we perceive it We sense the power and His authority On the other hand, the voice of our own subconscious tries to argue, convince, plead with us

The Voice of God calmly commands or invites us to move toward something good or receive

we notice that we have

something good (no arguing, convincing

it just speaks and it is self-authenticating)

The voice of the enemy tries to badger, threaten, shame, guilt, or fear us away from something bad

Spirit or Mood God’s voice is typified by a spirit of peacefulness, confidence, joy, freedom, reasonableness and

goodwill

sometimes tough, but always loving

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate,

submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

James 3:13-17

Content Words spoken by God will always be consistent with God’s nature and kingdom as clearly expressed in

the Bible

empowering, and freeing—He stands for humanity and justice; God is light; God is love; God is to be exalted, honoured, glorified; God is humble, sacrificing, serving, laying-down-his-life, etc.

deep principles such as:

God is holy, powerful, loving, gracious, dignifying,

Our safety, security, comfort and success may not be guaranteed promises you exemption from suffering

so beware of any voice that

604-266-7446

and success may not be guaranteed promises you exemption from suffering so beware of any voice

p.18

But what if we’re mistaken?

We can still trust God’s love for us: He is the loving Shepherd that comes out looking for lost sheep; the Father who stands at the edge of the field longing for his lost prodigal son. His standards of loving care for His children are at least as high as the best human parents you know!

Don’t freeze, just seek to do His will and keep moving forward open, desiring to hear, and not resisting.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through

Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

we don’t have to be infallible, just

Jude 24,25

Theology (thinking the right things) and Morality (doing the right things) are both really important … but they are not the MOST IMPORTANT thing, which is knowing God’s heart, and being one with Him.

The Sorts of Situations God Longs to Address

Brokenness, Bondage, or Obstruction which God might be longing to expose and heal:

o

fear, anxiety

o

hatred, revenge

o

feeling alone or rejected

o

feeling guilty or the need to justify

o

victimization

o

achievement / performance / perfection

o

strengths gone wrong: compulsive peace-making, serving others, controlling

o

o

The Help God Longs to Give

The Healing and Redemption which God hopes will be received:

o

reassurance, hope

o

sympathy, compassion

o

grace, forgiveness. freedom

o

healing, restoration of wholeness and dignity

o

growth, expansion, empowering, embracing new things

o

deeper intimacy, trust

o

sense of being loved and ability to love

o

truth, correction, instruction

o

Himself

o

604-266-7446

sense of being loved and ability to love o truth, correction, instruction o Himself o 604-266-7446

p.19

Things God Says

gathered from years of walking with people in their relationship with God

As we listen for His voice, these are the things we are really likely to hear!! Remember, He is passionate about 3 things: KNOW – GROW - SHOW

(from p.5)

KNOW – Being in Relationship With Us - knowing us hired servants)

as friends, sons and daughters (not

o

I AM here = I AM with you (Presence)

I hear you

I see you

I AM with you in this situation

I know what you are feeling, struggling with

You are doing OK

Keep Going

This is what I am feeling for you

compassion, acceptance, and also a desire to

see you grow, do the healthy thing, etc.

o

I know your needs (Provision)

o

I will not test you beyond what you can bear (Protection)

o

There is meaning in this (Purpose) Consequence, Dependence, Empathy, Himself

GROW - Maturity - stretching and growing us towards our true, perfect, Christlike selves

o

I want you to receive

o

I want you to see

o

I am inviting or commanding you to

hold on to, embrace lay down, let go of

give away, pass on

o

This is what I am longing for you

o

SHOW - Partnership – inviting us into His Kingdom work

o

Go out! Come with Me out into the world

 

o

Have Faith, Believe, Trust in Me!

o

Say this to so-and-so

o

This is what I AM feeling towards so-and-so in this situation

 

o

This is what I AM longing for them

o

This is what I AM going to do

or what is going to happen

and this is what I want

you to do

o

604-266-7446

your part is

what I AM going to do or what is going to happen and this is what

p.20

Exercise: Praying Beyond Petitions

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Matt 7:7 and John 14:12-14 (repeated twice more in John 15:16 and 16:23,24)

When we face situations of need, we know we should turn to God for help. For instance, when someone is having surgery, we ask God for it to go well. If a marriage is in trouble, we ask God to heal it. If someone is out of work, we ask God to give them a job. If the teachers are on strike, we ask God to end the strike.

These are all good and appropriate prayers. But God doesn’t want to be an arm’s length vending machine … He wants relationship … He wants to stretch us to maturity … He wants to redeem the

world and glorify His Name.

Adult faith is the invitation to union with Him:

a) to see a situation from God’s perspective

b) to feel what Jesus is feeling

c) to pray the prayers “in Jesus’ Name” that the Holy Spirit wants prayed … and of course these

are answered because they are perfectly aligned with His will.

1) Think of a situation you are currently praying for.

 

Name the situation.

2) What is the good and obvious petition you have been offering to God:

 

3) Take a moment to ask what God is feeling towards this situation.

Ask to feel this with Him.

It may be enough that you are willing to do this!!

 

Perhaps, after decades of walking with Him, you can trust that your feelings and His feelings toward a situation might be the same?

Can you sense Him asking you what you feel about the situation?

 

4) Ask Him to share with you anything He wants you to know about the situation from His perspective.

What is the bigger picture He may be seeing?

 

If we think in terms of transformation, growth, redemption, rather than comfort and success, what might He be doing?

What might He be asking you to pray for “in Jesus’ Name”?

 

Remember my story of Praying for Maureen:

Once I stopped telling God to heal her, and opened

myself to feeling His aching love for her.

He showed me the large circle of people around this

beautiful young woman and how His life would shine through her, like a torch being consumed.

   

The cancer took her body, but with her faith and joy, she defeated the disease in her spirit and changed the life of everyone who knew her.

God will share these “spirit eyes” with us if we are open to drawing near to Him!

604-266-7446

p.21

Cultivating the Daily Habit of Hearing:

Attentive Before, During and After

The ultimate goal is to follow Jesus’ example of a relationship of faithful, loving trust in God—living each day being equipped and guided by Him. Simultaneously being attentive to both the Spirit’s nudges and other people around us … aware of our own inner state, but not overly self-focused.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,

who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

To help us live this life, we can be intentionally about doing 2 things each day: prepare beforehand and reflect afterwards. Athletes who want to improve their game practice beforehand and watch videotapes afterwards. Good musicians practice their scales and listen to recordings of their performances.

Prepare – Attentive at the beginning of the day

daily quiet time with God is not optional for believers

reading Scripture to see Him, meet with Him, know Him better

praying and listening

longing to have our motives, attitudes, and longings conformed to His

recommitting ourselves to a relationship with Him that makes a difference in everyday moments of our life, e.g. the groceries of the stranger standing beside us spill out onto the floor …

Live – attentive to God throughout the day

cultivating the ability to hear in the midst of the busyness

Reflect – attentive to God in hindsight

recognizing when you have been guided … and stopping to give praise and thanksgiving in the midst of life

reflecting at the end of the day on where He was (the Examen)

Prepare ~ Live ~ Reflect 604-266-7446 p.22
Prepare ~ Live ~ Reflect
604-266-7446
p.22

Appendix: Spiritual Health ~ Consolation and Desolation

Quite distinct from our exterior circumstances and inner life of our thoughts and emotions, we also have a spiritual life: our soul, our innermost being. Over the centuries, Spiritual Directors have gathered some language which helps us to understand the holy ground of our inner walk with God, and

what is happening there.

is calling us? what is pushing us? what is God doing? As always, our goal is to paying attention to what the Lord is doing there, in order that we can respond to Him, trust Him, and choose His ways. We want to get beyond thoughts & theological propositions, beyond feelings & emotions, to those inner movements, remaking, or nudgings of the Spirit: clear and noticeable; significant yet subtle; arising organically within us, not manufactured by us … noticed, not created; discovered, not invented. “I’m noticing that this is now true within me” … “Something has changed” … “This has shifted”

This is a way to be attentive to the sacred space of our spiritual being—who

In this season of life, would you say you are closer to (mark with an “X” on the scale)

Desolation

A sense of either being blocked and crushed or driven, chased and pressured

Feeling hemmed in, not free; vision obstructed or clouded; we forget God’s perspective or that He even exists

Stuck in a rut … drained of energy

Focus is turned in on ourselves; sense of being alone and separated from others

A sense of confusion, being upset and

contentious … hope, joy, and love seem to be slipping away … more than just our own circumstances not going well, we seem disconnected from God; He seems absent, silent

Tears of despair and frustration … struggle to keep going

Sense of guilt, blamed, accused … hopelessly stuck in “I’m a bad person”

Metaphor: falling water splattering off a stone

Consolation

A sense of being drawn, invited, or moving forward
A sense of being drawn, invited, or moving forward
A sense of being drawn, invited, or moving forward
A sense of being drawn, invited, or moving forward

A

sense of being drawn, invited, or moving forward

 
Feeling free and spacious with broad horizons; seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective
Feeling free and spacious with broad horizons; seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective
Feeling free and spacious with broad horizons; seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective
Feeling free and spacious with broad horizons; seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective

Feeling free and spacious with broad horizons; seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective

seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective   New ideas, inspiration, and energy well up Able
seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective   New ideas, inspiration, and energy well up Able
seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective   New ideas, inspiration, and energy well up Able
seeing new possibilities and sharing God’s perspective   New ideas, inspiration, and energy well up Able
 

New ideas, inspiration, and energy well up

Able to focus outside, beyond yourself and being connected to others in community
Able to focus outside, beyond yourself and being connected to others in community
Able to focus outside, beyond yourself and being connected to others in community
Able to focus outside, beyond yourself and being connected to others in community

Able to focus outside, beyond yourself and being connected to others in community

 
A sense of peace, joy, hope, connectedness to God … not so much happiness that
A sense of peace, joy, hope, connectedness to God … not so much happiness that
A sense of peace, joy, hope, connectedness to God … not so much happiness that
A sense of peace, joy, hope, connectedness to God … not so much happiness that

A

sense of peace, joy, hope, connectedness to God … not so much happiness that things are going well in your little world, but something deeper … being a part of something bigger

 
Tears of deep appreciation for God’s activity in your life
Tears of deep appreciation for God’s activity in your life
Tears of deep appreciation for God’s activity in your life
Tears of deep appreciation for God’s activity in your life

Tears of deep appreciation for God’s activity in your life

 
Sorrow for sin, remorse & repentance; I am falling short, but want to do better!
Sorrow for sin, remorse & repentance; I am falling short, but want to do better!
Sorrow for sin, remorse & repentance; I am falling short, but want to do better!
Sorrow for sin, remorse & repentance; I am falling short, but want to do better!

Sorrow for sin, remorse & repentance; I am falling short, but want to do better!

 
Metaphor: water surrounding a sponge and gently saturating it
Metaphor: water surrounding a sponge and gently saturating it
Metaphor: water surrounding a sponge and gently saturating it
Metaphor: water surrounding a sponge and gently saturating it

Metaphor: water surrounding a sponge and gently saturating it

 

Response in a season of Desolation:

Though uncomfortable for us, God has good purposes in these times. Practice patience as you continue to trust in the Lord’s love and ask for His provision Intentionally resist the enemy’s accusations Defend the weak points of your life that lead to desolation Not a good time to make big decisions. Seek companionship in community for discernment Avoid secretiveness and dealing with this on your own— find someone able and trustworthy to speak with, e.g. a Pastor or Spiritual Director known in your community

Response in a season of Consolation:

Celebrate with gratitude Practice humility, not self exaltation Turn to long term planning or large decisions Reflect on patterns in your life which might lead to desolation and develop strategies to recognize and counter them. Again, consider working with a Spiritual Director

Source:

Silf, M. Inner Compass. Loyola Press, 1999

604-266-7446

consider working with a Spiritual Director Source: Silf, M. Inner Compass . Loyola Press, 1999 604-266-7446

p.23

Stopping, Turning, and Drawing Near to Him … Where Are You?

Created in His image, even in our fallenness we long … to meet Him face to face, and know His Thoughts … to be accepted for who we are … opening our lives to be guided by our Good Shepherd … and be transformed into the likeness of our beloved Jesus …

Our Goal in the Journey of Listening is not to arrive at the right destination, but to stay close to our Companion Who Knows Best.

A Prayer for Approaching God

O God, You are my Beloved, and in You alone does my soul find rest …

You are my rock, my salvation, my fortress …

My soul thirsts for You, Let me never be shaken …

Because Your steadfast love is life to me, my lips will praise You, and I come seeking You now …

Longing to be like You, I will radiate Your love as long as I live …

Becoming a blessing to others, in gratitude to You.

Based on Psalm 62 and adapted from Nan C. Merril. Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness.

Where are you in this picture? … where is God?

Wholeness. Where are you in this picture? … where is God? 604-266-7446 Psalm 62 by Anneke

604-266-7446

are you in this picture? … where is God? 604-266-7446 Psalm 62 by Anneke Kai; Acrylic

Psalm 62 by Anneke Kai; Acrylic on Plexiglas The Psalms, An Artist’s Impression; Piquant, 1999

p.24

Helpful Books:

Biblical Spirituality – An Intimate Relationship with God

Barton, Ruth Haley. Invitation to Solitude and Silence – Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence. IVP Books, 2004.

Barton, Ruth Haley. Sacred Rhythms – Arranging Our Lives For Spiritual Transformation. IVP Books,

2006.

Curtis, Brent & John Eldridge. The Sacred Romance – Drawing Closer to the Heart of God. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997.

deCaussade, Jean Pierre. The Sacrament of the Present Moment. Harper Collins, 1966.

Jersak, Brad. Can You Hear Me? Tuning in to the God Who Speaks. Kregel Publishing, 2009.

Lawrence, Brother. Practicing the Presence of God. Whitaker House, 1982.

Manning, Brennan. The Furious Longing of God. David C. Cook Publishing, 2010.

Nouwen, Henri J.M

Nouwen, Henri J.M

The Way of the Heart. Ballentine Books, 1981.

The Only Necessary Thing – Living a Prayerful Life. The Crossroad Publishing

Company, 1999.

Rohr, Richard. Things Hidden – Scripture as Spirituality. St Anthony Messenger Press, 2007.

Rohr, Richard. Falling Upward – A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. Jossey-Bass, 2011.

Roy, Denise. My Monastery is My Minivan – Where the Daily is Divine and the Routine Becomes Prayer. Loyola Press, 2001.

Willard, Dallas. Hearing God – Developing a Conversational Relationship With God. IVP Books,
Willard, Dallas. Hearing God – Developing a Conversational Relationship With God. IVP Books,

Willard, Dallas. Hearing God – Developing a Conversational Relationship With God. IVP Books,

Willard, Dallas. Hearing God – Developing a Conversational Relationship With God. IVP Books, 1999.

1999.

Willard, Dallas. Hearing God – Developing a Conversational Relationship With God. IVP Books, 1999.

Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart – Putting On The Character of Christ. NavPress, 2002.

Discernment – Knowing the Will of God

deYoung, Kevin. Just Do Something – A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will. Moody, 2009.

Smith, Gordon T. The Voice of Jesus – Discernment, Prayer and the Witness of the
Smith, Gordon T. The Voice of Jesus – Discernment, Prayer and the Witness of the

Smith, Gordon T. The Voice of Jesus – Discernment, Prayer and the Witness of the Spirit. InterVarsity

Smith, Gordon T. The Voice of Jesus – Discernment, Prayer and the Witness of the Spirit

Press, 2003.

Smith, Gordon T. The Voice of Jesus – Discernment, Prayer and the Witness of the Spirit

Are you hungry for change in your life? I would love to discuss a continuing relationship with you in either:

Spiritual Direction (joining you in paying attention to your walk with God)

or

Whole Life Coaching (facilitating your steps towards positive change with God at the center).

or

You can reach me at 604-266-7446

604-266-7446

mark@wholelifecoaching.ca

p.25

Examen Exercises

For Paying Attention to God’s Presence at the End of a Day

The Consciousness Examen – adapted from SoulStream

www.soulstream.org

Don’t make up answers. Let them emerge, even if only one thing seems significant.

Thanksgiving

What was life-giving today? For what things am I most grateful?

Where did I experience love, beauty, truth, peace, honesty, courage, etc.?

When did I feel close to You? Notice Your love towards me?

Honesty About My Choices

What was life-draining today?

Were there times when I was closed to You? Avoiding You? Resisting You?

What choices or habits have been keeping me from living in the full freedom of Your love?

Trust in God’s Loving Initiative

Gracious Spirit, I believe You are here with me and that You love me. I open my heart to You. Help me to trust You. Please lead me into greater freedom and dependence on You as You live in me tomorrow.

The Jesuit Examination of Conscience

adapted from Through All the Days of Life, by Fr. Nick Schiro, S.J.

Thanksgiving

Lord, I realize that, even myself, is a gift from You.

Today, for what things am I most grateful?

Intention

Lord, open my eyes and ears to be more honest with myself.

Today, what do I really want for myself?

Examination

Lord, show me what has been happening to me and in me this day.

Today, in what ways have I experienced Your love?

Contrition

Lord, I am still learning to grow in Your love.

Today, what choices have been inadequate responses to Your love?

Hope

Lord, let me look with longing to the future.

Today, how will I let You lead me to a brighter tomorrow?

604-266-7446

me look with longing to the future. ∑ Today, how will I let You lead me

p.26