Yesterday, at a Seminar for Church Elders on Best Practices for Boards led by Dr. Bob Rose, of the Christian and Missionary Alliance District office, the question was asked about what leaders do in the midst of their busy life and spiritual work to hear God’s voice? This is a crucial question for those who lead because hearing the voice of the Lord is what leadership really is all about. Too many leaders are so preoccupied with planning the next event or copying another ministry that they don’t really take time to listen. Here are some of the ways I have heard the voice of the Lord to me in the last several days:
- Reading and meditating on Scripture. I used to read large sections of the Bible in a systematic way that took me through it each year. While this had its blessings I must confess that often the focus was more on the exercise than the listening. Now I usually begin with a Psalm and then turn either to a book of the Old Testament or the New for reading in a continuous pattern. Today I meditated awhile on Psalm 19 again and was impressed with the volume of God’s voice in the daily silent testimony of His created universe.
- Networking. This week I also spent some time with brothers who are doing the same kind of transition pastoral work that I am doing. I found it most refreshing to be with them for a day and to share our concerns on a variety of levels, also in prayer. I heard God speak through the fellowship of these men in what they shared about personal life and ministry.
- Reading. I have been deeply moved this past week by reading an autobiography on the life of Ravi Zacharias called, Walking from East to West. It is a most inspiring story of how God reaches into the heart of a nation, a family, and an individual to draw them into a relationship with Himself through faith in Jesus Christ. I love the humble and down-to-earth nature of the way his story is told in this book. I found it affirming to my own sense of call to salvation and Christian ministry.
- Family Connections. This week I spent some time with my mother as well as my brother and his family in the Vancouver, BC area. Having just been reading Ravi’s story made me realize, I think from God, how important it is to appreciate our family heritage. As I spent time with my mother I realized how much of her character and ways have been passed on to me in how I think and how I function. Mother has always been very focused in her expression of commitment and devotion to Christ and his cause — not always without sensitivity to what others think and believe. But she loves people and longs to see them in relationship with God.
- Preaching. Because I have time on Sunday mornings these days, I enjoy listening to the preaching ministry of Charles Price on a television program called, Living Truth. Today, he was speaking of the first aspect of Baptism which, he said, is an identification with Jesus in his death, burial and resurrection. His focus was on the nature of the atonement which satisfied God’s legal requirement for justification before God. It was not only fascinating and well-presented but profoundly moving the way he presented the truth of Scripture to his audience.
- Creation. This afternoon, my daughter and I took our dog for a walk in the dog park and we ended up hiking one of the trails in the bush near our City. The beauty of the day and the spring air in the fragrant woods reminded me of what I had read in the Scriptures in the morning and of something I heard yesterday about John Wesley who believed that God has revealed Himself in two books — the Book of Creation and the Book of the Bible. Besides, just sharing conversation with my daughter as we hiked along with the dog, made me aware of God’s grace and goodness in our lives.
I am not one who wonders why God doesn’t speak. I find Him speaking in so many ways all of the time. Hearing the voice of the Lord, I think, is about developing our consciousness of God’s nearness and reality. It is seeing His revelation in all of these wonderful ways as we look for it. By this means, I’ve discovered, life is really a continual conversation with God.