Engaging God (#451)

There's a world of difference between trusting that God loves you because Scripture says so, and trusting the one of whom Scripture speaks. One is an intellectual exercise, the other can only result from a growing engagement with him as a personality in the universe. Brad joins this week's podcast as he and Wayne discuss how God's reality and communion with him seeps into our lives over time that allow us to walk with him in increasing wholehearted engagement. As people come to engage him in a real way, they'll find their engagements with others on this journey as well, allowing for a depth of shared life that less-relational structures can only crave.

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  1. Wayne and Brad,
    Wonderful message today! My path to a greater relationship with God has been a winding, uphill often over the side of those hills journey, I have left my church, which I was attending recently. I really felt we were all there mostly admiring the pastor, there are some wonderful people there I consider true friends. The services were beginning to make me feel tired. The main message I received in that church was if I wasn’t prepared to take off on a mission trip somewhere and spend $3,000 to get there I was not fulfilling my duty to God!
    I don’t know if I can find a true relationship with Jesus on my own, but the I am trying! I don’t know people in my area who are not attending a Church, if they are not, then they are not wishing to have anything to do with God anyway (Just people I know personally), so I seek a new path that will lead me to a richer relationship with Him.
    Thank you for your Ministry, it has led me to learn there is more than going somewhere each Sunday to be told how I’m not being all God wants me to be. ( I already am aware of that)! I am so looking forward to the Shack movie! The book, which I read 4 times, gave me a brand new understanding of what our God feels for us! And how He wants us to know Him!

    Thank you for your time!

  2. In First John it is explained that not only the Word was with God, the Word was God, not the Bible as many people think. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, he responded with passages of Scripture, which originated not from BIblical writings, but from God Himself!

    I often find myself being able to recall a Bible passage when having a, for lack of a better term, ‘religious’ discussion with someone, and often not realizing how I was able to recall it so easily. Answer: the Spirit of God inside of me, not Bible memorization.Sure, I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover several times, but I can’t tell you the last time I sat down with a Bible and read it. Not that I won’t again, for sure, but I certainly don’t panic or browbeat myself for not doing so. Again, it must be the Spirit of God inside of me.

    I would guess many if not most people would deny this reality, thinking themselves at best arrogant, at worst insane, but if the Bible says it is possible, why wouldn’t it be, especially for a believer?

  3. I wanted to share an interesting experience which really helped me connect with God’s voice. I cannot say that this is for everyone, but it certainly helped me. It was in a workshop on hearing God’s voice. Uh oh. You can already hear formula written all over this. But bear with me… The workshop was based on “my sheep know my voice.”

    The first thing said was that we need to understand what God’s voice isn’t. It isn’t condemning. If you feel condemned, then it is not God’s voice but the voice of the accuser. God’s voice always lifts up, even if it is the voice of discipline, it still encourages, and empowers. That in and of itself has really helped me over the years.

    Then we went through an exercise of asking God a question(s) one of which is: God do you love me? The answer is always Yes, but the point of the exercise was to listen to where the “yes” came from. Then an additional series of questions were asked that helped hone in to the place where you heard the original yes. I discovered that his voice was located in a certain place. The enemy was on my right side over my shoulder, and God spoke from the left about shoulder height (perhaps I was seated on the right hand of the Father in Jesus?). My own voice was more central. Weird hey? So i practiced with that for a while and grew more comfortable with “”His voice” in me.

    The speaker also spoke about God had a special way of calling his name. I thought, okay, that sounds cool, but I have never hear him speak my name before. Mmmm. So I asked. Would you call me by name? Then a bit later, I heard a sound of a wind blowing and on the wind my name “John”. Now what was really strange about it is that at the time, I was not going by my first name John, but by my second name. So when I heard “John” I was really “blown” away. I changed my used name that very day. Still have the name tag, with the second scratched out and rewritten John.

    The Shack also helped me to be far more conversational, and that is the approach I have taken over the years. Sometimes there is clear dialogue, sometimes it is scripture, sometimes it is an impression or vision. But more often then not, I really know it is Him when a thought comes that I know is not of me. It is clearly “outside” of me. Like my name being called above – not expected at all.

    Using the tools above over the years, there is now an expectation on my part that He does talk to me. If I stop and listen and remain expectant something is often heard.

    I also discovered that God has a tremendous sense of humour. He is funny. That is one way that I began to recognize that voice outside of me. It’s like a punchline of a joke and you did not see it coming. I really connected to Papa from the Shack because of the laughter and joy.

    Anyway, I don’t want to create a formula, I certainly do not have this mastered in anyway. I just wanted to give some experiences that might be encouraging for someone.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, John. That helps me to be more open to how to hear from God. Very helpful!

  5. Thanks for the podcast. It is always good to hear you and Brad go back and forth. You made a comment about how we sometimes come to a conclusion without considering that we it may have been God who spoke it to our hearts. That reminded me of something I read from another author several months ago. He simply pointed out that Jesus said, point blank, “My sheep hear my voice.” All who are His sheep DO hear His voice.

    Jesus did not say that only the mature sheep or the smart ones or the really committed ones hear His voice. He said, “My sheep hear My voice”. That seems to be pretty all-inclusive. He stated it as a fact. We may not notice or recognize His voice at times, but we do hear it. I tend to believe that we, as His sheep, can not accurately say we do not hear God, because Jesus says we do hear His voice.

    Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder of some of what it means to be engaged in a personal relationship with God Himself.

  6. I like that thought Jeff ! “My sheep hear my voice “! Pretty simple till we try to figure it out isn’t it? It seems if I focus on where it came from and how it came it eludes my grasp and I no longer hear it in that space . It seems at times there is a part of God that wants to be anonymous in a way. How does not seem important to Him. That we get the message He has for us seems very important to Him. And he will keep sending the same message in a million different ways until I finally get it and for me The signature I am looking for is ” I Love You” not “Hey I’m God you better listen”.
    Wayne and Brad :
    Loved what you were saying about it being more of a seeping in through the cracks over time! I am typically the one revving my engines and He is the one saying why waste your fuel we’ve got the rest of your life to get to know each other lets just hang out today I am a place of rest Join me if you like. ps. I love you!
    Once again you guys finished a conversation I was having with a friend of mine very well! Thanks !
    Great podcast!

  7. I have been listening to the God Journey for years and this is one of the best. If you don’t grasp the boys on this one, keep seeking. And, after you do, keep seeking more. Life in Christ just gets better.

  8. I just want to give a huge amen to what Tom just wrote I too have been listening for years, and I am always encouraged. I have just been too shy to write, but today Brad and Wayne nailed it. This is where I and many of us live and move and have our being. Dear discouraged ones, God is who He is and He wants to be known as He is and He wants to be known by you. Put your books and manuals down! Come to Him, with no pretense, no, you are not good and no, you are not worthy and you never really will be, but He IS. Our Father is well pleased with Jesus. His favor rests on Him and if you are IN Him… that favor rests in and on you. Be encouraged.

  9. Thanks everyone for the encouragement in this “e-conversation”. My heart resonates…seems He values persistence in turning or “re-turning” back and back to Him…even when the walk seems hard or emotionally feelings don’t “line up”. I join you all in thanks to Him for His patience and His continuing engagement (perhaps most at points when it’s hard to hear Him). Blessings

  10. This was wonderful to hear laughter with the two of you. I belly laughed when Brad said “speaking in tongue starter kits”, and that one might come back to haunt you guys but that’s not new to either one of you.
    Your conversations resonate with me they are so like the ones we have here in our little band of strugglers in Edmond, Oklahoma. People say to me all the time ” I never hear from God.” And spend the next 30 minutes or more telling me what they have heard but never thought it was God.
    Brad’s story of church under the Oak Tree is a picture to me of Peter wanting to put a tent up on the mountain after the transfiguration. There is deeply embedded in our humanity a need to “possess” the unpossessable. (Look Wayne I made up my own word)
    I encourage people with the idea that their longing and desire is obvious of their God connection. That is always a little piece of shocking news. And the time of longing, like Wayne’s friend in England, can be a fruitful time of healing things and we have no clue anything is happening.

    And finally I will leave this quote because this podcast reminded me again of this quote“In Christianity, the shift from faith as trust to faith as belief was primarily a product of the Enlightenment. The result was a profound shift from the personal/interpersonal to the impersonal. Faith as trust is personal and interpersonal. Trust is always placed in someone or something, and our act of trust is an act of leaning into the object of trust with openness and expectant hopefulness. For Christians, trust in God was slowly degraded, however, into trust in certain thoughts about God. If these thoughts were judged to be true, one was judged to have faith. But the object of faith in this debased expression of faith is, in actuality, thoughts, not God.” — David Benner in Soulful Spirituality: Becoming Fully Alive and Deeply Human.

  11. I love the quote above about the difference between faith as trust and faith as belief. Had not really thought about it that way before. It is very helpful. Thanks.

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