Or, how do I hear God better? After decades of meeting with countless thousands of Christians all over the world, I guess those questions must be in the top five questions committed Christians ask. The Holy Spirit is endlessly creative, so no description of His voice or explanation of how He works can encompass the reality. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to say on the subject.
My personal experience is that God speaks in countless ways and has probably spoken in some ways that I have missed completely. There is no doubt that He speaks to those who are tuned in to Him, dependent on His word and consciously paying attention.
AN EGYPTIAN PROPHECIES
Earlier this week God spoke to me in a way that would be hard to miss. A number of Egyptian Christians visited us here at the Harpenden campus. We had planned two days of prayer and seeking God for the United Kingdom. I was expectant for the nation, but did not expect to hear anything for me personally. Then, in the first hour of a small leadership meeting scheduled before the main meetings started, one of the Egyptians began to prophecy over me! It was a wonderful few minutes as this man, whom I didn’t really know, repeated several prophetic words I have received before—promises of long life, of very fruitful ministry to the nations for many years to come, and much more. What an encouragement! God likes to do that for all His children. He is an encourager by nature. (I might add that is the reason why Paul writes that we should all desire to prophecy. God wants more outlets for His encouragement.)
When the word of the Lord comes that way, it is hard to miss. However, it is easy to fail to receive and remember it. One of my regrets is that sometimes the Lord has spoken through prophecy and I thought I would remember it well, but ended up forgetting much of what was said. In the meeting earlier this week, I took notes as fast as I could and was then relieved that one of the others in the meeting was recording it.
WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED?
One of the most unusual ways God has spoken to me happened just about a year ago. A very kind and godly accountant in my home town has done our tax returns for many years. Whenever we are back there, we plan to take him to lunch, or at least coffee. During the course of our lunch last October, we talked about the changes in the YWAM leadership and leadership structures. He was really interested, so I suggested he could watch a video I had done on the subject.
He emailed me the next morning and this is part of his message:
“I thought I’d see what you were referring to, but before I got there I watched this one.
Would you re-watch it and then let me know if God says anything to you?”
I was intrigued and clicked on the link right away. To my surprise I saw a video I had made several years ago (when I looked much younger!) and, YES, God did speak to me through it.
If some Bible teacher was speaking on hearing God’s voice, I’ll bet he would never mention that in his list of how God speaks. He used me to speak to myself ten years later!
I realised that I had made some initial efforts to communicate better, but that commitment had faded. I was convicted! But I also wondered how I could produce more good content and also learn to implement the technology required to get it onto good platforms, and how I could be sure that it was presented well and attractively.
WHERE GOD GUIDES, HE PROVIDES
When Marti and I got back home, I had a “get-to-know-you-better chat” with one of our new staff members, Thiago, from Brazil. I discovered that he had a broad and strategic grasp of social media; more than that, he was eager to help me communicate better. Now, a year later, we have been doing a much better job. Once again, I can say that when God requires a step of obedience, even when it seems it will be very difficult, he will provide the means for me—or you—to obey.
We have produced many good videos, dozens of blogs, a lot of prayer letters and now, this past week or so, we have posted nearly 20 podcasts and will continue to post more. If you like to listen to podcasts, you can find mine at:
REMEMBER AND BELIEVE
Can you remember some of the ways God has spoken to you? Are you alert to hear his voice, and do you take steps to be sure you remember what has been said? Do you actively believe it? After all, that is why God speaks to you—so you can believe, and as you do, He works through your faith to bring His word to pass.
Who knows, He might even speak to you through something I say. He surely did speak to me through something I said a decade ago!