Hearing God: Part II
His appeals come through the conversations of good people, or from sermons, or through the reading of good books; and there are many other ways, of which you have heard, in which God calls us. (Teresa of Avila: Second Mansions)
He poured out His Spirit so “that you both see and hear.” (Acts 2)
Marcia was told by her church “the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice”. The Bible was used to dissect nearly every topic from politics to basketball to the details of how to dress. It was “Bible only” at Marcia’s church without much room for the Holy Spirit. After all, they said:
- The “gifts” of the Holy Spirit were only for the 1st century until the scriptures were completed.
- When the Holy Spirit “speaks” it has to be tested against scripture because it might really be Satan “shining as an angel of light”.
Marcia’s personal experience and own reading of the Bible suggested God spoke to her in many ways.
Patti read her Bible regularly. She found this to be an important source of direction for her personal life and her role as a youth pastor. Patti went to seminary and realized she was making hermeneutical mistakes and learned to interpret the scriptures with greater accuracy. She understood the Bible much better and became a stronger teacher and preacher. Five years after seminary she realized God didn’t seem to speak to her through the scriptures anymore. She returned to reading the Bible as revelation and used a sound hermeneutic.
Bill grew up in a troubled family and his life was a mess. He had limited education and lacked some basic life skills. He embraced Christ in his early 20’s and the Holy Spirit challenged him to be disciplined and educated. Thirty years later Bill is successful in business, considered well-read, and a sought after mentor. Bill is now in his 50’s and every few years the Holy Spirit organizes another series of events and reminders to emphasize to Bill to stay on course with his disciplined life and studies. These Holy Spirit interventions help him stay focused on “his mission” of bringing renewal to his family and charting a new course for future generations.
Allie’s friends say they are “1st Century Christians” and tell her the importance of going back to Acts 2 and practicing New Testament Christianity. Her friends are frustrated with how churches have cluttered Christianity with a lot of unnecessary baggage and are counter-productive to the work of God’s kingdom. Allie likes some of what they say, but is concerned about their cavalier dismissal of what everyone else is doing and the work of the Holy Spirit for the past 2000 years. Allie asks her friends: Has the Holy Spirit been active the past 2000 years and making progress or is Christianity a regressive religion?
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Thanks for sharing these stories. I like that God speaks to each of us and in different ways. I’m often touched by how attentive God is.