I have started on one of those “Read Through the Bible in a Year” programs for 2013. I have done this annually for many years but have dropped the practice in the last few for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, I believe it is vital to get the full scope of Scripture and there are no shortcuts in getting there. You just have to sit down and read. I believe that the Gospel is found in the entire Bible, not just in select verses that evangelicals have hyper-focused on for the last several decades. It was NT Wright and a few others who have asked the poignant question: Do we actually need to read the whole of Scripture to arrive at a clear and full understanding of the gospel?” Sadly, most will unequivocally say that you need to engage the full corpus of Scripture, but in real time their lives deny the fact.
Okay, to my point… while reading through the Pentateuch I was once again arrested by the narrative of how God led the nation Israel with a “Pillar of Cloud and a Pillar of fire.” These two images represented God’s presence for the people. To simply state the scenario, God firmly instructed them that their role was to unreservedly follow Him in fire and the cloud. When the cloud and fire moved, they all were to “Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies” and follow (sorry, I could not resist the temptation to quote a Neil Diamond song). When it was stationary, the nation pitched their tents and hunkered down. Pretty simple, right? I am being serious when I say that my dog Buckley could track with those commands. Buckley come! Buckley stay! Bam. This is easy stuff.
Now to the present–a group of us are embarking on a new church plant here in Spokane (it is called Immanuel Church). The clear marching orders from God so far are… ready? “Listen!” That's right, simply listen. Once again simple, easy - right? Nope. As the quasi-leader of this new tribe I realized that listening is not my long suit. I have listened… once or twice. :-) I have even taught on “listening.” See, I’m a “teller” not a “listener.” Ok, how I put that was kinda overstated, but... Anyway, as a value, I believe with all my heart that today's best type of leader must possess in her/his "tool-box" a highly refined discipline of listening–to others, to their own heart, and to God (as a friend and I like to call – a tri-phonic approach).
- Ok, our listening to God test is being taken: As of now, not an epic fail! More like a failing forward.
- However, Immanuel's resolve: live into the listening life of a follower community. We're commited.
- How are you at listening to God? I know some find it easier than others, so it wouldn’t surprise me if some of you find a listening posture your natural repose.
- What has made listening easier/more effective for you?
Seriously, I/we need help!