Does God speak to people? If we answer “no,” we may as well be agnostic or atheistic in our understanding of the world. And if we say “yes,” we immediately feel the need to start clarifying with all kinds of disclaimers about what we don’t mean by our yes.
So I’ll simply say, Yes. I believe God speaks today. I believe he’s spoken to me and will speak to anyone willing to listen.
And the only disclaimer I really need to make is that you can never, ever be 100% sure that what I or anyone else claims to be a direct word from God is infallible. After all, I’m quite fallible and subject to hearing, thinking, and interpreting things wrongly. I prove this in at least one discussion with my wife each day.
Nonetheless, for me, it boils down to the difference between God being personal and intimately involved with his creation and being present with us in each moment versus a god who is far off, removed, and silent (or no god at all). And the overwhelming witness of the Bible and Christian tradition is that God is personally present and actively relating to us.
So, two things. First, the featured message idea this week comes from John 10:1-10 and is all about how God gets personal through Jesus (see below).
Second, I wrote a deeply personal, transparent, and vulnerable post this week over at Walk Humble about the ways in which my wife has “saved” me (and continues to do so).
I wrote it in the hopes of encouraging 1.) leaders in the middle of discouragement or disillusionment and 2.) spouses who don’t know how to help their partner who is walking through these kinds of seasons.
I hope you’ll read it and pass it along to someone else who might need it.
Keep on growing!
This Week’s Big Sermon Idea
A sermon idea based on John 10:1-10 and assigned for the Fourth Sunday of Easter in the current Year A.
God isn’t far off and removed, distant and separate from his creation. He is personally and intimately involved with us and, in Jesus, shows us just how personal our relationship with him can be as we learn to hear and recognize his voice.
Creative Sermon Series Ideas from MinistryPass
My favorite resource for sermon series and message ideas, complete series graphics, and video bumpers (but NOT full notes) to get you started is MinistryPass! Each week, I’ll feature a series I would recommend checking out for the upcoming season of the church year. This week:
From the Description:
This four-week adult series explores barriers to prayer, such as busyness and guilt, how to pray, and the struggle of doubt. By understanding what the Bible says about prayer, we can learn to make prayer a priority rather than an afterthought, embrace the love of God in our inadequacies, and trust more fully in God when prayer seems like it isn’t working.
Links for Leaders
FEATURED – One of the practices that I’ve found life-changing is that of contemplative prayer, or “listening” prayer, in which prayer becomes a place of conversation. I speak. God speaks. I listen (albeit not perfectly by any means). And I live differently as a result of what I’ve heard.
Two books have influenced me greatly in this area. Rich Villodas’ book The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus and Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now: Learning To See As the Mystics See.
- Villodas, Rich (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 288 Pages - 08/31/2021 (Publication Date) - WaterBrook (Publisher)
- Great product!
- Rohr, Richard (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 187 Pages - 09/01/2009 (Publication Date) - The Crossroad Publishing Company (Publisher)
More links and resources:
- ARTICLE: 4 Steps to Becoming a Bridge-Building Preacher, by Rick Warren via Pastors.com
- RESEARCH: Churchgoers Are Still Tithing, More Comfortable Doing So Outside of Church, by Marissa Postell Sullivan via LifeWay Research
- POST: Our Secular Lens, by Scot McKnight (his thoughts on Andrew Root and Blair D. Bertrand’s new book, When the Church Stops Working
- ARTICLE: Now We Call It White Christian Nationalism. It Used to Just Be Called the KKK, by Jemar Tisby
If you have a resource relevant to pastors and church leaders that you’d like for me to include, feel free to message me. I can’t always promise inclusion but I’ll definitely take a look.
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About the Cover Art: Tanner, Henry Ossawa, 1859-1937. Good Shepherd, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.