Today I got to sit and talk with a pastor for a good hour and a half. In this talk there were several themes that consistently came up that have been consistent with what I have learned over field work.
- Do not put God in a box.
- Listen for God’s voice
- Take Him seriously.
- Be in constant communication with Him
- Look for Him in daily life
Looking at these themes, I have to say that I have been doing a fairly poor job at these. I have put God in a box by saying that God does not do the things that He has done in the past because I have not experienced it. I have not been listening for my shepherds voice. I have only taken God seriously at certain times and other times I have blown Him off. I have not spent enough time with Him in prayer. And I have hardly ever looked for His work in my life and in the lives of others daily. These have all been areas of constant themes that I have found throughout my experiences at field work, and these are all areas where I feel as though I have grown some, but more growth I feel is coming.
Since last fall I have asked for God’s forgiveness and guidance to grow in Him. Surely enough He has answered my prayers. Before I was comfortable working in my power, on my own reason and strength to make the Gospel known. This is so easy for me to do in academia where we try to make God’s power into a science and try to comprehend Him. What I have noticed as change in my life is that I have gotten a little more relaxed in not worrying how to share the Gospel and teach it.
Very recently I have been more intentional in trying to quiet myself and listen for God’s voice. To pay attention to what He desires. To let him lead me to do His work. Along with this comes the practice of obedience. And from all of this comes the practice of taking God seriously. It is something that I have been working on and have since improved, but it is something will always require intentional focus due to my sinful nature.
Since last fall I have found myself more intentional about prayer and the power of it. Luke 11 is now one of my favorite chapters in the entire New Testament. Prayer is something that is truly a gift from God and if you have not taken full advantage of it I encourage you to pray to God because He does answer your prayers. Just as a small example of God answering prayer, I experienced something last summer while I was working at Camp Omega. I used my cell phone as my alarm clock everyday at camp. However, there were a couple of times where my cell phone was going to die and I did not have a charger or a place to charge my phone so that the alarm could be used. Instead, I prayed for God to wake me up at the appropriate time. The first time I prayed this prayer, I instantly woke up precisely at the time that I would normally set my alarm. Then something even more miraculous happened in the second to last week of camp when I was a counselor in the tepees. For two straight days my phone was dead and I was terribly concerned about oversleeping. On both of those days and nights I prayed. On both mornings, there was the most annoying crow that crowed at precisely the time I was supposed and meaning to wake up. Needless to say, the crow woke me up on both days and on those days I was more energetic on those days than ever before. It is truly something only God could do!
The last thing that I have grown in is looking for God in my daily life. Needless to say I still go days where I do not look for His work in my life and others around me, but that does not mean that He is not working. However, today more than ever, I am more intentional to look for God in daily life. I am looking forward to what great things He is planning to do in others around me and in my life as well. All glory and honor are His, now and forever!
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24