Walking With God

Intro

Take time to interact with the resources below.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]

Every one of us has a different learning style and are affected in different ways by different things at different times. With this in mind the “into” part of this section is intended to look at the content brought up by the book from multiple angles. Video clips, blogs and other interactions will help bring this information from our heads (information) to our hearts (transformation). You are encouraged to relate your story, your emotion, your perspective to the current content and see where God brings you.

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Jason Bourne

Don’t you wish you could have God in your ear all the time.  The analogy is a little over the top, but it mostly holds true.  We do have access to God all the time and He can guide us through life.  When we don’t listen to Him and go our own way, similarly to this video, we often times end up in a much worse situation.  What are some situations in your life that you wish God would guide you through step by step.  Have you asked Him to?  Have you been listening for Him to?

Conversing With God

hands

Rosalind Rinker relates how, after years of service on the mission field and many fruitless efforts at a satisfactory prayer life, she found herself rebellious and spiritually empty. Then, through a serious illness and other grave difficulties, “God began to take care of my rebellions through his great love. He began to teach me to listen to his voice.”

Almost by “chance,” as she was praying with a friend for some of their students, she interrupted her friend’s prayer with thanksgiving on a point that was being prayed for. After a moment of awkward silence and after they had sat back and laughed with great relief, they settled down again to prayer but now “with a sense of joy, of lightness, of the Lord’s presence very near.”

They then asked if the Lord was trying to teach them something about prayer. “Should we give Thee more opportunity as we are praying to get Thy ideas through to us? Would that give the Holy Spirit more opportunity to guide us as we pray. ” Then Rinker stopped praying and said to her friend, “Do you know what? I believe the Lord taught us something just now! Instead of each of us making a prayer-speech to Him, let’s talk things over with Him, including Him in it, as we do when we have a conversation.”

I recall very clearly the effect of her book Prayer: Conversing with God when it arrived on the scene in the United States. Group after group were brought to life as they learned to listen to God as well as “make prayer-speeches” at him. Their talk of “a life with God” now had real, objectively shareable content.

Silence Is Not an “Answer”

Nowhere is it more important to be in a conversational relationship with God than in our prayer life. Often God does not give us what we ask for, but I believe that he will always answer, always respond to us in some way. It is interesting that we commonly speak of answered prayer only when we are given what we request.

When a request is denied, does this then mean that there has been no response?  Some people say that God’s silence is an answer in these cases. But I think that if we know how to listen, God will normally tell us something when he does not give us our requests. We will hear it and grow through it if we have learned to recognize and acknowledge his voice.

This was certainly true in the case of Paul‘s famous “thorn in the flesh,” which he begged the Lord to remove from him three times (2 Cor 12:7-8). God was not silent, even though he turned down Paul’s request: “But his answer was: ‘My grace is all you need; power is most fully seen in weakness’” (2 Cor 12:9 REB, italics added).

God is not impassive toward us, like an unresponsive pagan idol; he calls us to grow into a life of personal interchange with him that does justice to the idea of our being his children.

Dallas Willard

Hearing God

Trusting the Voice

 

Watch this partial sermon from Pastor Greg Boyd to learn more about trusting the voice of God.

What did you learn?  What jumped out at you?

Key Points

Review the key points for this section.

 

Walking With God:
Given the level of danger and responsibility resting on us in this journey, we need a guide.
Discipleship is walking with God. We learn as an apprentice from the Master and daily life is our training ground.
Walking with God is, in part, learning and living in wisdom.
Wisdom is not enough, we also need revelation.

Journal Questions

Pick a few of these questions to react to.  Write down your unedited responses.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]

We don’t often take time to push the “pause” button. This puts us in a position of having an overwhelming amount of stimulus and an underwhelming amount of time and space to process life. Journaling takes the thoughts, emotions and even actions and captures them for a moment, giving us time to become more self-aware. The more self-aware we are, the more we can connect with God. There are no right or wrong answers so take a moment to write down your unedited response to these questions.

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We Need a Guide

What’s at stake? What danger do you face? What quest are you on? Does the life you are living really require a guide or can you pretty much make it on your own? Explain.

What have you been taught about God speaking to His people?
Discipleship is Learning to Walk with God

In your words describe the difference between learning principles about God and learning how to walk with God.   Which has been the focus of your discipleship experiences?

In your church experiences, how was intimacy with God defined/presented/understood? As a result, have you experienced a deeper intimacy with God?
Think of a recent decision in which you were not really sure what direction to take. Did you take it to God? If not, why not? If so, what was his reply?
Walking with God Involves Wisdom

Who in your life have you respected as a wise person? What characteristics did this person have?

You can have a good heart and live like a moron or even worse. We cannot assume that a good heart is a wise heart. How wise, skilled, and trained is your heart?
Read Proverbs 1:20, 32-33, 2:9-11. How accessible is wisdom? Where does wisdom reside?  [wpex more=”Verses” less=”Verses”]

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
    she raises her voice in the public square;  Proverbs 1:20

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
    and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
but whoever listens to me will live in safety
    and be at ease, without fear of harm.”  Proverbs 1:32-33

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you.  Proverbs 2:9-11

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Practically, what will you do to continue to learn wisdom?
Walking with God Involves Revelation

Our life comes at us as a thousand little decisions. We cannot know or learn enough to make good decisions for every one of these thousands of decisions we make daily. What is your reaction to this statement?

Chambers said, “The common-sense life can be the enemy of the supernatural life.” Does his comment frighten you or affirm you? Why?
What does that require of you to start listening to God’s voice?
When you ask God’s guidance, what do you ask?   How do you ask? What expectations are you holding Him to?
When you ask, pay attention to your heart. What are you sensing?
When you hear, test what you hear. How do you test it?

Solitude

Find a quiet space and time to spend with God.  Ask Him questions and then listen to God and your own heart.  Have your journal ready to capture what surfaces.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]

Often times the way God communicates with us is described as a still, small voice. We may be tempted to believe that God doesn’t speak anymore, but what if we just aren’t taking the time and effort to listen. Just like a small child learning to speak their native language, over time there becomes a familiarity and ease in which communication happens.

Sometimes a quiet place is a quiet room in the house or a walk in the woods. Allow your heart and mind to be quiet. If you get distracted from God or the question you want to ask, don’t beat yourself up, this is natural. Just say, “Okay God, I come back to you”. Ask the question again and notice your heart, thoughts, images, or words that come to mind and see what God is saying to you.

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Watch the “Learning to Listen” video. Practice listening prayer in solitude… Find a quiet place to be by yourself with God. Quiet yourself.  Surrender.   Ask a simple question like, “Do you love me?”. And then listen. Ask a follow up question like, “What do you love about me?”.

Worship

A few times a week pause your life to worship and connect with God.  Recalibrate what is most true about you, the world and God.  [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]

Taking time to worship God by ourselves in our everyday lives is essential to continue to move towards the intimate connection to God that we need. In watching the video, meditation or interacting with some other form of worship is not intended to be prescriptive. You don’t have to sing along, just be present. Instead of trying to make something happen, we want to have a posture of open receptiveness towards what God has for us. We can just soak in the goodness of worship with God and it does something to our hearts whether we know it or not.

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First
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“First”

Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You

First
I wanna seek You
I wanna seek You
First
I wanna keep You
I wanna keep You
First
More than anything I want, I want You
First

Before I speak a word
Let me hear Your voice
And in the midst of pain
Let me feel Your joy
Ooh, I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I speak a word
I will bring my heart
And seek You

First
I wanna seek You
I wanna seek You
First
I wanna keep You
I wanna keep You
First
More than anything I want, I want You
First

You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
I seek You

First

First
I wanna seek You
I wanna seek You
First
I wanna keep You
I wanna keep You
First
More than anything I want, I want You
First
First

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Here and Now


Take a moment to describe your takeaway from this section in the comments area below.  What did you learn?  How can you apply it in everyday life?   [wpex more=”Why?” less=”Why?”]

When we share with others our own perspectives it allows us to process in a different way.  When we get a chance to experience someone else’s perspective ours is broadened.  In just a few sentences we can practice synthesizing down what we have learned to a 30,000 foot overview.

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