Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Normal Christian Experience Includes a Conversational Relationship with God

Warren Dunes State Park, Lake Michigan

The story of Philip the evangelist provides a good example of how evangelism happened through the early church (Acts 21:8; ch. 6; ch. 8; Philip was one of "the 7," to be distinguished from Philip of "the 12" [Acts 1:13].) It happened the "Jesus way." Which was:

  1. Hear from God.
  2. Obey.
That's how Jesus did it. Peter did it that way, too. So did Philip the evangelist. By logical extension, so should we. Which means: no "evangelism program" is needed. No method or technique needed either. Just stay "in the Vine." Stay in relationship. Get your directions from God.

In one of our Sunday morning worship times I asked people to share an example of hearing directionally from God without knowing what the outcome would be. A number of testimonies were shared that went like this:
  1. God told me to go ___________.
  2. I went ___________. (Call this "obedience.")
  3. God showed up. And it was a good, God-thing.
I hear from God regularly. Many of our people regularly hear from God. And, all of us can hear from God.

To acknowledge this seems almost like bragging on one hand, or like mental illness on the other hand. But I don't think it's either of those. It is, and ought to be, the normal Christian life. Hearing from God is, experientially, "Emmanuel - God with us." It is relationship with God; friendship with God.

While in Western culture this idea is strange, remember that concepts like "strange" and "normal" are functions of one's prethematic, mostly-non-reflected-on worldview. "Normal" Christian experience includes having a conversational relationship with God. This is called "prayer."

If you're looking for more on this I strongly recommend U. of Southern Caifornia Prof. of Philosophy Dallas Willard's Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God.

I have already heard from God this morning. 

God has much that he wants to say to you today. 

Let the conversation begin.