Stories of God talking with his people abound throughout the Bible, but we usually only get the highlights. We read; “And God said to Joseph; ‘Get up and go to Egypt’”, and then; “Joseph got up and went to Egypt.”
We don’t get a blow-by-blow description of how God spoke to Joseph. We don’t read a detailed exposition of what God sounded like and we certainly don’t learn how Joseph knew it was God.
Which is understandable given that the bible writers were more concerned with the content of the conversation rather than the manner in which it came.
All our great stories begin with God speaking (Amos 3:7). Those words; “And God said” are used over 3800 times in the Old Testament alone.
But to be honest those stories used to baffle me. It sounded so easy for them. Take the Mary and Joseph example. Watch this 2 minute clip to see what I mean:
So what did God sound like for Mary and Joseph? What does God sound like for us?
It was this very question that initiated my spiritual journey at the age of 21. Ultimately it led to the ministry I’m doing now.
It was in 1998 that God first called me to equip others to recognise God’s voice. I often wondered why he chose me for this ministry. I’m not one of those guest preachers who prophesies over everyone. I’m not the pastor who is constantly having visions for others, even though I love that others do. Instead I’m the one who over-analyses spiritual experiences and finds it difficult to relate to the mystical leanings of others. I’m the sceptic in the back row with her arms crossed thinking, but are you sure?
Perhaps it was this very aspect of my personality that made me a good candidate for my ministry. From the beginning, God engaged me in conversations that taught this sceptical novice how he spoke and what he sounded like. He gave me object lessons and tangible demonstrations so that I would know clearly it was him.
Now I understand that those conversations were not only for me, but so that I could pass on what I learned to others.
My calling is not to hear God’s voice for you, but to equip you to hear his voice for yourself. It’s the old adage of giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish. Let me tell you it’s a thousand times better to hear God’s voice directly than to have to go through someone else. It’s so much easier to have the tools to carry on your own conversation rather than having to rely on a mediator. That’s what happened in the ancient days, when the people had to line up for a word from God via prophets like Moses, Samuel and Jeremiah. The prophets themselves knew that this scenario was limiting. They looked forward to the time we now enjoy where everyone has access to the Holy Spirit. That’s why this new covenant is called a better one (2 Corinthians 3:7-11). Even Jesus said it would be better for him to leave so he could send his Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit poured out at Pentecost that he promised would speak to us in a voice we could recognise and follow (John 10:27, John 16:13).
The Other Side of the Conversation DVD Series is a collation of the answers I received to my questions about hearing God’s voice. It is a step by step journey that will teach you the way God spoke to his people in the past and how he speaks to us now. It will show you how to test his words and what to do when you receive them. It’s an essential tool for learning the ways of the Holy Spirit. It will transform your spiritual walk.
That’s why my team and I worked hard to bring our expertise and resources together to produce the series with excellence. We wanted to equip you to recognise God’s voice in a way that is thoughtful, inspiring and easy to use.
Can I encourage you to start The Other Side of the Conversation course now – in your home or in your church? Hundreds of people in churches from the US, New Zealand and Australia have already benefitted from it, and the series has been broadcast on the Australian Christian Channel and on Shine TV in New Zealand.
People have learnt to discern for themselves the difference between God’s voice and others. There’s been a definite shift in our worship since our whole church have done the series. (Ps. Hamish Thomson, Abundant Life Centre, New Zealand)
My 10 and 11 year old daughters watched your series this week. They were riveted to the TV and were full of questions afterwards! (Allison, Adelaide, Australia)