You may have heard it said that being a Christian is boring – that it’s all about keeping the rules and making sure you don’t do things you’re not allowed to. Today’s interview turns that thought on its head.
I’ve often said that when we when we follow the Holy Spirit, we replace the ‘good life’ with the God life – one which is full of supernatural adventure. When you listen to God’s voice and follow it, you end up doing things you’d never normally do and seeing miracles you wouldn’t normally see. That’s why I’m excited to introduce you to Pastor David McCracken on the show today!
If you live in Australia, you probably already know his name. David is a well known prophet both nationally and overseas. He heads up a wonderful team based in Melbourne (David McCracken Ministries) and has an incredible reputation, having been in ministry for over 40 years, first as a pastor and now as an itinerant ministering in the prophetic.
This podcast contains some gems that will help you live the god-life with wisdom and without becoming what David calls ‘spiritually spooky’. On this episode, we talk about:
- How God’s voice is not just heard in the words that are spoken, but in the tone that is used: “Don’t claim to represent my word if you cannot represent my heart.”
A few years after starting God Conversations, God spoke to me about a second branch of ministry. Unlike equipping people to recognise God’s voice, this one was just for women. The vision of God Conversations for Women is to help women realise their God-given potential. The goal is to see God’s original plan when he cast both men and women in his image and commissioned them to steward the planet together (Genesis 1:26-27) fulfilled in the 21st century.
The question of what a 21st C woman looks like is not an easy one to answer. Once it was simple. Women’s roles in the home, church and community were all very clear. But the feminist movement has changed all that. The last 50-100 years have seen seismic shifts in Western society. Today women can vote and go to university. They can get a job and travel without their husbands. They can fly aeroplanes, join the army, preach sermons and rise to the position of Prime Minister. It wasn’t long ago that all these things were unthinkable.
But at the same time, these kinds of changes have deep repercussions for who we are as women. We hear the voices of the secular worlds; the community and the marketplace, but what is God asking of us? What does it mean to be a 21st C Christian woman?
Recently I read a book for my doctoral studies which confirmed my suspicions about the influence of personality on our spiritual experiences. The book is titled When God Talks back and is written by an anthropologist called Tanya Luhrmann. In her studies, she immersed herself in the life of a Vineyard church in the US for a year, observing and studying their prayer and worship practises. One of the things that came out of her research was a correlation between certain psychological attributes and the way spiritual phenomena is experienced. In other words, those who struggled to hear God’s voice had a different psychological make-up compared to those who didn’t. Mark Virker wrote about this too in his book Dialogue with God. It seems that when it comes to hearing God’s voice, certain personality types have an advantage.
If I was to participate in her experiment, I’m pretty sure which category I would find myself in. I’ve always found sensing the spiritual realm a bit of a challenge. Compared to a number of my friends, I’m the slow one to pick up on spiritual atmospheres. I’m the one who’s more analysing than sensing; more thinking than intuiting (For those of you who are familiar with the Myer’s Briggs personality tests, I’m a high ’T’ and ’S’!) Luhrmann’s research seems to show there’s a good reason for my struggle and it’s connected to the way I was created. Perhaps you can relate! From my travels around different churches across the country and overseas, I know I’m not the only one. A lot of people who struggle to hear God’s voice seem to be wired that way. Some might even say that men more than women fit into this category.
A couple of years ago, God spoke to me about a second branch of ministry that he was calling me to alongside God Conversations. I have to admit I was a bit more reluctant about this one. It involved an area of my life that in many ways was even more personal than equipping people to recognize and respond God’s voice – it was a ministry that involved the deepest part of who I am.
While God Conversations is aimed at all sections of the population – men and women; young and old – my secondary call is targeted only to women. It’s a call to pass on the lessons and anointing that have been experienced in my own life through following God’s call as a woman.
As you might know, my life today looks nothing like what I planned. I grew up in a conservative church where women weren’t even permitted to carry the offering bag in the Sunday services, let alone preach. So when God first spoke to me about my future, I was decidedly confused (you can listen to more of my journey here). It wasn’t just about what I was called to do; it was about who I was called to be. Is a woman permitted to lead a church? What role does she play in the family? What does it mean for a woman to be strong? This branch of my ministry will seek to answer those questions as well as look at some of the challenges 21st C Christian women face that are unique to their gender (just as men have theirs, but we’ll leave that to the men!)
Last year, the leader of Boko Haram, the terrorist organization responsible for kidnapping 300 teenagers in Nigeria, made the claim that God told him to do it. The use of those words; “God told me” causes us to recoil in disgust. We know that the voice heard by Abubakar Shekau is not the same one as the God we worship.
It’s situations such as these that leads many church leaders to say you shouldn’t ever use the words; ‘God told me’ and you can’t really blame them. Throughout history, that phrase has been used to justify mass murder, the proliferation of a wide range of damaging beliefs, and abuses of power so heinous it’s not surprising that people throw their hands up in the air and reject any claim to a personal communique with God.
Yet the characters of the Bible seemed to have no problem saying; ‘God told me’. Our most famous stories begin with; “And the word of the Lord came to…” or “God spoke unto…” or in the New Testament, you’re more likely to read; “The Holy Spirit said…” We see that God did nothing without first speaking it (Amos 3:7).
Under the New Covenant we were promised this too. Jesus said we would recognise his voice and be able to follow it (John 10:27). He would send his Spirit who would guide us into truth and show us things to come (John 16:7-15). We would hear his voice through prophecy and dreams and visions (Acts 2:17) and it would be an even ‘more glorious’ than before since his words would be written on our hearts and not delivered solely through the mouths of prophets (2 Corinthians 3:7-11, Jeremiah 31:33-34). So it’s not a case of suggesting God can’t speak to us; it’s a case of learning to discern his voice when he does.