In Christianity we talk a lot about having a personal relationship with God. The essence of God is love, so this is a real relationship, not a set of beliefs to know or a list of things to do. There can no relationship without communication and that makes the ability to hear God’s voice an essential to knowing God (Read ‘The God Life and How to Live It’).
It’s for this reason that the ministry of God Conversations exists. Our mission is to equip people to recognise and respond to God’s voice. Last month we celebrated our eight year anniversary and I shared some of the significant moments along the way. But the real highlights of this ministry are the times when people hear God’s voice for themselves.
Three Powerful Testimonies and What We Learn from Them
In this video I share three small, but wonderful testimonies from the Other Side of the Conversation Seminar (hosted by Forward Grace Church in the Netherlands) and what we learn from them:
- The power of obeying what God says
- Hearing God’s voice is for everybody – even those who feel uncomfortable!
- God’s willingness to provide confirmation to what we hear.
An Invitation to Get Involved
Today we’re inviting you to invest in the ministry of God Conversations! Tania is not on salaried staff at her church, so for the past 8 years the ministry has been made possible through church offerings and the generosity of Tania’s personal friends and the leadership team who have freely given their finance, advice and skills to build the ministry. As a leadership team, we now feel it is time in God to broaden the net and allow others to come on board. So this month we’re inviting you to invest in God Conversations! There are two ways to join our partnership team:
It was an unusual pairing. Eugene Peterson, author of the popular Message translation of the Bible meets Bono, lead singer of U2. Bono first connected with Peterson back in 2002 to thank him for the work that had so deeply impacted him: “No translation I’ve read speaks to me in my own language.” Their conversation at Peterson’s Montana home is a revealing one that contains an important message for musicians and artists, but also highlights a key for all those wanting to hear God’s voice. Watch their conversation here:
You’ll notice that Bono and Eugene talk a lot about honesty – particularly in the Psalms. As Bono says; “They have this rawness… the psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy he’s feeling …as well as the deep sorrow and confusion” (11:40). For Peterson who first began The Message when he was teaching a friend how to pray; “The Psalms are not pretty, they’re not nice” (12:40).
Bono’s passion is of course the arts, and more specifically songwriting. But his comments highlight an important element in our own conversations with God. If we long to hear God’s voice more clearly, we must take off the masks that hide our true selves. We must stop pretending in our prayer lives – especially when we’re experiencing hard times. Honesty is not so much a sign of irreverence as it is a sign of trust. After all, we get upset with those we love the most.
It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since my ministry was officially launched – that’s four years part time and nearly four years full time since I left staff at Hillsong and careened off the faith-cliff into itinerating. God Conversations has come a long way from that very first seminar held at New Peninsula Baptist back in 2003, but oh, what a ride it has been (Wondering how it all started? Listen to our first podcast!)
Birthdays and anniversaries are always a great opportunity to reflect, so this past month I sat down to do just that. It’s so good to celebrate the milestones and thank God for all the achievements along the way. But sharing them with you felt like one of those notorious humble-brag posts, so I decided it would be lot more fun to talk about my biggest mistakes instead. You know, those hidden moments of embarrassment, the dreaded stabs of doubt and those shame-filled bouts of failure. As I said, much more fun…
Oddly enough, each one of those ghastly mistakes turned out to become a mighty step of progress (hmm, could be a lesson in that). So here they are, a little peak inside the internal journey of God Conversations with the all-time biggest
mistakes milestones so far:
The last few funerals I’ve attended have been surprising learning experiences. Although the raw displays of grief and earthy graveside scenes are never easy, I’ve found myself coming away with unexpected treasures. All those shared memories and celebrated eulogies had inadvertently revealed truths about my loved ones that for whatever reason I’d never heard of before. There were stories from my Dad’s work colleagues, injustices in my Grandma’s homelife and tales from my Uncle’s childhood. Suddenly history made sense and I found myself wishing I had known them sooner.
Talk of funerals came up again while visiting my Mum last year. Over one of Mum’s legendary roast dinners, we discussed our preferred places of burial (somewhere local), the advantages of cremation (apparently it’s cheaper) and where we’d like our ashes scattered (under a rose bush). It was an animated conversation. After contemplating the inevitability of our deaths, Mum began to share about her childhood and I discovered the kinds of things that you normally only hear about at funerals. Having shared a recent ode to my Dad who passed away four years ago (read about it here) and in view of Mother’s Day this week, I thought I’d share a post to honour my Mum. The hope is that she can enjoy it while here on earth, rather than waiting for a time when she can’t!
Last week, a new reality show called Married at First Sight was launched on Australian TV. I have to confess, I’ve been glued to it from the first night and the early episodes have not failed to disappoint. In the series, a man and a woman meet for the first time on their wedding day after being paired together by a group of three experts. There’s a neuropsychotherapist who considers pheromones and ‘chemistry’, as well as a psychologist and relationship expert who draw on personality profiles and extensive interviews to make their best scientific match.
Once having participated in a (non-legal) wedding ceremony, the newly married couples spend their first night in a hotel, then leave for the honeymoon. After returning and living together for a month, they make the decision whether or not to continue their relationship. Last year the whole process worked out beautifully for one of the four couples, Alex and Zoe, who are now happily on their way down the non-reality TV wedding aisle. It’s all gripping viewing. For my friends outside of Australia, here’s a moment the producers die for when, at the wedding of the third couple, Jono the groom doesn’t get what he ordered in bride Clare.