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Gospel Jesus Preaching Kingdom of God Ministry Presence of God

Bad News & Good News

Bad News.
Good News!

First, the bad news. We live in a busted up, broken world, full of problems. Many problems to many people. It’s the world we find ourselves in: sickness, poverty, troubled relationships, corrupt governing, and lots more junk.

The Good News that Jesus preaches is that Paradise is available to us all, now. Paradise is within reach, it’s “at hand”. We get to live in Paradise!

Contrast that with the Bad News of a busted up, broken world that is full of all kinds or horrible problems – and the Good News becomes obvious.

There is literally a process that allows us to change our world, and experience Paradise – complete with healing, wholeness, restoration and joy – instead of a broken world full of pain.

It’s sort of like science fiction – beaming to a new place, a better place – only this isn’t fiction, it’s real. And it can be real for you. Not to just visit, but to live in.

Ever need a miracle? There’s a process for this, too; and a kind of time and place where miracles are much more frequent than otherwise.

There really is bad news in this world. And there is Good News. And the amazing thing is, you get to choose! (If you have not already done so, visit and see The Gospel Process.)

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Conversation with God Friendship Hearing God Holy Spirit Jesus Jesus's Communication Ministry Prayer

Hearing and Seeing What God has to Say with a Spiritual Director

Help Hearing God

A Spiritual Director or spiritual friend has a simple job: to help you hear God for yourself, with greater confidence and clarity, joining in a conversation that God is already having with you.

When you want to receive what God has to “say” (it’s not always in words), a spiritual director can sometimes be mighty helpful. I know, because I’ve been helped this way. Often.

Why and how can this be? What goes on? I’m still figuring this out, but my current understanding is something like this:

“Hearing” God can be hard, because:

-Our own opinions, beliefs, personal history and other “stuff” can sometimes make it harder to hear God by ourselves.

-A lot of us still need a lot more practice trying to hear from God. (Hearing is a metaphor that can include words, still knowing that is pre-verbal, seeing or feeling something, noticing thoughts in our mind that might be from God, and lots more. Whew! No wonder we can use help!)

-There are many ways God “speaks” to us, and the methods God uses have useful side effects to help us. For more on this, see: https://ministermorelikejesus.com/voices-of-god/

A Spiritual Director or spiritual friend can sometimes help:

-Your issues are not felt so deeply by another person, are not so personal, making hearing easier.

-Someone with practice hearing from God, and whose abilities complement yours can be a wonderful partner. Especially when

-They care. When you and they have a “heart connection”, connect well.

-Having someone who listens deeply and well, with their heart, helps us all clarify issues and be clearer and more ready for fresh insight.

A Spiritual Director of spiritual friend has a Helper, Holy Spirit, who

-Is the same Helper and Comforter who is helping you! We have Someone in common.

-The two humans can have a conversation, which is private and aimed at helping, and both of us have the same Holy Spirit who is communicating with you.

A Spiritual Director or spiritual friend has had lots of experience receiving such help. Knows what it’s like. Can be sensitive to issues about spiritual direction and to what may matter to you.

A Spiritual Director or spiritual friend has a simple job: to help you hear God for yourself, with greater confidence and clarity, joining in a conversation that God is already having with you.

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Hearing God

Hearing God can be Hard

A man listens to the sounds from above with a tin can.

“Hearing” God can be hard, because: 

-Our own opinions, beliefs, personal history and other “stuff” can sometimes make it harder to hear God by ourselves.

-A lot of us still need a lot more practice trying to hear from God. (Hearing is a metaphor that can include words, still knowing that is pre-verbal, seeing or feeling something, noticing thoughts in our mind that might be from God, and lots more. Whew! No wonder we can use help!) 

-There are many ways God “speaks” to us, and the methods God uses have useful side effects to help us. For more on this, see: https://ministermorelikejesus.com/voices-of-god/

A Spiritual Director or spiritual friend can sometimes help:

-Your issues are not felt so deeply by another person, are not so personal, making hearing easier.

-Someone with practice hearing from God, and whose abilities complement yours can be a wonderful partner. Especially when

-They care. When you and they have a “heart connection”, connect well.

-Having someone who listens deeply and well, with their heart, helps us all clarify issues and be clearer and more ready for fresh insight.

A Spiritual Director of spiritual friend has a Helper, Holy Spirit, who

-Is the same Helper and Comforter who is helping you! We have Someone in common.

-The two humans can have a conversation, which is private and aimed at helping, and both of us have the same Holy Spirit who is communicating with you.

A Spiritual Director or spiritual friend has had lots of experience receiving such help. Knows what it’s like. Can be sensitive to issues about spiritual direction and to what may matter to you. 

A Spiritual Director or spiritual friend has a simple job: to help you hear God for yourself, with greater confidence and clarity, joining in a conversation that God is already having with you. 

Learn more about Spiritual Direction and meet some directors at HolyListening.com

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Conversation with God Discipleship Hearing God Prayer Worship

A New Way to Pray

aliane-schwartzhaupt-raeSgX3u3ZA-unsplash

For many of us, this will be a new way to pray. If not, good for you! You get to be reminded, anyway.

Jesus was asked how to pray.

11 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

So He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Our[a] Father [b]in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
[c]Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
[d]But deliver us from the evil one.”

Luke 11:2-4, NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+11&version=NKJV

While most of us think of prayer as first being petition, this prayer is not so much petition as it is a series of declarations of what is true. It’s a series of important and true statements that are already true, that we are being taught to affirm and declare.

Now, let us be ready to not only declare or ask, but also be ready to pause and listen, pause and hear, after each declaration. (Always a good idea, is to pause and listen for a response from God. And this also allows what we declare and say to sink in more deeply. While also giving Holy Spirit a better opportunity to work in us and through us.)

The whole prayer, made clearer as a series of declarations might be read like this:

Our Father is in heaven. (We have the same father, he is not on earth so much as he is in heaven. We are speaking this to Father. Just as Jesus prayed – to our Father; and just as Jesus taught us to pray.)

Your Name is holy. (The nature of who you are, is holiness.)

Your Kingdom is coming.

Your will is being done.

It (your will) is being done on earth as it already is in heaven.

You give us this day our daily bread. (You meet our needs each day.)

You forgive our sins in the same way that we forgive others.

You never lead us into temptation.

You deliver us from evil.

Now for the next step in learning to pray this prayer.

After you declare each idea, each line, one at a time, pause and be silent, be still in the Presence of God. Listen and pay attention.

You might not hear words, but I believe you will find it is different when you do this, and that you are transformed, so that you are different.

This can be a wonderful way to pray. After all, Jesus teaches us this. With Holy Spirit.

Let Jesus teach you, and you – you be responsive to Holy Spirit.

Let it all sink in deeply.

You will be blessed, greatly blessed.

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Gifts Spiritual Gift

Activate Spiritual Gifts More Easily

Heart-shaped candle in her hands.

Activating Spiritual Gifts may be much more easy than you expect. And there are keys that help, keys that help hugely!

This key will make sense by hindsight. The key is service, or actually seeking to use your gifts. And there is another key that successful users of Spiritual Gifts do more than the rest of us – they ask questions.

The error I long made, and maybe you have, too, is to try to discover or use a gift without actually applying it in service or asking questions.

A useful way of thinking about this is to Follow Jesus. Model your ministry after what Jesus does.

Jesus ministers as he sees or hears from Father.

You can do this, too.

But how do we start, and get results? Simple: respond to a need. Bring the Kingdom of God to what is needed. Restoration is what Jesus did again and again. And, he destroys the work of the devil, the adversary.

You can do the same. How?

Look for needs, look for a need in someone’s life. Ask questions, such as:

  • How do I help or minister to this need?
  • What do you want me to do about this?
  • How do I pray for this situation, this person?

Then simply pay attention to what comes to your attention next. Being careful not to let thoughts, associations, ideas, images, or any experience pass by without assuming and accepting that this is an answer to your question.

And, because, as Dan Pendergrass once told me when I was asking about why replies from God are so often surprising, he said simply that God knows more than we do.

What we miss, in activating our gifts, too often or easily, are things like this:

  • Forgetting to bring God’s agape love to a person with a need.
  • Neglecting to ask how to minister.
  • Forgetting to ask how to pray for the person you are loving and for their need.
  • Not realizing that what comes to your attention next is actually an answer and reply from God. It’s unexpected, seems too easy, seems too ordinary.

How do you get started, if you don’t see where or how to get started? Ask Jesus to point out to you or bring to your attention people who need ministry or service or restoration (of health or well being).

Ask and serve. Ask and minister. In serving or ministering, you are applying and using your Spiritual Gift where needed. A great way to be living.

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Church Life Disciple Making Glory Holy Spirit Kingdom of God Worship

Simon Xing on Worship

Worship – aliane-schwartzhaupt-raeSgX3u3ZA-unsplash

I once asked a good friend, Simon Xing, who lives in China, about worship. He’s a fine worship leader, with wonderful experience to share. What follows is an edited version (for readability) of our conversation.

D: Simon – I have a question…I can use your help. How might you describe different levels of worship?

S: Thanks for your questions. Personally, I would divide it into four levels.

D: Tell me!

S: The first is surface level. Just singing.

D: Makes sense. Please go on.

S: The second is when you are infected by another person’s spirit to worship.

D: Good. Go on….

S: The third is when you can worship anytime in any place.

D: Tell me more about this.

S: Just feel like God is on your side.

(D: That sounds so simple; it’s useful and profound.)

D: Wow! Tell me more.

S: The fourth, also the deepest, for me, I think is when you are the performer standing in front of God. (D: This is what your attention is full of. Nothing else.)

D: Please go on. More!

S: And angels are your audience. They are listening, and maybe even join in.

D: Ahh…I love this!

S: This is a moment of holiness. You don’t care about anything but God. You may cry. You may dance. You may sing in tongues.

D: Ahh….

S: Nothing but holiness.

D: Wonderful!

S: You will not care, in such moments, about timing. No concern or worry. Your focus is single and complete.

D: I never thought of that….

S: You just want to continue and go on – in that environment. This is just my experience.

D: Your experience in such things as this – is valuable.

S: I experienced four levels. Maybe there is a fifth. It may take time….

D: Go on…think out loud.

S: Now I don’t know…. I just hope there would be a fifth one. (D: Simon is getting ready to speak and put into words a deep intuition of his understanding, so far. Holy Spirit whispering to his spirit.)

S: Which may be that God only wants me to worship.

S: He cares about my worship most at such a moment.

D: Go on….

S: And I can feel his holy touch.

S: Not by saints, but by him.

S: (Simon spoke briefly of some Internet difficulties.) He blessed me, sent his deep love.

We said goodbye for now.

D: (This was a fascinating and lovely conversation, with thoughts from an experienced worship leader.)

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Conversation with God Hearing God Holy Spirit Jesus Learning Prayer

How I hear God More Easily – Not Buying Another Book.

Holy Spirit – from Unsplash.com

I’ve learned that when I think I need to buy another book about hearing God well, what it really means for me is that I am not full enough of Holy Spirit.

I have not asked to be more full of Holy Spirit and received by faith. It’s easy to do. I may not feel Holy Spirit, but the results are easy to notice.

Hearing from God is lots and lots easier for me when I am full of Holy Spirit. And all I have to do is ask, and receive by faith. No drama needed. I rarely notice more of Holy Spirit, except for the side effects, which are extremely obvious. Such as hearing God better.

(I mention that twice because it’s so important, and too easy to miss.)

When I follow Holy Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit is easy, and just flows. Love, patience, self-control, and other good Fruit.

I am operating out of my New Self instead of my Old self. New Self has no wounds or over-reactions. No traumas. No lack of access to wisdom and love and…other wonderful things.

Best of all, I am hearing from God more easily.

And I didn’t even distract myself by buying yet another book on the subject – because that wasn’t my issue. I just need to pay attention and ask for and receive more of Holy Spirit by faith.

Which is really easy. Even when I don’t feel it; but the results are easy to notice.

How does being more full of Holy Spirit help you with hearing from God better?

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Conversation with God Discipleship Father Hearing God Holy Spirit Jesus Lessons

Use All Your Senses

Hearing God

When God speaks to you, be alert with all of your senses. “Speak” is a metaphor for anything God “says”.

You might see something, sometimes quickly and when it’s surprising, its too easy to ignore. So pay close attention to what comes next after you ask a question or pause to listen and “hear”.

You might hear something. Still Small Voice may speak to you silently, before words.

A memory may come. An association – an idea. It can come in any good way.

And more. Events, people, book covers, songs, billboards, birds, forests, seas, lakes and rivers. Flowers. (Can you tell I love hearing God through nature?)

To get more used to this, learn to pay attention to the many kinds of “Voices of God“.

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Disciple Making Evangelize Gospel Healing Hearing God Holy Spirit Jesus Key Article Kingdom of God Ministry Miracles Success

Disciple-Making on Steroids

Miracle of Jesus Healing a Blind Man

Discipling someone, or several people, can can succeed a lot faster than most of us are used to. I call this “Disciple-Making on Steroids” because this approach is so powerful and fast.

Here’s an example to learn from, that, with variations – depending on your situation, can be done more easily and more quickly than perhaps we have ever seen.

On the street or in a supermarket or other store, or maybe a shopping mall, you see someone who obviously needs healing. Their injury or disability or pain is obvious to you.

So you walk up to them and say, “Hello. My name is ____; it looks to me like you have some” pain, difficulty, injury, disability – whatever it is. Make it easy for them to talk to you about it. Make sure you discover what it is that they cannot do or cannot easily do, because of that particular need of healing.

Ask them if it’s okay for you to pray for them. Most people will be glad for such prayer, if by then you are in rapport. If they are not willing, thank them and let them be.

You can pray for them at a distance if you like.

Keep doing this until you discover someone who is willing to be prayed for.

Pray for them, praying to Jesus, maybe something like, “Dear Jesus, help this person with ____” whatever is needed. They expected you to pray for them, and it’s easy for them to say yes to such a request. Then be sure to quietly but with authority – like when you are talking to a child or a pet and you really mean it – tell that need for healing to be healed. Be sensitive to Holy Spirit and do as seems best.

Ask them to test, to do what they could not easily do or could not do. When they succeed, give thanks to Jesus!

When that does not go well, you can be like Jesus healing the blind man who could see a bit more at first, but needed more healing and said something like, “I see men walking, but they are like trees walking”. So, like Jesus, you pray (and command with authority), healing again.

If you want to do it like Jesus did, and was so successful at healing so often (always), you can do it like this:

Keep testing the healing until it is done. Persist.

Now comes the cool part, disciple making on steroids:

Now that they have been healed, ask them something like, “Would you like to give your life to Jesus and have him as your Lord?” When they say yes, lead them in such a prayer. When they say no, just continue as if they had. Because of what happens next, they probably will.

Take the person who has now been healed and who now has Jesus (or not) in them, and go with them. Find someone else who has an obvious need of healing. Instruct them to pray for and command healing, just as they experienced. Have them heal the person in need. Pray for them and their ministry, and their good success while that do that. Help them out loud as called for and needed.

Now you have someone with you who has been healed, who has come to Jesus (or not, yet). If not yet come to Jesus, ask them if they want to make it official now, and help them accept Jesus as Lord. If not, get their contact information, pray for them, and follow up and give them encouragement and help as you are led with Holy Spirit. Just do the best you can and ask for help through Holy Spirit.

I like to ask for more of Holy Spirit before I pray for someone or minister. My prayer and ministry is more effective when I do this, and I hear God better, too.

.

I believe that this is how Jesus wants us to minister in these times. In these days. The time is short: make disciples, with Holy Spirit, on steroids!

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Conversation with God Disciple Making Discipleship Evangelize Faith Friendship Getting Help Gospel Jesus Joy Kingdom of God Ministry Prayer

There are Multiple Biblical Ways to Salvation

John Benitez – Unsplash

Those of us who use even a somewhat Evangelical approach to salvation have a few prayers that we encourage so that someone can experience salvation.

The Bible takes a different approach. So much so that the most frequent method to attain salvation in the bible is one I’ve never seen or heard of being used with a potential convert. By hindsight, this is a bit astounding.

Yet in real life, it makes perfect sense. And the usual prayers are used for several good reasons.

It really is wise and good that we get to know more consciously about Jesus, and Jesus as our Lord. And that this be expressed clearly in our prayer.

So what is this most frequently mentioned method of achieving salvation in scriptures that is so unused for making converts? It’s actually a method frequently used by the rest of us.

A very common prayer, used by many of us when we need help, when we need and want to be saved. Just seldom used to help someone become a convert to Christianity.

What is this frequently used approach for getting help when most needed, but seldom if ever used to help someone become a convert?

It’s simply this: call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved.

Biblical theology is probably wider and more inclusive than our theologies. God is certainly more broad minded than we are.

And this illustrates very well how some things are taught about to us and for us in scripture from many angles, in many ways. And we tend to focus on one way, sometimes proof-texting, yet even so, we tend to focus on one very good way. But God and scriptures offers more options than we often think about and sometimes more options than we even normally trust or believe in.

Thank you, Lord, for being so broad minded, for thinking differently than we do, for being more loving and generous than we yet are able to grasp.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving us eternity to continue to get to know you and your love. We need you. And we need eternity to explore and learn about your love and your depth. Thank you, Lord!