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May 31, 2010

Aidan: So I’ve had a decent number of friends meet you at this point, mostly people who are in our community…probably 10 or so. And one of the things they always comment on is how easily both you and your team engage with the supernatural. Maybe it’s my more cynical nature, but I am HIGH skeptical of people when they step into that area. My mind goes straight to magic handkerchiefs, head slapping and lots of yelling. I’m starting to realize I shouldn’t reject the whole of the gift because of the package I’ve seen it wrapped in, but maybe you could talk about that a little today?

Mike: I think what we really want to believe is that the supernatural is quite normal. In fact, in Jesus’ worldview, the supernatural in-breaking wasn’t odd or out of the ordinary…that was normal.

So both in our interaction with the supernatural and how we present it to others, I think we do it just like Jesus did. He seemed to have this air of, “This stuff happens, it happens a lot, it’s just the way things are.”

Aidan: When you talk about it like that, I can almost picture Jesus shrugging his shoulders and just saying, “Yeah, it’s simply the way my Father operates. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

It reminds of the story in Mark 6 where Jesus has just fed the 5,000 and he is walking out on the water past his disciples in a boat, and it says his disciples “were amazed,” but this reaction was because their hearts were hardened…as if amazement was the wrong reaction! They failed to see that the supernatural (feeding of the 5,000 and then walking on water) is simply normal in God’s reality. It’s about as normal as popping popcorn.

Mike: Exactly. It’s not as if you’re amazed when the bag of popcorn pops. But the supernatural has become simply surprising for many of us.

Aidan: So how do you think we start to engage with that?

Mike: I think the key to the supernatural is to learn to listen to God’s voice. Learn how to listen and respond, and then learn how to teach others to do the same.

Paul really does say that we should yearn “especially for the gift of prophecy.”

Why does he say it?

He says it because he means it! It’s the most important thing to learn.

Think about it: On the day of Pentecost, everyone shows up and they are struck by the phenomenology of the situation. Wind. Fire. People they think are drunk.

But for Peter, what did he center on? People hearing the voice of God! This was the most important thing he comments on.

I often say it the birthright of every Christian to hear the voice of their Father.

Hearing the voice of your earthly father and responding to it is as normal as popping popcorn. The same can be true of our Heavenly Father.

I actually have a pretty simple way of getting into this:
1) Faith comes from hearing the word (That’s what Paul tell us in Romans)
2) We want more faith
3) We need more time in the word (the phrasebook of heaven) to hear our Father’s voice and build our faith

Aidan: I know we went further into how to hear God’s voice in a post a few weeks back, but can you go more into the idea that hearing God’s voice is legitimate?

Mike: I really believe Jesus  made it clear that we’d hear his voice after he left.

In one passage he talks about his sheep hearing his voice.

In another passage he talks about never leaving or forsaking his disciples.

In another, in the upper room, he says he is sending the Paraclete…translated Counselor or Comforter. Look…however you translate it, a counselor or comforter is speaking!

And for me, Leadership and Listening are inextricably connected.  If you’re learning to lead like Jesus, shouldn’t you be learning to listen to the Shepherd? We should be encouraging and teaching others to listen to the same Shepherd.

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