In my last two posts, I’ve told the story of Shaun and Rai King leaving the church they started in Atlanta. This story seems important to me because I believe it is the story of an increasing number of the leaders of traditional churches. Over and over, we keep hearing leaders say something like, “I still love Jesus but church is killing me. There has got to be a better way!”
I happen to check out Shaun’s most recent blog post (9/17) and was quite surprised and delighted to seethat he was talking about a book he just discovered called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. This is significant because I believe that this book unexpectedly holds the key to the “better way” of doing church that Shaun and Rai and many others are longing for. http://www.shauninthecity.com/2011/09/not-a-joke-you-need-to-buy-this-at-list-click-on-the-link-4-my-birthday.html
Here’s what Shaun wrote about the book…
Last week my wife bought herself a daily devotional entitled, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. The lady at the bookstore swore by it. She said it had changed her life and the lives of more customers than any book they sold. Within two days my wife was completely hooked. We’ve been in a real transitional season of our lives and she said it was helping her in amazing ways.
So… I decided to try it myself. I generally hate daily devotionals. Not this one. It’s profound. It cuts right to the chase. It’s written as if it is Jesus speaking to you and it’s not the slightest bit cheesy. Each day has verses and a simple lesson and I’m telling you it changes my day.
The author of Jesus Calling is Sarah Young. Here’s what she writes in the Introduction (xii) about how the book came about…
I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day. I decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down whatever I believed He was saying. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message. It was short, biblical, and appropriate. It addressed topics that were current in my life: trust, fear, and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my prayer journal. My journaling had changed from monologue to dialogue.
…This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline.
Stay with me now as I “connect the dots”.
- When an individual begins the practice of listen to the Lord, prayer changes from monologue to dialogue and amazing things happen. As Sarah says, “This has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline.
- When a group (ie, a house church) begins the practice of listening to the Lord, amazing things happen.
- Church flows from listening
- Community flows from listening
- Bible study flows from listening
- Worship flows from listening
- Prayer flows from listening
- Intimacy flows from listening
- Mission flows from listening
- Changed lives flow from listening