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Listening To God's Word

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This month Gifted for Leadership, Leadership Journal, and some of our sister sites are joining to think seriously about Scripture. An exciting foray into this topic begins with an interactive assessment: The Hermeneutics Quiz, by Scot McKnight. This free quiz will give you an insightful perspective into the way in which you interpret Scripture.

For other considerations, read Scot's article on the Leadership website, or dive into Christopher Blumhofer's insightful post below.

A church's ability to minister to people hinges on its confidence in the Word of God. A low-confidence church can't teach or preach or serve with any real sense of expectation. It can't profess assurance that God speaks or that listening for his voice is worthwhile. A high-confidence church lives in another reality: a realm in which God speaks and acts, calls and sends.

The divide here isn't a clear-cut, liberal-conservative issue. It isn't an issue that can be dealt with primarily on an institutional level. Confidence in the Word of God is intensely personal. The question is this: do you believe that God speaks?

How we answer that question determines more about our ministry than almost any other. If the answer is yes, that we are high-confidence believers, then we can ask God to bend, shape, and teach us. If the answer is no, then our low-confidence answer should prompt a question: why is this God worth serving?

For many of us, the short answer is yes, and the long answer is "I wish I were living with more confidence in God's Word, with a greater sense of expectation." Confidence and expectation are nice concepts, but they're too abstract. In an effort to live out our confidence in the God who speaks, we must re-approach the Word:

? Jesus. Since he is the incarnate Word, we need to consider confidence and expectation in terms of faith in Jesus. Did he live and die for us? Was he resurrected from the dead? Does he intercede on our behalf? Will he return to earth and make all things new?

I once heard a great expression for the practice of asking ourselves these questions - "preaching the gospel to ourselves." It is something that we could all use more of. Preach the gospel to yourself today: it will renew your confidence in the one we all seek. Think of Jesus as a person in the narrative of human history. What did God "say" through Jesus? Since Jesus lives today, what is God "saying" through Jesus' life?

March20, 2008 at 3:47 PM

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