An article by Greg Paul
[This article is written primarily for pastors and leaders but I think its relevant for anybody. It encouraged me & I trust it will do the same for you.I have cut & paste it from Rick Warren’s pastors.com – the link is given below. – Arun]
This message, spoken by the Father to the Son, is spoken also by him to me.
It’s easy to miss it, or forget it, both simply as a human being, and certainly as a pastor – constantly trying to be current, relevant, or profound, or dynamic or whatever other ‘professional’ pressures are brought to bear. Constantly telling people what God says, while spending far too little time just listening to what he may be whispering to me. Pastors also believe too quickly what others have to say about them.
There are a thousand of these other voices, most of them much louder and more insistent, than the quiet voice of God. They say things that are demeaning or discouraging. Sometimes they say things that make me so proud of myself that I forget God is whispering his beautiful message to everyone else too. Sometimes they speak words that cut or bruise my soul, telling me I am unlovely and unlovable—a message I am unaccountably ready to believe. They may be the voices of people close to me, the culture around me, my congregants, the advertising I can’t escape, religion, education, or of my own innate insecurities or pride.
There are so many of these other voices, and they are so constant that I can’t escape them. I need new “ears” to be able to hear what God has to say. As with the people of the Baptist’s day, it begins with coming to the river of God’s grace and being submerged in it. Dying to an old life, an old way of hearing, and rising again to a new life, which can only come as a gift from above. Confessing my sins—admitting that I am too broken to live the identity for which God made me. Repenting—changing the course of my thinking about myself, my world, and my Creator.
My child. My beloved. My pleasure.
It seems as if it should be easy to hear these words and believe them, but it’s not. An entire life of discipleship cannot fully mine these three simple expressions. It’s the work of a lifetime just to begin to truly believe them.
That work begins with standing still, and listening.
Greg Paul is a pastor and member of Sanctuary (Toronto), a ministry where the wealthy and poor share their experiences and resources daily and care for the most excluded people in the city, including addicts, prostitutes, homeless, gay, lesbian, and transgendered people (www.sanctuarytoronto.ca). A former carpenter, Greg is the father of four and married to Maggie. He is the author of three books includingClose Enough to Hear God Breathe: The Great Story of Divine Intimacy (www.thomasnelson.com).