In our current series, Everyday Discipleship, we are looking at ways to connect, grow, and mature in our love for God in practical ways. A few weeks ago, in our time of teaching on Sunday, the Hearing Circle was referenced. If you missed that Sunday and want to catch up, you can listen or watch Aaron's teaching here.
Many of us have found the Hearing Circle a very useful tool as we hear God and figure out where to go from there. This tool is exactly this...a tool. It's not directly in the Bible. But you see these things playing out: hearing, reflecting, discussing, planning, and acting it out in the New Testament! (Example: Acts 10 with Peter and Cornelius) Below, we'll walk you through using the Hearing Circle, so that you can begin using it in your everyday life.
USING THE HEARING CIRCLE
1. Start at the God Moment
This is Jesus intersecting your everyday life. God loves you, and he is speaking. He longs for you to hear his voice. When does a God Moment happen? Time in the word, being in scripture. In prayer, hearing a word from God or thinking of someone specifically in prayer. Aaron's (cheesy, maybe, but true) quip to remember this is "If we want to hear, we must tune our ear." Through scripture and prayer, you'll tune your heart to hear...and then all of the sudden, you start noticing that God is speaking to you in your everyday life! Two things to listen for in scripture or in prayer:
Indicative statement about who God is or something about you. Indicates something about God or you. Calling your attention to his character: his faithfulness, goodness, strength, love, etc. Or about you: how much he loves you, how near you are to him, how he is walking with you, etc.
Imperative statement from God giving us something to do. These are more action oriented statements. Aaron's example: he and Amy (his wife) were preparing to move to the Northwest, and many around them thought they were nuts or shouldn't do it. But through Isaiah 43, God spoke into Aaron's fear, reminding him that he was with Aaron and would protect them as they went.
First, notice it! What is God saying to you? Reflect on it. Write it down. Journal about it. Goal of reflecting is to take time and camp out on what God is saying. Answer the questions: what am I feeling and thinking about what God is saying to me? Sometimes it may just be 1 verse, so focus on that 1 verse. Think about it throughout the day, reflect as you drive to work or make dinner.
Whether we like it or not, the Christian journey is not a solo endeavor. Here we discuss what God is saying. In our house church, with our roommates or family, with a close friend. Saying, "This is what God is saying to me, can you help me discern?" And as friends who help others discuss and discern, our goal is community — ask questions. Here are some examples:
What's causing you to think that God is saying this?
What have you experienced?
Why are you having such a strong reaction to what he is saying?
Does it bring fear, joy, hope, etc?
Most of us stop at Discuss. As Christians, we love to be convicted, but we don't always love the next step...making a plan. Now, make a plan in community. Whenever you can, make this plan as specific as possible. Discipleship is hearing and doing. If God speaks that he wants more time with you, after relflection and discussion...make a plan.
And now...go and do it! Put your plan into action. If a friend has shared with you their plans for responding to what God has spoken to them, ask them about it a few days later, a week later, a month later. Let's help each other be accountable!
This act of hearing and doing is not about perfection, but persistence.
It's not about all the missed opportunities, but about future opportunities.
It may not take place in a matter of moments, but a matter of months.
Let's be a community that not only hears but also does.
The Hearing Circle is adapted from David Kolb's work on experiential learning and influenced by Mike Breen's Continuous Breakthrough Circle; Building a Discipleship Culture, 2011. p55