Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Today we had an all day “offsite” meeting with our pastoral staff.  We do this from time-to-time for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s for goal setting.  Others it’s to complete a project or cast a vision for a new change.  But yesterday was all about soul care.  We do this specific offsite gathering about 6 times a year or so and this time, we went again to the house of one of our staff and met with our pastoral team’s spiritual director, Larry Warner.

First we were asked to answer what has now become an bit of an infamous question on our staff that Larry introduced about 18 months ago.  It is simply this:  “How’s your soul?”  You’d be surprised at the depth of sharing we experience from that simple question.  But after about 90 minutes or so of all 9 of us answering that question, Larry released us with the following instruction:

Find a quiet space anywhere around here, inside or out, and spend the next 60 minutes listening.  Invite Jesus to speak to you and take note of anything you hear.  You can read Scripture or  just sit and listen or whatever.  If you hear from God, please write it down and then we’ll share what we heard.  It’s ok if you don’t think God gives you a specific word, but regardless of how deep or significant it is, please note what you hear and bring it back to us. Also, I’d like you to also share how you know that it was Jesus speaking to you and not someone or something else.

The first part of this exercise: simply listen and respond to the what you heard from God was great. We each had convictions and leadings and things we felt that God was saying to us.  Some more profoundly than others, but all of us enjoyed the 60 minutes of space we were given to just seek Jesus and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.

However, one of the most interesting pieces of this experience for me was the answers to the second question:  “How do you know it was Jesus?”  


To this end, I remember reading Henry Blackaby’s book “Experiencing God” while in college.  It is an amazing book on this subject and inside he has a diagram for how to know you’ve heard clearly from God. It was so life giving to me and I still refer to it from time to time.  The book is well worth the read if you have never picked it up, but you can find a brief transcription of the central idea from this diagram on this blog post I found here.

However, as we shared today, I was able to add an additional layer of qualifying questions based on the responses of our team to this question.  I’ll list them in no particular order, just something I noted as we all shared and offered our reasons.  So if you feel like God has said something to you and you’re looking to confirm if it really was God and not just last night’s dinner speaking… then here’s 7 questions our staff used to determine the source was in fact Holy Spirit of God.  The more of these questions that you can answer “yes” to, the more confident we are that you’re hearing clearly from God:

  1. Is it for Good?
  2. Is there NO condemnation in it?
  3. Is the word or leading going to benefit others?
  4. Did it cause a “snowball” of Scripture references and quotes in you that reinforced this idea?
  5. Is it true of who you know God to be?
  6. Does it slow you down rather than speed you up?
  7. Do other believers agree with you that it’s God you’re hearing?

What about you?  How do you know you’ve heard from God and what qualifying questions bring clarity for you to that?

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