John Stumbo Video Blog No. 2

September 4, 2013


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God is speaking… are we listening? In this, his second monthly video blog, C&MA President John Stumbo invites pastors and workers to “stay in the conversation.”


Well hey, team; as you know I’m coming at you the 12th of every month for about 12 minutes as the 12th president of The Alliance, trying to get into your head and trying to get on your calendar, because it’s a priority for me in my newly elected state to have a conversation with the pastors of the C&MA.

Anybody else is welcome to listen in, but I’m talking to the lead pastors, and right now, as I sit here I am in North Springs Alliance Church, Colorado Springs. We have just, a few minutes ago, completed the Call to Prayer. Leaders and pastors came from 22 states and gathered here for the day. Online there were hundreds of sites that joined us for this event, and so my heart’s full and my body is a little tired, but my heart is really full from the time together.

You know that the last time I came to you—my first blog—what was on my heart was this whole idea of “It’s our turn. It’s my turn; it’s your turn; it’s our turn.” Right now, in our hands has been placed the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ. Right now, in our hands is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Right now, the call of God is upon us to serve Him. A few sunrises ago, it was in our fathers’ hands, and in a few sunsets it will be in the next generations’ hands. But for right now, the call of God is upon us to handle this holy precious thing called the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ. We are its leaders. We are its spokespersons, and so let us not grow weary while doing this—we talked about last time.

So thank you for listening into that blog. According to our records, there were almost 2,000 complete views of that, half of them being from lead pastors. That is an encouraging start as we seek to have this conversation. And I want you to know those comments that you sent back by way of the survey feature, those are significant; those are shaping my message and my thinking, so I will continue to read those as you respond in that kind of way.

The theme that I want to talk about today—what’s on my heart for this blog—is the speaking voice of God. I’m calling us as pastors to be listeners, to have a listening spirit—that as we have been entrusted with this holy calling to shepherd the flock, as we have been empowered by His spirit to lead, as we have been equipped, according to Ephesians (2:)10, “That we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared in advance for us to do”—then this calling that I sense today to give to you is a calling to be listeners as we lead, that we would be listening leaders led by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit. As we meet, as we counsel, as we preach that, really, we have nothing to say unless we have already heard. And so, what I want to talk about is the speaking voice of God.

You only have to open your Bibles to Genesis, chapter 1, to find out that God speaks. And God said, “Let there be light.” The psalmists tell us that, “He spoke and it came to be. He commanded, and it stood firm.” This idea of God speaking is present tense, as A.W. Tozer reminds us—teaches us—“. . . self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation. The whole Bible supports [this] idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but is speaking. He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice. One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world.”

So just think of the ways He speaks to us. Through creation obviously, Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Obviously, He has spoken to us through prophets and poets and historians, and their writings were preserved and collected, believed to be God-inspired, God-breathed words, and now we hold them in our hands as the Holy Scriptures. God speaks to us through His preserved, His inerrant word.

He has spoken to us throughout the ages through visions and dreams, through interpreted tongues. He has spoken to us through things like a burning bush—Moses; a storm—Job; or a whisper—Elijah; or even a donkey of all things.

Obviously, God would never speak to us in a manner that contradicts what He has already said to us in the inspired Word of God. Obviously, that is where some of the worst heresies and cults have come from; is every time we get off, when we contradict, when we ignore, when we don’t take it into account the whole council of God, obviously, we have gotten off to a path that is completely inappropriate for us as Alliance leaders. Everything that we say must be able to find some way its way back to this Word.

But the speaking voice of God continues to speak. We know that the ultimate expression of the voice of God is Jesus Himself. John, chapter 1, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God.” We know Hebrews, chapter 1, says to us, that “in the past God spoke to our forefathers, to the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.”

The son is the ultimate expression of the Word of God. So we have this broad understanding that our God speaks, and David lives with an anticipation that God would continue to be speaking. David wrote Psalm 25, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs”—hear the word language here; hear the language here—God “instructs sinners in his ways.” He will even speak to us in our sinful state, “He guides the humble in what is right; he teaches them his way. Who then is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him . . . The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes His covenant known to them.” Our God is a confiding God, bringing us into His secret council, revealing His secrets to us. This is who our God is. This is a speaking God.

So my question for us today, leaders, is, Are we listening? Are we taking the posture of a listener? Do we anticipate as we enter into a time of meeting with our boards, as we have somebody coming to us and asking for counsel? As we prepare our messages, are we coming at it from the posture of listener, believing that we are going to be directed by God?

Jeremiah warned us that if we speak on God’s behalf, we have nothing to say unless he has first spoken. Jeremiah 23:16, “This is what the Lord Almighty says, ‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me “the Lord says you will have peace.” And all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say “no harm will come to you.” But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear His word? Who has listened and heard his word? . . . But if they had stood in my council”—hear the heart of God church leader; hear the heart of God, preaching pastor—“If they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people. I would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds if they had stood in my council.’”

I call us to be students of the Word. We won’t know if we’re contradicting the whole council of God unless we are students of the Word. This listening process is very often on our knees or with our Bibles open or both on our knees with our Bibles open. But in private, I’m calling you to spend hours listening, private retreats, alone times with God throughout your days.

And I’m calling us to also do so in community—taking in the wisdom of the ages, the saints that have recorded their meditations for us, and the community of current believers that you trust—that as you seek to listen to God, some of it must be alone by yourself. But other times it must be in community with a gathering of your trusted leadership, with your spouse, with others that you have gathered together as a trusted community of brothers and sisters—listening in private, listening in community.

We have a speaking God. We have nothing to say unless we have first heard. I’m calling us to be listening people. I’m seeking to be that kind of leader myself. We won’t get it right every time. We won’t fully understand every time when we have heard correctly from God or not. But at least let it be our deep passion and the deepest desire of our heart to be people who lead only because we have been led.

God bless you on that journey. Pray for me on that journey as well. Amen.


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