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God’s Voice, Or Mine?

 —  July 1, 2009 — 5 Comments

picture-5picture-7Last week I was speaking to a 1,000 high schoolers at Hume Lake. It was an absolute blast, for sure. From chapels to judging the bike jump and Gauntlet, to the cups of coffee with youth pastors…it’s all great! I’m doing fewer camps these days so I can concentrate more on college ministry training, but Hume is one I’ll keep doing – if they keep asking that is. Hume has a special place in my heart (and my wife’s) for sure!

I also had a chance to speak to the summer staff – what a blessing that was. Hume hire’s about 350-400 summer staff every year. This is on top of the 150 full-time staff (kind of a guess, but not far off, if at all, I’m sure). I was planning on speaking about contentment and being faithful today to what God has called us to. College-age people are looking forward to discovering what God wants to do with their life, but sometimes it’s at the expense of being faithful today. Or, better put maybe: because they’re looking for what the rest of their life will look like, they forget about being faithful with what God’s called them to today.

But, the last song right before I got up, I threw that talk out the window. I decided to speak on hearing God’s voice. So many college-age people say they desperately want to know what God wants to do with their life. But, there’s a huge dichotomy that few see. And I wanted to point that out.

The hard balance here is that words and actions don’t always match up in this area. Most say they want to do what God wants them to do, but meanwhile are trying to figure out what it is they want. This is typically the most important thing in their life – to discover what it is they want. Most are somewhat stuck in life…until they discover what it is they want. I’m not going to say what they want and what God wants is always different, but there is certainly a danger of confusing the two.

My point was to challenge them on whether or not they know when it’s God’s voice speaking? How do they decipher the His voice from their own? Do they really want to hear what God will say…or is that just the “Christian” thing we’re all supposed to say?

I pointed out one way in which we often wrongfully judge whether or not God is speaking: circumstances. I talked about the dangers of this. Most often if the circumstances line up just perfectly, we assume it must be God speaking! But, is this really how God works? Could that possibly just be my voice or my sinful desire to have everything be easy for me?

Judging God’s direction based solely on circumstances is extremely dangerous. Could you imagine Christ the night before he was to be crucified praying for direction and concluding that since this was going to be incredibly difficult for him, it must not be God’s will or desire for him? Could you imagine the apostle Paul in the prison cell in Rome questioning whether or not it was God’s will for him to be there simply because it was tough?

The fun part is this pretty much takes away how college students view God’s voice speaking to them…leaving them to question how it is they hear God’s voice. Man, I had some great discussion with people afterwards…a ton of fun. Could be a good topic for you to teach on sometime.

Chuck Bomar

Chuck Bomar

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Chuck Bomar planted and is Lead Pastor of Colossae Church in Portland, Oregon and is founder of both CollegeLeader (www.CollegeLeader.org) and iampeople (www.iampeople.org). He is author of six books, with the most recent being the highly anticipated work titled, Better Off Without Jesus (August 7, 2012). When he is not traveling the country speaking at conferences or consulting with church or denominational leaders, he is home with his family, the place he loves to be more than any other. Chuck and his wife, Barbara, have three beautiful daughters: Karis, Hope and Sayla.

5 responses to God’s Voice, Or Mine?

  1. Are these talks posted anywhere online? Would be fun to listen.

    Amazed you had the courage to hear the prompting inside you and shift gears.

    Glad it was such a great week.


  2. Chuck Bomar

    this talk is not posted anywhere, sorry. actually, the mic didn’t even work – good thing the room wasn’t too big and i was close to everyone!

  3. Agree completely! Understanding direction – and what it isn’t – seems to be one of the things that most trips up the college students I’ve been around.

    A favorite counter-example of mine is II Samuel 7, where circumstances seem “obvious” – and spiritually obvious, to boot. And desire is strong – and even commended as a really righteous desire. And yet neither are sufficient for direction – and God’s man AND a prophet get it wrong on this point. BUSTED. :)

  4. My experience in sorting through how to hear God is at

  5. Why are we always at war with our primitive nature. It has been us humans that have formed rules and laws for us to follow, not God. Our bodies our mysteries and that is that. The best way to know God is to know thy self, not just commandments and rules. Otherwise, how are we humans to fathom ‘unconditional love’ and forgiveness? Hello folks :) trust your ‘of’ God, whatever that is to you, and that you are good! The voice in your head is both you and God, your pals :), the world / history / man created the dichotomy and the place we’re living in. The difference is know your ‘purpose’ from your ‘program’. Let go of everybody else’s info about God and find yours ; ) We have to vibrate @ light and love, not just speak about it!

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