Last 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.