It was the end of a long day. I had gotten up at 4:30am, gulped down several hot mugs of coffee, and took a roadtrip to Baltimore to attend a WordPress website development conference. The day was spent in a plush auditorium with many techies furiously typing notes and code as we received invaluable information related to our trade.
Now, a full 12 hours later, I was starting to feel the day wearing on. There was one speaker left to go. As Chris Lema took the stage, I had an eagerness to hear what he’d say but my tired eyes really just wanted a nap. I am thankful that Chris is a dynamic keynote speaker.
I took three key points away from Chris’s message that really are kingdom principles that relate to hearing the voice of the Lord. No – Chris isn’t God, nor always God’s voice. But God can speak in any form He chooses, and today, He chose to reach me through Chris.
To Better Learn, Teach and Share
Chris encouraged this room full of web developers to share whatever knowledge they have learned. In doing so, we will more fully grasp the concepts. He related it to better understanding on how to do something to fix his website. By blogging, he not only more fully grasped the concept, but helped others with this very same issue. And when the lesson had faded from his mind and he was again faced with how to fix that issue, a simple Google search resulted in finding out that he already had the answer (on his own blog).
Bring that into our faith and relationship with the Lord. Whether we publish the knowledge for all the world to find, or keep it jotted down in a journal that only we will see, are we taking the time to document insights gained? Have we ever helped someone else going through something similar? And when we’ve forgotten the lesson, have we found our old journals causing us to remember the outcome?
The Goal Isn’t Control
In a conference full of web developers, you’d suspect that there would be some competition. If one person finally figured out how to do something unique or fix that thing, wouldn’t they want to protect that knowledge or skill so that they would get more clients than the others? This just isn’t the way the core WordPress community is wired. There really is no purpose in controlling or hiding the content, knowledge, or skills that you have learned. In fact, by sharing it, not only do we help each other but we can move on to conquering new challenges together.
How often have I wanted to see this in the larger Christian community!
I have spoken with some that would prefer to limit access to some teaching that is too deep for new believers. They seek to control the information so as not to confuse someone who may not yet be mature. Shouldn’t this work differently? When a toddler can’t yet eat some types of food, the child will seek help to make it bite sized, or for food that is better suited. A son still maturing that encounters information beyond current understanding has an ability to ask for clarification or help. Limiting access takes a position of control rather than a position of empowering the one in the maturing process to work through it.
Likewise, when we have some deep understanding or fresh perspective of the Lord, it sometimes feels like a treasure that we are not ready to share. Like a child needing to learn to share our toys, we need to learn how to share appropriately. This treasure we have is far to great to keep to ourselves. How great will it be when we all come into true unity about all topics, including rapture, baptisms, and any number of other hot issues that Christians remain divided about? There is so much yet to be done on this and so many that need to know what we have learned so far.
Within the WordPress community, we understand that the sharing of knowledge and skill benefits us all. There are more than enough clients to go around. We are not in competition with each other, but a much larger collaboration. Shouldn’t this be so of the church? At some point, we all need help, and at another point, we all are in a position to help with something.
Concrete vs Abstract Thinking
Careers such as computer programming, engineering, and anything technically oriented are frequently challenged to find a solution that doesn’t exist yet to a problem that must be dealt with now. Chris presented several mind game problems to challenge us to think about such things in a new way. He wanted us to get out of a concrete thinking approach to solving puzzles and see abstractly for a fresh view.
With God, it is easy to gravitate to seeing Him from just one view. For many believers, they believe the only way to hear from God is by reading the Bible because He hasn’t appeared in a burning bush or a talking donkey that they know about in 2,000 years. Others believe there is a formula to understanding God’s will for their lives, or bending His will to our hopes by praying “really hard”. How does one pray really hard anyway?
How often do expect God to operate in a very concrete manner? Do we make time to observe a more abstract encounter with Him? This can happen in visions, dreams, hearing that still small voice, in art and music, by interacting with each other, or countless other ways. We must make room in our minds for Him to reveal Himself freely.
How I Hear God In My Job
While Chris’s keynote was to inspire greatness among the WordPress developer community, the real take-aways for me were seeing kingdom principles at work and coming into a fresh perspective of how God speaks to me. I saw three very powerful lessons from God in the span of 20 minutes at a conference about making websites.
He fashioned me and knows my inward thoughts. He gets that I think about many things in life much as a programmer does their job. He shows up when my energy is tanking and gives me the energy to finish out that moment. In this place, He meets with me and reveals Himself to me all over again.