WHAT DOES JESUS HAVE FOR YOU AND FOR US IN 2020?
God’s plan for you and me this year includes more abiding and fruitfulness—coming to know Him more deeply as God as we experience His presence in our trials to set us free from our fears.
KNOWING GOD THROUGH LISTENING, FOLLOWING AND ABIDING
In our last update we shared a video and article by Jamie Winship. Since then we have plunged deeper into the materials Jamie and Donna have developed to help believers move toward knowing, abiding and bearing more abundant fruit.
In testing whether the thoughts I have been recording are really from God, my faith increased rapidly through the following confirmations:
- The Holy Spirit brought a flow of Scripture to mind in support of what I was hearing (John 14:26).
- The message aligned with Scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:19–21).
- What I received was significantly different from my own familiar lines of thought.
- The flow each day varied in length, but always came to a clear end.
- The experience increased my joy, faith, hope and love.
- Godly people I love and trust affirmed their sense that these are from God.
The most recent free video we listened to by Jamie mentions 80 movements among Muslims which have come through listening to God, learning to know Him as God amidst difficult circumstances, and teaching others to do the same. This 45-minute video is well-worth watching. If you don’t have time for those, catch the 5-minute
Jamie and the CIA teams he worked with have demonstrated that the gospel is the world’s (and our nation’s) best hope for defeating terrorism and transforming lives. Both this 45-minute video and this 48-minute video will encourage you greatly with how God is using the U.S. to spread the gospel as the antidote to terrorism. If you don’t have time to watch either, listen to this 5-minute audio clip.
Our family has also found the Winship’s “Knowing Rediscovered” series (just $40) very significant in shaping our conversations and pursuit of knowing God more intimately. I have permission from Jamie to share these clips with you, and more if you contact me privately by text (360 420-5634) or email (RobbyQButler@gmail.com):
- The first 30-minute lesson from this series
- Jamie’s 9-minute story illustrating this first lesson
- Jamie’s 13-minute story from the fifth lesson (on leading someone else to hear God’s voice)
Note: these are all “talking head” videos. If watching isn’t convenient, you can get the full value from just listening.
The core of what God has led me to focus on from the Winship’s insights are:
- We can’t give away what We don’t have. We ourselves must know God experientially—through listening to and following Jesus—before we can lead others to into this experience.
- Head knowledge of God becomes experiential knowledge as we trust in and wait on Him (rather than on our own efforts) in difficult circumstances, and experience Him as deliverer.
- Abiding starts with giving attention to God as often as we think of it: “What do YOU want me to know and do in this situation?” (Focused on Him rather than my learning or doing.)
- Attention brings awareness of God’s love and sovereignty in our circumstances, equipping us to choose truth over the lies that keep us reacting in self-protection and self-promotion.
- God dwells in truth, and as we are honest with ourselves and Him He reveals the path of faith in obedience—often through forgiveness leading to “miracles.”
- God’s guidance may not “make sense” in the moment. (It rarely did in Scripture.) But listening to Jesus brings immediate peace, and following Him leads to abiding.
- Through honesty with God, forgiving others and abiding in Him in challenging circumstances we come to know Him more intimately as the God who delivers us from all our fears.
MY LONG JOURNEY TOWARD LISTENING, FOLLOWING AND ABIDING
Two years ago a friend’s suicidal despair over unconquered sin confronted me with the powerlessness of my own faith. I had experienced God’s provision and thrilled to many reports of God’s transforming power. Yet all I knew to offer my friend was “God loves you, so try harder!”
I distilled for my friend (and myself) what I was learning then about abiding. It was all good stuff, but for me then it was still mostly head knowledge. At that point I was still mostly walking in my own strength and leaning on my own understanding. I had spent decades studying and applying
It took two more years to begin hearing the Lord speak this into my heart in a more life-changing way. About half way through this very clear thought came into my mind, and I sensed that God was speaking directly to me:
Robby, for 40 years you have been studying the Scripture for principles and formulas to apply. And that’s not bad, Robby, but that’s not the same as being led by My Spirit.
Now over the past few months I have begun to feel that I am experiencing something akin to entering the promised land (abiding in Jesus) after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (leaning on my own understanding and striving in my own strength to serve God).
For those interested, I have sought to capture the key points of my journey in this series of blog posts on learning to Listen to and Follow Jesus.
Are you interested in meeting together on-line to practice a simple pattern of listening to Jesus that you can share with others? If so, let me know by text (360 420-5634) or email (RobbyQButler@gmail.com)!
MOVEMENTS AND THE “MISREACHED”
A year ago I worked with a local group of international leaders to develop and introduce the concept of Frontier People Groups. This new way of understanding the most neglected portions of the missionary task has been widely embraced by global prayer networks praying for these groups.
On January 10th we invite your prayer as Jackie and I meet with other leaders to discuss another new concept: “misreached” people groups which were approached in ways that hindered their ability to perceive the gospel as good news, such as:
- Winning individuals away from their families rather than seeking to bring families to Jesus together.
- Imposing dietary or other cultural changes that separate new believers from their community.
- Presenting a works-oriented path to God rather than God’s full acceptance through faith in Jesus, etc.
- Leading new believers to leave non-Christian communities rather than helping them introduce Jesus.
- Ancient wars to recapture Christian lands from Muslim conquerors.
Then on January 14th I’m introducing Jamie and Donna Winship to this same group so we can learn from the Winships most recent project—applying their experiences abroad to show how listening to God can transform Seattle as a model for impacting other cities with the gospel. We welcome your prayer for this time as well.
Wesley (18) is hoping for snow soon. He looks forward to resuming his job training program, and to the unified basketball league (special needs kids supported by regular kids)—a joy to watch.
Dana (21) is in the final semester of on-line studies for her bachelor’s degree in business. Her desire to finish quickly is offset by work as a server at Olive Garden and home care for two special needs kids.
Joelle (23) completed all the requirements for her bachelor’s degree in education. She is helping with a production of Godspell, looks forward to substitute teaching, and is hoping for a full-time position by the fall.
Jackie is preparing for a monthly local mission meeting she has been asked to spearhead, and continues working hard on decluttering our house.
Thank you again for your prayers and generosity!
We are richly blessed to serve you and the Lord in His grand plan to glorify His name among all nations.