Most of you know my favorite event of the year is the Speak Up Conference. Earlier this month our 2016 equipping event was held in Grand Rapids, MI. Attendees gathered from twenty-seven states and Canada with a single purpose—to follow God’s leading in their lives to hone their speaking or writing skills.
Some of our staff members arrived a day early and went to every meeting room and prayed that God would give the speakers clarity of mind as they presented their workshops and that each participant would receive what he or she most needed. The notebook of every attendee was prayed over by name before the event began. They also prayed for the spiritual needs of the participants and the prayer area was busy throughout the weekend as Donna Faggerstrom, Sandi Banks, Kathe Wunnenberg, Kathy Bruins, and Brenda Yoder prayed for individual conferees.
God blessed beyond our expectations as participants received teaching or coaching. Some had meetings with editors and publishers; others connected with speaker mentors and encouragers. The faculty tirelessly invested in the lives of these men and women and reminded them to listen to the voice of God as they take each step in the direction of writing or speaking.
As a person who enjoys dramatic moments, definite direction, and a specific plan for my future, I’ve always wished that God would speak to me through neon lights in the sky, an audible voice, or a supernatural experience. However, that’s not how I’ve learned to follow His call. I most often hear His voice when I embrace the following facts:
- God has a plan for my life that will maximize the use of my gifts for His kingdom.
- God reveals His call on my life after I confess all sin in my heart, verbalize my openness to His plan for my life, and make my life available for His direction.
- God’s call on my life will be confirmed through His Word and through His Spirit.
- God often affirms His call through the affirmation of people who are close to Him.
- God’s call always involves a cost—being willing to die to my own plans and selfish desires.
In Matthew 4:18-20 we read, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”
When and how did God call you to follow Him? How did He reveal His purpose for your life? What has the cost been for you to say “Yes” to Him?
Note: If you sense God’s gentle nudge to speak or write, consider coming to the Speak Up Conference next year on July 13-15, 2017. Let go of fear and follow Him. You’ll find more information at www.SpeakUpConference.com.