Listening to God for Our Next Steps

This past week I spent several days in southern California with friends praying and talking about mine and Stephanie’s journey and listening for discerning words about our next steps in ministry.  You know that this isn’t always a comfortable place for me.  Being the tactical, church business administrator, developer that I have become to be over the years sometimes hinders my ability to hear God.  However, in the past week God has brought our friends, family, coaches, and mentors around us to hear from God.

Here is a run down of 6 days of God speaking … listening to God for our next steps… what do you hear?

Day 1: (September 18, 2009)

God wakes me up at 6:38 a.m. California time

Day 2: (September 19,2009)

God wakes me up at 6:38 a.m. again

Day 3: (September 20, 2009)

God once again wakes me at 6:38 a.m.

Day 4: (September 21, 2009)

Ok, this is crazy… four days in a row God wakes me at 6:38 a.m.  The reason I know it was 6:38 is when He woke me is because I immediately looked at my iPhone to see what time it was… The time 6:38 kept looking back at me.  On this day I immediately called Stephanie and the boys in Texas to make sure everything was OK.  Things were great with her, so I asked Stephanie what it might mean.  She had no idea, but knew God was revealing another sign to us about our next steps in ministry.

I thought for a minute… hmmm… 4 days in a row…. bible…. 4 gospels… Let’s go to the gospels and see what is there.

Book of Matthew – there is not a chapter 6 verse 38.  It ends at verse 34.

Book of Mark – now this is another story. Mark 6:38 reads:

How many loaves do you have?  Go look!”

May not be a sign for you, but it was for me.  I had just been praying over a financial need from the day before that will change the course of our life and ministry.

Book of Luke – chapter 6 verse 38

Give and it will be given to you.  They will pour into your lap a good measure–press down, shaken together, and running over.  For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Do you see where this is going?  God is calling us out to be so generous in our daily lives that He, with reckless abandonment will provide for our every need.

Book of John – chapter 6 verse 38

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me.”

Hello… God is speaking… He is saying don’t get in My way… I have a plan for you and Stephanie, and it is to do His will, not ours.  We must get out of His way so that He can do what He does best…  “Oh, God don’t let us screw this up.  Whatever “this” is?”

Day 5: (September 22, 2009)

God wakes me at 6:33 a.m.  – Go figure… He missed the book of Matthew and need to take me back.

Book of Matthew – chapter 6 verse 33

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

I can not fathom that God would wake me up five days in a row at specific times that had meaning… but then again He is God.

Day 6: (September 23, 2009)

Now if 5 days wasn’t enough God woke me up this morning… now back in Florida at 9:23 a.m. and this time I felt like I needed to go to the Book of Luke, so that is where I went.

Book of Luke – chapter 9 verse 23

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Call it what you will, but I believe this is a prophetic and defining moment in mine and Stephanie’s ministry.  In all my years of being a pastor God has never chosen to reveal Himself to me in such a fashion.  I am beside myself in how He is choosing to speak to me in these days.

Wonder if He’ll rest on the 7th day???

Just a Thought…


  1. Ellis Hayden says:

    Since resigning from my last assignment, I was faced with the first time in 30 years that I was not on a church staff. My resignation was my choice, but it came because I realized I couldn’t lead a congregation that refused to follow. That manifested itself when a group within the church presented a petition seeking my resignation, because they believed it was “time for a change.” (This was not the first time this congregation did this) I chose to resign rather than cause the church to go through a battle of defending or attacking me.
    There was immediate relief from the pressure of the responsibility, conflict management, and frustration. There was anger, because though others were dictating that my ministry was over there, I believed my ministry was successful. I had invested 11 years in that church and community, endured major challenges, there was evidence of God’s working, yet there were those who contended that it was a “time for a change.” There was anxiety, because I wasn’t sure what the next step would be. There was concern about financial security, concern about being “damaged goods” and how to enter the “job field” again from the sidelines. Add to that the concern for my wife and family, plus friends and followers who were struggling with this seemed to add to the burden.
    It’s here where I re-learned that you have to practice what you preach. We talk about “trusting the Lord with all our heart,” but when you have financial, occupational, and relational security, that often masks a “false” security system.
    In the past four months, I have watched as God has provided ministry opportunities, met financial needs, and have watched myself, my wife and family grow in their faith. As difficult as the journey has been, I have found that was part of the preparation process for His next assignment for me.
    I once heard it said, “The past is but a prologue to the present. Our future is as bright as our faith in God.” I have found what many in the Scriptures discovered, that it is only when you are totally dependent on God, that you truly know what it means to trust in Him.
    I would advise all who are on this type of journey to do these things that have been helpful to me…
    1. Get into God’s word and allow God to speak to you. I camped out at Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 40, and Lamentation 3:22-25, for weeks.
    2. Seek out your godly friends for encouragement and guidance. Be honest and let them minister to you.
    3. Keep your ministry alive by leading a home Bible study, make yourself available to preach or teach, and continue minister to people.
    4. If you have to seek secular employment, view it as an opportunity to enter a new mission field rather than just a job that will pay the bills.
    5. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Taking the next step, Ellis Hayden

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