Christian Living

4 Tips to Hear from God

Everyone Can Hear from God

People sometimes ask me how I hear from God, and I share with them about when I learned to do this. Yet there were some basic steps I already had in place before I started down this path. I don’t do these perfectly, but I do lean into them and pursue them.

Here are the four steps of how to hear from God, with each one building on the prior one.

1. Read the Bible

Anyone—everyone—can find the written word of God in Scripture. It’s waiting for us, and all we need to do is read it.

Though you could open the Bible only when you have a question you want answered, the better approach is that it should be regular, whether you have a question or not. I recommend daily.

Pick a time each day and commit to reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible. The amount of time isn’t as important as it is to be intentional and regular. Make it a habit.

Start small and build upon it. Here are my 7 Tips to Form a Bible Reading Habit. And here are some Bible reading plans to guide you.

Reading the Bible is the simplest way to hear from God. Anyone who can read can do it. For those who can’t read, there are many options to have the Bible read to you, such as on Bible Gateway. And if you don’t have a Bible, you can read that online too.

2. Do What the Bible Says

Reading Scripture, however, isn’t enough. It’s also critical to put into practice what we read. If we don’t do what the Bible says, what’s the point of reading it in the first place?

Reading the Bible puts information into our head. Obeying the Bible puts that information into action.

As we do what the Bible says, we grow closer to God, and we serve as an effective witness for Jesus to a world who needs him.

Doing steps one and two prepares us to move to step three. Though not everyone is able to excel at the next step, everyone can and should try. And they should keep trying until it works.

3. Listen for the Holy Spirit

Once we’re reading the Bible and obeying what God’s word tells us to do, we’re ready to move to the next step. Now we need to open ourselves up to hear from God. We need to listen.

Before you dismiss the idea of listening for the Holy Spirit, remember that if you follow Jesus, you already have the Holy Spirit within you. He’s not distant. He’s present and ready.

Most people want to start with this step. But if they’re hearing from God as they read his word and aren’t putting it into practice, why do they think he’d be interested in talking to them through the Holy Spirit?

In this way, reading and obeying God’s written word stands as a prerequisite for hearing God’s spoken word.

To hear from the Holy Spirit, we must first put ourselves in a posture of listening. This means removing the noise from our lives, the things that distract us. When we’re in the posture of listening and ready to receive, that’s when God is most likely to speak.

People who hear from God experience his voice in diverse ways.

After years of practice, I hear from God throughout the day. This usually happens with ease and quite quickly. But it wasn’t always that way. I had to work up to it.

Read my experience when I first learned to hear from God. Perhaps it will work for you too. But this isn’t the only way. So if this doesn’t produce results, explore other options to hear from God.

I often initiate the times when I hear from God, yet this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the Holy Spirit talks to me when I’m not seeking his input. He’ll tell me to do something or to say something.

4. Do What the Holy Spirit Says

When we hear from God, it’s critical to obey. We must do what he tells us to do. If we don’t—or won’t—what reason does he have to keep speaking?

Though some of the times when I ask the Holy Spirit for insight, it’s to help me understand a portion of Scripture or to direct my words as I struggle to write a challenging passage.

Sometimes I ask the divine to help me remember something I forgot or find something I’ve lost. He guides me in those situations too.

Yet other times I’ll ask what to do in a situation. Sometimes I don’t like the answer. It seems embarrassing or doesn’t make sense. Though I wish I could say I obey right away regardless of what I think about it, the truth is that I sometimes delay.

Though in most cases, my delay is temporary and becomes obedience, but other times I talk myself out of doing what God tells me to do. My logic results in disobedience. This dismays me, and with his help I’ll do better in the future.

I’m also painfully aware that if I disregard what the Holy Spirit tells me, he may stop talking to me. May this never be.


Follow these four steps to hear from God: read the Bible, obey the Bible, listen for the Holy Spirit, and obey the Holy Spirit.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Christian Living

Embracing the Five-Fold Ministry

Discover the Essentials for Effective Ministry

When we follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit fills us and gives us spiritual gifts. These are special abilities to help grow God’s Kingdom. The Bible talks about many of them, and here is a list of the key spiritual gifts.

Paul names five of these gifts in his letter to the Ephesians, which some people call the five-fold ministry. The roles of the five-fold ministry—as empowered by spiritual gifts—are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

The purpose of these positions are to equip people to build up the body of Christ (that is, Jesus’s church) to become united in faith, better know Jesus, and reach spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Here are the roles in the five-fold ministry:


Apostles are the spiritual visionaries who lead the way to advance the Kingdom of God. But they are more than leaders. They are supernaturally empowered to see opportunities others miss. They move forward under Holy Spirit power to grow Jesus’s church.

Jesus exemplifies apostleship, as well as all parts of the five-fold ministry. The Bible also identifies his disciples as apostles. And Paul proclaims himself as one also.


Though prophets are ministers, not all ministers are prophets. A prophet does more than proclaim the word of God to others. A prophet has a deep connection with God, discerns his heart and spiritual truth, and proclaims it to others.

Prophets are empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak supernatural insight (1 Corinthians 14:29-30 and 2 Peter 1:20-21).

We also must be aware of false prophets and watch out for them (1 John 4:1)

The Old Testament is full of prophets, but their role did not cease or change when Jesus came to earth. Prophets still exist today, and Paul makes it clear we need prophets for effective ministry. Jesus exemplifies a prophet.


An evangelist tells others about Jesus. Though we all can—and should—do this, evangelists are equipped to do so more effectively. They have winsome personalities, and they’re able to connect with people and bring about meaningful—and life-saving—spiritual conversations.

The Bible mentions two evangelists by name: Phillip (Acts 21:8) and Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5). Though not called an evangelist, John the Baptist functioned in this role and Jesus modeled it, just as he does with all the other roles in the five-fold ministry.


Next, we have pastors, also called shepherds, as in shepherds of a flock. We should not assume this role of pastor is the same as minister. A pastor—a shepherd—cares for those in their congregation, as in their flock, which are those under their care.

Both Timothy and Titus function in the role of pastor, as appointed by Paul. They serve as shepherds for the flocks assigned to them.

Jesus exemplifies being a shepherd, both now and for eternity (Revelation 7:17). He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-16). Even better, Jesus is the great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20) and Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).


The final function in our list of roles in the five-fold ministry is teacher. The teacher effectively communicates the truth about Jesus and knowledge of God to others.

They do this clearly and avoid confusion to help people better know God, move forward on their faith journey, and challenge them toward a more God-honoring lifestyle.

The New Testament contains many teachers, with Jesus being the best of them all. Some ministers are teachers but not all are. Just as we should look out for false prophets, we must guard against false teachers (2 Peter 2:1).

As we grow in our faith and increase our knowledge of what it means to follow Jesus, we should all move into the role of teacher (Hebrews 5:12), while knowing that it carries a higher accountability (James 3:1). Yet some receive teaching as a spiritual gift, a supernatural anointing.


While all who follow Jesus have spiritual gifts, not all are gifted for the five-fold ministry. The key is to use whatever spiritual gifts God gives us to grow his Kingdom.

When it comes to ministry, it occurs most effectively when each role in the five-fold ministry is present. This is not to imply ministry can’t occur without all five positions, only that it best happens when all five positions are filled.

Though one person can accomplish all functions in the five-fold ministry, just as Jesus modeled, few people possess all five. Usually, people in ministry excel in one or two areas of the five-fold ministry.

For example, my area of giftedness in the five-fold ministry is teaching. God has called me to teach others through my writing. He has gifted me to do so, and I work on developing this skill. Doing so fills me with joy and gives me life. It energizes me.

I also enjoy the role of shepherd, but I need to exercise caution because it will drain me if I don’t take care of myself.

Though there have been brief times when I have functioned as an apostle and prophet, I don’t do those with as much confidence or realize as much impact. The fifth area in the five-fold ministry is evangelist. This is not a role I excel at and struggle with.

The Next Step

Learn the roles of the five-fold ministry and be strategic to maximize impact.

If you are in ministry, which of the five-fold roles do you fill? In what areas do you struggle with or fall short? Who can you invite to work with you to produce better results?

If you are not in formal ministry, how can you come alongside your ministry leaders and staff to support them in one of these five-fold ministry functions?

And if your giftedness is not in one of these five areas, how can you offer the spiritual gift that you do have to further God’s Kingdom?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Christian Living

Do You Have a Crisis of Faith?

Discover 3 Tips of What to Do If Question Your Faith

I hear people who have a crisis of faith, who question what they believe. It pains me to see the struggle they’re going through. Yet I’ve never been sure how to help them, except to encourage them to press forward and not give up. This is because I never questioned my faith.

I have, however, questioned church practices. I’ve done this often for most of my life. And I see a connection between the two.

I Question the Church

I was a young teenager when I got my hands on a New Testament copy of the Living Bible. I poured through it. I read the entire thing. Then I read it again.

When I was fourteen, I devoted my summer vacation to reading the Old and New Testament of the Living Bible. It only took an hour a day, and I had plenty of time.

What I saw in this easy-to-understand version of the Bible bore little similarity to what I saw practiced at church each Sunday morning. Yes, there were common elements, but that was it. Mostly what I saw was a significant disconnect.

That’s when I began to question the church. I became so disillusioned with it, I nearly gave up—at least with the organized, institutional church. To this day, decades later, I’m still disillusioned and remain critical.

Yet I still attend—in hope to one day experience church as it was practiced in the Bible—and as Jesus modeled for his followers.

This lifetime of questioning church occurs throughout my blog posts and in many of my books. And it’s the focus of my book Jesus’s Broken Church.

But what’s the connection with me questioning the church and other people questioning their faith?

Do You Question Your Faith?

A common trait I’ve seen in people who question their beliefs—who face a crisis of faith—is that they’re mad at God because of what they’ve been taught about him, not because of who he is.

Their perception of God is skewed because of preachers and teachers who have misrepresented our Heavenly Father, Jesus his Son, and the Holy Spirit to them.

These folks teach with passion and conviction, but too often they’re spouting a manmade doctrine that runs counter to biblical truth. If you’re questioning your faith, first take a step back and question what you’ve been taught about God before you get angry at him.

Here are three tips if you find yourself having a crisis of faith:

1. Question What You’ve Been Taught

The first step is to examine your perception of God. Perhaps it’s wrong. For most people it is. Though many hold minor misconceptions, others make assumptions about God that are seriously flawed.

Though in some cases this may be due to their own faulty logic of making God into who they want him to be, usually it’s because others—both trained clergy in untrained peers—have led them astray.

God loves us. This is true.

But this doesn’t mean we won’t have struggles in life. In fact, we will. Jesus says so (John 16:33). The evil one will assault us (John 17:15). We will face persecution (Matthew 5:10-12).

And because God loves us, we will receive his discipline, just as parents lovingly discipline their children so they can grow and mature. So it is with Father God and us, his children (Hebrews 12:5-7).

2. Seek Biblical Truth

Just as I’ve cited these four passages that teach us the truth about God, faith, and living for him, the Bible is packed full of more of these truths.

To learn about God, we need to read the book that teaches us about him.

Don’t rely on what our culture says about God because they don’t know him. They are dangerous guides, just like the many ministers who misrepresent God’s true nature.

The true source for reliable information about God is the Bible. We will do well to read it, study it, and meditate on it. As we do our understanding of who God is and our relationship with him will change—for the better.

3. Ask for Holy Spirit Insight

It’s hard, however, to read and study the Bible in isolation. We can do this with others, with iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). As King Solomon wrote, two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Yet the Holy Spirit is an even better resource to help us understand Scripture. The Holy Spirit is a reliable guide who will teach us (John 14:26). This begins with prayer (James 1:5).

Move Forward

If you find yourself questioning your faith, first question what you’ve been taught about God. Then seek the Bible for real answers, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide you and reveal truth to you.

As you reform your understanding of God, you’ll grow closer to him. And you will see your crisis of faith dim. This will take time, but it will be worth the effort.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Bible Insights

Celebrate Ascension Day

Jesus Must Return to Heaven before the Holy Spirit Can Come

Ascension Day occurs forty days after Resurrection Sunday (more commonly called Easter). Here is some background.

Jesus comes to earth as a man to save us. He dies on the cross as a sacrificial sin offering, dying in our place. On Easter Jesus rises from the dead. He spends forty days with his friends and followers to prove he is alive.

During this time, he tells his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for a special gift—the Holy Spirit—that Papa will send (Acts 1:4). Jesus must leave before the Holy Spirit can come.

Jesus gives his parting instructions to his disciples and commissions them to be his witnesses throughout the entire world. He has completed all he came to earth to do (Matthew 28:18-20). It’s time for him to leave. It’s time for him to return to his Father in heaven.

After his parting words, he ascends into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). We celebrate this on Ascension Day.

Ascension Day falls on Thursday every year. It is forty days after Easter. Since Easter is on a different day each year, so is Ascension Day.

Out of convenience many churches acknowledge Jesus’s returned to heaven on the following Sunday. They call this Ascension Sunday, even though Jesus didn’t ascend into heaven on the first day of the week. It actually occurred three days earlier.

Ascension Day is critical.

This is because Jesus had to return to heaven before his followers—and we—could receive the Holy Spirit. Without Jesus leaving, the Holy Spirit couldn’t have come, and Pentecost couldn’t have occurred.

Though the disciples will no longer have Jesus live with them, they will have the Holy Spirit live in them.

May we worship Jesus for what he did when he died in our place for the wrong things we have done. May we embrace the Holy Spirit for what he is doing in our lives today.

Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his return to heaven in The Victory of Jesus. The Victory of Jesus is another book in Peter DeHaan’s beloved Holiday Celebration Bible Study Series. Get your copy today.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Christian Living

5 New Testament Ideas for Church

Discover What the Bible Teaches About Meeting Together

While considering a better New Testament approach to church, we talked about the three key perspectives that Jesus changed: meeting in homes, serving as priests, and helping those in need.

Then we looked at ten more New Testament practices: relying on the Holy Spirit, worship, prayer, fasting, community, eating together, caring for our people, valuing one another, helping others, and informal leadership.

Now we’ll look at five more tangible ideas of church and meeting together from the pages of the New Testament.

1. The Acts 2 Church

Just days after Pentecost, the people who follow Jesus are hanging out. This is the first church. What do they do?

Luke records their activities:

  • They learn about Jesus. Think of this as a new believer’s class. Remember, they’re mostly all new to their faith in Jesus. This is teaching.
  • They spend time with each other. This is fellowship.
  • They share meals. This is community.
  • They pray. This is connecting with God.
  • They meet every day at the temple were people outside their group are. This is outreach.
  • They also meet in homes. This is fellowship.
  • They share all their possessions. This is generosity.
  • They praise God. This is worship.

As a result, more people join them every day. This is what the early church does and how God blesses them (Acts 2:42–47).

What significant is what they don’t do. There’s no mention of weekly meetings, sermons, music, or offerings. If we’re serious about church in its purest form, the early church in Acts 2 gives us much to contemplate when we consider how our church should function today.

2. The Acts 4 Example

As the book of Acts unfolds with its historical narrative of the early church, Luke notes two more characteristics of that church: unity and sharing everything (Acts 4:32).

First, the church is of one heart and mind, just as Jesus prayed (John 17:21). Their actions are consistent with his prayer that they would be one then, just as we would be one today. Jesus prayed it, and the early church does it.

Unity describes what everyone of us should pursue and what every church should be. Jesus yearns for us to be united. Over the centuries Jesus’s followers in his church have done a poor job living in unity, as one.

Second, no one claims their possessions as their own. This isn’t a mine-versus-yours mentality. Everything is ours. They have a group perspective and act in the community’s best interest. They do it out of love for each other. They share everything they have. Not some, not half, but all.

This example is hard for many in our first-world churches to follow today, though not as much for congregations in developing countries. Regardless, while we might do well to hold our possessions loosely, this isn’t a command. Later Peter confirms that sharing resources is optional (Acts 5:4).

From Acts 4 we see an example of unity and generosity. This complete generosity, however, is a practice that happens at this snapshot of time for the early church. We will do well to consider how we can apply it today.

3. Paul’s Perspective

Now let’s look at a third passage. In it, Paul instructs the church in Corinth of how their meetings should proceed (1 Corinthians 14:26–31). While Paul writes to the Corinthian church, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t follow his directives as well today.

Paul opens by saying “each of you.” This means everyone should participate. The idea of all those present taking part suggests an egalitarian community gathering, where everyone contributes, and everyone ministers to each other.

This removes the divide between leader and follower, which happens in today’s church services. During a typical church service today a few people lead, while most people watch.

This means that only some are active during the service, while most sit as passive observers, as if going to a concert or attending a lecture.

Instead Paul wants everyone involved, where each person can minister to one another. He lists five activities that should take place.

Sing a Song

First, when we meet, we should sing a hymn or share a song. This could mean playing a musical instrument so that others can sing along. For those who can’t play an instrument or lead others in singing, a modern-day option might be to play a recording of a song.

Anyone can do that. Our singing could also mean—it probably means—launching into a song or chorus a cappella as the Holy Spirit leads.

Teach a Lesson

Second, the same approach applies for giving a word of instruction. We don’t need to preach a half-hour to an hour-long sermon. In this case less is more.

We can often communicate much by speaking little. Saying something concisely in thirty seconds may be more meaningful than droning on for thirty minutes. Again, no preparation required. Everyone who’s present can do this.

All we need is a willingness to share something God taught us or that we learned through studying Scripture. In addition, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to tell us what to share during our meeting. It can build off what someone else has already said, or it may be a new topic.

Share a Revelation

Third, the idea of having a revelation to share will seem normal to some and mystical to others. Think of a revelation as special knowledge that God has given to us. He can do this through what we read or things we see. And it can be through Holy Spirit insight.

Regardless of the source of our revelation, Paul wants us to share our insights with those gathered.

Speak in Tongues

The last two items on the list may, or may not, be a comfortable activity. Speaking in tongues is the first of these two items. The Bible talks about speaking in tongues, and Paul instructs the people in Corinth how to do it. It’s biblical, and we should consider this for our church community.

But it may be optional, because Paul later says, if anyone speaks in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:27). This implies speaking in tongues is not a requirement. But he does give guidelines for when people do speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:27–30). We will do well to follow Paul’s words.

Interpret the Tongue

Fifth, after someone speaks in an unknown language, someone must interpret it. Implicitly, if no one can interpret the message, then the person shouldn’t share it (1 Corinthians 14:28). After all, how can words that no one understands build up the church? (1 Corinthians 14:8-9).

The Holy Spirit’s Role

These five items require no preparation, just a willingness to notice the direction of God’s Spirit. This means listening to the Holy Spirit and responding as he directs. Implicit in this, we will encounter times of silence as we wait and listen. Silence unnerves some people today. But listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit is central to the gatherings of the early church.

Paul says everything we do at our meetings must be for the purpose of building up the church, to strengthen the faith and community of those present. This means not doing or saying anything to elevate ourselves or draw attention to our abilities.

Instead we should humble ourselves and do things for the common good of Jesus’s church. This will best advance the kingdom of God and the good news of Jesus.

4. Don’t Forget Meeting Together

Note that Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church, says when you come together, not if you come together. This reminds us that gathering with other followers of Jesus should be a regular occurrence, not optional (1 Corinthians 14:26).

The book of Hebrews confirms this idea of regular interaction when it warns to not give up meeting together. We do this to encourage others to better love and help each other (Hebrews 10:24–25).

This idea of coming together, of meeting with others, can occur on Sunday morning, or it can happen at any other day or time. The Bible doesn’t tell us when to meet. Gathering Sunday morning is merely a practice that developed over time.

Though many people interpret this instruction to not give up meeting together as a command to attend church, it isn’t. Not really. While meeting together can include going to church on Sunday, it should encompass much more.

It’s a call for intentional interaction with other followers of Jesus. Jesus says anywhere two or three people gather in his name—that is, they get together and place their focus on him—he will join them (Matthew 18:20).

Here are some ideas of how and where we can meet in Jesus’s name.


Most people enjoy meals with others, and most Christians pray before they eat. Isn’t this gathering in Jesus’s name? While we may eat some meals alone, we potentially have three times each day to connect with others and include Jesus when we eat. But do we make the most of these opportunities?

Coffee Shop

People often meet at coffee shops to hang out. If we include God in our meeting, either explicitly or implicitly, we assemble in his name.


Do you invite people into your home or see others in theirs? If we both love Jesus, doesn’t this become a get together which includes him? It should.


What about going on a picnic, to the game, the gym, or shopping? With intentionality, each of these can be another opportunity to meet with others in his name.

Small Groups

Many churches provide opportunities for attendees to form intentional gatherings with a small number of people. This facilitates connection and draws us to God. But this doesn’t need to be the result of a formal small group program in our church.

We can make our own small group whenever we wish, meeting in the name of Jesus.


Yes, church is on this list of places where we can gather in the name of Jesus. I list it last because it might be the least important. This is because when we go to church, we usually do it wrong. Consider the rest of the verse to find out why.

People tend to skip that part. The reason we are to meet is so that we may encourage one another. The Bible says so, but how often do we do this at our church meetings?

If we leave church discouraged or fail to encourage others while we’re there, then we’ve missed the point of meeting together. While some people make a big deal out of going to church, they’re quick to miss that the reason is to provide encouragement. If we’re not doing that, then we might as well stay home.

5. What Jesus Says

Let’s return our discussion to Jesus.

Recall that after Jesus rises from the dead, he tells his followers to stay in Jerusalem, waiting for a surprise Father God has planned for them: the gift of the Holy Spirit to come upon them and give them supernatural power (Acts 1:4–5).

They wait, and the Holy Spirit shows up (Acts 2:1–4). Amazing things happen, and the number of Jesus’s followers explodes (Acts 2:41).

They wait in Jerusalem as instructed, and they receive the gift of Holy Spirit power as promised. But after all that, they remain in Jerusalem.

Instead they’re supposed to spread out and share Jesus’s good news around the world. He told them to do that too (Matthew 28:19–20). But they don’t. They stay put.

They don’t realize that God’s instructions to wait in Jerusalem doesn’t mean they’re supposed to stay there forever. Sometimes what God tells us to do is only for a season.

Then there’s something else for us to do. But if we don’t make that transition, we end up being in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing.

Instead of staying in Jerusalem—something they’re used to and comfortable with—their mission is to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19–20).

How well are we doing at going into the world and making disciples today? Are we staying put in our church—what we’re used to doing and where we’re comfortable—or are we looking outside of our church to do what Jesus said to do?

I suspect you know the answer.

Make Disciples

Today’s church falls short of being witnesses and making disciples. To do so requires an outward perspective, yet most all churches have an inward focus. They care for their own to the peril of others. Many churches ignore outsiders completely, sometimes even shunning them.

Yes, God values community and wants us to meet (Hebrews 10:25). And the Bible is packed with commands and examples of worshiping God.

Most churches do the meeting together part, albeit with varying degrees of success. Many of those churches have a time of worship as they meet, though perhaps not always “in the Spirit” or “in truth” as Jesus said to do (John 4:23–24).

Yet few churches look outside their walls to go into their community—let alone the world—to witness and make disciples. Though Jesus said to wait for the Holy Spirit, he didn’t say to wait for people to come to us, to enter our churches so we could witness and disciple them.

No, we’re supposed to leave our Sunday sanctuary to take this Jesus-mandated work to them. We can’t do that in a church building on Sunday morning, safely snug behind closed doors.

If we want to make disciples, we need to go out and find them. This brings us to the second part.

Go into the World

There is a time to come together and a time to worship, but there is also a time to go. And we need to give more attention to the going part.

I know of two churches that sent their congregations out into their community on Sunday mornings, foregoing the church service so they can be a church that serves. One church did it a few times and stopped after they saw little results and received much grumbling.

The other church regularly plans this a few times each year and receives a positive reception from their community.

These were both service initiatives, not outright evangelism. But the best—and easiest—way to talk to people about Jesus is to first serve them in his name.

Every church should make a positive impact on their community. They do this best by entering it. Yet so few do. They’re too focused on meeting together and worshiping instead of going out into the world to make disciples.


We will do well to reform our church practices to conform to these five biblical concepts.

  1. Follow the early church’s example to learn about Jesus, pursue fellowship and community, pray and worship, meet daily in public and in homes, and practice kindness.
  2. Pursue unity and generosity.
  3. Be ready to rely on the Holy Spirit to sing, teach, share a revelation, speak in tongues, and interpret a tongue.
  4. Refresh our idea of what meeting together means.
  5. Balance our inward efforts on church meetings and worship with an outward focus on going into the world to make disciples.

Pick one change to make and then pursue it.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Christian Living

Look for SPACE When You Study Scripture

Discover How the SPACE Bible Study Method Can Inform Your Life

I often encourage people to study the Bible. But we shouldn’t read Scripture to amass knowledge to stuff into our brain. The primary value is to let the Bible’s words inform our journey and reform our life. Therefore, we need to apply the words of the Bible to our reality.

But there’s no one right Bible study method or ideal approach. The key is to pick what works for you. The one you will actually use is the best one for you. Here is one suggestion on how to do that.

An amazing tool (I don’t know who came up with it, but it’s not me) is the SPACE method of Bible study. This is a handy acronym that we can apply to about every verse in the Bible. As you read a verse look for SPACE:

S is for Sin: Is there a sin we should confess? Or a sin to guard against?

P is for Promise: Does this passage share a promise we can claim?

A is for Assurance: Does this give us an assurance we can hold?

C is for Command: Did we read a command that God wants us to obey?

E is for Example: Is there an example we should follow? Or one to avoid?

Applying the SPACE Bible Study Method

Here are some examples of using the SPACE Bible study method.

As you look at these examples, you may like how I’ve applied it or question some of my notations. But that’s the beauty of the SPACE Bible study method.

We can use it to make it personal, to let the Holy Spirit speak to us for what we need to hear today. Tomorrow may carry different insights. But all can speak to us, encourage us, and help us grow in our faith.

Learn more about reading and studying the Bible with my Bible Reading Tip Sheet.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Christian Living

10 More New Testament Practices, Part 1

Consider the Example of the Early Church and Then Follow It

We’ve already talked about the three main ways Jesus changed our perspectives for following him when he fulfilled the Old Testament prophets. The early church applied this by meeting in homes, serving as priests, and helping those in need.

As Jesus’s priests they minister to those in the church, tell others about Jesus, and worship him.

That’s a great foundation for how our church today should function, but there’s more. Consider these New Testament practices that we will do well to follow today.

1. Holy Spirit Power and Direction

The Old Testament focuses on God the Father and looks forward to the coming Messiah, Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus shows up as a central figure in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Then the Holy Spirit takes over for the rest of the New Testament, amplifying what Jesus set in motion.

Even so, Jesus is the central figure of the Bible—with God the Father pointing to him and God the Holy Spirit building on what he accomplished. Aside from being the key figure in the Bible, many say Jesus is the most important person in all of history. I agree.

Jesus does all his work on earth in about three years. He spends that time teaching his disciples and preparing them to take over when he returns to heaven.

Despite this, however, they aren’t fully ready to assume their critical role when he is ready to leave Earth. Instead, Jesus tells them to wait, wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit power is the missing element they need before they move forward and advance the kingdom of God. In this, the Holy Spirit plays a leading role. He’s prominent in the book of Acts, guiding the early church and empowering its members.

The book of Acts mentions the Holy Spirit fifty-five times, with close to a hundred references. It’s clear that the Holy Spirit acts in Jesus’s place to lead his church.

In one instance, Jesus’s followers debate a theological issue about circumcision for new converts. After they reach a consensus, they write that “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28).

Listing the Holy Spirit first suggests he took a lead role and the people aligned with his perspective. I wonder how often we do just the opposite, where we decide and then try to manufacture Holy Spirit support.

Another time, as the church worships and fasts, the Holy Spirit tells them to send out Barnabas and Saul on a missionary journey (Acts 13:2). The Holy Spirit also speaks to Philip (Acts 8:29), Peter (Acts 10:19), Agabus (Acts 11:28), and Paul (Acts 20:22).

But the Holy Spirit isn’t just in the book of Acts. He appears in nearly every book of the New Testament, including Revelation.

For Jesus’s church, the Holy Spirit is in charge. He leads their meetings and directs all that they do. This is the first of our New Testament practices to follow.

2. Worship

We’ve already talked a lot about worship. The appropriate worship of God is a central tenet of our faith. The Old Testament mentions worship in 179 verses. The New Testament continues this theme with seventy-five more.

Many come from the Gospels as well as Acts. The book of Revelation mentions worship more than any New Testament book and comes in second overall, just behind Deuteronomy.

This makes it clear that worshiping God is in our history, our present, and our eternal future. Worship is the second of our New Testament practices,

In the most profound verse about worship, John reminds us that God is spirit. Therefore, those who worship him must worship him in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

But what exactly is this verse telling us? There are two elements: Spirit and truth.

First, we have the Spirit, with a capital S. This means Holy Spirit. To fully worship, we must worship through the Holy Spirit. He will direct our worship and guide us. We must follow his lead and do what he says.

Though we often think of our worship as a physical act, there must also be a spiritual element to it. And the spiritual aspect is the more important one.

Second, we must worship God in truth. This means our worship must be honest, pure. To worship God in truth suggests integrity.

This means that we don’t make a show of our worship to impress others or gain their attention. That makes for disingenuous worship and doesn’t honor God. It doesn’t matter what others think of our worship, it only matters what God thinks.

The opposite of not making our worship a display for other people is holding back our worship for fear of what others may think or say. We must feel free to worship God as the Holy Spirit leads us.

This is how we worship God in Spirit and truth.

3. Prayer

In addition to worship occurring throughout the Bible, we also have prayer. Half of the books in the Old Testament talk about prayer, and most of the books in the New Testament address the subject. Prayer is the third of our New Testament practices.

James writes that the prayers from a righteous person are powerful and effective (James 5:16). Paul tells us to pray in all situations (Ephesians 6:18) and confirms that everyone should pray (1 Timothy 2:1).

The book of Revelation gives us some insight into our prayers. Three times John connects prayers with incense, which God receives from his people. First, we see golden bowls of incense which represent our prayers (Revelation 5:8).

Then we have an angel who offers the incense and our prayers before God’s throne (Revelation 8:3). And last, we see the smoke of the incense mingling with our prayers, rising to God (Revelation 8:4).

Whether we use incense or not in our spiritual practices, these passages in Revelation gives us a powerful image of how God receives the prayers of his people.

When it comes to praying, however, many people think of the Lord’s Prayer. Though a better label might be the Disciple’s Prayer. This is because Jesus gives the prayer to his disciples as an example of how the pray. It is their prayer, not his.

The Lord’s Prayer—sometimes called the Our Father, after its opening line—occurs twice in the Bible. People are familiar with Matthew’s version, with many having memorized it and with some churches reciting it as part of their worship practices (Matthew 6:19-13).

The version in Luke is far less familiar. It’s shorter and more concise (Luke 11:1-4).

Neither of these prayers are for us to memorize or recite as much as a model to follow. Here’s an interpretation of how we can apply it to inform our prayers.

  • We open the prayer by reverencing God.
  • Then we ask that his kingdom will come—implicitly with us helping to advance it—and that we will accomplish God’s will here on earth.
  • In the one personal, tangible request, we ask for our daily bread. That is, we ask God to provide for us each day what we need to live. It may be food or something else that’s essential.
  • Then we pray that God will forgive us, just as we forgive others. And if we withhold our forgiveness this implicitly allows God to withhold it from us. Hopefully neither will happen.
  • We end with a request that God will steer us away from temptation and give us victory over Satan’s attacks.
  • And some versions of the Bible tack on one more phrase. In this we celebrate his kingdom, his power, and his eternal glory.

But this is just one example of how the pray. The key is that prayer is an essential part of our faith journey and another of our New Testament practices.

4. Fasting

Another concept that occurs throughout the Bible is fasting. To fast is to go without food for a time. This isn’t an act of mortification to abase ourselves before God or try to gain his attention.

Instead it’s to focus our thoughts on God, seeking to better connect with him and align our thinking with his. When fasting, one recommendation is to take the time normally spent eating and use it to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit.

There are two key teachings in the Bible about fasting.

When Jesus instructs the people in his epic message that we call the Sermon on the Mount, he talks about this practice. He says “When you fast . . .” Not “If you fast . . . ” (Matthew 6:16-17).

From Jesus’s perspective, fasting is not an optional activity but an expectation.

Second, Jesus fasted (Matthew 4:2). He serves as an example to us all. Since he fasted, is there any reason why we shouldn’t?

Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t require that his disciples fast, but this is a short-term reprieve because he is with them. He adds that once he leaves, it’s time to resume fasting (Luke 5:33-35). Since he has returned to heaven and is no longer here on earth, it’s again a time for us to fast.

Fasting is the fourth of our New Testament practices. Jesus wants us to fast, and so we should.

5. Community

The early church also spends a lot of time with each other. This isn’t a once-a-week meeting for an hour or two. It may be an everyday occurrence (Acts 2:46, Acts 6:1, and Hebrews 3:13).

They don’t live their faith in isolation. They need each other. They thrive on community.

Just as the godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit function as one, so too do Jesus’s followers (John 17:20-21, 2 Corinthians 13:14, and 1 John 1:3). Through mutual support they edify one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

This is how they grow in faith, with iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). It’s two—or more—people traveling down the road together, keeping each other on the right path and headed in the right direction. It’s picking up another when they stumble (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Living in community is the fifth of our New Testament practices. It is central to who they are and what they do. Without the encouragement and support of each other, they’ll certainly falter in their faith. Together they are better.

Together they can remain focused on Jesus and all he calls them to become. Community is key in making this happen. Think of this as true biblical fellowship (Acts 2:42 and 1 John 1:3-7).

What do they do when they hang out? They spend time in prayer (Acts 1:14, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2, and James 5:16). They worship (Acts 13:2 and Romans 12:1). They also sing (Ephesians 5:18-20, Colossians 3:16, and James 5:13).

The more established disciples of Jesus teach the newer followers about the basics of faith. Think of this as a new members class (Acts 2:42). And we’ve already covered how they share their material blessings with each other and listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

Come back next week to learn five more things the early church did, five more New Testament practices.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Christian Living

Hear the Word of God

God Speaks to Us Through His Spoken Word and His Written Word

Growing up I was taught that the word of God was the Bible. This idea has been reinforced throughout my life by various ministers, books, and fellow followers of Jesus. This means that to hear the word of God is to listen as someone reads the Scriptures.

Yet perceiving the word of God as a euphemism for the Holy Bible may be an oversimplification. It might even be wrong. Though this may sound heretical, I offer biblical support.

The phrase word of God appears in thirty-nine verses in the Bible, as rendered by the NIV. Given the context, it can mean different things.

The Written Word of God

Yes, Scripture does use the phrase the word of God to refer to itself. We see this implied in a few places but not many (Matthew 15:6 and Mark 7:13).

Jesus Is the Word of God

Next, Jesus is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13), and he lives in us (1 John 2:14). Also the apostle John writes that Jesus is the word (John 1:1-14). The word of God is also used in Scripture as a euphemism for the good news about Jesus (consider Acts 4:31 and throughout the book of Acts, as well as 2 Corinthians 2:17 and Colossians 1:25, among others).

The Spoken Word of God

Throughout the Bible, God speaks directly to his people (consider 1 Kings 12:22, 1 Chronicles 17:3, and Luke 3:2, among many others). He does this through angels, dreams, and audibly (Luke 3:22).

When God speaks to us, we better listen it hear the word of God.

This is the spoken word of God. It comes to us through the Holy Spirit, albeit manifested in diverse ways: through dreams, visions, and implanting supernatural words in our minds. And, yes, it can be audible.

The Sword of the Spirit

When we read about the armor of God in Ephesians 6, it talks about the sword of the Spirit, which is the written word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Most people understand this to mean the Bible.

Yet when Paul wrote these words, the New Testament did not exist. At that point, the written word of God—that is, the Scriptures—consisted of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.

A better understanding of “the sword of the Spirit” in this verse is that it refers to the spoken word of God as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

When the Almighty speaks to us—in whatever form—may we hear the word of God and obey.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Visiting Churches

A Spirit-Led Service: Visiting Church #66, Part 2

Several months later we have a chance for a return visit to this same church. The opportunity to experience a normal service with their regular pastor should provide the chance to experience what we missed the first time. 

I hope to experience a spirit-led service.

Consider these seven discussion questions about Church 66.

1. The church moved since our first visit. An exterior sign guides us to the entrance, but that’s it. We walk down a long corridor and eventually find an open door.

How easy is it for people to find us?

2. We sing four songs, filling most of an hour. I try to worship God, but we don’t connect. I should have prayed with greater intention for this service.

Who’s to blame when we can’t connect with God?

3. As we sing, several people ease toward the pastor and surround him. They place their hands on him. Their lips move in quiet prayer.

Do we pray for our ministers before the service, during the service, or not at all?

4. The pastor begins with prophecies and prayers for healing as the Holy Spirit directs him.

Do we let God’s Spirit guide us to prophesy and pray for supernatural healing? If not, is he not speaking or are we not listening?

5. The pastor says to not preach against other religions, but to preach Jesus. Too many people fail to follow his advice, suggesting why so many view Christians negatively.

Do we rant about what we’re against or celebrate what we’re for?

6. When the minister shares a verse, I never see him glance at his notes. The text and reference gush forth as regular speech.

Do we know Scripture well enough to quote and cite it as normal dialogue?

7. The Holy Spirit powerfully directed our time together through both the teaching pastor and the worship leader. I’ve seen few church services this Spirit-led.

Does the Holy Spirit direct what we do when we gather with other believers?

[Read about Church 66, part 2 or start at the beginning of our journey.]

If you feel it’s time to move from the sidelines and get into the game, The More Than 52 Churches Workbook provides the plan to get you there.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Visiting Churches

A Normal Service: Church #66, Part 2

Several months later we have a chance for a return visit to this same church. Again, we’ll attend church with our friends and spend the afternoon together sharing our lives and faith. I expect the service will be led by the Holy Spirit.

I look forward to both, though the time with friends outshines the chance to revisit this church. Still, the opportunity to experience a normal service with their regular pastor and new worship leader stands as a nice bonus. 

Not only do we have a chance to experience one of their services with a different speaker and song leader, but they also moved since our first visit.

Instead of meeting in a public-school facility, they now rent office space in a reclaimed school building in another town, about nine miles from their prior location. In most respects it will be like visiting a different church. Therefore, I view it as such.

A Holiday Weekend

Then I realize that it’s a holiday weekend, the Sunday before Memorial Day. Many churches scale back their service and simplify their approach on holiday Sundays, especially during the summer.

I wonder if we’ll experience one of their typical services. Oh well. The main point of the day is a time of community with our dear friends.

Candy and I have our typical discussion about when we should leave, how long the drive will take, and when we expect to arrive. With bad weather behind us, at least we won’t have road conditions to contend with. 

To make our deliberations more complicated, she asks to stop at the coffee shop along the way to pick up a brew. This should add ten minutes to our trip, so we make the needed time adjustment, but when I pull into the coffee shop’s parking lot I groan. There are a dozen or so cars lined up at the drive-through window. 

Candy tells me not to worry. She’ll go inside. That will be much faster. I want to believe her, but I don’t think it will be fast enough. As it turns out, it’s not. By the time we’re back on the road our GPS tells us we’ll arrive four minutes early and not the extra ten to fifteen minutes we’d planned on.

Preparing for the Service

With the hour drive, we have a lot of time to talk, and we cover a variety of topics. This might be more time than we spent talking all week. That’s something to ponder.

Candy prays for the time with our friends, but I’m not sure if her prayer included church. I don’t bother to ask or to tack on my own prayer for the service. The main reason for our trip is to see our friends. Going to church is a secondary goal—at least for me.

The last few minutes of our drive grow a bit harried when I realize my GPS isn’t taking us to the correct location. I don’t have the exact address of the church and we’ve forgotten its name, but Candy conducts a creative internet search to find the needed information.

Ignoring the misdirection of our GPS, we drive straight to the correct place and get there four minutes early, just as our adjusted ETA predicted.

Again, an exterior sign tells us we’re in the right place and indicates which entrance to use. However, once inside there are no more signs. We walk down a long corridor and eventually find an open door with the church’s name on it.

We exchange nervous glances and stifle our apprehension. Candy scowls at me as I graciously gesture for her to enter first. Inside is a small space, converted from a former classroom, which serves as both lobby and office. 

First Impressions

A handful of people scurry about, each one exchanging a friendly greeting with us but nothing more. One man, however, gives me a quizzical look. We both remember each other from our prior visit, though neither can recall names.

We have a brief conversation to reconnect, but, knowing that the service is about to start, Candy and I move on into a connected classroom, which serves as their worship space.

The room is square, about 30’ by 30’, a small fraction of the space they used to occupy. It still has fifty chairs—five rows of ten with a center aisle—but they’re packed in, closer together and with little margin on the sides. Along the back wall sits the A/V equipment.

On the opposite side, and on our level, is the cramped space for the worship team and minister. In the corner stand the same three banners: Grace, Kingdom, and Power.

We slide into the back row, expecting to meet our friends in that general area, even though there’s little room for them to wave their worship flags.

The service starts a few minutes late with a dozen or so people present. We’re well into the first song when our friends arrive. We exchange hugs, and they sit in the row in front of us. Others trickle in and eventually our numbers swell to about thirty.

I could count, but I’m tired of counting the number of church attendees and merely make an educated estimate. The crowd is mostly female, skewing older, as are all the couples. I see no men by themselves.

The Worship Set

The worship leader is the same one we had last time, which I later learn was his first time leading worship at this church. Again, he plays guitar as he leads. An idle keyboard sits next to him, and he serves as our only musician and singer.

He has an easy, smooth style, without being slickly polished. It’s hard to tell how much he rehearsed and how much happens as he feels led by the Holy Spirit.

The singing goes on longer than I would like, and I know Candy must be fidgeting on the inside. I’m not sure how many songs we sing because they’re interwoven with each other, and we keep looping back to repeat choruses.

She later tells me there were only four songs, which filled up most of an hour. Through it all, I try to worship God, but we don’t really connect. I guess I should’ve made a better effort at praying for this service beforehand.

My friend turns around and whispers that they have open communion, and we can go up anytime we want—if we wish to—during the singing. I nod, even though I’ve already decided not to. I share this information with Candy, and she agrees.

I may have missed it, but I only see four or five people go forward for communion. Curious.

About half an hour into the music set, several people ease their way forward and surround a young man sitting alone in the front row, who I guess is the pastor.

They place their hands on him and their lips move in quiet prayer. Then they sit down. I assume the message is about to begin, but it doesn’t. We have more singing to do.

By the time he finally moves to the front, we’ve been singing for over an hour. He gives several announcements. Then he shares some news. The worship leader guiding us in song this service is no longer their backup, fill-in musician.

Effective today he’s their new worship pastor. The minister explains what the worship pastor’s role will entail and confirms they didn’t force out the prior worship leaders. They’ll still help lead worship when their busy schedules allow. This meets everyone’s approval.

Then we have the offering.

The Sermon

Before the sermon the pastor has a time of prayer, which includes prophecies, words of encouragement, and prayers for healing as the Holy Spirit directs him.

He feels led to pray for the needs of a woman in the congregation and invites other women to gather around her in support, if they wish. This subtle distinction keeps men at a distance, a wise action to foster a safe environment.

Then he moves into his sermon, starting with a lengthy review of last week’s message based on Luke 5:17–26. It’s hard to know where the review ends and today’s sermon begins, especially since he says he interjected new material into last week’s review.

By my reckoning, he spent more time on the review than on today’s lesson. 

Today’s starting text is Mark 5:24–34. His style is fluid as he jumps from one passage to the next. After a while I stop noting the Scripture references, but I do write down two thought-provoking one-liners. 

First, “Don’t preach against other religions. Preach Jesus and the Gospel.” Over the years, I’ve heard too many preachers who didn’t follow this advice. They were so quick to condemn the practices and ideas of others that they forgot about the good news of Jesus.

This might be a contributing factor as to why the public has such a negative view of Christians: we rant about what we’re against and don’t celebrate what we’re for.

In the other one he states, “The Law was given to the Jews, not the Gentiles.” This one merits serious contemplation. It could change how I understand and apply the Old Testament.

He says he spends most of his week in prayer and Bible study, admitting he prefers that over meeting with people and attending to congregational needs. Our friends later confirmed his deep dedication to his relationship with God and God’s Word. 

Indeed, his teaching flows as one who spends much time with God and immerses himself in the Bible. When he shares a verse, I never see him glancing at his notes first. The text and the reference gush forth as regular speech.

I wonder how many of his words are something he planned to say and how many come to him from the Holy Spirit just before they leave his mouth. I suspect the latter.

Unfortunately, I’m tired and stifle yawns throughout the sermon. It’s not that I’m bored. I just didn’t sleep well last night. Had I been more alert, I would have gotten much more out of his message.

At 12:30, two hours after the service began, he stops preaching. He’s not at a stopping point that I can tell, and he has no conclusion or call to action. He merely says he’ll pick up next week.

As he’s doing this, the worship leader slides up to the front. He picks up his guitar and begins playing softly. We sing a song, and the pastor prays.

As he wraps up his prayer, he turns his attention to Candy. He perceives she has a physical need for healing or restoration, a need she may not even know exists. He prays for her as the Holy Spirit leads him.

Then he wraps up the service, and we leave. Anticipated time with friends around a delicious meal beckons us.

Our Impressions

It’s several hours before Candy and I can discuss our experience at this church. In all our many church visits, few, if any, have been this spirit-led.

Though, unlike our other Pentecostal and charismatic experiences, I feel the Holy Spirit powerfully directed our time together through both the teaching pastor and the worship leader.

As for Candy, she’s upset over the prophetic words of healing the pastor directed to her. She doesn’t know of any physical issue. I point out that this was a draining week for her, emotionally and mentally. I suggest he was just a bit off when he said she had a physical need. She doesn’t buy this.

Then I share the concept of performance anxiety. It could be he so wanted to hear a word from God to give to the visitors that he overstretched, that he perceived something that wasn’t there. I get this.

Sometimes people who follow the Holy Spirit’s leading don’t bat 1,000. Sometimes they hit a home run, sometimes they get a single, and other times they strike out. I’m okay with this, but it’s hard for Candy to accept.

Regardless, going to church with our friends was a great experience. It showed us a way to worship God and function in community that I don’t see at many churches.

[See the discussion questions for Church 66, part 2, read more about about Church 66. part 1, or start at the beginning of our journey.]

Get your copy of More Than 52 Churches today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.