Below is a leadership article published in the August 7 edition of the South Georgia Advocate. It was written with Jay Hanson, Lead Pastor of The Chapel Ministries. To see more of our leadership articles, visit https://www.sgaumc.org/advocateauthordetail/801650.
How would you define “a consuming intimacy with God?” How long has it been since you were hungry and thirsty for a deeper relationship with Him? Those questions and many like it have filled my thoughts lately and have caused my heart to deeply desire living in a constant state of intimacy with God. But how do we achieve that level of intimacy? Recently my practice has been to read a passage of scripture several times while imagining myself in the scene as an observer. Then, as all the other characters depart, I imagine Jesus sitting beside me and initiating a conversation. Here is what I have noticed about our interactions – He doesn’t preach to me. He doesn’t even tell me what to do. He just asks questions. His questions quicken my soul and expand my mind. They open my eyes to things I had never seen before and truths I didn’t even know I knew. Jesus asked beautiful, life-altering questions in His time on earth – questions that changed the trajectory of the lives around him and still spark debate and introspection more than 2,000 years later. Jesus’ questions very rarely require a simple yes/no answer. When we take the time to consider what He is really asking, we often wade into uncharted territory and risk discomfort for the reward of increased intimacy with Him. What would be your response if Jesus were asking you these questions? “Why are you afraid?” (Matt. 8:26) “Why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31) “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15) “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matt. 20:32) “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” (Luke 5:22) “Do you want to be well?” (John 5:6) “Do you realize what I have done for you?” (John 13:12) In the book, “Jesus is the Question,” Martin Copenhaver points out that Jesus asks many more questions than He answers. He asked 307 questions and out of the 183 questions He is asked, He only answers three. If questions were so important in leading the people around Him to intimacy with the Father, what does that teach us about how to help people grow in their faith? What made Jesus’ questions so powerful? Think about the last time someone asked a question that caused you to rethink, reconsider, and dive deep to find the answer. What made that question so effective in helping to reframe your thinking? Why was it so sticky? Warren Berger, author of “A More Beautiful Question,” says, “A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something – and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change.” Beautiful questions have the power to:
Bring about change, innovation, and new initiatives.
Create a safe environment for us to explore, discover, and imagine.
Force us to think from a new perspective.
Unearth ambiguity and bring clarity, focus, and unity.
What is Jesus asking you? Email and let us know. Jay Hanson, Lead Pastor, and Anne Bosarge, Multi-Campus Director, serve at The Chapel Ministries. They love sharing about the ways God is moving in their church. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.