John 8:50, 54, 55b
God wants to glorify me…It is my Father who says these glorious things about me…I know him and obey him.
Chestnut Avenue Community Church Concord
Can it really be that simple?
Several years ago I heard a story about Paul Cho, pastor of, at that time, the largest church in the world in Seoul, Korea. When asked how he did it—how did he grow such a huge, dynamic, Spirit-filled church—he replied, “I pray… and obey.”
Jesus said many times that the source of His strength and of the miraculous things He did was His Father in heaven. He only did what He saw the Father doing. He only did what His Father wanted. How did He know what that was? He prayed. Prayer is, after all, simply communicating with our heavenly Father. Prayer is talking to Him as Father and Friend. Prayer is listening for His reply (for He will reply).
And what Jesus heard, He did. No arguing, no rebelling, no compromise, no bartering, no making a deal. He just did what the Father wanted—even when it meant dying on the cross. And the Father glorified Him for that obedience.
We are invited to do the same thing: To pray. To be in loving communion with our Father. That is, of course, what UP is all about. And then we are called to obey. That is, of course, what OUT is all about.
Father, please help me to keep it simple: pray and then obey.
Dialog discuss: William Paul Young explained his primary purpose in “The Shack” was to show that God is not an absent Father, but is in “The Shack” with us, in our Great Sadness, usually showing up in a way we do not expect. His explanation certainly won’t pacify his critics, but it’s still helpful to see a novel in its larger context. Marshall Shelly, Live from Catalyst
Dialog: What is the most powerful experience where you discovered your Heavenly Father with you in “The Shack?”