Jan Johnson
Jan Johnson

WisBits Archive

May 2008


Churchgoers frequently talk about going to church to “get fed” or switching churches because they aren’t “getting fed.” This disturbs me. Followers of Jesus go to God to get fed. Sometimes we are “fed” or nurtured by others, including those at church, but church (or a sermon) was never intended to replace an God and an interactive life with God. Here’s a poor analogy but it makes my point.

Which would you choose?

Scenario 1: Being involved in a marriage where you and your spouse interact and enjoy each other, where you learn from your spouse, where you can go to your spouse and talk about anything and you two do things together.

Scenario 2: Being involved in a marriage club where you don’t live with your spouse but once a week you go and hear about how wonderful marriage is and someone even explains to you how wonderful your spouse is. On the best days, you maybe even sit next to your spouse for a minute or two. But mostly you just hear from someone else who knows your spouse. You go home and think, I’m so glad I know this person who has a dynamic, thriving relationship with my spouse. (Of course, that person may be limping along too but for your sake he or she puts a good face on it.)

Which one would you choose? While some people would prefer Scenario 1 (an entertaining, checkbox sermon), many would prefer Scenario 2.

No frail human being can give you what only God can give you. It’s true that God often uses frail struggling human beings to speak to us or minister to us, but these folks were never meant to be God to us.

When I say such things, people respond by saying they don’t know how to “get fed” directly from God. If so, the first step would be to . . . ask God what to do to know God. It’s about paying attention.

For example, I pay attention when we read Scripture. I don’t gobble it down and or search it just for answers. I read it slowly and listen to the Person behind the words. I let the words sink deeply into me. As I get used to this, it’s not hard work but one of the greatest pleasures of life.

I pay attention when I converse with God in prayer. I make requests, but I also listen. I wait on God and delight in God, perhaps with a psalm or sitting quietly. Or I may do this when I jog or hike or . . . one person I know can do this when he plays golf!?

I pay attention as I worship—whether it be with a group or on my own. I delight in who God is and how God constantly pursues each of us.

I pay attention to others, especially those who know God. Frequently they say and do things that give me glimpses of God that I truly need.

I pay attention when I serve alongside others. I see a selflessness that is not their own (and nothing like me!) and I am drawn to worship God.

I pay attention in life. I am aware that God is omnipresent around me and able to be known through a blooming honeysuckle bush or the expression on a child’s face or the way a frisbee comes back to earth no matter how high I fling it.

In all these ways, God interacts with us first-hand. Such interaction isn’t so much about feeling, but about sensing the truth that God is always present and seeks us. Yes, God uses others to help us, and so we may need to ask others to help us learn how to be fed by God. In fact, that’s how we usually learn—from others. But that’s very different from asking others to “feed” us in God’s place.

If you’re eager to learn more about how to get fed from God, you may wish to investigate resources on this website: through Scripture, Savoring Gods Word; through listening prayer, When the Soul Listens; through practicing God’s presence, Enjoying the Presence of God; through service, Living A Purpose-Full Life.

May you interact with God today and find yourself nurtured.

Grace and peace,
Jan Johnson




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