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Hearing the Voice of God

I joined Alcoholics Anonymous a little over 33 years ago, deciding I needed to make a change. It wasn’t my first time to AA by any means; I had grown up occasionally attending the smoky rooms in Pasadena with or for my mother. My drinking was getting out of hand, and I had a few more stories than were funny, and it was time. 

I thought about this today after being in a Zoom class as part of the Inspire School of Discipleship. The Inspire Movement is based around missional discipleship — becoming a missionary in your own life, amongst your family, your work, your neighborhood, maybe even your church! Today’s class, populated by folks in England, Scotland, Ireland, somewhere in the Ukraine and several places in the USA, focused on “double listening”. Listen to what is being said, but also listen for the voice of God. 

Have you ever heard the voice of God? What was it like? A loud, booming thunder or the still small voice that made you want to wrap your coat closer? (I Kings 19:13)

Some folks described what it was like for them — one woman said it was like a quiet urge that got progressively stronger until she had to act. Going to AA was like that for me — I grew up in an alcoholic home and didn’t want to reproduce that in my family, but didn’t want to admit the “weakness” of the addiction, didn’t want to admit I couldn’t “handle it”, as folks said when I was growing up. 

But the still, small voice strengthened, and eventually I went to a noon meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at the Bellaire Club in Houston. I met an older man there who introduced himself and Jesse offered me his work-hardened hand. I took it. And when that voice would not stop I gave in. I said, “Hi, I’m Frank and I’m an alcoholic.” Jesse became my temporary sponsor — I had a bit of trouble with commitments! — and then my permanent sponsor until his death many years later. 

In posts to come we’ll wrestle with the role of recovery in discipleship, the relatively clear path of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous contrasting with the often confusing line of membership versus discipleship in churches. Maybe this is interesting to some of you; it is to me. 

I’ve got a lot to learn about many things, and one of them is blogs. I’d welcome any serious and kind discussion on this one.

Frank is an Inspire Missioner based in Texas, USA. You can follow his new blog and join in the discussion HERE – Unforced Rhythms of Grace

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