Faith Forum: How does God speak to us?

Ron Channell, senior pastor, Family Church of Lawrence, 5150 Clinton Parkway:

God is the ultimate communicator. I will highlight three of the many ways you can begin hearing him speak to you today.

God speaks to us as the Creator: The heavens proclaim his glory, and the skies display his craftsmanship (Psalm 19:1-4). Scriptures tell us that everyone, by simply observing creation itself, can begin to understand his awesome attributes and abilities. Through everything God made, we can clearly see his invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature. Therefore, the Bible tells us that if we look, we’ll see God speak (Romans 1:20 NLT). Even in the hustle and bustle of our busy schedules, we can see the countless stars in the dark of night. The kaleidoscope of colors as winter turns to spring, the rhythm of seasons, and the rainbow after a storm show God’s communication to us through his vast power.

God speaks to us from his word, the Bible: It is flawless in its directive (Proverbs 30:5) and it teaches us all things (John 14:26). These verses are telling us that God’s word supplies his voice in every area of our lives. It is the road map for your success at school, work, in your marriage, with your friends, everything! God’s inspired word even tells us how to have eternal life through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

God speaks to us through his Spirit: God is not only the Creator of all things and limitless in his abilities, he is also intimate with his children, speaking to us as we seek him for direction (John 3:34).

Begin to talk to the Lord Jesus today and get to know him. He’s the difference-maker. He will meet the needs in your life in ways that will astound you (Ephesians 3:20).

— Send email to Ron Channell at

The Rev. Joanna Harader, pastor, Peace Mennonite Church, 615 Lincoln St.:

I believe in the incarnation, that the life of God was embodied in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. And the incarnation tells us that God will stop at nothing — absolutely nothing — to speak to humanity.

And the life of Jesus is not the only way God speaks. The speech of God ignites the sun and grows the grain and pulses the blood through our veins. God speaks to us through the words of Scripture, through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

God speaks through other people, through music, through art, through all of our senses as we live within this wonder-filled world.

Rather than ask how God speaks to us, perhaps we should consider how it is that we listen to God.

There are, of course, the traditional and important ways we are called to listen: prayer, Bible reading, worship. And there is much we can do beyond these churchy things to be open to the voice of God. Listening to God means listening to the people around us. Seeing the world around us. Paying attention to the people we meet, the words we read, that feeling in the pits of our stomachs.

All of this listening, seeing, paying attention — it’s hard when we have the constant murmur of television, the ringing cellphone, the pinging inbox, the over-full calendar.

Now, contrary to popular belief, Mennonites are not Amish. I am not against technology. I love watching Netflix and reading Facebook; I have a blog and a cellphone — with a pretty full calendar. So I am not saying we have to be hermits to listen to God.

But the reality is that if we want to hear God speak, we have to shut up once in a while.

— Send email to Joanna Harader at