Have you ever felt a strong nudge, seemingly out of nowhere, to do something, talk to someone or serve someone?
It is a nudge, in the moment, that often spurs the thought “I should go talk to them”, “I should go help them.”
What would happen to our neighbourhoods if we followed those Holy Spirit nudges?
Often we do not talk about these Holy Spirit nudges even in churches.
But what if we started following Holy Spirit nudges?
- Teaching kids, teens and adults to trust and follow the Holy Spirit nudges they sense at home, work, school and play
- Talked about where we felt God’s Spirit nudging us regularly in our small groups, around the dinner table, in our youth group, with our kids
- Asked regularly “Did you follow any Holy Spirit nudges today?” “Where did you see God at work in that?”
What if we came to expect God, in His faithfulness, to nudge and lead us by His Spirit?
The more we start following Holy Spirit nudges, the more in tune we become and the more of a daily experience it becomes.
This is part of the reason we included “Holy Spirit” as one of the senses in Neighbouring Month. This October 2016 is Neighbouring Month, daily challenges that invite us to open our senses to where God is at work around us in our neighbourhoods. (You can find materials to jump in and engage in Neighbouring Month here: http://cbacyf.ca/1month)
Yes, there is a danger associated with celebrating Holy Spirit nudges.
You don’t get to use a Holy Spirit nudge as a God card for your own poor decisions or your own poor conscious.
God will never nudge you to do something that is not in line with loving God and loving others. The nudge has to be in line with God’s Word and fruit of the Spirit, to be from God.
Further, there are many things we already know God and His Word has invited us to do as God redeems and renews this world. We already know we are to forgive, right wrongs, protect the widow, help the poor, disciple others, cultivate justice etc.
BUT when there is a nudge, and we know it is from the Holy Spirit, follow that nudge!
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.
We are children of God. When my Abba Father taps me on the shoulder, gives me a gentle push, I want to get used to listening to my Father!
One of my favourite Holy Spirit nudge stories comes from a teenager. This teenager felt a strong nudge to start staying a few minutes at the end of the day to help their teacher tidy up the room. This was a teacher that was quite antagonistic towards Christians and had been very clear that Christianity was not a topic for the public school. Well, on just the second day of this teenager following that nudge, the teacher started to open up about a difficulty in their life and how they’d been hurt by the church. This teenager had the opportunity to listen and point their own teacher towards the hope we have in Jesus.
Too many times to count there has been a nudge to:
- send a text to a friend, that they receive just at the time they need it for what they are going through
- get out the door quickly to do that errand, and then find myself running into a person who needed to connect
- speak up and say something encouraging to a certain person
- go talk to the person standing in the corner
- share a little bit of my story of how God’s worked and is working in my life with someone
- show that person some grace, by tangibly serving them
- apply something from a sermon right away
- shovel my neighbours driveway
- take what I just read in Scripture and share it with someone or do something very specific
Also too many times to count I’ve ignored Holy Spirit nudges.
Unfortunately they are easy to ignore.
May I, may we, have a posture of readiness to follow God’s Holy Spirit nudges.
The book of Acts is full of stories of God’s people following Holy Spirit nudges. One of my favourite accounts is where Philip gets GPS directions from a Holy Spirit nudge to take a certain desert road in his travels. Then along the way he encounters the Ethiopian eunuch reading Isaiah (a book in our Old Testament today). That seems like a clear enough nudge! So Philip asks “Do you understand what you are reading?” and when the man replies “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” there is another clear invitation from a Holy Spirit nudge. Philip tells him the good news about Jesus and baptizes him right away when they come among some water along their travels.
Follow the first nudge, the other nudges will become clear. You will recognize what God is doing around you.
With practice it also gets easier and we become more confidence in recognizing God’s voice, and following Holy Spirit nudges.
One more idea on this. A few years ago I heard Bill Hybels share that in budgeting he includes a line for the “Holy Spirit fund.” What a great idea, to acknowledge even in our planning that we don’t entirely know yet where God’s Spirit will nudge us and lead us, but we are ready and willing to be obedient, we are planning to be obedient! You could do this with your church budget, youth group budget, kids ministry budget and your personal household budget.
When you have got a fund sitting there, the posture of your heart is likely more open to where God is nudging you and how you can be a blessing to your neighbours this day.
Holy Spirit nudges could transform our neighbourhoods.
Are you ready for a nudge?