How you get personally notified
The campaign manual, the Bible, describes things that apply to all campaign team members in all times and places. If Jesus were dead and all we had left was the Bible as the record of his teaching, we would be on our own to figure out how to apply his teaching to our lives.
But since Jesus is very much alive again, ever since his resurrection. That means we don't have to depend on our own ability to figure out how to apply his teaching. Nor do we have to depend on professional experts to figure it out for us. Nor does Jesus set up a chain of command so he passes down our assignments and we eventually get them from our spiritual supervisors.
Jesus, the Campaign Director, communicates our personalized day-to-day campaign instructions through his Spirit, who lives in each campaign team member. That doesn't mean we ignore the Bible, but it does mean that getting our personal assignments is more like listening than like figuring something out.
Figuring out for ourselves how to best serve the campaign sounds like
a great goal, but it is a formula for failure. If we draw up our own assignments, some of us will bite off more than we can chew, others will try things that backfire or just flop, and others will get lazy and satisfy ourselves with some dinky task. And a few of us will not do anything because we can't get our plan to be perfect.
Jesus is wiser. He knows what we each are made of, what we have been through, and how to stretch and position us for what will happen to us next. In light of all that highly relevant data, he chooses appropriate personal assignments for us all the time.
He passes these niche assignments to the Spirit to pass on to us, using whichever communication channel works best in each case. Like any good campaign director, he makes sure everyone all of us in the campaign are clear about our personal assignments and how he wants them done.
Nothing would make the world better than more sensitivity to these assignments. Unfortunately, many people who have joined the campaign are not listening for their assignments, and many outsiders are clueless that God has any campaign assignments waiting for them.
Various SYNC tools are there to help you discover your assignments, especially in Just Do It Groups (see under "Activities" tab). Find the tools that help you most as you learn to live on high alert.
Think of the Spirit as an orchestra conductor. The music gets to a certain point and he suddenly looks straight at you and waves his baton. It's your moment! Don't miss his cue, no matter which way he gives it to you.
The Spirit lets us know our assignments most often by an internal nudge, a thought that comes to mind while we are praying, reading the manual, or noticing a person or situation. We simply know what to do, whether we understand it or not, whether we want to do it or not.
These nudges often come gently like a rider's gentle tugs on the reins of a horse he has ridden for years. They can be gentle because the horse is paying attention and is eager to please the rider.
Once in a while they may be in the form of a voice or a message, and it may have life-long impact. For example, I have a missionary friend who got this message from God about five years ago: "You think too much. And you don't pray enough." It rocked his world, changed his place and type of ministry, and brought some new habits. And he is still pondering it as he lives by it.
But many times the nudge is short and specific. "Make that phone call you have been putting off." "Go introduce yourself to that neighbor." "Donate X amount to that cause." "Feel OK about saying no to this new opportunity; it's not for you." "Pay more attention when that person talks to you."
Spur of the moment
As Jesus directs the campaign to save the world from itself, he creates situations that give certain team members opportunities to connect, heal, and bless people. Often these just pop up. The team does not plan them or see them coming, but we should not miss them.
That means team members get good at "listening" to their situations, noticing what is going on around them. We watch for signals that someone is disconnected, hurting, or lacking something. Team members are not campaign vehicles with their loudspeakers turned up full blast. We are human beings with two really good ears. We are supposed to be the most observant people in the world.
Jesus promised to reward alert and helpful team members. In 21st Century language, we could put his words this way:
"It's time for you to claim your reward for good service in the campaign.
My life was empty and you gave me a reason to get up in the morning.
I was worn out and you refreshed me.
I didn't belong and you included me.
I was afraid of being judged and you accepted me.
I was sick and you cared about me.
I couldn't get out and you came and sat down with me."
The recipients will answer, "What are you talking about? When did we ever see you in any of those conditions?" And Jesus will reply, "Whenever you did that for any of the people I call my brothers and sisters, you did it for me." (Matthew 25.34-40)
The members of Jesus's campaign team notice the actual needs of the people around them, and we respond appropriately. It is the right thing to do, and we do it. We don't take a one-size-fits-all view of the campaign, turning the whole thing into one set program to offer to everybody in a standard way.
Just the opposite. We are on constant alert for the next spur-of-the-moment opportunity. It often happens that a verse we read in the morning turns out to fit exactly with a situation that comes up later that day. We can't foresee these opportunities. We just notice them when he puts them in front of us, we take advantage of them, and we thank him for setting things up the way he did.
FAQs on spiritual nudges
1. When I hear a voice in my head telling me to do something, how do I know whether it is God's voice, an evil voice, or just my own thought?
As a human being, you are born with a pretty good "voice analyzer" called a conscience. Over time it can degrade, and you have a harder time telling good from evil. To restore the default settings your conscience was given at birth, focus on being in SYNC with Jesus and his campaign purposes.
For example, ask yourself, "If I did what this unknown voice is telling me to do, would I feel closer to Jesus or further away? Would I be bringing the blessings of his campaign to other people or sucking life out of them? Would I be moving in SYNC with God's campaign?"
If questions like that still don't clear things up for you, hand them over to the Holy Spirit. He can reset things at a deeper level inside you than you can consciously reach, and you end up confident that you know what to do. You won't know how the confidence got there, but you will recognize it when it comes. This may sound crazy but it works great!
2. What might make me miss one of God's nudges?