Tag Archives: Jaya Sankar

Hearing Aids

When is the last time you’ve heard from God?  It’s hard to hear Him with all of the noise around us, but I believe that God still speaks today.

Maybe we’re afraid to hear what He has to say and we’d rather tune Him out.  Maybe we think He’s mad at us; that He’s going to lecture us about all the things we’ve done wrong.  Or maybe we think He’s going to tell us to become a missionary in Africa.  Or He’ll tell us to forgive someone we could never, ever forgive.  So we crank up the radio, turn on the TV,  check our Facebook status, go shopping, volunteer at church, anything to stay distracted and busy, busy, busy.

Or maybe we want to hear from God, but we’re not sure how.  How does He speak?  In the 20 years I’ve been following Jesus, I’ve heard from God in many different ways.  I’ve never seen or spoken to Jesus directly, but I know someone who has.  Check out Jaya Sankar’s Story to read, and hear directly from Jaya, about his encounter with the Living God.  Here are some ways that I hear from God.  I hope they act as “hearing aids” for you:

1) The Bible

God speaks when I read the Bible.  Not every time.  Sometimes I’m just reading words, but other times the Word truly is living and active, penetrating, dividing soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:13).  Those times are well worth waiting for.  Energizing, exhilarating, mysterious, thrilling to the core.  If we’re going to recognize someone’s voice, we need to get to know them.  What better way to get to know God than to read the love letter He wrote to us?

The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3), so if we want to know God, we need to get to know Jesus.  The best way I’ve found to get to know Jesus is by reading the gospels, which are the first 4 books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  You can start with just one, you can read them all start to finish, or you can read one over and over until it feels like an old friend (thanks to Dan Kopp for that great suggestion).  John is a great book to start with, as John goes into great detail about who Jesus is and why he came.  But if you love a good action movie, start with the book of Mark.  You won’t be disappointed.

The most important thing to keep in mind when reading the Bible is that it is not an ordinary book.  The best way to read it is in humility, asking God Himself to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  If we ask for understanding, He is faithful to answer our prayer.  Jesus tells us over and over again that those who ask will receive, and James 4:3 clarifies further regarding asking with right motives.  I can ask for a BMW, but I really don’t think I’ll receive one.  🙂

2) Circumstances

I’ve heard God speak through circumstances in my life over and over again, and I love to write about those times.  If hearing how God has spoken to me helps you recognize His voice in your life, then I have done my job.  When I categorize a post under “miracles”, it’s probably a story of how God spoke through a particular circumstance.  This is one of my favorites, about how I knew I couldn’t giving up on having another child:  Fresh Eyes.

3) Music

I love to hear from God through music.  Sometimes it’s through the words of the song, like MercyMe’s Greater.  Other times it’s the music itself that makes my soul fly.  I fell in love with Switchfoot’s Fading West album after watching their documentary of the same name twice within 48 hours in late August.  I bought the album a few days later and couldn’t get enough of it.

Even though I didn’t see Swtichfoot in concert, DTE Energy Music Theater chose to play that album in between every set on Saturday night, September 13th.  All night long, in between Ellie Holcomb, Colton Dixon, MercyMe and Third Day, Switchfoot’s Fading West album played over the loudspeakers while the stage was being set for the next act.  As each song came on, my heart was being romanced by the God of the universe.  He chose the perfect background music for the mood He was creating between the two of us.  You can read more about that evening here:  Redeemed – Part 1.

4) Nature, 5) People & 6) the Holy Spirit

God speaks through nature, through people and through His Holy Spirit.  Instead of telling you about each one separately, here’s a little story that combines all three:

In May 2014, at the SMASH women’s retreat, we were given a morning devotional booklet to go off by ourselves to complete.  There was a question that I was supposed to talk to God about, but I also needed to eat breakfast, so I brought the booklet with me to the cafeteria.  I grabbed my breakfast, found a table and set down the booklet.  I went about my morning, chatting with lots of different women at breakfast, outside the cafeteria and on the long trail leading back to my cabin.  Walking through those gorgeous woods, with my cabin just ahead of me, I gasped and thought, “Lord, I forgot to talk to you!”  He quickly, but calmly, responded, “No, you didn’t.  You’ve been talking to Me all morning through all of those women.”

May 2014 SMASH Women's Retreat at SpringHill CampsMay 2014 SMASH Women’s Retreat at SpringHill Camp in Evart, MI, ready to go on the zip-line

Sometimes it takes “getting away from it all” to really hear His voice clearly.  Please join us at the SMASH Women’s Retreat at SpringHill Camp May 15-17, 2015.  Registration opens March 27th – click here: Events.  You won’t want to miss it!  And if you’re not female, Kensington puts on a retreat just for you each Fall.  Check the same link in Summer 2015 for the “Man Up” retreat, which is normally held at SpringHill Camp each October.

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Jaya Sankar’s Story

I had the honor and privilege of meeting a man named Jaya Sankar in the year 2000, while I was on staff at Kensington Church.  Jaya was visiting the US, raising support for Christ’s Evangelical Mission (CEM), his ministry back home in Andhra Pradesh, India.

“In 2000, Jaya Sankar, an already successful pastor and church planter, started reaching out to the thousands of homeless children in the communities surrounding Rajahmundry – a city of over a million people in Andhra Pradesh, India.  What began as a small initiative to reach forty kids has grown to nearly two hundred in the Grace Children’s Home and expanded into a holistic ministry reaching a broad spectrum of forgotten people, including hundreds of widows and aging poor in Rajahmundry.” –  Impact India 360.org

Part of Jaya’s story was recorded on video back in 2000.  I don’t want you to miss a single word, so I transcribed the video below.  But don’t stop there.  Take another 5 minutes and let Jaya tell you his story, with his rich Indian accent, and watch his face light up as he shares the power of what he experienced.  Click here for Jaya Sankar’s Story.  

“When I become youth, growing, I got so many doubts in these Gods.  Who truly real God is.  Which God is powerful?  Which God is true God?  Because we have so many gods.  33 million gods are there.

So I approach my Hindu priests.  They also did not give a good answer to me.  Finally I approach the Hindu temple High Priest.  He told me and taught me a mantra, a chant, and told me, instructed me, to recite 100,000 times a day.  Like that, I had to continue it for 100 days.

So I went to the river at night time, at midnight, I have to go in the water to the neck (water comes to here).  I am standing in the water, having two rosaries in my hands, reciting this mantra 100,000 times before sunrise.  My temple High Priest told me when I do this ceremony, ritual, reciting 100,000 times every day for 100 days, the God of Light will appear to me and will set me free from the darkness and from the sin.  He will give me salvation.  I was after truth.  I want to see true God, this Light God.  So I made up my mind, whatever it may come to me, my body, I want to see God.  I want to see God.

So I continued, I fulfilled 100 days, but no Light God appeared to me after 100 days.  I was disappointed very, very much.  Then I decided there is no God.  These Hindu priests, temple priests, are simply deceiving people in the name of God.

Then I was in a great hopeless condition, misery, agony.  I was totally deceived.   A lot of struggle going in my heart and mind.  What is the meaning and purpose of the life living on this earth?  A rich man, a poor man has to die one day.  A young man, an old man, a child, has to die one day.  What is the meaning?  I also will die one day, so let me die.  Let me die today.  I don’t want to wait until death comes to me.  I want to die today and see what will be there happening after the death.

Then I went to the railroad track and I wanted to put an end my life under the train.  So I was waiting for the train in the midnight and a great light touched me, focused on me, then I thought the train is coming.  But I did not hear the sound of engines or train.  But instead of the sound of engines, I heard a voice, “I am the God of Light who you are seeking.”  And I’m surprised so much and I was not able to open my eyes because of the great light.  I was just rubbing and closing my eyes and I said, “Who are you?”

Then he told me, “I am Jesus”.  He told me he is the Lord God.  He shed his blood for me.  He paid the debt to the karma on the cross of Calvary and he made me free from my sin.

Jesus Christ promised me to be with me, to help me, to guide me throughout my life.  I never, never forget that day in my life.

Jesus Christ is living today.  He is powerful God.  He’s not only the ancient times, He’s God of Old Testament, the God of New Testament, he is alive today, right now in 21st century.  I am the living witness for him.”

If you enjoyed Jaya’s story, grab a copy of Jeff Petherick’s book “Wavelength: Tuning In To God’s Voice In A World Of Static”.  Jeff tells more of Jaya’s story in his book, published in 2007.  Here’s the synopsis of Jeff’s book from Amazon:

“Did God Stop Speaking?  Or Did We Stop Listening?  Hearing the voice of God is like listening to the radio if you re not dialed in to exactly the right frequency, you’ll get nothing but static.  Wavelength reveals what happens when a nonreligious businessman learns to tune in God s voice… then dares to obey it.  His unorthodox adventures in following Jesus will challenge your thinking, kick over a few sacred cows, and reveal how you can have your own two–way conversations with God.”

Jaya Sankar and one of his many children.  Photo courtesy of J Chris Cook Photography.com.
Jaya Sankar and one of the many children who call him Daddy.  James 1:27, living and breathing.  Photo courtesy of J Chris Cook Photography.com.