By Curtis K. Shelburne
If you were to ask me how God guides his people today, I’d probably look ministerial for a moment, which might indicate serious thought — or intestinal gas or the onset of a cold — and then I’d give you a few points in descending order of importance as to how I think God leads his people today.
One thing you’d learn for sure is that I am not in the camp of folks who seem to think that God got in his 20 centuries (or millennia; I’m not exactly sure how these things work) sometime before the end of the first century and pretty much retired. On the other hand, neither do I fit very well in the camp of those who seem to expect specific guidance in such matters as the color of the socks they should wear on the Wednesdays of months ending in R.
The fact is, I’ve got lots more questions about exactly how God guides us than I have answers, and I don’t trust some preachers who don’t seem to know just how much they don’t know and thus have answers for everything, but in this area as in most areas of life and faith, the answers that I do have are to me so important and weighty as to allow me to be pretty comfortable with a thousand other more minor questions, though I find the whole topic very interesting and well worth serious thought. By the way , the two answers that put all other questions in perspective are, in my opinion, these: 1) God is, and he is all-powerful and all-loving and loves us completely (and I’d throw in a few more omni’s such as omniscient, omnipresent, etc., but you’d think this was written by a longwinded preacher), and 2) All of God’s amazing love is focused in and expressed to us through Jesus Christ, the very Son of God and risen Lord.
If I gave you a list of the primary methods I believe God uses to guide us, I’m pretty sure my list would not include the “Open up the Bible and point to a Scripture” approach. You’ve heard, haven’t you, about the guidance-seeking gent who flung his Bible open, pointed, and hit Matthew 27:5, “Then Judas went out and hanged himself.” That wasn’t exactly the guidance he wanted, so the fellow repeated the procedure and this time landed on John 13:27: “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
This morning, since I woke up unusually early — one might say “in the night” — I decided to dress and go on down to the church. I opened my Bible to the Psalms, as I like to do, and randomly picked the little gem of Psalm 134: “Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord / who minister by night in the house of the Lord. / Lift up your hands in the sanctuary / and praise the Lord. / May the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, / bless you from Zion.”
To be completely accurate, I was actually in the fellowship hall, but, as I chuckled a bit inside, I lifted up my hands anyway! I still don’t trust the “fling open your Bible and point approach,” but I don’t at all mind admitting, God used it to bless this seeker this day.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at