Joshua Swanson: Welcome to The Walk; a devotionals podcast led by worship leaders. In this episode, Jenn Johnson of Bethel Music challenges us to obey the voice of the Lord the minute we sense it. Here we go.
Jenn Johnson: Lord, we thank you for who you are and for everything that you’re doing, and we just magnify your presence and your name. And we thank you for, um, how you’re speaking to us in your Word, by your Spirit, how you’re leading us, how you’re guiding us and what you’re teaching us Lord. And so we just pray for open ears and open eyes, open heart to who you are and what you’re doing, that you would rewire us, that you would teach us who you are, teach us about your kingdom and that we would know you and represent you in everything we say and do Lord that anything in our life that is taking away from us representing you well, that you would just teach us and correct us and change us into your likeness. Um, and we just, we just thank you for, um, what you’re doing on the planet, even though it’s wild times. Um, but we thank you that we are born for such a time as this Lord. And so we just pray that, um, you would just baptize us into a fire of knowing you and making you known, uh, and our family and our marriages and our workplace in everything that we do, Lord. Um, we just love you, so, so very much Jesus name, amen.
Hey everybody. This is Jenn Johnson and I’m so happy to be with you today.
I wanted to start today and just talk about some things that God’s been speaking to me lately. And, um, in 2020, kind of one of the main things that the verses that God spoke to me was Revelation 4. And it says, “come up here and I will show you what to do next.” And, um, you know, in a wild time of opinion, politics and COVID and racism, and just so much chatter of, um, even in a, in a church, just so much, um, going on of people’s opinions, swirling around on social media and, um, chaos, honestly, in the world and in, even in the church as well.
Um, I just was really seeking the Lord. Like, what are you doing? What are he saying? And, and that verse stood out so strong, “come up here, come up to my realm,” one of the translations said, “and I will show you what to do next.” And, um, it was really cool because I, I was talking to my, a few of my close friends during that time. One of them is Darlene Zschech in Australia and just asking her what God was speaking to her. And she’s like, well, you know, we can’t get away from Revelation 4. And I was like, oh my gosh. You know, and then talking to Ce Ce Winans and, and uh, some people, uh, they’re doing, um, her album release and what’s God been speaking and Revelation 4.
Oh my, you know, and so I love that Revelation says, “listen to what the spirit says to the churches,” you know, that the global body of Christ, right? Like no church has a corner on the market of like knowing it all. And I love that. Like, Bethel’s probably the armpit of, you know, the body of Christ, but, um, I think that it was so beautiful to see that God is speaking the same thing.
Um, especially in a time where the enemy would love nothing more than to use division, um, to separate us. And so, you know, for me, “come up here and I will speak to you” is so profound because I think that in our day, we’re looking for what people are saying to do often too much. And we have to go to the Lord to find out what he’s saying and what he wants us to do.
I’m reminded of, of being really young in my teen years, and, um, there was this show that I really wanted to watch that everyone was watching and it was not a Christian show by any means. Um, there was pretty much a cult following around the show and um, I, the Lord spoke to me really clearly. “You’re not to watch that show” and, um, I just like why, you know, and felt so left out, but I knew God had spoken to me and so I didn’t watch it.
And, um, you know, I think oftentimes in our lives, when we listen to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit and we invite his voice in our life to speak to us and lead us and guide us, Um, it’s just profound, what happens. And a lot of times, even if it doesn’t make sense on paper, uh, it’s really profound the, the effects of his voice in our life and what that means.
You know, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Noah to look crazy and build a boat when there was no rain in sight. And I’m sure that it was not easy for Moses to hold a staff above water and so I just think I come back in my life to asking myself the question, where is my faith and my hearing of the voice of the Lord making me look crazy. I’m not trying to look crazy, but I want my faith and my, my, the voice of the Lord to be so loud in my life and my obedience to be so quick. That there’s not a hesitation from when the Lord speaks and when I obey. Um, and so I think that the word “hineni,” Darlene also had this, um, “my answer’s yes before you even ask” is what Here I am, send me means in the Bible. And I think that for our life, that hearing what the Lord is saying, and then so quick, my answer is yes, before you even ask, having that be, um, how we operate in our day to day life, whether it’s our parenting in our workplace, in our home with our friendship. Um, and little decisions, even, you know, driving around town, I’ll, I’ll be going somewhere and, and just being sensitive to the Holy Spirit of what are you saying? What are you doing? Um, is I think a huge thing.
Joshua Swanson: It’s so difficult to have the courage to obey the Lord the moment we hear him, right? Jenn is on point with this powerful reminder of what our daily walk looks like when we allow the holy spirit to lead. In the second half of this episode, Jenn calls us to simplify, given how little time we have on this planet and the huge call we have on our life.
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Okay, back to Jenn Johnson.
Jenn Johnson: The other thing that I feel really strong other than to come up here in, in the need for the voice of the, the Lord in our life is, um, Is the word simplify and the word simple. And those two words since the pandemic and post pandemic as well, uh, we cannot get away from as a team. We actually just finished our new Bethel Music album and it’s called simple and I, I really feel like that, you know, the, the temptation of the enemy would be to sink into the chaos, uh, that has been the past few years, but I think the invitation from the Lord is to simplify, you know? Did God cause the pandemic? Was it the devil? Who cares. God can work with any hand he’s given. And, um, I think the takeaway for, for humanity was a simplification in our homes.
Um, in, you know, a lot of people just purged their whole house. Um, you know, I wrote a book right during the pandemic and all about simplifying, um, called all things lovely. And it’s just about emotionally, spiritually, and physically simplifying and getting back to, um, simple in, in a, in a big way. So even in the church, I feel like, you know, the church being on pause it, it caused everybody to go, wow. Okay. Let’s really assess what we’re doing, how we’re doing. And, and kind of reorganize and reorder, um, a lot in our lives. And so the invitation for the Lord, for me with our community was coming back to what really matters, The Heart of Worship as, as Matt Redman, so beautifully wrote years ago and keeping the main thing, the main thing.
And so we, we gathered together in these songs that we, we put together, um, even how we produced it in our, our new studio. It’s very honest, it’s raw, it’s stripped down. It’s, um, connected, relatable songs about who God is and our relationship, our walk with him, what it’s really about the simple communion of our life and our relationship with the cross and with the kingdom and with the Church.
And, um, It’s pretty special because it’s not hyped and it’s not loud and it’s not quiet and sleepy either. It’s just really worshipful and, and simple and talks about the cross. And, um, so anyway, I, I really, I think that not just for us as a community, but for humanity, the word simple of what does that mean for you What, what in your life is the Holy Spirit highlighting that needs to be simplified?
I know for me personally, um, social media is, is a wild wild world and I followed over 700 people on social media and I love it. I love the good that is social media, the, the connection, it brings the, um, ability to share who God is and what he’s doing to the globe.
All the beautiful parts of social media. Um, I love, but obviously there’s some super intense, nasty stuff that social media is. And, um, in one big way, I think it’s a distraction. And I think it’s, um, something that the enemy uses a lot to distract us from what we’re supposed to actually be doing, whether it’s an escape or whether it’s, um, just getting into some nonsense that we’re not supposed to be getting into, um, that’s keeping us from God or. Off mission of what God’s calling us to do. So for me in my life, um, a few months back, the Holy Spirit just spoke to me so clear, um, to unfollow, um, anyone outside of my family and two of our best friends. And, um, I was like, no, Lord, this is gonna cause a ruckus. And, um, I knew it was him.
And again, back to that invitation to obey when you hear him speak. Um, I knew it was him. And so I did it and the simplification that it brought to my mind and my heart and my emotions, um, was so incredible. And it really caused me to see how much social media had been stealing from my life in a big way. And, you know, I don’t think it’s necessarily for everybody, but I do think the invitation for social media for anybody is go through who you follow and ask the holy spirit, anybody that I have a check with following the, for one reason or the next will you highlight that Lord? And I’ll unfollow them without a thought process. And that’s what I did with my social media originally a few years back, but this was an, a next level of it for me that I think I just needed.
I champion you to go through social media and do the same with the Lord, um, because it really is something that we need to be mindful of. You know, the, the Bible says, “run the good race set before you,” and, and to run a good race, you have to be very mindful and intentional with everything in your life. It’s the other reason that I wrote my book because, um, the word intentional is probably in my top five words and I think that we, we can’t afford to be haphazard in our life. You know, like TV, for example, movies, for example, you know, do yourself a favor and know what you’re about to watch before you watch it, because we don’t have time for things that are gonna take us away from the Lord or our assignment of why we’re on the planet. Life is short. You are not promised tomorrow and you are on the planet to love people and to love the Lord and to bring people to know Jesus. That’s what you’re on the planet for to be a good spouse, to be a good friend. There is so much distraction out there and nonsense and anything in your life, anything that is separating you or pushing you away or interfering with your relationship with the Lord or your relationship with the good, it’s not worth it. Point blank, it’s not worth it. And it’s not an intense process to go through, but just surrender your whole life to God and say, God, make it really clear what needs to go in my life. Make it really clear, um, you know, give me an opportunity to know what I’m walking into and, and let me hear your voice so loud if it’s good, or if it’s not good.
And so, you know, that’s who God is to us. He is a father. He is a friend and avoiding sin. Isn’t this religious like be perfect avoid sin and you know, no, no, no, you’re gonna make mistakes that’s that’s part of life, but being intentional and setting yourself up to run the good race, you know, being, eating healthy, exercising. I mean, that’s, that’s a whole world of intentionality that we can’t ignore again, because God calls you to longevity and health emotionally, physically, and spiritually needs to matter. Um, because in different. They all are connected, helping us run the good race or not.
I think lastly, as far as just what I like God is just so highlighting on is, um, you know, obviously mental health is a huge hot topic as far as a phrase, but it’s nothing new in, um, humanity of taking care of, uh, what’s coming in and, and what we’re focusing on and what we’re listening to and again, back to intentionality, it, it really matters, um, what we’re listening to and what we’re watching. So again, outside of social media, what are you watching? You know, the, the Bible’s very clear on, um, not setting any evil thing before you and you know, if we look at that verse and we really apply that verse to our life, um, it’s gotta matter.
And so let that conviction, let that, that cut deep in your life because, um, the fruit of not getting tangled in sin, “so easily tangled” as the word puts it, um, is true freedom and joy. And so that’s the point is God’s not trying to keep you out of fun. He’s actually trying to give you the best life ever the best marriage ever flourishing in, in every area of your life and when we lean into what the Word says, um, we lean into the voice of the Holy Spirit, he really does lead us into a life that is just amazing.
So just in closing, I wanna just leave you with, again, that verse in Revelation 4, “come up here and I will show you what to do next.” Another passage says, “I will instruct you what to do next.”
God is speaking to you in everything, in your everyday life. God is speaking to you. And so father, we just pray again, just for the ears to hear you the eyes, to see you in everything in our life, Lord, that you would show us your wonderful, incredible Spirit filled life that you’ve called us and given us the availability to walk in Lord and God, I pray for the mind of Christ and I, I pray that we would just see the world like you do. We would see our life situations. We’d speak into them. Um, like you’re saying what you’re doing, what you’re saying, and that we would just really represent you Lord, that you would be honored in everything that we do in our life. And that we would walk out, um, this call that is worthy of what you’ve called us to do. So I just thank you and I just bless every listener right now, Lord, even if they’re in their car, their homes, Lord, that they would encounter the presence of God, the very nearness of the holy spirit, um, to walk this out Lord. So I thank you for who you are as the father. I thank you for who you are as Jesus, the Son, and I thank you for the Holy Spirit, um, with us present. Um, so I just bless every listener right now in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.
Joshua Swanson: Thank you, Jenn, for your heartfelt devotional and your prayers for our listeners. We’ll play out this episode with one of Jenn’s songs called Send Me. It’s a great song and we felt it was appropriate for the challenge Jenn laid out to be radically obedient to the voice of God. As always special thanks to Matt McCarty for producing and editing today’s episode. Jacob Fairclough produced our theme song. The Walk is brought to you by Worship Leader Magazine, which is an Authentic Media brand. I’m Joshua Swanson. Here’s Send Me.