HOW TO HAVE AN IDEA

“…your ‘seed’ is more than the ability to produce children; it is your innate potential, which is meant to lead to the destiny for which God created you. Everyone possesses some kind of a seed. That is a seed of potential, purpose and passion. That seed contains your future.”

“…find it, plant it, and nurture it to maturity.”

Myles Munroe, Overcoming Crisis, Destiny Image, 2009

“That seed inside you is your ideas.”

“Once it lands in the right soil, here comes a tree.”

I’ve been reading the work of Myles Munroe for twenty plus years beginning with his work on purpose, potential and passion. I am convinced he is right. I’m also convinced, (Seams to Me), that a natural process is:

Seed, Soil, Sowing, Environment, Nurturing, Reaping.

Munroe and Mike Murdock say that God has placed each of us on the earth to provide solutions and strategies. Every one of us! If Munroe is right that your seed is an idea, then it is important to set aside time to learn how to have an idea. (Dean, are you listening?)

John Maxwell is not the first one to talk about the necessity of thinking and how few people do. Unless we follow a regimen, we will repeat the same thoughts. The same thinking will not produce a different result than the thinking that got you into the place you are. New thoughts depend upon a definite criteria. Not just any thought, but a seed-like thought. Unless it is a hybrid seed, a seed will reproduce itself—that is its job.

Cross-pollination. I am not an agronomist. I do know about ideas and long to have productive ideas. I am committed to finding and talking about solutions and strategies. If you want new and productive ideas, it will require new information. That will require that you read, listen, research, pay attention and interact with idea people. Nothing will unearth an idea like something you do not know spoken by someone you respect.

Mark Virkler built, or discovered, a process that he called, 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. (©2010 Mark and Patti Virkler, Destiny-Image Publishers.) He prays with these tools every day and hears God speaking affection for him, instruction and revelation. “My sheep know my voice,” Jesus said. He explains how that works using four concepts and practices. I have adapted his practice—I’ve changed a couple of words.

When we ask to hear God’s voice, He speaks to us as spontaneous words or visions in our imaginations. The imagination is not just about silly ideas or out of control thoughts. I’ve been derisively told most of my life that “You sure have a wild imagination.” A story teller must have a vivid imagination. Where else would you put together non-directly connected ideas? The imagination can run away with us, but the sanctified imagination is a powerful tool.

Virkler’s basic premise is that we hear God’s voice through spontaneous words or visions. He uses Ephesians 1—“…eyes of my heart” as the means by which this happens. Not only is that legitimate from Virkler’s point of view, I’ve read researchers talk about the heart’s ability to see beyond the cognitive activity of the mind.

So, here is how I’m working with having an idea or finding clarity about a question or issue.

QUIET—STILLNESS

Jesus said go to your “closet”. Interesting. How many closets as we know them, would there have been in a Nazareth home? Probably no plastic hangers or clothes poles. Nail? He was describing a private place—a location without noise or sounds. A place and habit of shutting down the stimuli—noise and music makers and the voices in our heads.

Turn off the voices and list making and images of planners. Somewhere in this, we will learn how to “center” as the Quakers (not New Agers) describe it.

FOCUS

This may lead to worship. Sometimes it is helpful for me to read Scripture and let that take me to where Jesus is at work or with people. Focusing on a word from a passage or concept. The objective is to be specific and intentional—“I’m open only to Jesus—no other voice. Not mine or any stray spirit.” After quieting self, you invite Jesus into the silence. He is welcome.  

I usually state the question at hand or what I need clarified. Does it help to visualize Jesus sitting with you at a small coffee table at Starbucks? Or sitting on a dock with fishing pole in hand? After telling Him how good it is to see Him and appreciate His taking time for this meeting, explain what you need from Him. In the last couple of days, I’ve talked to Him at that “table” about the pathway of healing for a friend and what a fresh logo for our ministry would look like from His plan and perspective. Focusing means to keep the image of Jesus across the table—it is Jesus with whom I am talking.

LISTEN

State the question. Present the problem. What do you need to hear? Sometimes, it is totally preferable to ask, “Jesus, what do you want to say to me, today? What do I need to hear from you?”

It is imperative that you take seriously what you hear. The first words, thoughts, images that come to you. You will assume they are your own thoughts—sometimes they are—but based upon our belief that God desires to talk to us in terms we both hear and understand, how else would he be able to speak to you?

First words, first image, first thoughts. Write them down before you think them through. God will use your cognitive ability to speak the Logos to you, but may by-pass your mind to speak a rhema word directly to your heart before you will have time to rationalize or minimize or excuse the thoughts, word, image as nothing beyond your own crazy thinking.

WRITE

Virkler calls this “two-way journaling.” You ask the question, state the issue and write down what you hear. This is a conversation and you are the court reporter writing it down.

If you are not a Jesus Follower or you think it is bizarre to think God would have a conversation like this, I still consider this process valid to clarify or birth a new idea. If this makes you nervous or have questions, let’s talk. There are precautions, but this is worth the effort.

©2014 D. Dean Benton

Benton Quest House

The Place to build the I’m Possible Life

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