Though the title of my latest book, When God Stops, is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, we all need “God-Stopped” moments, to receive special attention from God, in areas where we are hurting. These moments are paramount not only to our individual lives, but to Christian faith and theology.
I had never shared my full personal testimony with many of my colleagues and congregants—yet when I finally opened up, many were deeply moved to hear how God had personally cared for me over the years.
As I wrote down the story for the first time in this new book, I felt a fresh sense of amazement over how God had stopped for me—and more than once
I’m sure that many of you have God-stopped stories that you have never shared with others. I encourage each of you to use this book as an opportunity to reflect on your own experiences—and as a tool to help showcase the wide variety of people for whom God has stopped throughout history.
So, as a pastor, leader, and someone keenly aware of the various needs of those in your congregation, how do you guide them into their very own God-stopped-for-me moments?
1. HELP them understand that God is willing to stop for them.
- Jesus is proof: to redeem humanity and to reconcile us back to the Father, God the Son stopped being only deity and chose to take on our human frame. He never stopped being God, but He stopped being only God and revealed an unselfishness that has forever changed human history.
- God is not a detached and unconcerned being; He cares so much about each of us that He became one of us. God never changes and His power is as present and available for us NOW as it was 2000 years ago. He cares about our real, everyday lives as much as He ever has. God hates to see us live without all Jesus died to give us access to.
2. TEACH them about examples of those in the Bible who had notable God-Stopped moments.
- What were the real-life situations of those who Jesus stopped for? Amazingly, they were from very different backgrounds and diverse circumstances. Some were rich and others poor. Jesus stopped for males and females, Jews and gentiles, educated and uneducated, young and old. No one was beneath Him or beyond His desire to love.
- What made them “stand out” and get the attention of Jesus when there were many others in the crowd with equally pressing needs?
- How did the stories of certain men and women become so special that of all the narratives that could be told, God choose to record their moments with Jesus in the Bible? (John 21:25)
3. TELL them how to apply it practically.
- To be spiritually successful, we can’t just read about or admire the success of others—we must learn the principles of success and apply them.
- The Bible is not just a book, it is a record of those who have come before us. Good or bad, it exposes us to patterns that can lead us into particular results. So, learning from and practically living out the tools and principles found in God’s word is key to finding success with God.
4. SHARE with them your own God-Stopped moments.
- As their pastor, your congregation naturally connects with you and feel they benefit from some level of insight into your experiences with God.
- Often it is easier to relate to the firsthand experiences of those we know, making the truth and principles behind the situation seem more “real” and accessible. Ultimately, we want our lives to become God’s written epistles read by all.
How To Use This Book
One of my favorite things about this book is the summary and self-analysis at the end of each chapter. This is a great tool that will help people identify what needs to change in their lives and what needs to be done to make those changes. It will also help people STOP and assess:
1. How they are interacting with their situations
2. How they are interacting with others
3. How they are interacting with themselves
4. How they are interacting with God
I have had my very own God-Stopped moments, as I am sure you have. I know my moments have revolutionized my life. So, I wrote this book to help people experience their own God-Stopped moments.
As a leader, you can use the principles that are modeled in the eight stories found in the book to inspire others to operate in the type of faith that gets God’s special attention and leads to results. When they do, you will see them living the fuller lives God has for them. Isn’t that why we all want God to stop for us?
Someone God Stopped For,
— Derek Grier, author of When God Stops