Over the last 8 years I’ve been involved in developing and planting a church that is focussed on releasing people as disciples who fully participate in the mission of God. It became clear early on that the most important thing to do was listen. This was followed by the recognition that listening without making a response was foolish – the two had to come together. Another recognition was that hearing and responding had to move from being in the hands of the specialists to being for every Christian everywhere. One of my deepest desires is to see that everyone involved in my sphere of influence is able to hear God, respond obediently & go where he leads.
Cath Livesey addresses these things in her book “My Sheep Have Ears“: distilled from many years of being an ordinary practitioner- a hearer & responder. She uses practical illustrations and stories to help us see how we, as ordinary ‘sheep’ of the shepherd, can hear his voice in the ways unique to us, as well as the whole flock benefitting from hearing God.
In the chapter entitled ‘Learning to tune in’, Cath focuses on the change of mind that is required. I love how practical, biblical, and simple her approach is – if you struggle to have a personal practice of listening or are helping others to do so, this chapter couldn’t be more helpful.
Furthermore, she helps us explore why prophecy is actually normal for the church, and for all disciples. Cath gives simple steps to being able to hear God for others; moving it from the super-spiritual zone it often occupies in the church to very practical. The more you read the more you run out of excuses about being unable to hear God’s voice!
Where the first three chapters focus in on our personal & individual activation as sheep that can hear & respond, chapters four to six examine more deeply the gift of prophecy, the function of prophetic ministry in the church and crucially how to support and release this for the benefit of everyone. This is especially useful for church leaders & those who are recognising that they have a call to grow in the prophetic ministry as a gift to the whole church and not function as rather spooky, slightly nutty, self-servers!
She handles relevant scripture carefully, unpacking passages in a comprehensible and thought provoking way. Making clear the benefits gained by all God’s people if the ability to hear God is fully released, both as a normal fact of life for all disciples and also a gift to the whole church, ministered through people who are called to be ‘ministry’ prophets.
In the final part of the book Cath helpfully engages with different types of God’s revelation and how to respond as God reveals things to us. Cath makes comprehensible what lots of others make incomprehensible, giving practical steps and leaving you with a real sense that you can respond to what God is saying.
I have a must-read list of books to do with discipleship and mission. This book goes onto that list because it is crucial that we grow in being able release the whole flock to hear and respond. My Sheep have Ears is a vital contribution to this. Read it!
Cath is part of Accessible Prophecy, a ministry helping churches grow a prophetic culture.