Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 2

Hearing from God should be just like sailing. How many of you row instead of sail?  Unlike rowing a boat that relies on our own strength, sailing is near effortless. God wants us to hear him effortlessly so that our soul will live. “Give ear and come to me” (Isaiah 55:3).  

You can learn to hear God’s Spirit speak.  In terms of our metaphor of rowing and sailing, you can learn to hear God’s voice conversationally by aligning your sail to catch the Holy Spirit’s wind. Things can then happen in our life that would otherwise not be possible by our “rowing” our way to hearing Him.

Learning how God speaks to us, however, takes practice and guidance, just like learning how to sail. We need to learn to focus, listen, discern and respond. You may need some help with quieting your mind. For some of us, our minds go a mile a minute. Crazy-busy thoughts infiltrate our minds not letting us have a moment’s peace. We are all over-scheduled, over-committed and over-extended. This makes it difficult to hear God’s still quiet voice above the noise level.

Learning to flow in God

You will recall from Part 1 of our story; my wife Peggy got this brilliant notion it would be fun to tune into hearing God tell us where to go. “Let’s see if we can get the same number exit as a way of hearing in unity,” Peggy said. It was an exercise in spontaneous flow, stretching, listening, trusting, pressing in and practicing hearing Papa God, not just on big things, but also the small, even unorthodox things. He was teaching me to listen, to trust, to obey and to have fun.

We still had miles to drive and plenty of time to sit and wonder what would be in store for us at exit 298. As each exit passed, my anticipation built.  And then suddenly I sat straight up from my reclining position. “Look!” Exit 289, Montezuma’s Castle, was one of our planned vacation stops. Remember?” Exit 289 was the other exit number I heard after recanting 298. Perhaps this was not a coincidence. Encouraged, I adjusted my seat forward and said, “On to exit 298.” 

We were committed to taking Exit 298 despite my questioning and doubts. Signs for exit 298 began to come into sight, and we burst out in a big shout!

Exit 298 was absolutely THEE correct exit for Sedona.


For those of you who are skeptical, remember, we did not beforehand know which exit to take. Without either a global positioning system (GPS) or roadmap, we had to tune into God’s Positioning Spirit to get where we were going.

God showed up despite my doubts. How incredible is that!? Jeremiah 29:11 says that it was not my plans but his. “I have it all planned out. Plans to take care of you, not abandon you.”  And God did hear and answer. “You will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear your voice and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12). Not only did he listen, but he also acted on our desires to hear him and guide us. Jeremiah 29:13 says “When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”  How cool is that!? And I surely wasn’t disappointed. Overjoyed and more confident I wanted to go deeper with God; I wanted to continue on our adventure.  “Okay God, now where?” 

When we exited the highway, Peggy asked – “What are you hearing, right or left?”  We both heard left. The song Jesus Take the Wheel took on greater significance. “Every time there is a choice for a turn – let’s ask God,” Peggy said.

Upon approaching a roundabout, we had to make a quick decision to go left, right, or straight. My mind froze momentarily. Initially, I heard “go left,” but quickly changed it to “go straight” as that seemed the most logical considering that traffic flow around the circle was mostly going in that direction. Peggy heard God say, “turn left.”  So, in unity, we turned left.

The left turn directed us into a lovely neighborhood. Each home was a unique adobe style home with classic red ceramic tile roofs, shades of green and brown and set against red rock cliffs. It was absolutely beautiful.

When leaving the neighborhood, we came to an intersection. Straight ahead and across the highway about one mile, sitting at the base of a 1,500-foot cliff surrounded by massive pieces of red sandstone, was the Chapel of the Holy Cross, another spot on our list.  

Wisdom’s guidance

Were it my plan, going straight would have been the most obvious choice, a more direct route to the town of Sedona.

Although, had we not made the left turn and all subsequent turns yielding to God’s Positioning Spirit (GPS), we would have missed seeing Chapel of the Holy Cross. God is such a loving and kind Father to have taken us there.

How often do we make plans that are not His? How often do we not consult God and charge ahead with our own plans?  How often do we miss out on what God wants to reveal to us on the off-roads because we are not listening to His voice? 

When we trust the Lord completely without regard for preconceived notions and plans and rely on Him to guide us, He will lead us in every decision we make; He will lead us wherever we go (Proverbs 16:9). Further, intimacy with God opens the door to hear Him. Whether we turn to the right or to the left, our ears will hear His voice saying, “this is the way” (Isaiah 30:21).

God has a wonderful plan for you. Perhaps it is a road that you might not have taken?  How will you make sure that you are on the right path? Once you are on that path, how will you stay on it?  The Lord longs to be gracious to you (Isaiah 30:18). He longs to show loving-kindness to you and bless you. So, don’t rush off in your own direction. Ask God about it first.

Continue reading “Part 3 Adventures in Flowing in God

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Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 1

Copyright 2020
by Bill Hutzel & Peggy Castorri-Hutzel

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Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 1

What if you believed hearing from God could actually be fun? This beckons the question – do you believe God can speak to you? No, I don’t mean just through his Word through interpretation of Scripture, but instead, like Moses, Abraham, and Paul, who heard His voice. If He does still speak to us today, then how? When? Where? Maybe you are like me. I needed to put these questions to the test.

Pressing in and listening to God

I wanted to see Sedona Red Rocks, however, the day started out with clouds and light rain, not a perfect day for sight-seeing. Wavering on where to go or what to do, Peggy, my wife, got this brilliant notion that it would be fun to tune into spontaneous flow and ask God where to go. By flow, I mean she wanted God to speak directly through his spirit to our spirit, to lead us where he wanted us to go without a predefined plan or a GPS. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “With all your heart rely on him to guide you and …. become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.”  This may not make any human sense at first because to most of us, natural things are more real than the supernatural. But as you will see, if you shut out all distractions and put your spirit first, it becomes easier to be led by the Spirit of God.

At first, I resisted. “Are you kidding!?”, I thought, not taking Peggy seriously. Turn off the GPS?  Who knows where we might end up?  For miles, you could see nothing but prairie, grasslands, desert and giant 5-ton saguaro cacti standing 40-feet tall like sentinels.

Contrary to her whims, I just wanted to see Sedona.

“Let’s ask God where he wants us to go,” Peggy said. “Uh-huh,” I replied unenthusiastically, not taking the exercise too seriously, and then returned to looking out the window as she steered the car up interstate highway 17 at 75 miles per hour with the windows and roof open in our luxury rental car, a 2019 Jaguar.

When we booked the rental, we asked for an economy car, but apparently, God had already gone ahead and arranged for an upgrade.  “Expect Upgrades” Peggy heard in a revelation during a business trip to Brazil in October of 2018. And so, we got upgraded from a no-frills low budget vehicle to a luxury Jaguar at no additional cost!!

As the car sped along with windows down and the sunroof open, and miles and miles of desert and giant saguaro cacti, I started to fall into a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. As I began to nod, I began to form a mental image of hundreds to thousands of cacti with their arms raised towards heaven worshiping their creator. Psalm 148:5 says “Let all of creation erupt with praise to God.” 

A desert is a place of solitude, silence and stillness. Perhaps, this is why Jesus regularly withdrew into the desert, to hear God. I knew, too, that I had to get alone in my mind, free of unrelenting chatter and noise, and become still if I was to hear God and come into unity with Peggy and God’s Spirit.

Suddenly I was startled from my half-awake, half-asleep state.  “Bill, I’m serious, let’s ask God where He wants us to go. Ask Him for an exit number and let’s see if we get the same one as an exercise in hearing in Unity.” “What!?” I said half dazed.  “What exit number did you hear God speak?” This wasn’t resonating with me. Besides, how could God or why would God bother to tell us which exit to take?  How would we get to where we wanted to go without a road map or GPS, I reasoned? 

 “Bill, don’t you believe it?” “C’mon,” she said pleadingly.  I tried to avoid the question, although I admit, I do believe God can do anything. Reminded of the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to me through faith (Ephesians 1:19), I knew this was true, but this seemed a might bit trivial. Didn’t God have more important things to do?

Trying to brush off the question I humored Peggy and mumbled “Um, okay, exit 101,” and went back to looking out the window. As I set my reclining seat further back, I folded my arms and closed my eyes.

 “You don’t believe it, do you?” she asked as if it were a statement of fact. But I reasoned, what person in their right mind would turn off their GPS to listen to God for driving directions?  This was totally out of my comfort zone.  Admittedly, I also had some bedfellows tag along for the ride – doubt, fear, and unbelief. 

“Where is your faith to believe?”  “Stop doubting!” Peggy said. “We’re already in the 200’s going North. C’mon. Listen again.” 

We were one of just a couple of vehicles on a long stretch of highway when a car passed us in the passing lane. “Wow, did you see that license plate!?” Peggy asked excitedly.  “It said SKPTIC!!!”  “No, I didn’t see it, I’m not paying attention.” Peggy gunned the car, switching lanes in order to show me the license plate. Now traveling at more than 75 miles an hour, I was startled out of my comfort zone. “Whoa! Slow down” I said. “Don’t ride this guy’s tail!”. “It’s okay,” she said, not concerned in the least. “Do you see it now?” Irritated, I said, “no, my vision is blurry.”  I just didn’t want to admit to having seen it. How uncanny, that the God of the entire Universe (with more important things to do, I reasoned) would send precisely at that moment, a passing car with the license plate that screamed “DOUBTER!”  God’s gavel came down at that very moment. I was convicted of my unbelief. But in retrospect, Peggy’s challenge to me to hear God for the improbable, caused me to stretch and confront my doubt and unbelief, even though it seemed irrational.

“Bill, He loves you so much that He sent this exact car at this precise moment, with that exact license plate to personally stretch you and communicate to you of His greatness and love for you.  Bill, even in the smallest things He wants us to be amazed by Him and his devotion towards us. He loves you so much.”  This was a whole new experience of trusting and listening to God.

“Wanna play, now?” Peggy asked.
I agreed to play and spontaneously blurted out “298!” 
“What was that?”
I hesitated, second-guessing my reply. Did I really hear God, or was it all in my head? Challenged that I might be wrong, I recanted 298 and said “289.” 

Peggy was really taking flowing in God seriously. “So, which is it? 298 or 289?”  I wavered, and reverted back to my initial answer, “298.”

She remained silent momentarily, then responded, “It’s not the same number I got, but I heard God say to trust your exit number.”  Incredulously, I thought, trust me?  God must have a sense of humor. 

It was decided, then, we would take exit 298. And, so began our adventure in flowing in God in unity and trust.

Find out what exit 298 has in store. Continue reading “Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 2

Copyright 2020
by Bill Hutzel & Peggy Castorri-Hutzel

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