On the flyleaf of the book, it reads: “In 1998, an anonymous client gave the Smith advertising agency in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, $150,000 to create an advertising campaign to reach people who used to be faithful to a religion but had drifted away.” Edited by Charles Robb, “God Speaks” contains the simple, thought provoking series of quotes attributed to God. These quotes first appeared on billboards in south Florida. Picked up by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America as a public service campaign, billboards in two hundred cities carried the messages. Thousands of media sources and outlets featured the campaign and covered the responses generated. Eventually it spread to other countries.
Charles Robb, the creative director for the Smith Agency, was asked by the president of the company to work on the project. “At the time I thought it somewhat ironic that I would be asked to work on an advertising campaign designed to reach … well, me.”
Well, what do you think? Would God say things like:
“I’ve missed you.”
“I don’t question your existence.”
“I’m also making a list and checking it twice.”
“If you can’t hear Me, maybe you’re not listening.”
“I heard your prayer; I just don’t care who wins the game.”
“Got plans for later?”
Perhaps He would say, has said such things. Perhaps the problem is not about God speaking but our listening. If the campaign did anything, it caused lots of conversation. Some people were offended; the signs were irreverent. Some scoffed; the notion of ‘God’ is ridiculous. Some laughed nervously; the messages hit too close to home. Some pondered; what would God say to His world, to me?
God does speak. If it takes a billboard campaign for people to notice, He can use that. He speaks every day through the wonder and beauty of His creation. He speaks through His timeless Word. He speaks through circumstances – in the storm and the stillness. He speaks through trusted friends and respected leaders. He speaks most perfectly through His Son, the Eternal Word.
He’s also listening. When is the last time you spoke to Him? It might have been in a time of crisis. It might have been about something you wanted. It might have been in an experience of worship. It might have been just to check in.
He speaks. He listens. He cares. One of my favorite billboards: “We’re in this together, you know – God.” (“God Speaks” edited by Charles Robb, Villard Books)