Lets stop, listen, ask questions and act!

I have to admit I don’t like to listen. I am an extreme extrovert so listening doesn’t come naturally. But seriously I think more of us need to listen. I mean really listen. Here is the thing I think many of us have forgotten how to listen.

Listening is not just sitting back and accepting what others are saying. It is trying to understand. I feel as though many of us have lost this in today’s world. This past week has been tough. It has been hard for many on both sides of almost all the debates. Stay home orders, Black Lives Matter, riots, protests, violent police, these topics have truly brought many of us to blows on social media, with family, with friends and even people we have never met.

As a Christian I have no problem with The Truth. I have no problem with their being absolute truth. I do however as a Christian know that because of my sinful self-centered nature I can never see any of this through a perfect lens. I am going to get many things wrong, I may use wrong words or wrong comparisons or examples but I know it is important to keep listening and ask questions.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance

Proverbs 1:5 NIV

What does it look like to listen? I think it is hearing points of view I don’t agree with. We all need to stop speaking in absolutes. Memes are not about listening but often about mocking another point of view. Lastly too often all I see is the tag line if you don’t agree, shut up, or shout it so those in the back stop talking. I dont find this helpful. I want to listen and I want to ask questions. I want you challenge me and I want to challenge you. But first I have to listen and then ask questions. Some of those questions will seem accusatory, I am sorry. I think it important to ask. When I ask those questions I know i need to keep listening. Listen so you can hear the people around you. So you can help and maybe become more empathetic to those who think, act and walk differently than you do. Lets be people who listen, ask questions, and finally act to change our world one person at a time.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:34-40 NIV

What are the things you want to keep after quarantine?

Family Bible StudySo we are just now starting to hear about the country opening back up to a more normal state of being.  I imagine many of us are thinking about the things we cant wait to get back to.  Hugging loved ones, going to the beach, playing group sports and most important of them all sitting at the bar talking about how amazing the Star-wars movies really are…ok maybe not that last one but you get the point.  I have been online and seen a number of people posting about all the things they a can’t wait to do again.

Last week I was on the phone with a parent and she said something that made me think.  She talked about with all the things wiped clean from her schedule what things was she doing now that she wants to keep  after the quarantine has ended?   So here is our question. What things are you going to keep?  Is it going to be sitting with family for meals. Maybe checking in our your parents, friends or family.  Maybe you have been better about going to worship every week, it was in your pj’s, but you have been consistent. Maybe it is getting more exercise by taking walks as a family. I know the dog would love for less than 7 a day but maybe keeping up with it as family on a daily basis is more doable now.  We all have things we have changed over these past weeks maybe we can keep some of the good habits going.

For me it is going to be reading my bible.  I also want to help my family make this a new habit as well.  I want us to get in the word and talk about it on a weekly basis and really see what God has to say.  So here is my challenge to all of you if you are looking for this as I am.  Would you join us? I am going to be starting an online bible study for families on Thursday nights at 6:30pm.  All you need is a bible and a computer/phone.  It will be a time to get in the word.  You can join us on a zoom call if you want or you can read with us and submit me some questions at a later point.  The first 5 weeks are going to be on Galatians.  We start Thursday April 30th.  Lets start a new pattern in the word together as a family. You certainly don’t have to but do keep up going to Church at least, even if it is in your pj’s!

 

Routines…New, Old and Changed

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I have worn more sweat pants over the last four weeks than I think I have in my entire life. These last few weeks have been trying to figure out my routines.  Things are not the same a they were before the stay at home orders.  I would say in some ways it has been good and in some ways it has been difficult.  Certainly things I tried to do early in the process are not happening nearly as often today.  Things like wearing dress pants and dress shirt even when I have to come into the office has been lost as the weeks have gone on.  Even getting up early to be in the “office” (my kitchen table) by 8am has not happened.  Some things are never going to be the same.

17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”  26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Matthew 26:17, 26-29 ESV

As I was thinking about it this week I was thinking about the Lord Supper.  How Jesus took something they had been doing in the Passover/Sabbath meal and tweaked it.  He took something in their routine and made it that much more meaningful.  I imagine the very next week when they got together for Sabbath meal they sat in awe of the moment it could never be the same. They couldn’t look at it the same way. When those disciples sat together and ate the meal together everything was different.

Lots of things we have done these last few weeks will not be the same.  Hopefully you and I can consider some new routines that glorify Jesus.  I know for me one of those things will to be to appreciate the power of being together in worship and most especially the gathering around the Lords table.  I also pray for me that this routine of being in the word more outside of class will continue into the future.  What are the things in your new routine you want to keep?  What things will you cherish more?  What things do you want to get back?  Jesus comes to bring change, may that change help us all grow in our trust in Him.