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

He who has ears let him hear…reading your bible while driving!

I will be honest I have struggled to stay up on my reading of the Gospels through Lent. I knew that I would at some point fall behind, but I was committed to try and read during Lent. Yesterday I realized I was almost a week behind. I had about an hour drive for something yesterday by myself and thought I should catch up. I am sure you all are thinking while you drive you shouldn’t be reading your bible. And you are right. Driving and reading is not a good a idea unless you want to really meet Jesus face to face.

Instead of reading I got on my Bible app (before driving) and had it read to me. I would not say it is my favorite way to read the scripture. I like to highlight and take notes but it is what I needed. So there I was in the car by myself and I got to the gospel of Mark. Over and over in the first few chapters where those words:

And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mark 4:9 (ESV)

We don’t always like to listen. I don’t like to listen. Life can get so busy that I forget to be in the word or prayer. I can get caught up in all the memes, social media, and life drama and miss Jesus speaking to me.

So are you listening to Jesus? As we make our way to the cross are we listening to Jesus. I hope as we journey toward the cross I don’t get this far behind again. My prayer for all of us is that we take the time to listen and hear through the power of the Holy Spirit what Jesus is saying to us today and always.

Come and listen! Come and listen to what Jesus has done!

Image

One of my favorite songs by David Crowder Band is “Come and listen.” The song reminders me of the importance of sharing with people what Jesus has done for them. Sometimes in ministry we forget how essential that is. As I was sitting with a bunch of high school students for youth group I was stuck by something. I was struck by my calling to bring people to come and listen to Jesus.

I find in ministry I can fail at the sharing with people what Jesus has done for them.  I can struggle to hear for myself what Jesus has done for me. Every three weeks at youth group I have asked our students to take 30 minutes in prayer. We spend time praying for friends requests on our prayer wall. We also spend some of that time in the scripture. This week during that time I opened up to Ezekiel 37. It is one of my favorite texts in all of scripture. I love the story it tells about dry bones. I love what is says about our life of faith and our walk with Jesus. It talks about God’s promise to bring us from death to life. It points us to Jesus and what he does for us.

I have found in my life that often when we are struggling with their faith, when our faith is dyeing, it is because we haven’t come and listened. We forgot the importance of being in God’s word and listening to what he has done. .

So the question today I am struggling with, am I coming and listening? Am I helping students come and listen to what Jesus has done? Am I listening to what Jesus has done for me on the cross and in my life each day? How about you?  If not I would ask you to come with me and listen to what Jesus has done for you and me.