Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hearing vs. Listening

I know this is one many of you have heard since you were young (at least I did), there's a difference between hearing and listening. A few times this week I've either been in conversations or watched them where one party was not listening to the other. It's kind of entertaining, watching someone ask the same question three times only to have the other party give information that has nothing to do with what they're asking.

There is a vast difference between the physical ability to hear and paying attention to what that noise is asking or saying. And even if the person hearing is understanding, they can listen and ignore what they are hearing. They don't have to do what is being asked of them.

I was thinking about this while driving today, I wonder if the reason so many people don't hear from God is because we aren't listening. We're eager to hear, but if God actually said something to us, would we listen and actually do it?

I'm not God, but when I'm talking to someone who I know can hear me but is clearly not listening, I usually react the same way.

I stop talking.

Maybe we need to work a little better on, as my Kindergarten teacher would say, "putting on our listening ears."


Monday, May 26, 2014

Controlling Truth?

The other day a commercial came on I had never seen. It was for a company known as, here's what the company is about. Many people say many different things on the internet, so this company goes and corrects anything you see as misinformation. Basically, they create the image you want for yourself. Their tagline is simple, "the truth that you control."

That line caught me. The truth that you control. Like somehow we decide what truth is and we can control what is truth for others. It's almost as if we are telling others what to believe.

The sad part is, there's a way to do this. It's much harder than simply hiring a company to clean your web presence. Instead, if someone doesn't like your cooking, find out why and work harder to serve a better meal. If someone says service is sloppy, work harder to give someone the service they deserve. If someone says something negative about you online, live in such a way as those who know you will not believe it, or better yet, come to your defense. Instead of taking the easy way out and erasing people's comments, work harder to live a life that opposes those comments, one that may not even allow for those comments to begin with.

You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of people who are crooked and stubborn. Shine out among them like beacon lights, 16holding out to them the Word of Life. ~ Philippians 2:15b-16a


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Welcome Everyone

This morning I was reading this. Here's the Message version of the verse (I liked how they put it):

Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently. ~ Romans 14:1 (MSG)

I don't know what it is lately, but I seem to be coming across different conversations where people believe in the same Jesus, but they differ on other topics, evolution, homosexuality (those seem to be the big two), any other little thing. Yes, I said little. Because according to the verse above, we are to welcome others seeking Jesus with open arms, even if we don't agree on some element of faith.

Instead of arguing to be right, how about we welcome differences and love the people who think differently then we do. After all, how many things did you believe ten years ago that you differ with now? When we get to heaven, do we expect Jesus to say, "you got it all right, good for you" or "you missed that one", or even worse, "you were right, but the way you treated them was wrong"?

Let's start focusing on the one thing the world needs to hear, Jesus loves you and so do I.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Are You Getting Closer?

This morning I was reading about Campbell's Law. It's an interesting idea, it states that whenever you start to use a number to measure something, people will inevitably get confused and start looking at the number. For instance, when you are driving somewhere people look at their speedometer. If they want to get there faster, they make that number bigger. The problem is, that number doesn't tell you if you're reaching your destination faster, it only tells you what speed the car is actually moving at. You could be increasing that number but driving the wrong direction. Merely focusing on the number is not an accurate measure of what you are trying to accomplish.

I wonder how often we try to use numbers to measure how close we are to God. Church attendance, Bible verses read, minutes spent in prayer, hours serving others. None of these are bad, in fact their all great! But if the goal is to up the number, we've missed it. Right now I have a daughter at home growing. What can she do to increase her growth? Nothing. She has to wait, and a majority of the things that cause her growth are outside forces she can't control (like how often mommy and daddy feed her).

Sometimes spiritual growth is less about a number and more about waiting, and waiting on God (there's a difference between the two).

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. ~ Colossians 1:9-10 (MSG)


Monday, May 05, 2014

Broken Cups

There's a blog I read in which the author has a three year old son. Right now they're trying to teach him to drink from a cup, a monumental task apparently. The little guy is having a tough time with it. A few days ago he drenched himself (to which dad did the right thing, laughed). But the reason was the best.

"My cup's broken."

Now, we all know that's not the case. His cup was not broken. He didn't do it right. And it's not expected that he be a perfect cup drinker right away. But he will never get better if he constantly blames the cup and doesn't change the real problem, how he drinks, then he will never be able to use a cup properly.

How often do we do this with our relationship with Christ? One of the biggest things that frustrates me when I hear it is someone saying, "God just doesn't seem real." So who's broken here? God? Doubt it. Instead I see someone who used to really love God, and now they don't read their Bible as much, they skip church regularly, praying has gone way down (except in emergencies), they haven't served anyone in months and their priorities have turned to what they want and need. And why doesn't God seem real or close or whatever it was He seemed before?

Is it the cup that's broken?

And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. ~ James 4:8a (LB)