James 1:19 "-- let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak"
When I was a seminary student (ancient history) a lot of time effort and expense went into learning to speak especially
in the pulpit. I don't remember a single lesson about listening. Since then a lot of loving people have helped me by
sharing their stories, joys and sorrows. I am still learning with your help that listening can be more important than speaking
and needs to come before, during and after speaking.
LISTENING TO GOD: Baptismal ministry begins, continues and ends with listening to God. We all know about listening
to God in worship and Bible study but if we really listen we can also here the voice of God in the stories and actions of
fellow Christians and yes God has ways of speaking to us even through His enemies.
LISTENING TO EACH OTHER: We live in a time of massive impersonal communication tools that did not exist even
ten years ago. It is important that we supplement these with face to face eyeball to eyeball
listening -- especially with our fellow members. This is why I am trying to spend sharing time with leaders and with people
I am less acquainted with than I am with leaders and regulars. Please help me by returning telephone messages.
LISTENING TO THE COMMUNITY: Congregations have a tendency to become isolated islands within a community.
God is calling us to pay deep attention to our city council, police, and especially our schools,
God is calling us to listen for needs, hurts, opportunities and challenges for ministry.
LISTENING TO THE CHURCHLESS: We are always being tempted to dismiss or look down upon those who are
"unchurched" as less intelligent, less moral, less happy, less whatever. We need to listen to their ideas, stories, and
accomplishments as well as their fears, problems and struggles, hopes and ambitions.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS AND LISTEN TO EACH OTHER