Monday, February 15, 2010

R U Lstening???

One of the biggest challenges that most people face is "Listening Well." At least once a week something happens that reminds me of the fact that I still have a long way to go on this one. On some level, I take comfort in the fact that this is not a new problem. It's one that the early church needed to deal with as well...

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19)

Here are a few things that I am trying to focus on to get better:

  • Give my full and complete attention to the person: Turn off the cell phone, close my computer, turn off the tv, etc.
  • I listen more and talk less. (This is a tough one for me because I have so much to say)
  • I ask a lot of question to make certain I am understanding.
  • I take notes.
  • I make certain I follow up if needed.

These things are helping me but I still fall short of where I want to be...

Do any of you have any suggestions that help you become a bteer listener that might help me as well? I'd love to hear from you...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How Do You Identify Yourself?

I am starting a new teaching series this weekend called "Life: Some Assembly Required" from the book of James. It's a great book with a lot of wisdom about how to live your life and I'm so excited about teaching it.

But there is one thing that jumps out at me in James 1:1 and it's the way that James identifies himself to his readers...

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. (James 1:1)

He calls himself a SERVANT of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is quite amazing when you know who James really is. You see James is the brother of Jesus.

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? (Matt. 13:55)

Now if I had been writing this letter, I know what I would have said. I would have said, "Hey, my name is James and I am the brother of Jesus. I grew up with him. I got to see things you don't know about. I did not always get along with Him and I did not believe He was the Messiah. But, He appeared to me after His death and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7) and I've been convinced ever since. So, since Jesus is my brother, you can trust what I am about to tell you because I am speaking with experience and authority."

BUT, James did not do this. He never tells us anything about his background nor about his family. He simply says, I am a SERVANT of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This makes me think about how I identify myself. Sometimes I want people to know who I am and who I know. I want people to think more highly of me because of who I am..I say thinks like ...

I am a pastor and I studied at...

I am the Senior Pastor at the Bridge Church

I know so and so...

I am a husband

I am a father, etc. etc..

All of this is true, but perhaps the best way to identify myself is to simply say:
I am a SERVANT of God and the Lord Jesus Christ... Maybe if I were to do this it would help me keep the right focus about who I really am and who needs to be in the spotlight. I don't know.

Tell me, what do you think??? How do you identify yourself?