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Can You Hear…no… Can you Understand Me Now?

Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:

9  It’s the same for you. If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space. 10  There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning. 11  But if I don’t understand a language, I will be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will be a foreigner to me12  And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church. 1 Corinthians 14:9-12 (NLT) 

 19  Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20  When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21  When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 22  When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 (NLT)

917      In modico fidelis!—faithful in little things. Your job, my son, is not just to save souls but to bring them to holiness, day after day, giving to each moment—even to apparently commonplace moments—the dynamic echo of eternity.

I need to apologize to you my readers. A few of you now have said my spelling or grammar errors have made it challenging to read my blog.  I dismissed it for several reasons as to why it didn’t concern me.  This blog started out as a synthesis of my own personal devotions, which a friend suggest I put out on a blog.

This weekend, as I preached on the second Bible passage quoted above, I started to think of this blog and my sermons.  I was convicted, and realized that in, not paying attention to grammar and spelling, I wasn’t doing what Paul urges, being all things to all people, that I may win some.

I know this in terms of language, as Paul talks about in the first passage above.  Thanks to a friend I have, over the last couple of years realized that language is more than just the words, it is what they describe.  That a Bible translation or a sermon may seem to be in English, but is it in the English our people can understand clearly?  Language dialects aren’t just found based on ethnic/cultural issues, but also in our vocation and environment.  WIth all these complications, communicating is a challenge, but it is so needed!

Yes, we can use dictionaries, they could as well. We can try to understand what a word or phrase means by context, we can even rely on the Holy Spirit to “interpret” in their heart.  However, the message of Christ is too important to let my own issues cause a fog to obscure the message.

Back to my confession, if I passively or actively choose to allow something to get in the way of the message being heard, then I have failed, indeed, I have sinned.  And for that I shall seek God’s grace and mercy, and ask for yours as well.  It’s time for me to be faithful in the little things, for the sake of the message being heard.  I need to me faithful in this, so that you can hear the echo of eternity.  I need to do this, so that these sermons and posts can be heard, so that as they reveal God’s love, you can understand it.

The message is too important for any of us to allow language or culture or tradition, choice of Bible translation, personal comfort or even spelling or grammar to get in the way of it being heard, of it being understood.

People need Christ Jesus, they need to understand the incredible love and loyalty He has for those people He has created to be His people. There is nothing in life that is more important than understanding God’s love for you.

That is why Paul wants us to be all things to all people, so that we might win some.  It is not about being a chameleon, fitting in to these groups.  It is about being close enough to them to know how they think, so that we can communicate God’s love to them, even as we love them!

May we all treat that message with the care it needs, that it may be heard.

(note to help me with this – I am now running all my blogs and sermons through grammerly, and proof reading them.  Feel free to mention other corrections needed, or things needed to be explained better.)

Ministry in the Spirit

Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day:

” I pray every day with all my heart that God may give us the gift of tongues. Such a gift of tongues does not mean knowing a number of languages, but knowing how to adapt oneself to the capacities of one’s hearers. It’s not a question of “saying foolish things to the crowd so that they understand”, but of speaking words of wisdom in clear Christian speech that all can understand.” (1)

Yesterday, my sermon talked of how we boldly and with confidence enter the presence of God Almighty.  How we go there, without division – and how this incredible plan of God – to make us all HIs people, is something that it is a privilege to share.

Whether you completely agree with the concept above, in this day where language barriers appear to be broken ( how much of the world speaks either Spanish, Mandarin or English?) the language barriers aren’t as broken as we think.   It still takes, not only translating the Bible out of Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic/Latin, but also into a language, the language that people speak, the language that they really hear. Such is the challenge of a multi-cultural society – one that is different, not just based on ethnicity, but also economic, regional, age, musical (yes I believe this is a major aspect of culture that divides us) etc.  Our language, though it may seem common, is loaded with words that have different meanings.

I think most of us struggle with this, when it comes to personal conversation – we just assume people know the words that we have used for so long – words like redemption or faith, or baptism, or who Jesus is. ( most people think He came to show us how to live…) There is a lot to “unpack” for the people we minister to, those inside and outside (for the moment) of the church.  We need to assume that people don’t know our language.  But this is true for our gatherings as well – we need to ensure people feel comfortable with asking questions, and we need to continually, whether we have more traditional worship and Bible Studies, or more contemporary styles of worship.  ( people even then don’t know what to do, or when… they can feel out of place there as well!)

We have to remember, that this freedom, this grace, this mercy we live in, is so incredible, and so open to all!  And we have the great privilege to see God’s work, amazingly, through us – as we trust in His guidance, and rejoice in His presence… as we invite others to come with us. Paul talked of this plan of God – to bring us into the presence of God… Peter did as well..

 9 The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance2 Peter 3:9 (NJB)

May we this week – consider how we pray, that not only would God have mercy on us, but on those whom we encounter, and may we be instruments that communicate His word, the revelation of His plan for them in Christ.

 

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2334-2337). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

“Why don’t they get it?”

Discussion and devotional thought of the day: Another interesting thing popped up at the end of my devotions this morning.

” Don’t expect people’s applause for your work. What is more, sometimes you mustn’t even expect other people and institutions, who like you are working for Christ, to understand you. Seek only the glory of God and, while loving everyone, don’t worry if there are some who don’t understand you.”  (1)

I have to admit a problem with this one, not that I like applause, but rather that I like confirmation.  A strong amen at the end of the sermon, a “like” or a “share” on one of my posts that has a special meaning to me.  (as opposed to those where my sarcasm and cyncism rules) I want people to grasp how deep and wide and broad and high is God’s love for them in Christ, and they instead get the point about social action  I want them to realize that we need to rid ourselves of idols, and they focus in on giving to others.  I want them to realize the key to worship is realizing they are in the presence of God, and the use my writings to either attack or defend the worship flavor they prefer.

UGGGGGHHHHH…

How frustrating it is when people don’t get it!

I need to step back at these points, to realize my blindness is as desperate as theirs, just on different issues.As maybe the depth of their trust and appreciation of God’s love.  My job isn’t to stimulate their growth to be like me, but to help them focus on Jesus.  To see His glory, not to admire my turn of the phrase.

As I’ve spent the last year reading the works of St Josemarie Escriva, I look back and see somethings that have resounded in my soul, and others well, I would try to argue with him about if he were around.  Some I need to think through, some like today’s, well hit me between my eyes (see yday’s blog – you’ll see my point.

So maybe I will just write – and if it blesses you praise God, and if you don’t care for it, or don’t get it – That’s okay.  The only thing you need to get is Jesus, -who will rescue you from your sin. (Not sure its a sin – it is…don’t think it is – check against scripture – it probably is)  Let Him rescue you, let Him bring you to glory…

Know His love, revel in the relationship you have with His people in His presence….

And rejoice!

AMEN?

 

 

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1068-1072). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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