Thursday, June 23, 2011

Walking & Praying in step with the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

(John 1:1-4 ESV)

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.

(John 1:14 - The Message)

Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
(Psalm 119:18 ESV)

We've read these verses often, a lot, and sometimes when they become so familiar they lose some of their sparkle. But, I think John 1, when we really think about it, really think about the consequences of these statements is truly magnificent. It shows that in the beginning, before anything, the word was already there, and when it was spoke, everything around us came into being.

The consequences of this are amazing, but one of the the most amazing ones is that we can now see his work all around us, we see all he has made, we see his word ring true, we /see/ the results of the word of God all around us, every day, every moment, and we can also read his Words in the Bible, and these words ring true because they look and sound familiar, they have a quality about them we can recogonise in the world around us. In his book, "The Pursuit of God", A. W. Tozer says:

The life is in the speaking words. God's word in the BIble can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe.

After reading this, and thinking about these verses, it reminded me of Music. We can envision God's word as being like some kind of universal Chords being played all around us, all the time, and for demonstration purposes, here's how I think they would sound:

Prayer chord 1 by Jonphilpott

In music, things sound good when they are in harmony. Melodies get their properties from how the notes ring against underlying harmony. When we read the bible, it's like we are hearing a melody over the chord of God's word all around us. When we pray we are speaking a melody with these Chords, when we walk with him, we are grooving on this Chord, this ever playing, constant, wonderful Chord:

Prayer chord 2 by Jonphilpott

The Psalms 119 verse, helps me to remember to ask God to show me what going on around us, to see what he's done and what he's doing. To stay in tune with his Chord.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stop and Listen

Tony tells the story of a time when he was teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. He had just finished a lecture on theories of sociologist Emil Durkheim. After the lecture, Tony was followed to his office by a student who sat down and asked a rather trivial question about the lecture. Because Tony was tired and busy catching up on some details, he only half listened. He said he didn't listen as Jesus would have, or else he would have realized that the student had not come to talk about Durkheim. Tony answered the question in an offhand manner and then said, "Is that all?" THe student left Tony's office. He went back to the high-rise building where he lived, went to the roof, and jumped to his death. Tony realized too late that the student's visit was not to talk about sociology, but sociology was all Tony heard.

(From: Connecting Like Jesus: Practices for Healing, Teaching, and Preaching by Tony Campolo & Mary Albert Darling)

I have and hate to admit, I'm not as good of a listener as I should be. Sometimes it makes me feel awkward to hear others stories because I feel unable to help them for two reasons:

1. I fail to realise that listening IS part of helping them, not just physical action.
2. I don't always realise that the Spirit could be working here, and I should be trying to listen to person speaking and where there spirit might be leading.

This second point is interesting, since we come to realise that only Jesus can really help a person it's foolish to think we can do it in our own strength! After all, I couldn't help myself, he had to do it for me.

I guess the point is that when we become Christians we tend to think we all of a sudden have all the answers, we don't, but we can be a channel to someone who does, but will we be humble enough to let him?

I like the story Tony tells because it shows us, somewhat gruesomely what the consequences of not allowing ourselves to simply being a listener can be, but not just listening to the words, but listening to what their soul is saying.

So I ask you, are we really listening? What can we do today to listen better?