This week I’ve been reminded and challenged by the words in James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
Quick to listen. Slow to speak.
Am I a good listener?
Are you a good listener?
Have you noticed that there are a lot of opinions out there right now?
Opinions gushing out like a channel of slop from a concrete truck mixer.
It seems to me, that over the last two months, that concrete has landed and hardened.
I’m observing a nation of people becoming set in their position.
Solidifying stances stacking up into walls.
Hardened opinions hurled around and hurting.
Cemented standpoints that are quick to speak, have stopped listening, and are quickly becoming more angry.
Church, more than ever, I believe we need to demonstrate what it is like to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry.
As a pastor, every day, I hear new stories of the pain people are experiencing.
From every position, and on every side of whatever perspective there might be on just about anything, ….people are hurting. We need to be good listeners.
This is my personal prayer this morning:
“Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger”
Lord, please help me be a better listener today
And as I listen to others, help me to listen to You
Please show me where my heart has become hard
Please soften my reactions and slow my frustrations
Please provide wisdom where words are needed
May Your Presence of Peace be evident in every conversation
I want to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger
Lord please empower me to be slothfully slow to offer my impulsive opinions
Holy Spirit please energise me to rush urgently towards attentiveness
2. Deepening hospitality
On Sunday we talked about three practical ways to deepen our conversations through WORD, WORSHIP and WAITING.
WORD – bring the bible into the conversation. Such as sharing a favourite verse, asking a question like “what do you think Jesus meant when he said…..?”
WORSHIP – introduce a simple element of prayer, thanksgiving, playing a favourite worship song, or communion after a meal.
WAITING – take a moment to listen to the Holy Spirit and pray for each other. What verse, picture or word of encouragement is God prompting you with?
May your conversations with others be a place of spiritual refreshment and encouragement!
3. Are you eager to gather in worship?
Wednesday night is our next mid-week worship and communion gathering. Don’t forget to register through the Church Center app, or email me if you’d like to come. This will be our first service requiring a vaccine pass, to maximise the number of people who can gather.
So far, we have offered a range of different settings and it has been important to me to give priority to those specific needs in order to ensure that our church continues to be a place that is welcoming to all. Each service has been the same, including communion, a short message, worship, prayer. Each service has been meaningful and healing. I’m looking forward to the next one!
I recognise that many people are choosing to avoid all gatherings at the red traffic light setting, and that’s completely understandable and OK. And for those who are ready and eager to gather at church in worship, we welcome you into this place of worship on Wednesday.
Grace and peace