Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

new blog address

All announcements
will be posted on the new main web log
for our church

which is

or just click the link to it in the upper right corner


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why won't you listen to me ?

Why won't you listen to me?
by Katie Brazelton and Susan Singleton
Blessed to be a blessing - by listening
A defiant 6-year-old girl strikes a pose like a runway model, covers her ears, and asserts in a taunting tone: "Na-Na-Na . Na-Na-Na! I can't hear you!" A woman hangs up on her spouse, slamming the phone down after saying: "You are really selfish! You make me so mad. I refuse to listen to you anymore!" In a restaurant, a colleague attempts a serious conversation, only to realize that his friend is distracted by the CNN news anchor, who is broadcasting on a nearby television.It's infuriating to have something to say while no one is listening.
Each of us wants to be heard.
We crave relational interaction - someone to listen unconditionally to us, without anger, criticism, or distraction. We want someone who won't minimize our plight or offer a "quick fix." In the classic, The Listener, Taylor Caldwell laments the lost art of listening: "One of the most terrible aspects of the world today is that nobody listens to anyone else . If you are bewildered, or frightened, or lost, or bereaved, or alone, or lonely - nobody really listens ... Nobody has time to listen to anyone, not even those who love you and would die for you. Your parents, your children, your friends: They have no time. That's a very terrible thing ..."The culprit might just be that our fast-paced society bombards us with talking heads, ring tones, and constant music. So we have grown numb to much of the incoming barrage of chatter and noise. There is a lot of talking going on in our busy world, but is anybody really listening or responding well? Maybe not so much, huh? And yet we don't need any more scientific proof that active listening empowers people to express their innermost thoughts and feelings; that it actually validates a person's self-worth. We've known for years that empathetic listening builds trust and confidence in a relationship; that being heard gives the speaker a sense of connectedness to the listener; that open communication is the bedrock of all human ties. It's a well-known fact that regardless of the outcome of any given situation, the speaker is often satisfied if somebody took the time to listen. You've probably seen at least one potentially hot-tempered encounter diffused by a kind nod and listening spirit. Just think back to the last time you got ready to explode into somebody's ear in a telephone conversation, when all of a sudden you felt disarmed by the other person's agreeable and receptive attitude. So, why don't we listen more often?In fact, why do we allow our limited listening skills to impede even our ability to minister? We are already convinced that there are few greater skills to be utilized in our homes, communities, schools, and churches than the ability to have an edifying interaction filled with grace and love. After all, by listening, we get to peek into someone's heart. So, if our churches are charged with equipping effective servant leaders, why don't we "religiously" teach our members the art of listening, so they can know and understand the heart and needs of those to whom they are ministering?Jesus told his disciples, "Therefore, consider carefully how you listen." (Luke 8:18a niv) With that in mind, the following five key principles can help you S.H.A.R.E.
yourself through the gift of listening:
S ingle-minded focus - Give people your undivided attention. Set aside your agenda and focus on them. Make eye contact and turn off your cell phone. Use positive body language and nonverbal cues to re-enforce the fact that you are paying attention. Let this interaction be about the other person, not you. Pray as you listen. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment to process the speaker's spoken and unspoken thoughts and concerns. "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak ." (James 1:19a niv)
H eartfelt care - Listen to others with your heart. Put yourself in their shoes. Empathize with their feelings and emotions. Do not be afraid to laugh, cry, rejoice, and be still with them. Show them you care.
A ffirming attitude - Validate the person by being an effective sounding board. Dr. Joyce Brothers has said, "Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery." (Moncur, M., 2005) Without interrupting, ask open-ended questions to clarify your understanding. Say: "So, what I hear you saying is .?" or "If you want that outcome, then what is your next step?" or "How can I assist you in achieving your goals?" Asking open-ended questions clarifies your understanding of the message being spoken and affirms the speaker.
R espectful demeanor - Convey your unconditional love for them. Never be condescending, even when they fall short of your personal expectations. Listen with an attitude of appreciation for one of God's children. To do so is not condoning bad behavior or lending agreement to how they handled a situation; it is a matter of respecting them as a human being.
E ncouraging words - "Encourage one another daily." (Hebrews 3:13 niv) Allow those with whom and to whom you minister to verbally process, brainstorm, and think through their situation without your interjection of a criticism or solution. Your encouragement will help them arrive at their own resolution with possibly the added benefit of some inner peace. As you S.H.A.R.E. yourself through the gift of listening to others, remember that someone even greater wants you to listen to him as well. Only by listening to your Creator and all-knowing Counselor are you empowered to serve as an effective leader: Christian servant leaders realize that it is only through daily quiet time, meditation, worship, and prayer that God speaks to their heart. He desires that you listen to him about his plans for your life - both what he wants you to do and who he wants you to become.Listening is a powerful way to share yourself with others and to honor God. Accept this challenge to enhance your listening skills today. (Find somebody to practice on before you lay your head on your pillow tonight!) With the help of the Holy Spirit, you will be blessed and a blessing to those you serve through listening.
by Katie Brazelton and Susan Singleton

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sunday March 4 - FORGIVENESS

Read John 8:2-47
Many people today are guilt ridden because of sinful things they have done in their lives. They cannot forgive themselves, and cannot accept the forgiveness of others.
Know that Jesus desires to forgive our past sins our wants us to live pure lives in the future.
God is merciful. No sin we have committed is beyond God's mercy and forgiveness.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

He never promised that the hill would not be hard to climb

Through the Fire – The Crabb Family
So many times I've questioned certain circumstances
Or things I could not understand
Many times in trials, weakness blurs my vision
And my frustration gets so out of hand
It's then I am reminded that I've never been forsaken
I've never had to stand the test alone
As I look at all the victories
The spirit rises up in me
And it’s through the fire my weakness is made strong
He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting
But He said help would always come in time
Just remember when your standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And He will take you through the fire again
I know within myself that I would surely perish
But if I trust the hand of God, He'll shield the flames again, again