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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Listening with Different Ears

When we are in town we will go to our church for both the early morning service and Sunday school.  Because of the holidays there was no Sunday school.  Because we are at the end of the current pastor’s tenure and we have not found a new pastor the pulpit is being filled by a sister church.
Listening with Different Ears
The pastor has had some physical challenges in recent years.  I do not know him.  I do not know how the challenges he has been facing has impacted him or his approach to ministry.  He speaks with a reality and a familiarity with the Scripture that I find attractive.

He does not always finish his thoughts.  By that I mean he may refer to a passage of scripture in content, even mentioning the book, without giving the reference.  Other times he paraphrases something in the Scripture without referring to the book or the content explicitly.  I found myself filling in the gaps.  In doing so, I found myself thinking about more than what he was sharing.

I spend a fair amount of time in the Bible.  I have for a long time.  I have studied, at some level, all of the books.  Some of the books I have studied multiple times.  When I listen to a message, any message, what is being said is filtered through the studies I have done.  I find myself either agreeing or else in dialog with the speaker.  Long way of saying I do not take what he may share uncritically.

That should be all of our experience.  Acts 17:11 reminds us that the Bereans checked everything Paul said against the Scripture.  The Holy Spirit through Luke calls this noble minded.

We are, according to Christ, to have His Word abiding in us.  Joshua 1:8 tells us that we are to not allow the book to depart from our mouths.  It is to be our night and day meditation.  If that is the case, all of us should be listening through the grid of what we have studied in the Word of God.  We should be continually evaluating what we hear against what we know.

For me that means that I am in constant dialog with the speaker.  This morning that dialog resulted in a new take on a passage and topic I have studied in some depth.  The experience was like hearing what he said and then thinking through the topic and several passages that he did not reference but aligned with what he said.  It gave me a fresh perspective on something I share quite a bit.

So his message drew and built on my personal study.  His input was only part of what the Lord showed me this morning.

I would encourage you to follow that same path.  Do not allow the pastor’s message to be the primary input in your Christian life.

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