Never borrow your impressions of a person from others. You’ll miss out on some great people that some just misunderstood, or didn’t give a fair shake to.
As a minister, I hear a lot of personal stories. Some joyous, some sad, many conflicted. Lately, it seems Satan’s been working overtime, and I’ve heard an awful lot of the latter. As you try to offer wisdom, a listening ear, and pray with and for people, one of the challenges is to remember that one of the fundamental truths in life is that there are two sides to every story (at least). As Solomon said, “The first to speak in court sounds right—until the cross-examination begins,” (Proverbs 18:17). A good listener isn’t just one who knows how to hear sympathetically, but one who is willing to listen with discernment, and to more than one point of view if real healing and growth is ever to take place.
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7, ESV
I’ve recently posted the study we just finished on Wednesday evenings, “Rise Up, Men of God – A Study of Leadership in Nehemiah”. We had some great discussion, and as I have every time I’ve spent time in Nehemiah, I came away with some great principles and pointers for leadership, and a deep appreciation for the man himself. You can click “Small Group Studies” above to download the pdfs.
You’ll also find there a new study of Ecclesiastes, “Finding True Depth in a Shallow World”. These are being posted as we progress, so a new one will pop up every week (ch. 1 & 2 now available).
For the month of June our message series at the Early Church of Christ was on generosity and giving. While this topic is one that I probably preach too little on (I’m a native West Texan, avoiding it is in our blood), I really enjoyed the study and challenges in this series. I hope that you find these encouraging; the lessons are meant to come at this important Christian value (Jesus spoke on it all the time) in a very positive way.
A Little is Enough (when God is in it) – Matthew 14:13-21
What to Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek, a tiny bird on its back, two dead fish and your wallet have in common?
Blessed to Be a Blessing – II Corinthians 8-9
“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, ‘He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.'” –II Corinthians 9:8-11, The Message
The Prodigal Father – Luke 15:11-32
It is said that charity begins in the home, and in the parable of the prodigal son, we see that charity began in the heart of a loving, generous-beyond-reason father.