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Tag: Listening

A Growing Communication Problem

A Growing Communication Problem

“Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Sam. 3:10 Last Friday, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham dropped a bomb on the sports world. He wrote an article which suggested the end of the New England Patriots dynasty in football. The end of the Tom Brady era is not all that earth-shattering. He is a 40-year-old quarterback. What was shocking to the world was reading about the in-house…

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Thorns Infest the Earth?

Thorns Infest the Earth?

“for (God) has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…” Luke 1:48 One summer, as we sat listening to a campfire worship, my son tapped my arm and asked, “What’s that song we sing in church that goes, ‘Thorns infest the earth?” Peter was in third grade and, like most children his age was a master of random questions. It caught me completely off guard. So I asked follow-up questions to see if I could narrow the field of possibilities….

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A Desire to Be Heard

A Desire to Be Heard

“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Ps 145:8 On September 30, 1991, Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras led a military coup which overthrew the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti. The first popularly elected president in Haitian history, Aristide’s removal created chaos on the tiny island by threatening democracy. President George H.W. Bush denounced the coup and imposed a trade embargo upon Haiti demanding a return to democracy. Two years later, President Bill…

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Codes, Criticisms and Good Neighbors

Codes, Criticisms and Good Neighbors

“Then he began to speak to them in parables.” Mark 12:1 A neighbor once came to our house to compliment us on our yard. She was amazed at how much Peggy and I had accomplished in such a short time. It felt good to have our hard work recognized. We had been putting a lot of time and energy into restoring a piece of property which had been neglected. As we talked, I thought how wonderful it was to live…

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The Lord Listens

The Lord Listens

“I love the Lord because he hears my requests for mercy.” Psalm 116:1 In New York, we used to take campers on canoe trips down the Upper Delaware River. These trips produced some of my favorite memories of camp. My first trip, though, remains forged in my memory because on that trip I nearly lost my life. Few of my campers in that first group had ever been canoeing. Some could not swim. To help provide a safe experience, I…

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The Tree of Good and Evil

The Tree of Good and Evil

“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” Gen. 2:17 Fake news, alternative facts, fair and balanced, liberal media agenda, CNN: The Clinton News Network, etc… The list of catchphrases goes on and on. Each one, in its own way, calls into question the integrity of the news we read. It leaves my head spinning in confusion. Where can a person find authentic news, not opinion, but facts void of extreme bias? A…

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Fun Stuff, Like, Casting Out Demons

Fun Stuff, Like, Casting Out Demons

“…sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons.” Mk 3:14-15 My seminary training was so boring. Too much time was spent learning Greek and Hebrew. Instead of doing fun stuff, professors wanted us to proclaim the Gospel. When we could have been learning how to use the powers of God, they wanted us to know pastoral care. Boring stuff like, how to listen with compassion and pray for and with people in need. Despite what…

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Listen Without Expectations

Listen Without Expectations

Wherever the river goes…It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. (Ezekiel 47:9) Last night as election results were starting to reach the news stations, I was in the basement conducting an interview for an upcoming podcast. Both of us were uninspired by either candidate. It felt like we were hiding. So, we lost ourselves in a conversation about life, farming and faith. There was a problem with the interview. My guest didn’t tell me what…

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Who is Listening?

Who is Listening?

Whenever people share political or social commentaries on Facebook, I am reminded of an experience I had as a confirmation small group leader. In one particular group, we had two students who would dominate every conversation. It was very frustrating. One week, I decided to focus on listening rather than the lesson. Interestingly, the students who felt the least heard were the two students who talked the most. It made sense, when a person speaks they need someone else to…

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