I think I’ll like the new Kairos. I liked the old one with Mike Glenn and I’m 99.9% certain that I’ll like the new version with Chris Brooks.
There’s still some fantastic worship music from a band that lots of people would pay good money to see if they decided to go on tour. There’s some spot-on expository teaching that always hits home and is both comforting and convicting.
Tonight was no exception.
The text was Mark 7 where Jesus healed the man born deaf and dumb. Chris made the point that a lot of us trouble speaking the Gospel because we’ve gotten to where we can’t really hear Jesus speaking to us.
We have a spiritual speech impediment because we’re deaf to what God has to say to us. What people hear from us about Jesus says more about us and where we are than it does about who Jesus actually is.
My prayer for both you and me is that Jesus can again open our ears to hear Him speaking. I suspect that if we ever get to the place where we truly hear God speaking to us, our message might be very different than the morality sin management message that gets passed around a lot these days.
What turns people off isn’t necessarily the message, but the disconnect they see between what we speak and how we live. When our eyes and ears finally are open to what Jesus wants to say to us, then our lifestyle will line up with our lips and we will not only talk the Gospel but walk it as well.
“In solitude we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the result of our efforts. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It’s there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love; and that the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received” (Henri J.M. Nouwen).
Henri Nouwen wrote that every single person ever born deals with aloneness, because every single one of us is unique and no one else will ever have our exact problems and issues and hang-ups and phobias.
He said we can either see our aloneness as a wound and thus turn it into loneliness or view it as a gift, where it becomes solitude. In solitude is where we can learn to be still and quiet and know that in truth, we are never really alone. God is with us.
Solitude makes us better people, better neighbors, better friends, better spouses, better lovers, and better disciples. We’re not clinging to each other out of a desparate need to not be lonely, but because we are finally comfortable with who we are in the times when we are alone with no noise to drown out our own thoughts.
That is my own wording of what I’ve been reading in The Only Necessary Thing, a compilation of Nouwen’s thoughts on living a prayerful life. Seriously, if you don’t read another one of my blogs, but read one of his books, I will be supremely happy. He’s that good.
That’s all for tonight. Let me know what you are reading that touches you deeply at the soul level. Maybe it’s a book that will do the same for me. And may the God of the earthquake and the God of the thunder also be the God of your silence and the God of your solitude. Amen.
I found this in the booklet that came with a Natalie Grant CD I bought today.
“Dear Lord, help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with my feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you, O Lord!
Stay with me, then I shall begin to shine as you do; so to shine as to be light to others. The light, O Lord, will be all from you; none of it will be mine; it will be you shining on others through me. Let me thus praise you in every way you love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.
I would only add that while it is great to show God’s love by example, it will always be necessary at some point to use words, for how can anyone believe who has not heard? I think the point that Mother Teresa and Saint Francis of Assisi made was that you need both. Not just words without a loving example and not just a loving example without words. Lord, help me to be both today!
Amen and amen.