Birds and Babel

Speaking the Right Language

[#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D1X 2003/03/06 05:32:09.3 JPEG (8-bit) Fine Image Size: Large (3008 x 1960) Color Lens: 400mm f/2.8 Focal Length: 800mm Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern 1/50 sec - f/5.6 Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Sensitivity: ISO 125 White Balance: Shade AF Mode: AF-C Tone Comp: More Contrast Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached Color Mode: Mode II (Adobe RGB) Hue Adjustment: 0° Sharpening: Normal Noise Reduction: Image Comment: [#End of Shooting Data Section]

The mockingbird is an interesting character. I came to this conclusion one early morning while I was sitting outside reading my Bible serenaded by the sounds of nature. At least I thought it was the sounds of nature. It turned out to be the sounds of one lone mockingbird who had perched himself upon my roof.

The mockingbird is known for mimicking other birds, anywhere between 50-200 according to Wikipedia. It’s also been known to mimic other animals such as cats, dogs, frogs, and crickets. The mockingbird has learned to speak the language of those around it, something the church could learn from.

Let me explain. If your desire is to reach the unchurched, the King James Version of the Bible is probably not the best version to use. It can be hard to understand, especially for those who didn’t grow up in church. If your church is located in a retirement community in Florida, your worship team probably doesn’t need to be rocking Hillsong’s Young & Free. Tailor your language to those you’re trying to reach.

When everyone within the church speaks the same language, great things are able to happen. We see this take place with the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Pay attention to the wording God uses.

But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Genesis 11:5-6

Nothing will be impossible for them. Why, because they were united and spoke the same language. Does this describe your last business meeting? If not, what can you do today to change that? Who are the people you need to meet with? Have you given the church a vision they can unite together to accomplish, because God is still capable of accomplishing the impossible? The Tower of Babel may have came crashing down, but something else amazing happened 2,000 years ago, the day of Pentecost.

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. Acts 2:1-6

 They heard their own language being spoken by the believers. The Holy Spirit unites them together. Peter preaches the gospel, and 3,000 people become believers on that day. It’s amazing what can happen when we start speaking a language that everyone can understand.

Do the people in your church speak the same language? What are some things you’re doing within your church to encourage unity?

Pray Before You Go

The Basics - Prayer

Every Monday I post one of The Basics. The Basics are simple steps every church can take to grow. They are the same steps that led my church from 87 people in attendance to over 700. These steps have helped my church see hundreds of people saved and baptized in just a few short years. Most of these steps you can take this week without even having a board meeting. These are The Basics.

InPrayer

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. -Martin Luther

It seems silly to even mention this, because it seems so obvious. But I’ve learned in ministry the most obvious things are sometimes the things we miss. Prayer is one of those things. It’s the most important thing we can do, yet often the one thing we take for granted.

Throughout scripture we see anyone who accomplishes great things for God has an active prayer life. Abraham prays for an heir. Moses prays for Aaron. Joshua prays for the sun to stand still. Samson prays for one last victory. David has over 50 prayers recorded in the book of Psalm. Solomon prays for wisdom. Elijah prays for fire from Heaven. Hezekiah prays for a longer life. Nehemiah prays for help to rebuild the wall. Daniel prays three times a day, every day. Jonah prays for deliverance. Habakkuk prays for revival. And Jesus prays for us to be one.

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:20-21

If you want to see God’s Kingdom grow, you have to devote yourself to prayer. Prayer changes things. Or perhaps better said, prayer changes us so we can change things.

In what ways have you seen prayer work in your life? In your church?

The God of Yes

NoMan

This past January I set a goal of reading twenty-five books this year. Today I begin number 25, four months earlier than anticipated. Now twenty-five books doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, especially since my wife has read three times that many this year, but for a guy who only got through fourteen last year, it’s quite the accomplishment.

I’m sure many of you reading this have already read much more than me this year, and I’m sure there are some reading this that feel as though reading twenty-five books in a year is impossible. What I’m beginning to learn more and more is the things we think are impossible, God often makes possible. Impossible is just an excuse to never start.

Someone once said, “You can make excuses, or you can make progress, but you can’t make both”.

For years I made excuses. My vocabulary consisted of I can’t and I don’t. God gets this bad rep as being the no man. No cussing. No drinking. No fun. But I came to realize I was the real no man in my life. I was the one holding me back.

I’ve learned that self-doubt is ok. We should doubt ourselves; Jesus said apart from Him we can do nothing. So, I find my confidence in Christ and nothing else. My motivation is found in serving Him and serving others. And I’ve found if I’ll be willing to say yes, He’ll say yes. For He is the God of Yes.

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!'”                                 2nd Corinthians 1:20