Posted on: 3rd February 2020
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
There are 171,476 words in current use in the Oxford English Dictionary. There are 47,156 obsolete words. That’s a lot of words. An average woman speaks 20,000 words a day and an average man speaks 7,000. A typical person can speak 125 words-per-minute. That’s a lot of words.
I am loving the audio book app, Audible (other apps are available). This year I’ve listened to ‘Dare to serve’, ‘The dark web’, ‘Leadership pain’, ‘Questions of Faith’, ‘Soar!’ ‘Atomic habits’, ‘Hearing God’, ‘Excellence wins’, ‘FAKE’, ‘The road back to you’, ‘Tower of Basel’, ‘God sleeps in Rwanda’, ‘Aftermath’, ‘Rebel ideas’ and my current download is ‘REVOLution’. Then I had a tip off from a colleague about Borrow-Box, a free service from Lancashire libraries. Here I’ve managed to listen to ‘Finding my virginity by Richard Branson’, ‘Skin in the game’, The Mindful leader’ and ‘P x W x R = Power score’. Maybe spend some time this week sharing some of your recent reads (or listens).
That’s a lot of words! There has been a lot of good advice and challenges contained in those listens. But listening is only the start. It’s action, Jesus says, that builds wisdom.
The words of Jesus are a challenge to us all. The cost of listening to good advice and not putting it into practice is that you may as well have not heard it in the first place. That is why we focus on ‘Challenge and Action’ in our form time worship activities. The blessing of putting good advice into practice is that when troubles come (as they always do), we can withstand them.
My challenge for us all this week is to consider the words we hear and be more deliberate about putting them into practice. This way, we can live life to the full, no matter what comes our way.
Posted on: 18th November 2019
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”
“Those who read, succeed!” I would like to suggest that: “Those who listen to someone else read on audiobook can succeed too.” But I would go one step further and suggest that unless you do something with what you have read, you are reducing the amount of success you achieve.
In Matthew 7:24, Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock.” What you hear and what you read has the ability to shape and act as a foundation to build a successful life on.
In a book by the British Table Tennis Champion Matthew Syed, he tells the story of his rise to success in the sport. His PE teacher saw him play at the age of eight, and told him he was talented. This leads to a discussion about talent, gifts and training. Matthew was an exceptional player for his age, but he also had an older brother who had played against him in his garage, every night for a few years. Matthew had a desire to play Table Tennis, but he also had practiced more than anyone his own age had. His older brother and a table in the garage were the gifts he had to get ahead, but he had to put in the effort. The book is called ‘Bounce’.
St Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, reminded them of the responsibilities of their faith. He told them that the spiritual gifts they had been given are different, and also he reminded them that it is the grace of God that brings them their gifts. Spiritual gifts are given for a reason, for the good of others. Paul lets them know that they were all part of a body and they had a responsibility to build others up. The challenge for the early believers is the same for us now.
Take time this week to consider the abilities you have developed, that you may have not used for a long time. Is it time for you to go back to these and use them again? The Holy Spirit gives gifts too, for us to use for the good of others. My prayer is that you will take time this week to connect with God and ask him to help you use your gifts to help others.