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: 7th May 2019
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
I love the Bible. I love it when I find a story that seems out of place with the clean, sanitised, serene picture we can sometimes portray the message of the Bible to be.
In Numbers chapter 22, there is an amazing account of Balaam. Israel, God’s people, were defeating their enemies left, right and centre. Balak, king of Moab was rightfully worried. Enter Balaam. Balak spoke to him saying, “I know that blessings fall on any people you bless, and curses fall on people you curse.” Imagine having that super-power! What would you do with it? What did Balaam do? I challenge you to read the rest of the story and let me know what you think!
In Proverbs 18:21, King Solomon says, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
What if we did have the ability to bless and curse with our words like Balaam?
Reflect on the times you have spoken life and hope to someone who is down. Did it bring life? Have you experienced the critical, hurtful words of another that have caused part of you to feel dead and sick inside? Have you ever been critical of yourself, putting yourself down? The words we speak to ourselves are just as crucial to the words spoken by and to others. Do you need to repent of negative self-talk?
My challenge for you this week is to listen carefully to the words you use. Take time teach day to reflect on the effect your words have had on others. If you have spoken death, ask for forgiveness. If anyone has spoken life to you, thank them: they may even do it again!