Reduced to one word

Several years ago I came across an interesting quote by George Orwell. In his book 1984, he remarked that the trend would be to control the use of language to such a degree that communication would be come rigid and constricted. I am not sure that Mr. Orwell had Facebook in mind when he wrote the book, but there is an ironic twist here worth thinking about.

george-orwell-one-word

Let me know what you think. I would love to know how this hits you!
[Source]

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Become a Conversationalist

Become a Conversationalist: Six Ideas That Will Make You A More Interesting Person to Talk To is a book designed to help those of us who have a difficult time engaging in conversation. Being involved and engaging in a conversation is not easy. It may even feel like a terrible challenge. This new book will help any person become a better communicator in any number of conversational situations.

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This simple guide will provide the reader with examples of each of the ideas covered. There is also some discussion about why each of these ideas, when taken together, will help you develop greater confidence in your ability to have and hold a conversation with just about anyone.


From the Introduction:

“Verbal communication is one of the most difficult forms of communication because of its fluid and ever-changing nature. Having a plan will make all of your conversations more interesting and rewarding.”

The six ideas contained in this book will help improve your conversations with others. These principles will give you an edge in every conversation and the confidence you need in every situation. Since verbal communication cannot be avoided, it vitally important to do as much as possible to become proficient and increasingly more competent in this skill.

Six Ideas for EVERY Conversation

  • Idea #1: Words Have Meaning
  • Idea #2: The Right Words Have Power
  • Idea #3: Timing is Everything
  • Idea #4: Watching the Tone OF and IN your Voice
  • Idea #5: How to Use Questions Correctly
  • Idea #6: The Lost Center of Communication

Tact and Preaching: The Double Edged Sword

I was having a conversation with my wife about three years ago regarding some of the thoughts and words that I was planning on using for a weekend sermon. I have been “accused” of being too direct, too passionate and to brash in the way that I communicate what I read in the Bible. I am still not sure how to take these comments even after having heard them several times over the last few years.

I want to share some of the thoughts that come to my mind when I hear these kinds of comments.

  1. How can I be too passionate about being a Christian?
  2. What bible are you reading when the brashness of the text does not strike you? (i.e., Romans 9:3, where Paul suggests that if it were possible, he would go to hell so that his countrymen might come to know salvation in Jesus. I don’t know how to make that sound nice!)
  3. Why do people keep praying to know God’s will when the Bible IS God’s will, and they’re not doing that yet?
  4. Why do some people get mad at me (who has read the bible) and argue about what it says when they have no basis for what they are saying, thinking, doing or wanting? It is pretty easy to know who has and who hasn’t been reading their Bible.

It’s things like this and a few others that just drive me nuts. My wife said that I just sounded angry. Well, to a certain extent I am.

Being a Christian is not a popularity contest.

I am angry about a church that claims to be obedient, but is not. I am angry about a person who claims to be a disciple of Jesus, and has never made one. I am mad about pastors that preach from the word, but for whatever reason, fail to preach the word itself. I know that this does not apply to everybody directly. This is definitely a generalization, but its true enough that most of us would have to agree to some degree. What scares me about this whole situation in the church is that there is not enough (in my opinion) concern about the direction of the church.

We are far too concerned with what the world thinks about us, rather than what God has commanded for us to do. Being a Christian is not a popularity contest. It is about conviction. As a member of the church, I find it concerning that the church wants to hold hands with the world and agree. The direction of influence must begin in the church and move out from there, and not the other way around.

Sure, we can go to conferences and get the pep talks and hear from the celebrity pastor or speaker, but what am I, the executive pastor of a growing, city church supposed to do? Many times I leave with a second wind in my sails, but with no clear sense of direction of what to do next.

The truth is not always palatable, especially when it calls us to holiness and difficult choices regarding how we live.

Is the truth supposed to be palatable, easy, comfortable or sensible? I just do not see that as I read the bible.

The truth is not always palatable, especially when it calls us to holiness and difficult choices regarding how we live. The truth is not easy, particularly when it challenges the assumptions that we hold onto so dearly. The truth is not comfortable because it forces us to change those parts of our lives that we may love, but are not in line with God’s plan or will. The truth is not sensible! My goodness, if the Gospel made sense everybody would be jumping on board. But, that is exactly what Paul said. The Gospel is foolishness. It is foolishness to who? To those who are perishing.

The balm of the Gospel is what brings healing through transformation. For some of us, that means we will have to endure some difficulties. We will have to address those areas of our lives that are not conforming to the image of Jesus. I want to see less tact and more truth. Less compromise and more conviction. Less concern for the world’s feelings and more consideration for the heart of God. Until then, we will tip-toe around the issues and continue to see the erosion of the churches influence with our neighbors.

Refocus, Reboot, Relax

It has been almost a year since I have written anything here on The Reformed Wesleyan (TRW). That has been a long time. I can’t say why I stopped writing and posting. I may have needed a break. Or it just could have been that I didn’t make the time to put my thoughts down. Well, I hope to change that.

This past January I changed jobs. I began serving Ambassadors of Christ Ministries as the Executive pastor for Ministry Development and Discipleship. That is a whole lot of title that says I am helping the church become more efficient and effective. I can honestly say that I am having a great time working at the church, and especially working with my dad (who is the senior pastor!).

Refocus

As I have been thinking about what to do with this blog I have decided to make a shift in the emphasis. The tag line used to be “Too Reformed to be Arminian, To Arminian to be Reformed.” This was a playful way of saying that my theology can’t be put in a simple box. I am still working out what I have discovered and am discovering in God’s word.

The Gospel changes everything (or at least it ought to).

I, however, want to change what we do here at TRW to focus on what is most important to God and to me, the Gospel. I will use this forum to share what I am learning and living as it relates to the Good News of Jesus of Nazareth. That is why the tag line is now “Exploring the Gospel’s Implications”. The Gospel changes everything (or at least it ought to). My hope and desire is to try and make sense of how this happens in our lives, beginning with mine.

Reboot

The title of this blog is also “tongue-in-cheek”. That will not change. I will continue to use this idea as an expression of finding my way on this theological journey as best as I can–hopefully with your help as well. I love conversation and I hope to engage in more conversations in the days, weeks, months and years to come. If any of you reading this blog are looking for a place to engage and explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus, I hope you have found that place here.

Relax

Finally, I think that I need to take myself less seriously. I write because it helps me to process what I am learning and what God is teaching. I don’t want this to be something that I have to do because somebody will read it. Life and faith are a journey. I would love to travel with others, but during these travels I want to make sure I enjoy the trip as well. Life is far too short to just keep missing out on what God has given us to enjoy.

So, for those who may be reading this, “Thank you!” And I look forward to what God has in store for me and us.