Sunday, August 13, 2017

LH: Pencil - a lesson on listening

What is this? (a pencil) What do pencils do? (take notes) If you are at a restaurant and the server has a pad and pencil, what is she doing?  Listening to write down your order and not make a mistake.  Do you know that the internet is not a good listener?  If you google something, it tries to finish the sentence before you are done.  The worst thing is Autocorrect.  Here are some funny Autocorrect mistakes.

1. I like watching how I Met your Mothballs.  The person was trying to say, How I met your Mother.

2. Ugh, I just hate sitting by the phone waiting for it to ripen.  Reply: Is your phone a banana?  Ripen instead of ring.

3. 1:Are you coming to my New Years Eve party? 2: Of course I will be there. 1: Ok cool, because I am going to kill you at midnight.  The person meant to say kiss.

4. 1: I’m sorry, I should have told you sooner. 2: I’m mad.  I don’t want you to keep squirrelmeat from me!  Intended word was secrets

5. I start my new job with the police force on Thursday.  I just picked up my new unicorn.  2: I would never get mad if a cop pulled me over on a unicorn.

6. 1: I had a huge tag sale this weekend and made $450. 2: nice, I’m selling my father’s organs.  Should make a pretty penny.  He meant to say organ.

7. I Love that new eye slicer you bought me last year.  She meant egg slicer, I assume.

8. Need anything from Taliban?  The person meant some store named Ralph’s, not Taliban.

9.  One time autocorrect changed a woman named Chelsea to “Cheesy”

10. One time it change my name, Meghan, to Methane.

If you want to have friends, you have to be a good listener.  You have to listen to what they say without forming in your head what to say next so that you know exactly who they are and why they do what they do.  You may not want to actually have a pad and pencil when you talk to your friends.  That may seem weird though it’s not a bad idea either.  I’ve never done it. 

I do remember when my grandmother was old and really hard-of-hearing, I would bring a pad and pen and write in big letters what I was telling her.  When I first started dating my husband, he went with me to meet her and she first thought he was my brother Andrew.  She said, “Drew! You got bigger!”  I had to write in big letters, “THIS IS MY BOYFRIEND, TIM!”  I miss Granny.

But if you have good hearing, then being a good listener is hard, but important.  One time a teacher had some kid in time out for 5 minutes or so.  When it was up, she told her she could go, but she stayed and they just talked.  Then she asked, “Am I free to go?”  She wasn’t listening.  Not listening cost play time.

Not listening can even lead to tragic results.  The Challenger Explosion was a result of not listening.  NASA tried to launch a rocket into outer space with 7 people on it.  The rocket had a faulty O-ring.  The people who examined the O-ring said to not launch the rocket.  They did not listen but launched the rocket.  It exploded and all 7 people died.

But more importantly than costing you things you want or your friendships or lives, not listening means you think you already know.  And if you think you already know, then you could miss out on life or death information not just for this life but for the life to come.

What is more important thing to know to be saved?  What question do you need to answer correctly?  If you answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” correctly, then you are saved and are going to heaven.  If not, then you are in big trouble and need to listen to know how to be saved.

Jesus asked his disciples this one time in Matthew 16 starting at verse 13.

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Simon Peter had been a good Jewish boy and knew the prophecies of Isaiah.  Prophecies like Isaiah 9:6-7:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

Good Jewish children also knew about the suffering servant of Isaiah 53:1-6

Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
Did Peter have the right answer?  You know he did because Jesus celebrated it like crazy.  How did he know Jesus was the Messiah?  Peter had traveled with Jesus who healed people, had answers to the toughest religious questions, and called all people to repent.  He had a following.  And if he was Messiah, that means he was also God in human skin.  But nobody in his time realized that the promised Messiah and the suffering servant would be the same guy.  Here is what happens when Jesus tries to tell him:

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Why would Jesus all Peter Satan?  Peter wasn’t listening, and Jesus called him Satan because Satan did not want Jesus to die for the sins of his people.  Satan wanted God’s prize creation lost forever in their sin and rebellion and to suffer in hell forever with him.  And right now, Peter was encouraging Jesus to not give up his life, following Satan’s plan.  But Jesus knew better, that he would die for Peter’s sins, mine, and yours. 

But the point is, Peter wasn’t listening.  Peter thought he already knew what Jesus was going to do, and dying on a cross was not one of those things.  None of the disciples got it.  They weren’t listening, and that lack of listening could have cost them their salvations.  I did for Judas Iscariot.  He betrayed Jesus and never repented but hung himself without knowing about Jesus’s glorious resurrection.

But even in Mark 16:9-11, the disciples are still suffering from not listening:

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

They did not believe it!  How thick can you be?  But Jesus was determined that they would be saved, so he appeared to them and gave them their faiths.  He does the same thing to you and me, too.  If you are going to be saved, then he will teach you his message until he finally brings you home to belief in him and eternity in his glorious presence.

Does anybody have a story of a time when they finally understood something after a long time of not understanding?  Did a teacher have to tell you something over and over and over until you finally got it?  Or your mom or dad?

I remember one time I was listening to rock music and mom came in and told me that she could tell I was kind of sad because I was listening to rock music again.  I was so mad at her because it was Switchfoot which has always been one of my favorites.  A Christian band.  But years later, I still hear her telling me that because it’s true.  If I’m sadder, I listen to more rock music.  But is that necessarily a bad thing?

What does the world listen to when its mad?  Nirvana.  I liked Smashing Pumpkins once.  Those nineties rock bands on MTV that I listened to for a spell in college and in my twenties.  If you listen to them long enough, you become angry and hopeless.  But when mom passed away, something changed in me and I decided that dark music wasn’t cool anymore and started listening to more Jeremy Camp and godly music.  Now, if I’m sad, I just switch to Flyleaf or its former lead singer, Lacey Sturm.  It’s rock, yes, but it has hope in the Lord and helps me to heal and live.  If I need to scream, I scream with hope.

So today, I’ve talked about why you should listen to your friends, why it’s a matter of life and death whether you listen to Jesus without thinking that you already know, and the importance of listening to music that has hope in the Lord.

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