Shema When I Cry

I was challenged by this short (3:25) video from The Bible Project about the Hebrew word “shema” which means to “pay attention” or “focus”. Shema also carries with it the notion of responding to what you hear.

Asking God to shema is asking God to act or to do something. As in Psalm 27 where David said, “[Shema], O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me.”

From God's point of view, listening is the same as keeping the covenant. That's because when God asks people to shema, he expects them to listen AND obey. In Hebrew, there is no separate word for obey; listening and doing are two sides of the same coin.

Tell Me a Story

storytellerLately I've been reading and thinking about telling stories. In my profession (marketing), storytelling is all the rage because we’re waking up to the tremendous power that stories have to influence people. Much has been written on this topic and a worthwhile investment of your time would be a Google search on “hard-wired for stories”. One example of the articles you'll find is from the Harvard Business Review called “Why Your Brain Loves a Good Story”.

Here's why I mention this: we all have a tendency to pontificate (I know I do). Unfortunately, pontification doesn't influence people nearly as well as storytelling (“To pontificate is to express your opinion in an annoying way, often because you go on too long or because you are too much of a know-it-all.” source: See? I'm starting to pontificate about pontification! Ugh …

Tell me a story. Any story – maybe it's your story; maybe it's a story about a changed life. You can write your story by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link above this post.

Another way for you to get involved in telling your story is to take the VCLi 10-Day Discipleship Challenge. Day 7 is about how your new identity has changed your life. What's changed for you?

There's also a Facebook group for the challenge where you can share your thoughts. Come join us!

Imitate Their Faith

father and sonWay back in 1978 I got involved in a church that was led by four godly men: Neal, Steve, Rick and Tom. They were all great examples for me to follow and I aspired (and still aspire) to be like them. The things I remember most about them was their zeal for the Lord, for His Word and for prayer (they got me out of bed every Saturday morning for a prayer meeting – quite an accomplishment!).

They were also great examples as godly husbands and fathers. I will be forever grateful for what they showed me (and taught me) by their example. I think of this exhortation when I think of these men (and many others like them): “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.“ (Heb. 13:17)

Much to Learn

bible readerI remember a time when I carried a notebook and took notes whenever I heard a sermon or bible teaching. I've often hear that you retain things better if you’re taking notes. I don't know why I stopped doing that. This is one thing that came to mind as I was thinking about what I could do to become a better learner.

I also find the notion of being FAT (Faithful, Available & Teachable) quite confronting. When I consider those things individually I wonder – am I faithful? How true am I to the things I'm being taught or am I easily drawn away to other loves? Am I available to those who are trying to impart something into my life? How about teachable? I've been a Christian for a long time and I must admit to sometimes thinking there's nothing more to learn. But how can you every really know everything you need to know? “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Rom. 11:33)