LISTENING AND LEARNING!

2 05 2014

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Coaches, Teachers and Preachers are getting a bad rap this season. Coaches are getting fired for not leading their teams to championships. Teachers go down for not getting their students to pass the final exams. Preachers are ridiculed and judged upon how well they feed their flock. What about the teams and the classes and the congregations? Don’t they have to bear some of the blame for not achieving the goal? Where does the brunt of responsibility fall? Who is blaming who?

I have coached for well over 30 years now some form of youth sports. It takes me no time to tell you the biggest difference between attempting to teach young people then and now. It is easily the short attention span that most children have and their inability to listen. I will spend hours with kids, showing them where to stand in the batter box, how to place their feet, what to do with their hands and hips only to discover that when they get the chance to do it themselves, so few of them do any of the things that I have taught them. The majority of them do just what they want to do. When I was a kid and an adult Coach would come along and try to show me the way to play the game properly, you can be sure that I adhered to his words about as tightly as I could. I knew that ignoring him would not only keep me at a loss, but it would also find me a place on the bench. Well, you can kiss those days goodbye. Attempting to administer consequences for today’s generation of Mommy and Daddy’s little angels is a mission impossible.

Why can’t we teach our children that it is not a crime to be corrected? Why can’t adults trust other well respected adults to be able to speak hard truth into the lives of their offspring? How can one really learn if they will not allow themselves to be taught? I am sorry, but there is a right way to throw and hit a curve ball and a wrong way and many a grown man never made it to the major leagues because he didn’t know how to do either. We need to teach our children the need to be taught. Listening is just as important as doing for you can’t do what you need to do until you know properly how you need to do it! It starts with we adults lightening up a bit and realizing that none of us are raising the perfect child and God has provided wonderful experts along the way to come alongside of us so that we can mentor our little ones to maturity!

I know Teachers who go way beyond the call of duty to work with students. These men and women understand that they are not just imparting facts and figures but passing on care and compassion and life lessons that teach us how to be good citizens of planet earth! What do you do when you not only can’t get the student to listen but also will receive no reinforcement from home to help the leader lead? I am not advocating a return to the day of unjust corporeal punishment but must we put down stakes down deep on the side of the extreme? I just wish our culture would work better with one another instead of being so overly sensitive and competitive, especially in areas where this is obviously not a game to win!

This thin skinned attitude has even crept into the church. I take my responsibility as the Pastor of The Lighthouse Church about as serious as any human being can do so. It usually takes me about 8 hours on a Monday to prepare for the 30 minute messages that I share on any given weekend. I know the amount of content in those sermons because I live with the convicting words doing a number upon my heart almost every day. God’s truth is alive and active and never returns void. So I am not totally to blame when I hear the common used catch phrase, “Oh Pastor, I am not being fed.” Especially when there are notes and application steps provided for any man or woman to take the next practical steps into deepening their faith. I can prepare the message and serve the message but somewhere along the line a listener must choose to be wholly engaged. I know that at my age I am not into consuming pre-chewed food and I am sure that most of my readers aren’t craving it either. I don’t know of another Minister alive who wouldn’t take all the time necessary when one of his parishioners comes to him with the hunger and thirst to grow in their faith! But Christianity isn’t a fast food faith and you can’t get your doctrine to go with a side of theology thrown in! Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength! If you aren’t all in, then don’t expect to go all out!

This isn’t personal. This is about society as a whole and even I fall into its trap at times. This is an observation that if I could change anything about our current culture, I would pray for it to be teachable, available and faithful once again! You can’t excel in any one area in a hurry. When I was a kid, I didn’t just play baseball when our Little League Coach called for a practice. I was out in the sandlots with my friends every single day until the very last ray of light could be seen! We ate, drank and slept baseball. When I got an A in History, it was because I picked my Teacher’s brain until he was sick of hearing me ask questions. And I fell head over heels in love with Jesus because of the amount of time I spent with my Lord. I guarantee that if you seek the Lord with all of your heart, you will never be satisfied with him occupying only a small portion of your inner engine room again!

Listen! Take notes! Ask questions. Don’t react, but respond. Practice and give yourself permission to fail. Do it again and again. Don’t ignore the homework. Don’t think the Coach’s correction means that he doesn’t like you. Go and take a walk with your Pastor! There is a time to learn and even improve and today could be the day!


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