Practice #3: Talking with people

In Week 3, our theme verse was from Matthew 9:36:

“When he saw the crowds, he felt deep concern for them. They were treated badly and were helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

We asked this simple question, “Where did we get the idea that we should be talking to people that are in proximity to us?”  The answer was that we got the idea from Jesus.  It’s what He did on a regular basis, wherever He went.

In Matthew 9 alone, there are 7 encounters that Jesus had with people.  At a minimum, He talked with them AND listened to them.  He enjoyed people…sinful people…that He loved.  These are the people…all people…that He had come to redeem and restore to the kingdom of God.  He continues to do this through us…bringing the redemptive presence and activity of God to human lives.  Only Jesus can redeem and restore.  Yet, he invites us join His redemptive and restorative work in simple, but important ways.

This means that we are invited to genuinely enjoy people like Jesus did and not simply “put up with them.”  Really loving our neighbor (anyone who isn’t you!) doesn’t ignore them or simply put up with them.  Real love enjoys their neighbor and is a friend to their neighbor.  So, we press deeply into God’s grace and we extend friendship to our neighbor.

This practice of talking with people happens in many ways.  It can be done by introverts and extroverts, honoring the relational pace with which God has wired us.  Ask for the person’s name, find out where they’re from, and invite them to tell their story.  Listen for what they are ready for.  Take it one conversation at a time.

REMEMBER:  Jesus can do more with 2 people who are talking with each other than with 2 people successfully ignoring each other!  So, what kind of conversations are you having with the people around you?  How is Jesus inviting you to respond?

Practice #2: Hearing from Jesus


We’re in Week 2 of “Joining Jesus On His Mission,” the book by author, Greg Finke, that pulls out the truths of God’s Word in a simple way that we can engage as everyday missionaries.

Our Theme Verse from June 28 was Matthew 17:5, “While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!”

One of the most valuable learnings from Week 2 is this:

“In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus is moving us beyond information (hearing His words) to transformation (finding out what happens when we put them into practice).  Finding out what actually happens when we put the teachings of Jesus into practice transforms us.  This is what Jesus means when He says the wise person is on the rock and the foolish one is on the sand.  One is changed, the other is not.”–Joining Jesus On His Mission, pg. 109 

Here are some tips for hearing from Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John):

1.  Early morning is a good time to listen to Jesus…set a specific time and stick to it!

2.  Invite the Holy Spirit to open your eyes, ears and heart to what Jesus is going to give you as you read!  (Actually read and wrestle with the words of Jesus for yourself.)

3.  Don’t read to get through the words of Jesus.  Read to get the words of Jesus through you.

4.  Don’t settle for simply “studying about” what Jesus did and said.  Ask Jesus this simple question, “What would you have me believe and do as a result of your words today?”

So…there you go!  Keep practicing…keep at it!  How is Jesus messing with you personally?  What is it that He wants you to recognize and respond to within your sphere of influence?  How has He been speaking to you through His Word?  What has He been teaching you?

Jesus is still speaking to us, teaching us, showing us things that He is up to, as He brings the kingdom of God to others, through you and me.