listening

correction

I’ve been on both sides of this correction topic – receiving correction (Sarah, your performance is sub-standard and you’ll need to make significant improvements if you plan to continue in this role) and giving correction.  Neither position is very pleasant, but correction is very important and here are a few pointers:

  • if you’re receiving correction, be mindful to listen and not argue, deflect, make excuses or blame others.  If you receive the correction well and in a constructive way (regardless of how the person presents it), you can grow, learn, get stronger and be a better person.  If you receive correction poorly, you’ll probably have to go through the cycle again & it might be a more painful experience the next time around :/
  • if you’re giving correction, be mindful to deal with the behavior that needs to change without attacking the person and use several concrete examples of the wrong behavior.  It’s also necessary to be clear and firm, explaining to the recipient the preferred outcome or method for their actions.  Finally, be constructive and affirming, believing that the person can change.

There are heaps and heaps of wisdom in the Bible that pertain to correction, so please consider reading about the life of Eli in 1 Samuel 1-4 and also Hebrews 12, as starting points.  Let’s allow correction to be constructive in our lives 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, travel, 0 comments

I want to be close

I like to be around my kids in all kinds of ways. I like to cuddle in bed with them when they’re waking up. I like to cook w them in the kitchen. I like to watch them play sports & perform. I like sitting & reading or watching basketball w them. I just like being around my kids & think that this is even more true in how God likes to be around us.
Maybe a reason that God is omni-present is because He likes to be around us so much 🙂
So here’s an interesting challenge: to flip the truth that God is always w us, let’s endeavor to be w God throughout each day – not just on Sundays or at church, but in the entirety of each day & in every place that we go. Just to be close to God.

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments

your feedback please

Greetings!  I made a concerted effort in 2011 to blog more consistently & I’ve found this I like this format quite a bit.  If you’ve noticed, I try to do a couple of things:  stay brief, relevant & insightful.  At the same time, I’m not very interested in jumping into uber controversial subjects (politics, etc).  Sometimes I’ve done this better than at other times.  So what I’d like from you are suggestions:

  • are there topics you’d like me to write about?
  • do you have suggestions of things you’d like me to do or not do?
  • general thoughts?

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and thanks MUCHOS for reading!!  I want to get better this year & I appreciate your help 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, missions, prayer, relationships, spiritual, travel, 0 comments

ears to hear

Presently, I’m sitting in Starbucks & just thinking about the importance of what we hear.  Currently, the store is playing some nice music, there are some gentlemen discussing a business negotiation, some moms are enjoying a coffee & chat while the barista shouts out the latest drink order.  There are alot of things for my ears to absorb.  Its the same in your life – lots of noises and voices vying for your attention:  your phone, kids, spouse, bills, job, deadlines, . . . . .  It is our challenge to manage all these voices & remain productive & faithful to God’s purposes & designs for each of us. 
Here are some suggestions:

  • be selective with your attention:  in Starbucks there are lots of voices, noises and things to compete for my attention, but I’ve put on my earphones because I want to control what I listen to – not everything deserves your attention.
  • think about your expectations:  do you listen with underlying motives or judgments?  If we’re not careful, we can quickly sever conversations and even relationships when we don’t hear what we want.  Don’t take everything as rejection & be careful not to allow your insecurity to distort what someone may be trying to communicate.
  • Prioritize what you hear:  the most important thing you should hear or be mindful to listen to is Jesus.  In Mark 4:23, He says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  I pray that for each of us, He would help us to hear Him everyday through His Word, His actions and even His voice to us.  There is no voice more important than Jesus’ voice
  • listen to help:  if we’re not careful, we fall into the trap of only listening to what we enjoy or want to hear.  Sometimes the best way to use your attention is to lend a listening ear.  My friend Jim wisely told me that its more important to be interested than interesting.  With that in mind, pls take a quick moment to look at this video:  http://www.vimeo.com/20154183

Listening – what a gift 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in living, prayer, spiritual, 0 comments

Holy Spirit part 2

The Holy Spirit is the master communicator – massively huge communicator.  When i started to think about this, it just totally amazed me.  When Jesus was introducing the Holy Spirit to His disciples, He talks about how the Holy Spirit will

  • teach,
  • remind,
  • convict & 
  • guide us, among other things. 

Jesus also tells us that the Holy Spirit will speak to us what He hears from our heavenly Father & that the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus. 

It seems to me that the Holy Spirit is communicating with us perhaps more often than we realize.  I pray that today, you & i would be sensitive & receptive to the Holy Spirit speaking to & communicating with us – beyond our biases & limited understanding. 🙂

Can you think of some times when the Holy Spirit has communicated w you?  What was the outcome (s)?

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, spiritual, 4 comments

mistranslation

I really like languages – they fascinate me in their ability to not merely communicate words but so much more than that.  But i find it interesting that even when we communicate w someone who has our common mother language, there’s PLENTY of room for mis-communication.  Here’s an interesting example:  several years ago, i was talking w a young man in our church who was EXTREMELY upset.  We were talking through a conflict that he was in & he made a statement that still haunts me today.  He said something to the affect that it was the hearers 100% responsibility to understand him, regardless of his poor communication skill.  This floored me & still makes me spin. 

Communication is a 2 way street – the hearer & the speaker should work together to be on the same page.  This is also true w God.  I think there are alot of times that God speaks w us, but we mistranslate what He’s saying.  This often happens because we don’t like what He’s saying or we didn’t listen for the whole message or we didn’t wait for Him to give us the context for application, or . . . .  Personally, i think God speaks w us, ALOT.  But let’s continually pray that He increases our abilities to understand Him & that He decreases our mistranslations 😉

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Posted by sarahbowling in spiritual, 0 comments