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listening, part 5, the close

21 Jul

Essential Point 1: just as God the Father loves listening to Jesus’ voice, so will we love Him by listening through the scriptures. By ‘through the scriptures’ I mean: reading them; delighting in and meditating on/with them; (Psalm 1:2) and acting on them with justice, love and mercy. (Micah 6:8) This is one of the reasons we used three different translations of John 17 in these listening exercises- to wash ourselves; to listen to His word, His love.

Through listening, Jesus’ and the Father’s words are melted together in our hearts when we sit, or stand; lie down or kneel. The listening melts and melds us. This is Jesus prayer for us and how He prayed for us: (Young’s Translation) ‘sanctify them in Thy truth, Thy word is Truth.’ John 17:17 Sanctification here is washing in the word.

The Spirit melts His word as we listen in our hearts. As we close these exercises, consider John 17:12. Here, Jesus asks His Father to ‘to guard them (us) as they (we) pursue this life that you conferred as a gift through me’(The Message)

Essential Point 2: Listening to Jesus, the Spirit & the Father is part of the gift conferred. Why? Listening has a softening effect; good listening melts our hearts. Listening transforms, making us more like, Jesus, like the Father and like the Spirit. We remain uniquely ourselves, yet we are transformed, renewed.

When we go to the Lord’s table, let us go to Him knowing He hears; he loves; He acts. He listens. All this is an ‘indescribable gift.’ 2 Corinthians 9:15. This is what we need to remember to listen to.

personal takeaway: Essential questions (EQs): How can I better listen to Him?

When and where will, can I expect Him to speak to me? How does He speak to me?
Do I have expectations on how He will, can speak? If so, do these expectations help me to listen or do these expectations interfere?
In the near future, what is one change I will enact in my praying, speaking and listening to God and for or with others?



Closing prayer: a poem, I carry your heart with me (I carry it in
e. e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Jesus carries us.

listening, a spiritual exercise

15 Jul


He delights in hearing His Son’s human voice
How did God speak, communciate, to His Son and the Spirit while they were in the Heavens? Did they speak Greek to one another? English? Thoughts? Can, is, a thought a language? Below is a first exercise I am presenting at a conference at the end of July 2014. It is based on a premise, a thought: God loved hearing Jesus’ human voice; therefore He loves to hear our voices in prayers especially. He listens and so must we, with special attention to ur own thoughts.

‘Listening.’ Essential point: in its essence, prayer is listening

One exercise in listening:

A Simple Way to Pray
(Adapted notes from Tim Keller’s teaching from Martin Luther’s way of meditation: Letter to his barber)

Pray that the Lord would speak to you through His word. Start with scriptures you have chosen to study; read. Continue till some passage strikes home to you. Trust the Spirit to lead here. Now:
1. What does this scripture tell you about who god is? (How he thinks and feels?)
2. What does this scripture tell you about you?
3. Garland of Praise. On the basis of this scripture, what can you thank God for?

Our key scripture to explore: John 17
Jesus Prays to Be Glorified (NIV)
17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
The Message
Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it’s time.
Display the bright splendour of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendour.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,

The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendour,
The very splendour I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

Step 1: What does this scripture tell me about God the Father?



Step 2. What does this scripture tell me about myself?



Step 3. What can I thank God for? (Garland of Praise)



Summary: what are two Essential Questions for this first exercise?

1. EQ: How does God the Father feel when He listens to His son?
He ________ His son Jesus.
Matthew 17: 1-5 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
EP(essential point): Listening is prayerful love. God the Father loved listening to Jesus.

And He loves listening to us too. Why? Or…

2.EQ: How does God the Father feel when he listens to us?
He ________us.

How do we know this?
The central passage for our retreat John 17, Jesus prayer for His Disciples, tells us,

John 17:23 ‘…you love them as much as you love me.’ NLT

If He loves and He loves to listen to His son’s voice, then John 17:23 underscores that by His loves He will listen to us too. We are His.

Reflection: If we are His, if He listens to us like He listened to Jesus when Jesus walked the earth, how can/would this truth change you? (You can begin to respond tonight; you can wait till the middle or end of a day. Or you can sit quietly, then read this scripture and listen. Just let it speak to you. Listen.