Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Saints Elsewhere"

Yesterday I was graciously worked into an appointment with a double-booked podiatrist for some overdue work on diabetic feet. As I sat down in the waiting room for what was supposed to be an extended wait, I pulled out my headset and settled into some of my favorite relaxing music. Soon a young soccer player and her mom came in. She looked soccer with her cast and book and skinned leg along with the lithe, physically toned body. What struck me was here I am in my own world of music. Mom is somewhere else with her cell phone and daughter is doing the same with her hand held gadget.

Here we are in a brief community of patients in a waiting room and all three are elsewhere with our electronic connections to elsewhere. Brought to mind not only our worship services, but also our interactions with lost people. We are near them, in their vicinity, maybe in a professional working relationship, but the Saints are Elsewhere, not just on their electronics, but maybe in their theologies, politics, or pet projects, and WE fail to be in community, right here, right now with the people God has placed in our path. When we are Elsewhere, we cannot listen to lost people and hear their cries for help for salvation.

What will it take to take off our outlets to another world, other people, even an eschatological future to just be present with one person who needs Christ? We listen, perhaps, or gab, with someone elsewhere, but we are missing opportunities to listen in the moment, live, realtime, with real souls.

That's what Story Listening Evangelism is all about: teaching and equipping believers with the skills to do that listening, hearing the person's cries for help and responding in a way to mirror their lostness back to themselves so that the Spirit can do its saving work.

Stay tuned: NO, get off this blog and listen to that person or persons in your presence.

THEN, come back here for help in hearing their cries for help.

I'll be waiting and listening for you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"It's All about Listening"

In the past two days I have learned that two of the giants in my educational journey have been stricken with serious illnesses. After I recovered a bit over the initial shock of the ragged news, my thoughts turned to gratitude for their lives and how they touched my life. for the most part I do not remember the content of what they taught. What I do remember is that they listened to me. I was heard by my teachers. And that made all the difference!

That's what Story Listening Evangelism is all about--listening to lost people, hearing their stories, and mirroring their stories back to them so that the Spirit of God can draw them to Him. People, all people, lost people, people who have not met God or His Son yet, yearn to be heard. they yearn for their lostness to be heard. Our ears can become instruments of God's peace and salvation if we train them and tune them to hear the losts' cries for help contained in their words and stories.

I invite you to continue the journey with me as we launch this project to transform how we do evangelism. Start by listening to what the people who are around you now are saying. Listen for their story.

And I offer a tribute today to Andrew D. Lester and William E. Hull for their lives and the impact they have had in so many lives. Blessings on the journeys that lie ahead.

From a grateful student who was heard.

"I'm back!"

"I am back!" No those are not the words of Freddie Krueger or any other villain, rather my own words. I'm back to finish what I have been called to do--complete the manuscript and workshop development of Story Listening Evangelism. My hiatus was not planned. Health, burnout, and a radical change in employment within the Dallas Independent School District could all be blamed for time away from the subject. Susan Scott in Fierce Conversations says the person who can best describe the situation without blame will emerge as leader. Whether I can lead a reformation in how evangelism is done remains to be seen. What I can tell you is that blame is not the answer and my goal is to finish what has been given to me and I have not felt like I have been released from.

My dearest friend, Dr. John LaNoue, Sr., has committed to being my tor-mentor (Gregg Levoy's word in Callings) to keep me on track.

This column will be used to think out loud what has been in my heart and mind for years--that a lost person is crying out in their stories for salvation and that listening beleivers can be sued by God's Spirit to guide them to a saving encounter and the beginning of an eternal relationship with Him.

The goal, the end results will be a book about how Story Listening Evangelism works, hands on, working cognitive map of the process of Story Listening Evangelism, and workshops available to those who want to transform their calling to fulfill the Great Commission.

I am an old fogey enough to not be hip and up on all matters of social communication so this blog will probably be my all in all without Facebook or Twitter or other mode. That means I may let loose from listening and respond to what I have been listening to in the world and in the Kingdom. Perhaps then, I'll be heard for my yearning that the banquet table will be full as the Messiah convenes His crowning moment.

I hope you will share in this journey. I don't like feeling lonely and The Aurora Network is not a Lone Ranger Production.

I'll be listening for you as we engineer epiphanies along the way!