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05 November 2007

An Interlinear People

We can probably all make some educated guesses about what this is, and some may even be able to read the words in this image, but I'm guessing that it's (forgive me)... all Greek to us.

Obviously, in order to understand what's written in the Scriptures (John 1 is shown in the photo, by the way), we need to first have it written in our own language. Even then, someone is often needed to explain what the words mean, as was the case for the apostle Phillip when God scheduled him to meet the Ethiopian eunuch as recounted in Acts 8.

Our Children's Pastor, Justin Brooks, is preparing for a mission trip, and one of the things he's going over with his team is the fact that many of the words and phrases that we in the church take for granted can be essentially meaningless to the people with whom they're wanting to talk. I hope to coordinate with him as I dig further into this subject.

In a post a long time ago, I mentioned the word "encourage" as one that seems to be mostly confined to use within the church. I encouraged people to go without using the word and see if they could still say what they meant. Oh... wait. See?! It's tough for us church people to stop using it!

As I begin to look at some simple "Church Speak" issues over the next few days, here's a simple exercise that, for me, was an eye-opener, and may help dip your proverbial toe into the proverbial ice-cold pool of "regular" language. I posted it at my old MySpace blog, but since there's a wider readership here, I'll restate it:

This week as you pray during your morning, afternoon or evening quiet time, take a little extra time to explain to God exactly what you mean rather than using what I now think of almost as shortcut words and phrases like (believe it or not) "pray," "comfort," "be with [the person for whom you're praying]," and things like that. Be specific -- be very specific. Obviously God is going to understand you no matter what words you use, but this has proven to be to my benefit. I'm reminded daily of the exact circumstances over which I'm praying, and as a result I've found that I'm genuinely more concerned and I have a desire (hey... there's another word) to stay continually informed of changes, and to know how I can help.

If you don't have a regular devotional/quiet time, this is a great place to start!


Bill Fowler said...

As a recently awakened Christian, I've added both a daily moment with Christ and a journal in which I keep my spiritual thoughts. I love this suggestion (not "the e word"). I'll give it a shot with both prayer and my next journal entry, which has probably jumped from 300 words to 600+ thanks to you.

Leroy said...

Very encouraging words Dean. :)

What you have written put my thoughts on paper. I've noticed that I pay more attention to the person in need when I take a little extra time to be specific with my prayers.

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