• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!


It’s been almost two week since the events of November 13th here in Paris.  Many of you are aware of the tragedies that took place.  Many of you have been much in prayer for the people of France since that time.  In the first few hours and days afterwards, one question was often on the lips of people: why?we are paris

The question can come in a variety of forms, but it can be reduced most times to that one simple word: why? The question is not unknown to the biblical writers (read Habakkuk), but my effort here is not to try and tease out reasonable answers to a difficult and complex question.  Rather, I want to focus on how we ‘serve’ others in such times; how to create a safe context, a Gospel context, for those around us to be able ‘get things off their chest’, so to speak, and grapple with the conflicting feelings of their heart.

Several ideas come quickly to mind …

First, tell yourself every 30 seconds into any conversation: “It’s not about me!” Whether we might agree with the following statement or not, most of us enjoy talking about ourselves.  Most of us enjoy talking about ourselves (our pains, our joys, or our struggles) more than we do in listening to others.  However, to facilitate others in addressing the pain and fear they may feel, we cannot be the center; especially if want others to ‘wrestle’ with God.

Next, have 3-4 questions always ready at hand; questions that are not the usual ‘yes-no’ questions, but which guide the other person into more self-reflection.  Good questions don’t just come to mind.  Reflective questions that need to be answered by more than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’, take time to formulate.  So, work a few questions prior to any conversation. Bounce them off others for their input.

Next, don’t argue in the place of God.  Gently push people to bring their anger, their resentment, and their pain to God.  He is big enough to handle all that anyone can throw at Him.  Our role is to ensure that people know that God will listen and is sensitive to their call, not necessarily to try and answer all the questions people ask.

Finally, don’t be afraid of silence.  Talking with colleagues recently, they said that sometimes when you ask a person a reflective question, you just need to “leave it there.”  In other words, don’t answer for them, let them grapple with the issue.

Self forgetfulness is never easy. It is hard, very hard to put others needs above our own.  Yet, Jesus will continue to work that into our hearts by the Gospel as we step out and seek to ‘serve others’ in the ways suggested above.

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