Grace Notes for September 16, 2018
Dear Grace Family,
Communication. It’s such a big word, in so many ways. We have a million new ways to “communicate” but it seems that we understand each other less and less. With the advent of social media, texting, snap chat, twitter, and whatever else there is that I’m too old to understand, you would think we’d never have a misunderstanding again.
But the truth is, words on a paper or computer screen will never replace the understanding that comes from looking someone straight in the eyes and sharing from your heart. Have we become so calloused to other’s feelings that we can say anything we want, as long as we don’t have to confront each other in person? It’s easy to criticize and judge when we don’t have to see the pain our words can cause. And it’s even easier to misunderstand when you’re trying to judge a situation by a few pictures and posts on a Facebook page, or a cryptic (often misspelled and confusing emoji-filled) text.
When we remove the human element from our relationships to each other we strip ourselves of the ability to feel each others pain. If you really want to understand someone, look them straight in the eye and speak your piece. Then listen – really listen – to their response.
And then there’s the things we say in an emotional snit that we might never really say to someone in person. We can be so quick to anger, and often our fingers get to work typing a scathing comment before we’ve even really engaged our brains. But to quote something I heard once, ‘say it forget it – write it regret it’. Once it’s been committed to the internet, its there for all time. It doesn’t matter than we’re no longer mad or feeling the same way, it’s there to wound for eternity.
The real problem with all this distance communication is that we can’t ever really understand someone’s situation or behavior unless we know them beyond the mask that’s worn on a Facebook page. Photoshopping goes a lot deeper than just erasing a few little lines. Most of the time it wipes out emotions, motives, hurts, disappointments, and all the other things that drive us to do things we wish we’d never done. And trying to text through a misunderstanding is almost guaranteed to add to the confusion.
What if, instead of sending Jesus to us here on earth, He had sent a text message with a whole new set of guidelines? He could have chosen any kind of sacrifice to atone for our sins, but He physically sent His son to teach us, prepare us, then be sacrificed for us. In person… Jesus confronted people, touched the sick, and held the broken-hearted. And isn’t that the example we should all follow? Sure, it’s uncomfortable to hold a sobbing widow in your arms or look into the face of someone you think has grievously hurt you. But that’s what we are called to do.
James 1:19 tells us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” All we’re being asked to do is take a minute and read between the lines of a text message or a Facebook post. Even when we can’t read what’s in someone’s face, perhaps we could take a minute to at least wonder what that person is feeling? So many times the Word counsels us to be careful of how we talk to each other. Titus 3:2 says to “speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy towards each other.” That means texts and posts too…
Famed writer, Ernest Hemingway said “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” As easy as it is to read a post and write a poisonous response, or to misunderstand a text because of word or two that reads a bit snarky, why don’t we try and listen just a bit more. Not with our ears, but with our hearts.
Social media has its place in our lives. It can be a powerful tool for good. But let’s never fall for the lie that it’s the best way to communicate and share with our fellow sojourners on this earth.
Be blessed, Grace family. God is still on the throne!
The week at Grace:
- TUESDAY’S, 6:30 pm: Men’s and Lady’s Bible Study!
- THURSDAY’S, 5:30: Worship Team practice. If you are interested in participating on the Worship team, please talk to Bobbie.
- THURSDAY’S, 6:30 – 8 pm, Youth of the Nation weekly worship service and bible study –
- THURSDAY’S 6:30 – 8 pm, Grace Gospel Choir practice – everyone is welcome!
- Recycle Sunday is usually the 4th Sunday of the month. Please save your cans and bottles to support our Youth of the Nation program. Bring them in on September 23rd!
- We are beginning work on the Christmas production. See Bobbie if you would like to be a part of it. We are going to need lots of help for this wonderful celebration of the birth of our King.
- Look for the Time-Talent-Treasure cards on the back table: What is your special gifting? Will you share it with your Grace family? We need your help to keep our house running smooth. Please grab a card and let us know where you might feel God’s prompting to step into a church ministry.
- We are still fund-raising for our Church Van. Can you help? Please consider a monthly pledge, or a one-time donation. Mark your offering envelope “Church Van” so we know to designate the funds appropriately.
- We are looking for additional Children’s Church teachers. Please see Toni or Bobbie if you feel God leading you in this direction. Our youth are our most valuable resource. When planning an event, please contact Bobbie with the date so she can make sure there isn’t any conflict with other church activities.
Welcome to our new Senior Pastor, Eric Domen, his wife, Raquel, and their sweet family. We feel especially blessed to have this amazing man leading our congregation. It is going to be a great season of renewal and revival and we are looking forward to a mighty move of God!
We are also pleased to announce the addition of Pastor Bobbie Frye to our ministry staff. She has been named Administrative Pastor of Grace. She will be helping us in getting organized and active in Merced and beyond! Welcome, Bobbie!