Summary: James challenges us to have Big Ears when it comes to a make over- this series of messages kicked off the new year
INTRODUCTION, Well it happened again. There I was minding my business during the Holiday Season. Kathy and I went to the new Pullman Square Movie Theater to see the film “Oceans 12”
I got in line to purchase my tickets when it happened – 2 Please, and then he rang up the price and there it was a senior citizen discount.
This has happened twice in the last year! Do I look like a senior citizen? Is it possible, my age catching up with me?
Last weekend, our Family attended the FERN CREEK CHRISTIAN CHURCH – we meet one of the Elders and his wife from my previous ministry. The first thing the elder’s wife said was you left us and now you are gray headed and are wearing glasses.
Got me thinking – DO I NEED A MAKEOVER?
After all, makeovers are all the rage on TV.
TV Shows like “THE SWAN” & “EXTREME MAKEOVER” tell of incredible transformations through plastic surgery
THE #1 cable TV show is called “NIP TUCK” and tells the exploits of 2 plastic surgeons
TV Talk shows – Dr. Phil, Oprah and others routinely take people out of their audience and in a period of less than 48 hours makeover people with make up haircuts and new wardrobes.
In a recent survey Percentage of American women who would change something about their looks if they could: 99. Percentage of men who would: 94
We seemed to be obsessed with changing our outward appearance. Yet God’s word tells us, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam 16:7
We begin a new series today – called Extreme Makeover – What looks Good to God, over the next few weeks we are going to look at some internal qualities – which please God.
Today, I want us to look at the attribute of Big Ears. That is to be good listeners.
READ TEXT JAMES 1:19-25 NLT
Listening is quickly becoming a lost art. We no longer want to listen, but would rather be entertained with the visual. Perhaps this is why Adlai Stevenson, when he addressed the students at Princeton, said, "I understand I am here to speak and you are here to listen. Let’s hope we both finish at the same time."
The devotion prayer of modern man is, "Lord, speak to me! You have sixty seconds."
Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
I find it amazing that we always want God and others to listen to us, but we seldom want to listen to others. But James reminds us, be quick to listen, slow speak and slow to get angry.
Why is it we have such a hard time with this command?
MANY OF THE PROBLEMS WE DEAL WITH IN CHURCH COME FROM NOT OBEYING THIS COMMAND!
Here is a saying among rabbis, "Men have two ears but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak. The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth to hedge it in, and keep it within proper bounds."
The Church is filled with people who want to hear themselves speak and who refuse to listen. I agree with Steven Covey who says in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we listen to respond. We need to learn to listen so as not to so quickly respond.
Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.
HOW DO WE MAKEOVER OUR LISTENING SKILLS – HOW DO TRAIN OURSELVES TO HAVE BIG EARS!
James gives us 3 suggestions.
An Attentive Heart
My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, (James 1:19-21a)
The first insight we receive from this passage is to cultivate an attentive heart. We must be quick to hear the Word of truth. "Quick to hear" refers to an alert ear. It is possible to hear, and yet not hear. We do that all the time. We do that when we talk to one another. You see, James is not talking about physically hearing the words as they impact our ears, but listening for what God has to say. "Quick to hear" describes an attentive heart, listening for what God has to say. Often we talk to one another and never really hear what the other person has to say. When we ask someone, "How are you doing?" and they give us any other answer besides, "I’m doing fine," (the only one we’re programmed to hear), we may miss it altogether. We are not programmed to hear those kinds of answers. We are not quick to hear when it comes to receiving what others are trying to tell us.