By Jerry Wiles, President Emeritus, Living Water International, Special to ASSIST News Service
HOUSTON, TX (ANS – Jan. 15, 2016) – One of the benefits of traveling and being exposed to different cultures around the world, and even the many different cultures right around us, is that it helps us understand how differently people think. It’s often said that perception is reality. The way someone perceives something or someone is reality to them. If we have a goal to be change agents (and every follower of Jesus should be) it would be important to think about the ways that other people see and perceive life. Worldview is an important term, because everyone has a worldview.
It is not always easy to understand how other people think. However, if we are willing to listen and ask the right questions, we can become more aware of their views, likes and dislikes — in other words, their worldview. Conversations are often all it takes to bring significant changes in people’s lives. I can think back on my own life and remember conversations, even a brief statement that someone made, that changed the direction in my life. One of the taglines we in Living Water International have used for many years is, “Saving Lives and Changing Destinies.” We may think of that goal as a big grandiose task., but really, little things can make big changes.
In the realm of God’s Kingdom work, it’s important to see ourselves as instruments of righteousness. We, as followers of Jesus, are containers of deity. One of my mentors’ years ago, used to say, “God never intended for you to become something, but to contain someone.” Of course, that someone is Christ Himself, by the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is liberating to realize that we do not and cannot change others, but the Holy Spirit can and will use us as we make ourselves available to Him.
The ultimate connection any of us can experience is when we come to God on the basis of what Christ has done on the cross, and in repentance and faith, trust Him. That, of course, results in the ultimate change. Being born of the Spirit restores us to true humanity and brings us into a spiritual union with our Creator. Connections, conversations and community are all a part of God’s plan. Community could be explained in terms of common-unity. Union with Christ enables us, as followers of Jesus, to have genuine communion and oneness with other members of the Body of Christ.
In our Orality journey and the learning community around the world, we are discovering the power of connectivity. It’s not just the transfer of information, but the sharing of life. Orality involves many aspects of communication, connectivity and community. The power of touch is another means of connection and communication. One of the stories that we often use in our Orality Training sessions is the story of The Little Children and Jesus, found in Mark 10:13-16.
After telling that story, here are a few of the questions we can ask:
* What do we observe or learn about the attitudes of the disciples toward the little children? Did they see them as people of worth and value?
* What could have influenced their attitudes? What about the culture of that time? Children were not seen on the same level as adults.
* Roman law even made if legal to kill little babies at that time, before or after birth.
* Is it a problem today that people are often influenced more by the culture they live in, than the Word of God?
* What did the disciples learn from Jesus about who He has time for? Who has value to Him?
* What is our worth or value based on? It’s not based on our ability, our possessions or our position in life. Our true value, or worth, is based on the price paid for us.
* What was Jesus seeking to communicate about what is takes to enter the Kingdom of God?
* What is the significance of Jesus taking the children into His arms, one at a time, laying His hands on them and blessing them?
Many lessons can be discovered in this short story. People can take hours retelling and discussing it. One of the important lessons in the story is the power of touch. There is even scientific research that demonstrates the healing power of touch. It is important to discover some of the cultural issues in relation to touching. In Scripture, we have many examples of Jesus touching people. Of course, we need to be aware of what is appropriate and inappropriate ways of touching.
In that story, one of the things Jesus said was, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
In our Orality Training Workshops, when asked the right questions, people will discuss many attributes of little children. Some of those would be dependence, trust, innocence, transparency, forgiveness, children tend to believe what you tell them, they like to be close their parents, they respond to proper touch, and many others. Touching can be a powerful aspect of communication and connectivity.
That story is only four verses long, and can be told in 40 seconds. However, with the right questions, many lessons can be discussed and applied to our lives.
For more information on Living Water International, the Orality Movement, or Orality Training opportunities, visit – www.water.cc – orality
Photo captions: 1) Children carry water, and can carry stories of Jesus to their villages. 2) The least and last need Water and the Word. 3) Small, simple, reproducible systems and structures enhance strategic movements. 4) Jerry Wiles.
About the writer: Jerry Wiles is president emeritus of Living Water International and serves on the advisory council and leadership team of the International Orality Network. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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