Conversations People Relish – Path 4

Conversations People Relish – Path 4
Seven Paths Towards Richer Conversations.

Two Silos
Two Silos

Have you ever been in a conversation that really is going nowhere? You’re  standing right next to each other but definitely not on the same page. Like two silos side by side, filled but separate. You want to talk to each other but keep banging into walls, just not connecting. We have all been there, trying to cut through the differences but nothing seems to help. How do we get out of our separate silos and make progress in our discussion?
This brings me to my fourth path in having conversations people relish:
                            Path 4 – Find Common Ground

An interesting scripture follows the account of Jesus naming His 12 Disciples when they were up on a mountain. “…He came down with them [the 12 Disciples], and stood on a level place with the crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people…” Luke 6:17. (my underline).

The idea of “coming down to a level place” intrigues me. That is where Jesus met people, on their level.

Common ground is discovering what the other person has interest in and begin the conversation with that point in mind. This same principle applies in teaching. A really good teacher begins the lesson with something the student already knows and then continues the lesson into what the student needs to know. It is getting a connection with the person at the beginning of the conversation. One must come down and make the connection on a “level place”.

Henry Ford said: “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”  To that I would add, find common ground. We are to come down from our silo and begin with a common interest which will lead into a conversation that people relish.

Welcome to, the richer side of life.

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The Move

North Carolina Mountains
North Carolina Mountains

Out-To Go In!

Then He brought us out from there that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. Deuteronomy 6:23. This is an interesting scripture.  The journey is not just to leave but most importantly to arrive! When considering a move, think destination first, leaving last. I love the teaching of this scripture; it has become one of my favorites. The poignancy of the thought, ‘He brought them out to take them in’ resonates deep in my spirit. God doesn’t begin a journey without a destination in mind. My dad taught me; “Never leave a job before you have another one lined up”. “Don’t buy a house until the one you own is sold”. “Pay off current debt before making new financial commitments”. “Spend less than you make”. “He slept beneath the moon; He basked beneath the sun, He lived a life of going-to-do; and died with nothing done.” English playwright, James Albery.  [Probably because he did not know where he was going!] The purpose of moving out is moving in! Never forget that! Let us seriously consider where we are going BEFORE  leaving where we are. God reminded them that they were going to move to the land He had earlier promised to their fathers. Work and careers awaited them at the completion of the journey. Grapes were ripening on the vines. The houses and barns were already built for them in the Promised Land. Probably one of the most pathetic sights witnessed by God was seeing the barren region between the land of bondage and the land of promise and viewing people aimlessly wandering in circles. Preparation time is well spent considering how to shorten the distance between where we are and where we want to be. Summing up what my dad taught me is this; Know where you’re going before you begin the trip; before you leap, consider your landing! This will give us a much richer life both now and in the future. Welcome to the richer side of life, Richard

Improving R Attitude

 

    Steps leading nowhere
Steps leading nowhere

Several years ago while in Poland teaching at a conference during a break I took a short walk and found these rather interesting steps. Steps that led to “no place”.  In our lives we trudge up the steps making choices only to discover when reaching the summit it is not the place we thought we were headed. Then frustration settles in, next our outlook towards life in general changes. The good news is that we can shift from a negative to a positive attitude.

“To be made new in the attitude of your minds”. Ephesians 4:23 (NIV)

How are we feeling about the people around us today? What approach are we taking toward the challenges that are facing us this week? Do we feel grouchy and aggravated about life in general? Are we looking forward to each day with renewed optimism? Are we looking at life with a buoyant “can do” spirit? Our life, good or not so good, consists in the accumulation of our choices. Our mental disposition, which is the way we view life, forms our attitude.

It is as though we are holding a handful of wet clay. We have the ability to mold the clay into a demon-like figure or that of an angel. The Bible tells us we can mold our character into one of grace and purpose or into one driven by fear and hate. It is our choice. Some people think that the attitude they live with is programmed into their mind never to be changed. Not so! God has given us the ability of renewing the attitude of our mind.

At this point in my writing I could write in big bold letters: “Change our attitude” and be done with it. That would be like me standing on the beach, yelling to a drowning man; “Float man, float!” He can’t and doesn’t know how. This is the same with our attitude, some are not aware that it can be changed or do not know how to go about it. But, wonder of wonders, I can change from a negative to a positive attitude. Just as I would throw a rope to the drowning man to grab onto, I have some “choice ropes” that can pull my mind in a more positive direction.

“There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”- John Wooden

Choice Rope #1. Grab onto the realization that everyone has problems. In fact every miracle recorded in the Bible started out as a problem. Let’s not feast on the problem, instead dig for the solution! Where problems live, solutions abound. Pray, believe and ask God to direct us to the solution. Go to a trusted friend or pastor, clearly define the challenge and actually ask if they have a solution. Just don’t let the problem define your attitude. When you have gathered a few choice solutions, pray and think over the course of action. Then work the solution, not the problem. It is a whole lot more fun and productive working on a solution than it is on a problem!

Choice Rope #2. Hold onto these 3 very important statements found in Rev. 12:11.

  1. People overcame him by the blood of the Lamb / believing in someone bigger than themselves.
  2. By the word of their testimony / remembering past victories big and small.
  3. They did not love their lives to the death / never give up!  

The focus of your attention determines your attitude. Our Lord has all wisdom. Surely you have had some victories to celebrate and you must not give in to complacency.  Begin writing a list of the many times your prayers were answered. Jot down a list of victories. This list provides a powerful tool in your hands to overcome a negative attitude. Last, never give in or give up. At times your troubles seem to be insurmountable but knowing you have; (1.) help, (2.) a list and (3.) you are not giving up, will serve you well in building a more positive attitude. These steps lead to a more positive summit.

Welcome to; The Richer Side of Life

Richard