Communication

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Introduction:

A little word this morning from our friend John Mayer as we continue our series, The Table. Have you ever found yourself on verge of screaming out “just say it already!”  “Spit it out!”  “Say what you need to say!” “Get it over with!”

Perhaps you have been the one that is trying to find the right words but no matter how you “say what you need to say” something gets lost with the person hearing those words. Much like this…

Video: Monty Python

How frustrating! But all of us have probably been there at one time or another. The things we are trying to communicate are not being understood as we intended them.

Effective communication and language translation involves far more than converting words and phrases from one language to another. We must convey intent. In the early 1980s, computer programmers were developing some innovative translation software but came up with some peculiar results:

  • From English to Russian, back to English: ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ ended up: ‘Invisible idiot’.
  • From English to Japanese, back to English: ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ (from Hamlet) ended up: ‘It is, it is not, what is it?’

In the 1990s, international marketers had some monumental cross-cultural miscommunication blunders concerning brand names and slogans:

  • Swedish vacuum-cleaner manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American advertising campaign: ‘Nothing sucks like an Electrolux’.
  • The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover, until after thousands of signs had been printed, that the phrase means: ‘Bite the wax tadpole’. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, ‘ko-kou-ko-le,’ which can be loosely translated as: ‘Happiness in the mouth’.
  • Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan: ‘Finger-lickin’ good’ came out as: ‘Eat your fingers off’.
  • In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan: ‘Come alive with the Pepsi Generation’ came out as: ‘Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead’.
  • In Italy, Schweppes Tonic Water was wrongly translated into Schweppes Toilet Water.
  • An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of the desired: ‘I Saw the Pope’ in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed: ‘I Saw the Potato’.

 

Movement 1:

There is no doubt that communication can be difficult and dangerous and costly as some of these companies found out.

I think that God, in His wisdom, knows how important communication is and how treacherous it can be so he speaks of it often throughout the scriptures.

Our main text for today, comes from Ephesians 4:11-16 and you can turn there now if you would like.

Last week we explored this idea of being prepared. Being prepared in our relationship with God and being prepared to engage in relationship with another person. And through this preparedness then we will be able and ready to be a person of hospitality.

Today, we are going to be talking about the important of communication in practicing radical hospitality.

Remember that hospitality is “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers; the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.”

Henri Nouwen: “Hospitality…means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Pray

Movement 2:

This passage is a part of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. It opens with the affirmation that each of us have gifts that are to be used to give God glory and to share in building up His Kingdom. We all have a place and role to play. It also gives clarification to the gifts and role of the minister – to equip people to do God’s work.

When we are built up in the knowledge of Christ then we will have unity in the faith. We will be able to stand strong against deception or influence contrary to Christ. And when we are confronted with lies we will not be swayed. We will know the truth.

And we will not just know the truth but our heart and our mind will lead us to give voice to the truth – to communicate the truth.

Communication is one of the fundamentals of creation. Something is always being communicated whether its intended or not.

Communication is the most important skill in life – we spend most of our waking moments communicating. Think about how much time we spend reading and writing, speaking and listening.

We communicate with words, we communicate with our bodies (gestures), we communicate with our eyes, we communicate with our attitude or countenance.

We communicate face-to-face, through a computer, a phone, email, text, and we communicate with what we do not say but we are always communicating.

2 Major Areas of Communication

  • Verbal Language
    • Songs we sing
    • Language we use in worship gatherings
    • Weekly email
    • Bulletin
  • Non-Verbal Language
    • As a church our goal is to communicate in a holistic sense. Therefore, you will see platform change from sermon series to sermon series to communicate visually what we are communicating verbally. 80% of people are non-auditory learners.
    • Projection
    • Paint Colors/tables
    • Exterior Christmas lights
    • Bulletin/weekly email

Our authenticity flows from our character. Our character is constantly radiating, communication. From it, in the long run, people come to instinctively trust or distrust you and your efforts.

Our passage declares in verse 15, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…” And we will do that in verbal and non-verbal ways.

There are 3 things that are important to draw from verse 15.

  1. We will be compelled to Speak
    • First, “speak the truth” is translated from the verb aletheuo. Paul is not strictly talking about articulation however. The revelation of God in Christ was to penetrate and inspire their (believers) whole activity. They were not only to speak truth but were to live it.”
    • The joy of the Lord will overflow.
    • We speak in verbal/non-verbal ways.
  1. We are compelled by the Truth
    • Truth was to be the life of all Christians.
    • Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
    • Colossians 3:8-10 – But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him–
    • John 8:31-32. “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    • Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
  1. Truth must be spoken In Love
    • Love should characterize God’s people at all times
    • Notice with me that it doesn’t say to just speak truth. It gives us instruction in how to speak truth; in love.
    • People will know you by your love.
    • Psalm 39:1: I said, “I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue.
    • Ephesians 4:29-31: Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
    • Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Like our parents taught us, if we do not have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

Movement 3:

We are to speak truth in love so how do we practice radical hospitality by our communication?

  • Listen
    • Listening is the first step in communication. How do you communicate verbally if you do not know what you should communicate?
    • Empathetic listening – seek first to understand
    • If you want to interact effectively, to influence someone – your spouse, your child, your neighbor, your boss, your coworker, your friend – you first need to understand them. And your desire to understand them must come from a place of authentically caring to understand them.
    • How can you appreciate? How can you give advice? How can you care unless you really understand someone?
    • If you really want to be effective in the habit of interpersonal communication, you have to build the skills of empathetic listening on a base character that inspires openness and trust.
    • Read Stephen Covey on this in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Awareness
    • Who are you talking to or sitting across from? Who are the people you are going to encounter when you leave your house?
    • What are my triggers based on my experiences that I need to be aware of?
  • Understand gender Generally…
    • Women: need time to express feelings
    • Men: focused on the solution and want to move on
  • Use “I” statements
  • Do not attack the person but the behavior
  • Avoid broad generalities (all the time, always, never, etc.)
  • Be
    • Receive and give positive feedback and compliments
    • Don’t be a mind reader
  • Don’t be afraid to pause the conversation. Things can become tense. Take a break.

Conclusion:

We communicate in the invitation, communicate in how we prepare and communicate in how we execute.

Everywhere we go, we are in the process of communicating and evaluating communication.

One of the biggest road blocks to hospitality is our communication.

We must be willing to ask: Is our communication creating hostility or hospitality? Is it breaking down barriers and create space or is it building or at least keeping walls up?

When people encounter you in your workplace, the grocery store, out shopping, in the park, at the YMCA, or even right here at GracePoint, how and what are you communicating? Are you communicating the love and grace of Jesus? Are you breaking down barriers? Are you truly desiring to know the other person and listen to them?

Perhaps this morning, God has been trying to break down your barriers to him and you are not listening. Would you be willing to open your heart today?

Perhaps you are holding resentment against a particular person for something they have done or even resentment towards a type of person because of what someone did at one time. Are you hardening your heart because of past experiences that is fostering a hostile environment?

Prayer

Response: Communion

Christ has prepared the Table for us where he is the ultimate host, demonstrating for us the definitive example of hospitality by inviting us to dine with him. He has prepared the Table and beckons us to receive his gift to us.

This morning, we are going to receive the Lord’s Supper by intinction. In a few moments, I will invite you to come forward as you feel led. I will hold the bread and the cup and you can take a piece of bread, dip it in the juice, and eat. Then you can pray around the altars or return to your seat to pray and reflect.

The Communion Supper, instituted by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a sacrament, which proclaims His life, His sufferings, His sacrificial death and resurrection, and the hope of His coming again. It shows forth the Lord’s death until His return.
The Supper is a means of grace in which Christ is present by the Spirit. It is to be received in reverent appreciation and gratefulness for the work of Christ. All those who are truly repentant, forsaking their sins, and believing in Christ for salvation are invited to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ.
We come to the table that we may be renewed in life and salvation and be made one by the Spirit. In unity with the Church, we confess our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

And so we pray:
Holy God, We gather at this, your table, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who by your Spirit was anointed to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, set at liberty those who are oppressed. Christ healed the sick, fed the hungry, ate with sinners, and established the new covenant for forgiveness of sins. We live in the hope of His coming again………….
Words of Institution
On the night in which He was betrayed, He took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread, gave it to His disciples, and said: “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise, when the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to His disciples, and said: “Drink from this, all of you, this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Epiclesis
And so, we gather as the Body of Christ to offer ourselves to you in praise and thanksgiving. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these your gifts. Make them by the power of your Spirit to be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the Body of Christ, redeemed by His blood. By your Spirit make us one in Christ, one with each other, and one in the ministry of Christ to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, let us all pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

Let’s gather at the Table of the Lord.

The Table: Practicing Radical Hospitality

Communication

The Table: Practicing Radical Hospitality

Preparation

The Table: Practicing Radical Hospitality

Invitation