Attention Retained

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT)

Why did the apostle Paul pray for the church to be rooted and grounded in love?

In a 2012 poll taken, 76% of Americans identified themselves as Christians while only 36% of those attend church on a weekly basis. We attend church and listen to a sermon, message, teaching, whatever the title of the talk is, the point is the same- to teach us biblical principles and how we can relate to scripture and apply it to our own lives. The trouble with saying we are christian but not having regular church attendance is the lack of retention of what we learn or the ability to carry the principles we learn on any given Sunday morning into the rest of our week. Well, we can hardly call ourselves something we know nothing about. It would be like me calling myself a pilot because I fly as a passenger to Florida once a year. What’s more, there are different styles of learning and if we are not connected to a christian community the chances of retention drops dramatically.

Paul wanted all people to be made complete with the fullness of life and God’s power. To fully experience God and the love He is takes training. By learning how we and our children retain information we will be in a better position to practice biblical principles in all our affairs and thus gain a better understanding of God’s love and experience the promises He gives.

There are four styles of learning. They are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. Here is a description taken from and article by Dr. Mary Smialek.

“Visual learners best remember what is seen. They tend to remember faces instead of names, are good readers and have good imaginations. They respond best to instruction that includes reading, posters, graphs and videos. Visual learners:
take copious notes
often close their eyes to visualize and remember
usually neat and clean with carefully coordinated clothing
benefit from illustrations and visual presentations
are attracted to written or spoken language rich in pictorial imagery
seek quiet, passive surroundings ideal

Auditory learners best remember what is heard. They remember names well, respond easily to phonics instruction and may like to talk when writing. They benefit most from instruction based on lectures, discussions and questioning. Some good methods to use with auditory learners include singing songs or listening to tapes that relate to content area to be studied and developing rhymes and mnemonics to help remember information. Auditory learners:
remember names, tend to forget faces
may not coordinate clothes but can explain what they have on and why
hum or talk to themselves
enjoy listening to themselves and others
likes to read aloud
remembers best by verbalizing
have difficulties reading maps or diagrams
have little trouble learning in a noisy environment

Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing, experimenting and involvement. These learners remember what was done, not necessarily what was seen or heard, and might have difficulty paying attention and staying focused on their schoolwork or homework. Kinesthetic learners benefit most from hands-on instruction, using manipulatives, role-playing or building things. Kinesthetic learners:
need to move around, be active and take frequent breaks
speak with their hands and with gestures
seek out and find ways to move around
tinker when bored
rely on what they can directly experience or perform
enjoy manipulating materials

Tactile learners like to use their hands and fingers to learn. Those learn best by writing, drawing, doodling and tend to be creative.They benefit from instructions such as sewing, painting or drawing. Tactile learners:
need to touch or feel objects when learning a new concept
enjoys designing things
likes to illustrate written work
finds sculpting, painting and drawing relaxing
Appreciates physically expressed encouragement (e.g. a pat on the back)”

It is not only helpful as individuals and parents to know the differences of learning styles to understand how we learn but it is helpful in understanding how we can teach. When you are involved in a church community you begin to serve. Whether you serve in a church service or the children’s programming, creating an environment that serves as many of these styles as possible helps church attenders retain and grow. And the more we know, the more we grow in Christ’s love. Make church attendance a part of your life, find one that suits not only your style of learning but everyone in the family. When we are connected to a church family we gain wisdom and understanding of humanity, ourselves and in the fullness of God, we are made complete.

Migration

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Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Eagles are considered spiritual messengers between gods and humans by some cultures. There is an eagle that has taken roost near my home. I get to see him on my daily hike and I don’t know if I am conditioned because the eagle is the national symbol of freedom or if it is sheer size or their predatory nature, but they are fascinating creatures to me. Seeing them soar down river or upstream, I always feel a sense of God’s presence and peace. An eagle’s majestic nature stops me in my tracks and I am able to stop, stare and revel in the present moment. Whatever worries or challenges or stress of the day melt away when the eagle flies my way.

When we stop our busy lives for even just a moment, we are open to hearing from God, from gaining clarity over a situation, peace around a problem, hope for our future.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:26, 27, 34 NLT)

What causes you to stop and pause?

Repetition of Intention

The church can be a body in which we transform lives and therefore transform society. It may not be realistic to hope for Utopia but go with me for a moment and reflect on this space and time…a small rural community not far from a metropolitan area. An area where booze is king and American Idol is news. We fill ourselves with useless information and useless strategies for getting the most for the least amount of work performed. What would happen if we actually practiced what the teachings of the Bible say to do in life? Could we change our reaction to life by changing our behaviors? Can we practice communicating and loving each other just as much as we love our own self? With the divorce rate at 50% the success of families is shifting. Prisons are filling up. Life is really hard for a whole lot of us. Is this something we should be striving to change?

One small change. The things of importance to your spouse can be managed and claimed important to you solely because it is important to your spouse. I’m not saying guys, you need to get mannie/peddies or cry during Bridges of Madison County or anything but seriously, a back rub after a hard day goes a really, really long way.

We can stretch to grow into who God needs us to be. We can be someone who can help make necessary changes in society. This can start at home. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it reads, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Discipline myself with how I spend my time takes practice and I’m not always successful, but when I show my husband he is the most important thing by coming home on time, it not only shows I value and respect him but we actually have time to be together and that’s a good thing. When I get caught up in the to-do’s of the day or week or month I force myself to take a step back and remember my time belongs to God and what he needs me to get done will. We can go forth in a spirit of power knowing there is a God on our side and we have such strength in that faith. We need to be intentional though; it doesn’t happen in one moment after one instance of trial. Be prepared to begin and begin again. It starts in the church. Find one now.