Have you ever learned a foreign language?

It is certainly a “process” and not always an easy one.

Rosetta Stone was a brilliant idea . . . teaching people a foreign language at their own pace, etc.


There have been two times in my life I’ve been required to learn a foreign language. One went well . . . one not so much.


In high school we were required to learn a foreign language in order to graduate. One sentence I learned was, “Je parle un peu Français mais avec beaucoup de fautes.”

It translates to, “I speak a little French but with many mistakes.” (Thanks to a little help from Google – it’s been awhile since high school).


Day after day (after day after day after day) we would sit in Mrs. Prushinski’s class struggling . . . Suis, es, est, somme, et, sont. (Something like that – please forgive me if you are fluent in French).


We had to learn the basics – all of them – before we could even begin coming up with a full sentence.


This was a bit of a struggle for those of us who have personalities who like to “get to the bottom line and achieve success.” We wanted to be able to complete the task and speak, not just keep learning parts and pieces. We never realized how important all the parts of a language were . . . we did enough to get by for the “assignment and grade” and never worried about it again. Because it was beginning high school French I was able to memorize enough so that I could pull an “A.” That was what I cared about – the grade, not what I learned.


Flash forward 20 years . . .

“Andrea, in order to graduate with a Master’s of Divinity you must pass Ancient Hebrew. You must take it from Asbury because you are in your “senior year” so you either need to move to Kentucky campus for four weeks, fly to Florida once a week for 13 weeks to take it in person on that campus, or you need to take it online.”


“ONLINE – WOW!” I thought! HOW EASY WOULD THIS BE!?!?!?!!

With the moderns of technology by my side, and infinite time each week to do the assignments, surely this would be a breeze.

Boy – was I wrong.


I was diligent at first about accomplishing the tasks . . . I memorized the Hebrew alphabet.


Then I memorized a few sight words.
But then life got busy . . . West had its first birthday, I was in transition between senior pastors, my kids started school and we now had two children in high school. Life was challenging at best and that Hebrew stuff took a back seat.
Until it was time for the test.
There was no amount of cramming . . . memorizing . . . there wasn’t even I was I could use “technology” to save me.
I missed out on the fundamentals.
I didn’t know enough to even begin forming sentences much less translating original Hebrew scripture.
I dropped the course.
I had to find another “path” to ordination.
What if that is what faith is like?
What if there are some fundamentals that we can “practice” that would allow our conversations with The Divine flow so that we can continually grow in our relationship with God?
That’s what these next six weeks are for . . .
We will begin some very simple practices so that we can make space for the Spirit of God to speak in and to each of us.
Even long-time followers of Christ will benefit from going back to the basics . . . because the fundamentals never change. And we all grow rusty . . .
We are going to share in simple, doable, durable practices that can be integrated into other things that we already do . . . take a walk, commuting, cooking, eating, resting in bed, relaxing at home, taking a break at work, waiting on a meeting/appointment, or enjoying a hobby.
Thoughts to Ponder:
  • What practices do you have right now that allow you to “be” in the moment with God?
  • What are some things in life you could get “Rid” of so that you could encounter God more fully?
  • Are there some things you see now as “normal life” but are in reality “God things?” Can you begin looking at life differently, noticing more places, things, and spaces that are the Divine?
Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you some “space” where you can begin these practices starting Sunday. With just a few moments of intentionality we will be able to embark in new steps with The Divine.
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”