Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Significance of Acts 1:8 & the Tongues of Pentecost.

Acts 1:8 is very significant because it falls right in line with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19). Acts 1:8 states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [1] So in knowing these things we are called to be his witnesses to the end of the earth, meaning we must speak of him everywhere. Longenecker suggest, “It comes as a direct commission from Jesus himself—in fact, as Jesus’ last word before his ascension and, therefore, was one that is final and conclusive.”[2] Since Jesus thought missions to be important we as the church, must not lose sight of its importance. Bock goes on to say, “The church exists, in major part, to extend the apostolic witness to Jesus everywhere.”[3] Without this verse we may not have fully understood the importance of the Spirit and the responsibility we have to speak of Jesus everywhere.

The topic of speaking in tongues is a very touchy topic. However, when we are dealing with a specific portion of scripture we can try to be less emotive about our response. Acts 2:6&8, “And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language…. 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?” [4]gives us a pretty clear indication that these were national languages. Verses nine through eleven go on to list upwards of sixteen different languages. I believe that since people were able to understand the languages there were no “heavenly” languages being spoken. Fernando supports this with, “But the sign mentioned in Acts 2 is different to that discussed in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, for the language there was not understood by the people.”[5] If there had been a heavenly language the gospel would not have gone as far, however, “God is using for each group the most familiar linguistic means possible to make sure the message reaches to the audience in a form they can appreciate.”[6] This therefore leads me to understand that there are heavenly tongues they just were not present on the day of Pentecost.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ac 1:8.

[2] Longenecker, Richard N. The Expositors Bible Commentary- Acts. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981) 256.

[3] Bock, Darrell L. Acts. (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing, 2007) 66 .

[4] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ac 2:6–8.

[5] Fernando, Ajith. NIV Application Commentary: Acts. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998) 91.

[6] Bock, Acts, 102.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Communicating Through the Chaos

We all struggle with communication at our core. While most of us may struggle with top down communication; we all tend to struggle with male to female communication. Hans Finzel in chapter 7 of his book The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make tells us of the struggles that come when communication breaks down. While most of us training to be pastors and leaders think we communicate effectively and well, Finzel says, “We never communicate enough, and we usually communicate way less than we think we do.” (Finzel 2007, 149) I personally struggle in this area with my wife; I can talk a hole in her head sometimes and still not communicate what I wanted her to hear.

In reading chapter seven of Finzels book, another very important point he makes is that the size of the company and the way communication takes place is vital. When you are smaller you can make major decisions on the fly and in informal ways; but as you grow and become larger your communication must become more formal. Finzel says, “Communication chaos begins when small groups start getting larger.” (Finzel 2007, 131) You may have been doing great conveying your thoughts in a smaller setting, but, “That which had worked so well informally had to be formalized.” (Finzel 2007, 133) Finzel explains that with the more people involved you need to make sure everyone is kept up-to-date with any changes that involve them.

Finzel also warns us about the dangers of leaving things vague. If all you do is make a statement in passing the chance of confusion becomes greater. So, “Sooner or later you must put your plans down in writing and spell out your direction clearly. That doesn’t mean that the plans won’t change, but it does mean that everyone knows the rules of the game.” (Finzel 2007, 135) One thing every leader needs to make sure they cultivate is the ability to listen, Finzel points out, “Nothing stops the progress of an organization more quickly than leaders failing to listen.” (Finzel 2007, 140)

Both Finzel and Robbins express the importance of listening and the difference it can make. Sometimes we can just be hearing what the person has to say, while trying to formulate what we are going to say next. That makes us bad listeners; we are no longer being active in the conversation. We should become active listeners, “As an active listener, you try to understand what the speaker wants to communicate rather than what you want to understand.” (Robbins 2008, 110) Robbins also gives eight types to be better listeners (Make eye contact; exhibit affirmative head nods and appropriate facial expressions; avoid distracting actions or gestures; ask questions; paraphrase; avoid interrupting the speaker; don’t over talk, and lastly make smooth transitions between the roles of speaker and listener.).

Robbins in Truth 29 points out that there is certain information that needs to be conveyed in specific manners. He refers to the way the message is relayed as richness meaning, some “(1) handle multiple cue simultaneously, (2) facilitate rapid feedback, and (3) be very personal.” (Robbins 2008, 114) He tells us that for more routine messages we can choose things that are less rich in communication such as e-mail. But for the more important things you would do better using richer methods such as face-to-face.

In Truth 31 Robbins ties into where I initially started that the make-up of men and women have us communicating differently. He does not say that it is a bad thing it is just a difference in our being. He says that women generally speak for understanding and men speak to show our status. As men we like to feel in control so when a woman tells us of a problem we want to fix it, while she is just looking for some form of affirmation. So he summarizes it like this, “Mutual understanding is symmetrical, but giving advice is asymmetrical—it sets up the advice giver as more knowledgeable and more in control. This contributes to distancing men and women in their efforts to communicate.” (Robbins 2008, 122)

Lastly Robbins brings it home in Truth 32, the old adage that actions speak louder than words. He digs into showing us that we can say one thing and then do another and damage our credibility with those around us. Just like as a parent I do not like telling my two boys do as I say not as I do because it sends the wrong message. Robbins reinforces that sentiment by saying, “It’s hard for employees to trust a manager who says one thing but does another.” (Robbins 2008, 127) If we want to be an effective leader anywhere we must be willing to do what we say we are going to do. A rule I live by is don’t make a promise you are not sure you can keep. Because in breaking promises you set yourself up to say one thing and end up doing another.

I hope these things have helped and if there is more I can do please feel free to ask.


Finzel, Hans. The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2007.

Robbins, Stephen P. The Truth About Managing People. Upper Saddle River: FT Press, 2008.