Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HCC Life Group Finder

Do you want to join a Life Group at Hydesville Community Church?  Here is a link to our current groups and connection information to get you started!  For more information contact the church at (707)768-3767 or visit

The Hydesville Church Life Group Finder:

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Murdered My Grandmother This Morning (The Art of Listening)

Part of being president of the United States is having happy confident facial expressions at social gatherings and enduring tedious things such as long reception lines.  At one of these gatherings, it is said that Franklin Roosevelt decided to try a listening experiment.  To each person in line he murmured “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”  What was the response from guests?  They said things like:  “Marvelous!”  “Keep up the good work!”  “We are proud of you!”  “God bless you sir!”  Finally at the end of the line was a good listener – the ambassador from Bolivia.  Not skipping a beat the ambassador leaned over and said, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

Good listeners are in short supply.  Our busy schedules diminish our ability to take time to listen.  Sometimes, like the guests in the reception line, our minds are on other matters - we are not “in listening mode.”  Our basic human inclination to focus on ourselves rather than others causes a limited capacity to be a good listener.  If we are brutally honest we have to admit that most of us would rather talk and be listened to, rather than discipline ourselves listen patiently to someone else.  Being a good listener is not passive, it is active.  It is a concentrated unselfish effort to focus on the other person.   So, why is important to be an active listener? 

  1. We are to become imitators of Christ, and He makes listening a priority.  God makes Himself available to us at any time, always ready to listen.  Jesus listened attentively to those who sought Him.  When people came to Him for healing or on behalf of another Jesus listened to their pleas.  Did Jesus know the information already?  Yes, of course.  But in listening to those who came to Him, He showed visible care and compassion.  He could have identified the person and said, “yes, I know what the problem is,” snap His fingers and perform the miracle.  But He didn’t…he chose to listen to each person’s story before responding.
  2. If we really want to help other people, we’d better be alert when they speak.  James 1:19b says, “ But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”  If we want to show care and compassion for those around us, we need to comprehend their feelings and their mind set.  This is accomplished best through intently listening to what the person is saying.  Sometimes it involves a couple of thoughtful questions, but the majority of information gathering and understanding is done through really hearing the other person’s words and observing their body language.
  3. Active Listening communicates to the other person that they are important.   Romans 15:2 says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” Animated conversation is fun, and there are plenty of times for give and take. But if we want to grow in our listening skills, we need to make a conscious decision to refrain from our quick comebacks or saying things that draw attention right back to ourselves.  If we have a desire to communicate that the other person is important,  we focus exclusively on the other person!  We make a decision to not to top the other person’s story, not to have the last word, and not share everything we think we know about that particular subject.  We give up our notion that we are authoritative on that topic and we acknowledge the other person’s feelings for what they are without elaborate commentary.  Our eye contact, our posture, our facial expressions all contribute to expressing to that other person that what they are saying is important.  With our countenance we communicate whether we are interested in what the other person has to say.  We also communicate importance by respecting the other person’s time frame.  If it’s evident they are finished sharing, we don’t pry.  We take our cues from the other person and reflect their mood.  Obvious respect in the area of listening communicates that we value that other person.  
Our motivation for developing our listening skills comes from a desire to honor others as Christ commanded.   Philippians 2:3-4 in the Message gives us a great perspective.  “Don’t push your way to the front;  don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.  Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.  Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.  Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”  (or an ear!)

Monday, November 5, 2012


It was an uncharacteristically warm summer morning as I was preparing for my work day.  I stepped out on the back porch to catch some fresh air before finishing my make-up.  I glanced over at a camellia bush that had most obviously turned a corner.  It had been struggling through the summer, but now I could tell it was dead.  I sighed.  We had babied that plant through many summers on the North Coast but didn’t water as much as we should have in the last few rainless months, mostly because the Fortuna water bills tend to be high.  But I was discouraged that the plant didn’t make it through after all these years – probably fifteen summers of “babying” since we planted the little tender shoot.   I thought about the old Victorian home we used to own.  The grounds of that home had a rather stately look and mature camellias that surrounded a wide shady porch as well as many other beautiful plants in the yard.  Funny, I thought - we never had to water those camellias during the summer… they were such old, mature and beautiful specimens.   Their root system and plant girth was so deep and wide that the water provided during the many rainy months and the early morning dew was enough to sustain these magnificent plants.  We don’t have to water the redwood forest – these mature trees are able to receive what they need from the rich environment provided from our Heavenly Father.

Then came the ah-ha moment.  Lord, I want to have the spiritual maturity that is represented by the old mature camellias that adorned our old home.  I want my relationship so rooted and so deep and totally constant in You that I am not affected by a dry spell here and there.  Lord may my encouragement and sustaining power come directly from You as I continue to commit to our relationship through daily times of study and prayer.  I so desire to attain that kind of spiritual growth, stability and maturity.

The Scriptures tell us, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to Him.  Let your roots grow down into Him and draw nourishment from Him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.  Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done.”  Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)
Our Christian “walk” goes through many phases.  When we are that new believer – that “tender shoot,” there is much watering and protecting that needs to take place through our Christian brothers and sisters in the Church.  An experienced gardener once told me as we were purchasing some new plants that they would need “to be babied” at first with gentle watering every day.   We are called upon, as believers in Christ, to “disciple” one another in the faith.  If we are “older” in the faith, we are admonished to care for the “younger” (Titus 2:4-5).  The principle is not so much chronological age, but time spent walking with Jesus.  When we grow to the point of having our own daily “quiet time” of regular, consistent Bible study and prayer (that influences the way we live), our spiritual life and relationship with God takes a big leap.  It makes sense.  A relationship improves in quality and depth as there is significant time devoted and invested in the relationship.  Time spent in worship with other believers is incomparable.  In the working out of relationships in our spiritual family, we grow in Christian virtues of understanding, patience and most importantly, forgiveness. 

There are many opportunities presented by the body of Christ here at Hydesville Church that are specifically designed to aide spiritual growth.  However, nothing takes the place of that personal commitment to relationship and growth between the living Lord and oneself. 
We want to be a church that is characterized by that picture of many beautiful stately mature camellias that adorn the gardens and provide shade and protection to the “tender shoots” that the Lord entrusts to this congregation.  May we encourage each other and grow together in this new season.