How To Hear God’s Voice

Listening to Others

One of the things that many adults struggle with and most kids I’ve encountered, struggle with is the ability to hear God’s voice. Hearing God’s voice is not as easy as some simplistically explain and it’s not impossible as many believe.

Hearing God’s voice is made possible by a few basic practices;

  1. Listening to God starts with learning to listen to those you can see.
  2. Knowing God’s voice comes from knowing his word.
  3. Hearing God’s voice requires discernment.

Learning to listen is not a skill that is taught anywhere. It is a gift a few are born with, a skill most can learn, and is indispensable in our ability to hear God and love our fellow believers. The world we live in is crowded, loud, and chaotic. We are surrounded by digital noise that demands little focus from us. To truly listen to others is a difficult thing to do but is a practice we must grow in. To grow in our ability to listen we must understand the importance of it and must actively practice the discipline of it.

Why Listening matters so much.

  1. It is our primary duty as a Christian, loving our brother by listening to him. We have this insatiable urge to say the right thing when often times what people need most is someone who will truly listen to them.

    “The first service one owes to others in the community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives us God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear.”  – Bonhoeffer

  2. We must train ourselves to listen to our fellow believers or we will only know how to speak at people rather than listen to or converse with others. If we train ourselves to ignore our fellow man which we can see how will we ever listen to a God we can’t see.

    “Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening. But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God.” – Bonhoeffer

Listening is something I think most people struggle with. It is something I have to consciously work on. In pastoral ministry, listening is something that you must learn. As a parent, if your kids want to hear God’s voice they need to learn how to listen to yours.

How do we grow in our ability to listen and teach our kids how to listen to others well.

  1. Listen with your face – don’t “Multitask” and believe you are doing your duty. You are not. In fact, you are not listening and you are also not focusing. Multitasking is a myth.
  2. Listen long and patiently – “Those who think their time is too precious to spend listening will never really have time for God and others, but only for themselves and for their own words and plans.” Bonhoeffer
  3. Fully listen, don’t think about a response while listening.
  4. Wait till the other person has finished before you begin to speak.
  5. Listening understands that our duty to our fellow believers is to hear their confession.

Few people have spoken out on our need to listen to others as clearly as Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his powerful book on the Christian fellowship. He offers this dire warning to those who won’t listen “The death of the spiritual life starts here, and in the end, there is nothing left but empty spiritual chatter and clerical condescension which chokes on pious words. Those who cannot listen long and patiently will always be talking past others, and finally no longer will even notice it.”

May we be as James says in his epistle  “Quick to listen and slow to speak.”

A few books I’m planning on reading in 2013

Last year I set a goal of reading 52 books I ended up reading 44. I found my self reading more because I was trying to beat myself. I’m hoping to hit 52 this year here are a few of the books I’m looking forward to reading this year.

 

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Weight of Glory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Does

 

Storyline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

non profit narrative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Center Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sovereignty of God

 

Creating Community

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LeadSmall_189

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lone Survivor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bourne Identity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God in the dock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

god in the manger


The RNC the DNC and the Gospel.

DNC-and-RNC-570x313-29194_302x260

 

Every four years one of my favorite things takes place: the summer Olympics; and every four years one of my least favorite things takes place: the election of our new president.

Here is the thing. I used to believe that politics was the hope of the Christian world. I have since swung so far in the opposite direction that voting for me is done with much difficulty. For me, politics has created a massive division down the center of the country.   On both sides are politicians that seem to care only about the acquisition of power. Being a registered Independent, I find my passion for politics lessens the more the mud and name calling starts to fly.

Our country is in the worst state it has been in recent memory, and our politicians remain entrenched on important issues and squabble over non-essentials. Should Christians care more about the environment? Yes. Should Christians do all they can to protect all life? Yes. Here is my beef with Christians and politics. We think God is on our side. If you are a Republican, you think God is on your side. If you are a Democrat, he’s on your side. He’s not; He’s on His side.

In my recent reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life story, I love how the Gospel formed his political decisions. His first decision was whether or not to serve in the war. After much prayer and contemplation, he came to the decision that he was called to pacifism.  As a result, he did everything he could to avoid serving on the front lines. As the war progressed, it became clear to him, through much prayer and anguish, that he must do all he could to end the war and suffering of his fellow Christians and the Jewish people.

Dietrich did something I think so many Christians do not do. He continually subjected his decisions to the filter of the Gospel. He didn’t start first with a political party and work backwards to the Gospel. He asked, “What does God require of me?” As Christians, today more than ever, we have to focus on the power of the Gospel to transform our country. The more we cling to our political labels while ignoring the injustice of both parties, the longer we will have winter…but never Christmas.

As a Christian our hope must be in the finished work of Christ not a candidate. As gospel-centered believers we must continue to call each party to the center, the center of the Gospel, where everlasting hope and justice are found.