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Pastor's Perspective

August 2017

Posted by Ricky Sanderford on

Pastor’s Perspective - MOMENTS OF GRACE


Earlier in July I preached a sermon called The Heart of Listening based on Jesus parable of the sower in Matthew 13. The definition of listening includes effort to hear, paying attention, giving heed and understanding. In the parable, the fertile soil that produces good fruit is the heart that hears and understands (Mt 13:23).


In my sermon, we explored the idea of being an active listener. An active listener is one who makes an intentional effort to focus on the other, pay attention to what is shared and works to understand what is shared. A fundamental human desire is to communicate with our creator God – to hear a word from God. People want to know “What is God’s will for my life?” and “What is God saying to me?”


I shared a method I have utilized for years that has helped me become a more effective
active listener to God. I’ve had several requests for this method so here it is in writing. 

To become more effective as an active listener to God, follow
this five step counter-intuitive method:


1. GATHER YOUR TOOLS


You will need your bible and something to write on and a writing instrument.

2. GO TO A QUIET PLACE AND STILL YOUR MIND, THOUGHTS, AND EMOTIONS


This world is a noisy place. We often cannot hear God over the din of the activities around us so practice Psalm 37:7, Be still before the Lord and wait for him.

3. FOCUS THE EYES OF YOUR HEART ON JESUS


Pick a book in the Bible and begin to read. When a verse captures your attention stop and ask God a simple question, Lord, what are you saying to me here? Then, be quiet and still and listen. Most of the time I don’t make it through but a few verses before one grabs my attention.

4. RECOGNIZE THAT MANY TIMES GOD’S VOICE IN YOUR HEART SOUNDS LIKE A FLOW OF SPONTANEOUS THOUGHTS, IMPRESSIONS
OR VISIONS.


In the silent stillness of your mind, thoughts will begin to flow. Listen to them and pay attention. Allow these spontaneous thoughts to flow. For me, it usually means only few minutes.

5. WRITE AND ACT


Once the flow of thoughts and impressions slows in your mind, stop and write down your thoughts, ideas, questions, prayer concerns, visions, etc. I make just short notes, usually just enough for me to recall what was in my mind. This last step is vitally important. Studies have shown we remember less than 25% of a conversation after a day or
two. We need to write down what was in our mind so we will not forget what God has said and we can go back and review and reflect (I try to do this once a week). Finally, if we remember, we can act on what we have heard from God.


This is a method that has benefited me in trying to become a better active listener to God. I invite you to give it a try and see if you begin to hear God’s still, small whispered voice in your heart. See you in worship.


Grace and peace,

Ricky


P.S. The steel is going up. The sanctuary is taking shape.
It’s exciting!

Tags: 2017, active, august, blog, grace, listening, moments

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