Tag: listen

Why you should quit listening to your pastor

I’m done listening to my pastor.

D.O.N.E. Done.

All this talk on believing the Gospel. Trusting God through pain. Loving my kids with all of my heart. Believing God’s way is better than my way. I’m done.


Will you join me?

Quit listening to your pastor talk about how much he loves you. About how God has a plan for your life. About how you need to link arms with other people and join a small group.

Quit listening to him when he says that it’s good for your heart to give generously.

Quit listening when he talks about turning your back on your sin. About trusting the God who loves you. About your need to repent.

And when he prays for you…stop listening then, too. Don’t listen when he encourages you to step up and serve others. Or to spend a week this summer at student camp. Or going overseas to share the love and hope of the Gospel.

Stop listening. Please.

Stop listening and start doing something.

Take what your pastor says and start living it. Let it resonate so deeply in your soul that it pushes you to action.

Listening alone is worthless. When the act of hearing Truth doesn’t end in some form of action, it’s not done you any good. As James puts it,

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. – James 1:22

If we listen, and don’t do, we’re a fool. James goes on to compare us to the person who looks in the mirror to make sure everything’s straight…and as soon as they look away, they forget what they looked like. That’s dumb.

So let’s quit wasting our pastor’s time by listening. It’s not doing either of us any good. A storm’s brewing, and we’ve got to be ready. The question is not whether we will have enough knowledge or not. The question will be whether we can do anything about it.

But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. – Jesus, Luke 6:49

Stop listening to your pastor. And start doing.


Priscilla Shirer, Catalyst 2011

Priscilla Shirer spoke at Catalyst 2011 in Atlanta. She leads Going Beyond Ministries. She spoke on the danger of “sleeping” through life and wishing it away.

Her mom and dad once said to her, “You don’t live here anymore, but your stuff is still here. You need to get what you want by December 9th. On the 10th, we’re getting rid of it.”

This exercise ended up being a lot of fun to her.

There was a box full of old journals, and it was fun to interact with herself…the Priscilla from a decade ago.

As she read through her journals, she realized that she had effectually slept through long seasons of life, as she noticed that she had wished away and raced through so many years of her life.

Her life seemed to be marked by the statement, “I cannot wait until…”

“If I’m not careful, I will never be fully present and engaged in where I am right now because you’ll keep wanting what’s yet to come. I’d been sleepwalking through whole seasons of life.”

In Scripture, so many times people have been derailed from the plan that God has from them right now, and that God’s not left even though there are many interruptions.

“I don’t want to wake up one day and say, ‘Surely the Lord was there with me, but I missed him.'”

Secrets for Sleepwalkers

1. Our eyes can be open to God’s activities even in the midst of discouragement.

Luke 24:13-35, we see that a couple of guys have just had their plans interrupted. Jesus is the guy that they’re hanging their hopes on, and he’s just been crucified. They’re’ not sure that the rumors about Jesus being raised from the dead are true.

But then we read, “And behold…” This word “behold” calls attention to a specific point. It emphasizes an idea and calls attention to a detail. These guys were in the midst of a “behold” moment, even though they were frustrated by their circumstances.

Your story might be about to change, but you don’t even know it.

Beholding is knowing something and seeing it with spiritual eyes even when others can’t.

“My sons love to swim, and we bought them goggles. But when they went underwater, they kept their eyes closed. They didn’t’ know that they had the equipment to see under water. And the same is true for us, because we have Jesus Christ.”

2. There’s a secret in going home.

Some of us believe that the pinnacle of our Christian experience is to be had in large gatherings and taught from the platform. But the pinnacle should be when you take what you learn in the pew and it makes a difference on the sidewalk in your community.

3. There’s a secret of silence, of controlling the words that come out of your mouth (v. 14-16).

In this passage, there are 7-8 verses where the disciples are just talking. Something is wrong when you’re with God and you’re the only one talking.

There’s probably a part of your life that you don’t really care for and in which you’re being interrupted. But in those frustrations, listen for God’s voice and experience His power.

Are you ready to hear from God?


Good leaders are good listeners

My son is piecing lots of words and thoughts and phrases together.  It’s quite hilarious, actually.  Here are a few he’s said recently.

Right there!  Daddy…Poppy…eat…hot!

Translation: “I ate dinner there with Poppy one night, and his plate was so hot it burned me.”

Oh no! Wait…Daddy…church…right there!

Translation: “We just drove by the road that we turn down to go to church…turn around!”


Translation: “Daddy and I played on the playground at that school and it was fun!”


Translation: ‘I helped Daddy work outside.’ (see picture below for when he said that)


Translation: “Daddy, would you turn your hat around backwards?”


Translation: “Daddy, you smell bad.”  (I get that one a lot…)

But this is the one that takes the cake:

Daddy die!

Out of context, this statement from my son seems oddly dark and twisted.  In context it makes perfect sense.  I promise you my son is not a weirdo.

See, if you’d been there in the moment, you wouldn’t have thought anything was out of place.  He was riding his four-wheeler, and right in the middle of the yard, the battery died.  All he was doing was letting me know that, so that I’d go plug it back in and charge it up.  Not weird at all.

And that’s what building a relationship does.  It helps put things into context.  It helps make sense of a person.  Learning their story, understanding their struggles, their heartaches, their missed opportunities, their hopes and dreams takes them from being an “outsider” to being someone you relate with and that you can serve with.  All of a sudden, they’re not so un-relatable…you begin to see how your stories at some level mesh, and how you can speak truth into that person’s life.

Relationships are difficult, no doubt.  And they’re messy and frustrating and will test your patience and your life’s calling.  But taking the time to hear someone’s story, helping them pull out the bright spots, shining light in the dark places, will make you a better leader.  Because through truly getting to know people, not just brushing them off and casting them to the side, you’ll grow to love them more.

People aren’t a means to an end.  They’re your calling.  It doesn’t matter what “business” you’re in.

Good leaders are good listeners.



Looking but not listening

My wife said something to me the other day.  I was in the other room, so I didn’t hear her.

Valid excuse, no?

My wife said something to me the other day.  I was right beside her, doing something else, so I didn’t hear her.

Valid excuse, no?

My wife said something to me the other day.  I was looking her right in the eyes, and I didn’t hear her.

Valide excuse, no?


Have you ever done that?  You’re looking right at someone, and they’re talking and you hear what they’re saying, but at the same time you’re hearing none of what they’re saying?

I feel dumb saying, “I know you thought we were engaged in a good conversation right then, and I was even nodding my head, but I have no idea what you said.”

Ever done that with God?

We’re surrounded by God speaking.

In our Bibles.  In podcasts.  Sermons.  Songs.  Through our friends.  Our small group.  Books.  Movies.  Creation.

He is speaking through success.  Through failure.  Through closed doors and open ones.

And yet we don’t listen.  We have no idea what God is saying, or calling us to do.


So how do we actually start listening to what He’s telling us?


How to hear God’s voice

  • Read your Bible. God has spoken most clearly there, and He has guided people for centuries with the Truth found in the Scriptures.  Through reading more and more of the Bible, you begin to understand what moves the heart of God, where and how He’s working, and how your life can more closely reflect that of Christ.  I call that a win.
  • Listen to solid Bible teaching. Hopefully your church offers it.  If not, feel free to supplement with a Podcast from another church.  There are hundreds of great ones out there.  I listen to this one Matt Chandler HERE and Andy Stanley HERE. (though, thankfully, my church, Grace Community Church, offers amazing teaching).  Hearing the Bible taught and applied is a great way to understand what God may be calling you to do.
  • Serve. Serving others is a great way to get you outside of yourself, and remind yourself that you’re not the center of the universe.  It’s also a great way to find out what things you’re gifted at and where your passions lie.
  • Pray. Ask God to reveal to you what He wants you to be and do.  If you want to hear from God, ask Him to speak.
  • Listen to your friends. Asking those who know you well (especially those in your small group) and you to grow in your faith, to help you know what God may be calling you to do, can be incredibly insightful.  If your friends can be honest with you, they have probably seen God working in your life, and can help you know what things you may be gifted at (or not) that may be worth pursuing.
  • Spend some time enjoying beauty. Whether it’s in the form of nature, art, music, or movies, you can hear God speaking there, too.  I’m not promising an audible, booming voice, but God can move you, and speak to you, in significant ways when you acknowledge His role in creating those things.
  • Be still.  For me, this is probably the toughest one.  I struggle to be still and silent and patient.  (Psalm 46:10)

If you want to know what God’s calling you to do, both right now and in the future, try these things.  And when you get finished with these things, try them again.  And again.  And again.


Have you heard God speaking to you lately?


What’s He calling you to do?





Say less, listen more, 11s on the 1s

If you’d like to catch up on this series of 11-word posts, click HERE.

Say less, listen more

Saying more is much easier than saying less.  Start by listening.


The Cc & Small Groups

Have you ever been “Cc’d” in an email? Not even sure what I’m talking about? Let me enlighten you.

Here’s a normal email field:

Email, Cc

See the “Cc:” line below the “To:” field?

Cc stands for Carbon Copy.  You know those forms you have to fill out that have multiple copies where, if you press down hard enough, the image is stamped on all of the subsequent attached copies?  The first one’s white…the second is yellow…the third, pink…the last page is black.  Follow?

Carbon copies are a way of sharing multiple copies of the exact same information with people.

The same holds true with emails.

If I send an email to you, and Cc Joe, it means that I want Joe to have the same information that you have.  It’s not directly addressed to him, but he needs to be included in the conversation.

There’s one more thing you need to know about: “Reply All.”

If you “reply” to said email, I will get your reply.  But Joe won’t.

If you “reply all” to said email, I will get your reply, and so will Joe.

Here’s my point: I included Joe for a reason.  I wanted him to be included in the conversation.  I want him to know what we’re talking about.  And for him to know what we’re talking about, you have to “reply all.”

It would be the same if I am having a conversation with you and Joe about an upcoming event that you will be leading.  I say, “Hey, do you know who else will be coming to the event?”  And you whisper back to me, “Yes, Don will be there, too.”  Then Joe says back (to both of us), “I don’t know anybody else who will be there.”  Then I have to say (to both of you), “Sorry, Joe, _____ whispered to me, but he should have said it out loud.  Don will be there.”  Then you whisper (to me), “Can’t wait to see you both there!”  Then I have to tell Joe what you just told me.


If I send you an email, and Cc somebody else, please, please, please “reply all.”  There’s a reason I sent them a Cc.  I want them to be in on the conversation!

Email can be a conversation…if you know how to use the Cc.  The same principle can hold true in a small group, too.

If I’m leading a small group, and consistently find myself talking with the same one or two people, that’s not a small group…that’s a clique.

A good small group leader involves everybody in the discussion.  They’re listening to what Joe says…and connecting it with what Sean says…and the prayer request that Debbie shared last week…and the fact that I know John lost his job.  Because they, as the good small group leader, are convinced that everybody’s story matters.  And they are convinced that, though Rose is quiet in the back, she’s dealing with real life issues.  And, even though everybody rolls their eyes when Chris starts to talk because he dominates the conversation, Chris is a vital part of the growth of the group (because learning how to interact with Chris teaches the group patience, love, and grace).

Sure, it would be more fun to talk with “that couple” that you’ve been friends with for years.  Or that girl that you think you may have a chance with.  But the role of a small group leader is to pastor the whole group, which means learning to help the whole group have a conversation.

Learn to listen well.  In email.  And in small groups.

What kinds of things have you done in your small groups to help elicit discussion out of the whole group?


© 2024

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑