Posts Tagged Listen

Listening to God

This is the third in a series of devotionals published by First Baptist Church of Charleston

for the celebration of Say Something Nice Sunday and the month of June as Effective Communication Month.
Listening to God
Scripture Focus:
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times,
“Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is
listening.” — 1 Samuel 3:10 (NIV)
When noted CBS News anchor Dan Rather asked Mother Teresa
how she prayed, she answered, “I mostly listen.” When I asked
my minister friend, Dr. Monty Knight how he talked to God, he
responded by saying, “A more important question is how do I
listen to God.” Rather followed up Mother Teresa’s answer with,
“What does God say?” She responded by telling him that God
mainly listens.
`Obviously there is something important going on in this process.
Jesus tells us to go into our closet when we pray. Jesus went into
the wilderness for 40 days. We are admonished to listen for the
still small voice. Something important happens when we are quiet
and tuned in. Being primed to listen is different from just being
quiet There is an expectancy, a predisposition to being available.
Eli sensed that God was calling the young Samuel when he told
him, “If the voice speaks again, say here am I Lord. Your servant
is listening.”
If we are to engage in communication with God, it requires us to
be fully present in the moment. We cannot be caught up in giving
God a laundry list of our desires. We must prepare ourselves by
emptying our conscious mind of all distractions that would hinder
the process. To shut out distractions is why Jesus recommends
going into our closets to pray. Listening for the voice of God is a
powerful prayer.
Prayer Focus:
Dear God, quiet my restless soul so that I might prepare to hear
your voice. Ame

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Thank You for Listening – Marc Wong

Marc Wong, a listening skills trainer, has contributed valuable tools to help each of us become more effective listeners in his book, Thank You for Listening.  He suggests many helpful exercises which compliment his 8 step formula.

His emphasis on the importance of asking opened ended questions is a major contribution. Years of teaching and conducting workshops has demonstrated to me that people simply do not know how to ask good questions.  Without the right question, there is no possibility of getting the right answer.

His downloadable bookmark, “Thank You for Listening,” is a terrific idea. He gives it out to his audience before his presentation. He also gives it to individuals with whom he is conversing. Go to www.8steplisten.com. His book is available at www.amazon.com.

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Your Choice on Black Friday: Shopping or Listening

Mitch Carnell  – www.ethicsdaily.com

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 6:11 am

Your Choice on Black Friday: Shopping or Listening | Mitch Carnell, Listening, Storytelling

Think about your children and grandchildren. They will want to hear those stories long after you are not around to tell them, Carnell writes.

The Price House, built in 1795, is a historic site in Spartanburg County in South Carolina.

My great-grandparents owned the property. My parents as a young couple did much of their courting there.

My son, Michael, drove Carol and me there to celebrate the historical association’s Woodruff Days in the town of Woodruff – the town closest to the site and my hometown.

We had seven hours of car time to tell some of the old family stories and to check our versions with each other.

As a young boy, I accompanied my parents and sister as we gathered buckets of muscadine grapes that grew wild near the old house that was abandoned at the time.

These were wonderful outings. Sometimes, my aunts and uncles and their children would be with us. We children were much more interested in eating the grapes than picking them for later use.

Michael reminisced about his mother and how she loved the old house and sketched it and its surroundings. We wracked our brains to remember where those sketches might be.

Michael and his sister, Suzanne, enjoyed scampering up and down the steep embankment in those youthful days. The embankment is not nearly as daunting now as it was then.

Shortly after the historical association acquired the property, my mother asked the docent, “What did you do with the cellar?”

“There was no cellar in this house,” the docent replied.

“Oh, yes there is,” Mother said. “My grandparents kept milk, butter and eggs down there.”

It turned out that the non-existent cellar now houses the air conditioning unit. Mother enjoyed that little episode.

Mother talked about all of the parties that were held there, but I didn’t listen because it didn’t seem important at the time. Besides, my mother would always be around to tell me again, wouldn’t she?

“Dad,” Michael asked, “how did mama and pop [my parents] get the house where you grew up?”

I replied:

“Mother and dad worked in the cotton mill until dad had to leave because he was allergic to the dust. During the Second World War, they bought government savings bonds through payroll deductions. They were proud to be a part of the war effort. Dad was also an air raid warden. When the war was over, they had $1,000 in bonds.

“They used this money for a down payment on the house and its five acres of land. That left a $2,000 mortgage. The payments were $20 per month. My dad worried that he would be unable to make those payments, but mother insisted that they buy the place. Of course, they paid the mortgage off years ahead of time.

“The property included a small peach orchard that produced really well. During the summers when mother and dad were at work, my sister and I sold peaches to customers who came by. We were allowed to keep the money from the peaches that we sold. Both of us were good at selling. Taking care of the peach orchard was a family affair. One tree was reserved just for our family. The peaches were wonderful, and the homemade peach ice cream was even better. Those were wonderful days.

“One of the best stories involved that family peach tree, which also contained a nest of yellow jackets. My dad told one of his friends that he could pick some peaches for free, but that he should not pick from the family tree. Does this story sound familiar? Shortly we heard all manner of yelling and screaming. We knew what had happened. My dad just laughed and continued eating his lunch.”

Michael, Carol and I don’t often get this much time together, but a long car trip often triggers an avalanche of family stories.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, better known as Black Friday, is also the National Day of Listening, a day to tell and record family stories. Think about your children and grandchildren. They will want to hear those stories long after you are not around to tell them.

I can only wish that I had recorded my mother’s stories or at least had listened more closely.

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Fifty-two Keys for Living, Loving and Working

Stop Talking – Listen actively

Listening is much more than the absence of talking. Because you are not talking does not mean that you are listening. You must make a conscious decision to listen. Listen with your entire body including your eyes.  Listening is a skill. Develop it. It will serve you well. Many of us have developed the talent to look as if we are listening when in reality our minds are some place other than concentrating on the present. Stay with the speaker, the music. Experience the sensation that truly listening brings. Jesus said, “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.” There is no way to remember what you did not listen to when it was first presented. A taxi driver in New York City said, “I am not as smart as people think I am. I have learned to be an intellectual thief. I have learned to listen to everyone.” He has discovered one of the great secrets to a successful, fulfilling life. Follow his example.

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