Good listening is truly an act of love.

I have been a teacher most of my life… And because I know that God is a good listener, I have tried to practice and improve upon this skill in my own life.

We may have entered March, but February was the “month of love.”

I remember an incident where using “listening as an act of love” gave us a breakthrough with a student we had struggled with at the school where I was principal for years. When this young lady was sent my office once again, I sat her down and we spoke. I shared with her that I care enough to listen to her heart, but that I also have time to spend just with her.

During the conversation, she shared that she had found pornography on her dad’s phone. I listened to her pain “all the way to the bottom.” Incredibly, she was a changed girl – because she knew that I loved her… simply due to me having time to listen!

The heading of Philippians 2 is Be Like Christ. In the first few verses of this chapter, we are reminded to show love one to another, to do everything with an attitude of humility, to regard one another as more important than ourselves – to look to Christ as our example in selfless humility. Paul Tillich said, “The first duty of love is to listen.”

The act of merely “being heard” is often a potent elixir of communication and connection. Listening can be defined as the “act of hearing attentively.” Listening is indeed a form of love! When you make the effort to listen, it demonstrates that you are interested in what is being said… interested in that person. Someone once said, “Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone.”

Listening is also a form of caring and respect. You listen attentively because you love others enough to level up in your relationship. Listening is one of the easiest things you will ever do as well as one of the hardest!!

Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing (listening), and hearing through the Word of Christ.”

Active listening is a great act of faith and a great means of grace – both for ourselves and for others in our relationships. I read something that really exemplifies what I believe -

Poor listening rejects;
good listening embraces.
Poor listening diminishes the other person,
while good listening invites them to exist,
and to matter.

In James 1:19, he exhorts them to, “Let every person be quick to hear (listen), slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Too often we are slow to hear, quick to speak, and even quicker to anger.

Learning to actively listen will require:

1. Discipline
2. Effort
3. And intentionality

Good listening is an act of love… and the best way to love today is to “listen to someone’s pain all the way to the bottom.”

Bonhoeffer writes, “We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the word of God. He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either.” He also wrote, “Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.”

Listening may be one of the hardest things to learn to do, but we will find it worth every ounce of effort. A Turkish proverb says, “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” We see that same principle repeatedly in the Book of Proverbs... It says a lot about hearing – or listening.

There is no specific verse in the Bible that says, “when we listen, we show love.” It does say to love one another – so I think its fair to say that listening to someone else with intentionality truly expresses love.

In conclusion, I am so thankful that God demonstrates His great love by listening to us. In Psalm 116:1-2, the Psalmist says,

“I love the LORD, because He hears me;
He listens to my prayers.
He listens to me every time I call to him.”

This is my challenge to you – in today’s society, that is all about “self”, determine and purpose to listen more intently to others. Don’t listen to provide a response. Listen with the intent to bring healing and demonstrate the heart of God to others!

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Loneliness is a common human experience that transcends age, occupation, and social status. Even in the context of church ministry, where pastors and leaders are surrounded by a congregation, it’s possible to feel isolated and alone. This article explores the unique challenges of loneliness within church ministry and offers strategies that I myself am using to combat it.

The Loneliness Paradox

At first glance, it might seem paradoxical that individuals in church ministry, who are often surrounded by a community of believers, can experience loneliness. However, ministry can be isolating for several reasons:

Role Expectations:

​ Pastors and leaders are often seen as spiritual guides, and there’s an expectation that they should have it all together. This can make it challenging for them to admit their struggles, including loneliness.

Lack of Peer Relationships:

​ While pastors and leaders have strong connections with their congregations, they may lack close peer relationships within their own ministry circles. They often shoulder the burdens of others but may not have someone to share their own burdens with.

High Stress Levels:

​ The demands of church ministry, including sermon preparation, pastoral care, and administrative tasks, can lead to high stress levels. This stress can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Strategies to Combat Loneliness

  1. Seek Accountability:

    Pastors and leaders should actively seek out mentors or peers with whom they can build accountability relationships. These relationships provide a safe space to share struggles and receive support.

  2. Prioritize Self-Care:

    Ministry can be all-consuming, leaving little time for personal well-being. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care, including regular exercise, rest, and time for hobbies that bring joy and relaxation.

  3. Establish Boundaries:

    Set clear boundaries for work hours and responsibilities. Overextending oneself can lead to burnout and increased feelings of loneliness.

  4. Foster Peer Connections:

    Create opportunities for pastors and leaders within your church community to connect and build peer relationships. This can be done through small groups, retreats, or regular meetings specifically for leaders.

  5. Spiritual Discipline:

    Deepen your spiritual discipline. Regular prayer, meditation of the word, and reflection can provide a sense of connection with God, helping to alleviate loneliness.

  6. Professional Counseling:

    Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling if loneliness becomes overwhelming. Therapists can provide guidance and support to address these feelings.

Loneliness in church ministry is a real and challenging issue. However, with awareness and proactive steps, pastors and leaders can combat these feelings and create a more supportive and connected ministry environment. Remember that it’s okay to seek help and that you don’t have to battle loneliness alone. By prioritizing self-care, seeking peer relationships, and deepening your spiritual discipline, you can find greater fulfillment and connectedness in your ministry journey.

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Let’s examine an important issue in many parts of the Body of Christ. Biblically, “What is the role of women in the church?” As a prophetic reformer, I have an assignment. I’m trying to write my vision and make it plain so leaders can run with it! I’m for church growth, evangelism, and the Great Commission!

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Recently, one morning, I asked the Lord, “What do you want to show me today?” I heard words quoted to me that Jesus had spoken to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb. “Stop clinging to Me for I have not yet ascended to My Father.”

Strange! What could that possibly mean?

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