Mark 1:35 –  “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” – (NLT)

Like many, I struggle with quiet time with God.  I have the discipline of Scripture reading every morning (and now every night for over a year.) I spend time in prayer. I have devotional time scheduled into my day. I even quiet my heart to hear from God. But many times what I think about during my quiet times are my unanswered emails I need to respond to.  I am processing my “to do” lists and my calendar rather than truly quieting my heart. It takes me awhile to let go of my action items and listen to God’s action items for my life and our community called CROSSROADS.  It is a process I continually work at. Some days are better than others. This morning was a struggle. I am praying that tonight goes better. Maybe that’s why I like driving my Harley Davidson motorcycle in the summer. No phone going off. Just time with God and the road.

I also struggle with listening to others. Just ask my wife or kids. I mean well. I ask good questions. But I have to really focus on listening and not thinking about what I am going to say next. I’ve been trained in counseling so I know what I am supposed to do. I just struggle sometimes with really doing active listening and reflection. The apostle James gives great advice to his fellow believers.  James 1:19  “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

This season leading up to Easter I am going to focus more on listening. I want to listen more to God and more fully to others. I am turning off the radio when I drive. I am taking out my ear buds when I work out. I am going to look people in the eye more so I can sense how they are feeling when they speak. My prayer for you is that you may evaluate how you are doing at listening. May we all listen more fully to God and one another. May we all listen more and speak less. May we be a blessing to the world through listening.

In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul

Questions to Consider: 
1. Honest evaluation – how am I as a listener?  Ask those close to you for their opinion.  Give them permission to be honest.

2. What steps can I take this week to be a better listener to God?

3. Who is someone in my life that I could do a better job listening to?