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Move Slower: The Art of Listening Well

• David Morrow

In the third sermon of our The Next Level Relationships series, David Morrow looks at the critical role that listening plays in healthy relationships. Dave discusses three challenges to, and three lessons for effective listening.

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In week one of this sermon series on Next Level Relationships we looked at how healthy relationships require putting God at the center and loving others out of a fullness of God’s love for us. In week two we looked at choosing vulnerability over hiding as necessary for authentic relationships. This week Dave explores the art of listening as foundational to God centered relationships.

Dave shared that for his personality, listening takes a lot of energy and hasn’t always come easily for him.  Once when talking with his friend Cory about a book they had both read, Dave was quick to add that he had once been to a retreat where he talked about this same book. It wasn’t until Dave stopped talking that he realized that Cory had actually been at that retreat with him. While Cory was talking, rather than listening, Dave had been formulating what he was going to say next. Listening in our cultural is challenging and undervalued. Dave shared three major challenges and three lessons for effectively listening.

Three Core challenges to listening:

1. Our severed connection with God

  • Over 100 times in scripture God tells His people that they are not listening. We need to be listening to the right voice first if we are going to be able to connect to others rightly.
  • Prayer without listening to God is missing something vital. Prayer requires genuine relationship- both talking and listening.

2. Assumptions

  • The opposite of listening is waiting to speak. When we bring our assumption about other people without taking time to hear them, we are more interested in labelling them then knowing them.
  • Resolve to know nothing about people you don’t know other than that Christ died for them.

3. Cultural Validation

  • The current culture of America gives attention and power to those who speak, not those who listen.

In 1 Kings 3:5-9 in a dream, God offers Solomon anything he wants. Solomon’s response is, “give your servant a discerning heart.” Discerning heart in Hebrew conveys a listening core. It is later in Solomon’s life we learn that he loses this ability to discern and truly listen and this ends up having massive implications for his son’s reign and the history of Israel.

Lessons for affective listening:

1. Get all of your life from Christ

  • We need to practice a rhythm of life where we take space and time to hear from God. This means learning to let go of control and listen for God to speak.

2. Listen with your whole heart

  • Pay attention to non-verbal communication, it conveys more than what we say
  • Find someone that you trust who you can ask, “how do you experience me as a listener?”

3. Practice Listening skills

  • Get curious!
  • Reflect on how Jesus asks questions and listens.
  • Take time to reflect.

Remember that we fail people when we try to heal them before hearing them.

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Topics: Prayer, Relationships

Sermon Series: Next Level Relationships

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Focus Scripture:

  • James 1:19

    You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;

  • Psalm 81:8-13

    Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
    O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
    There shall be no strange god among you;
    you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
    I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
    Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

    But my people did not listen to my voice;
    Israel would not submit to me.
    So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
    to follow their own counsels.
    O that my people would listen to me,
    that Israel would walk in my ways!

  • Job 16:2

    I have heard many such things;
    miserable comforters are you all.

  • 1 Kings 3:5-9

    At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?

  • 1 Kings 11:9-10

    Then the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord commanded.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:2

    For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

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4 thoughts on “Move Slower: The Art of Listening Well

  1. Kathy says:

    WOW! Thank you for speaking such truth.

  2. Tim says:

    The video link on this page goes to the wrong sermon.

    1. Charley Swanson says:

      Thanks for the heads-up Tim. We’ll fix that as soon as possible!

  3. Theresa Murray says:

    Thank you for this message. I am not from Woodland Hills but have heard so many good things about your messages. This is the first message I have plugged into and I had to keep going back to catch important points because of the depth and truth in them. I am not a note taker but I have a page full from this message. I can absolutely apply these principals to my life. Thanks again.

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