Keys to Communication!

IMG_1240I recently posted on Communication Carries Anointing and emphasised the importance of developing communication skills, both of a conversational and corporate nature. Here are some further tips to take your communication to the next level.

1 Big Idea! All good communication theory emphasises the centrality of 1 big idea. No matter what you are reading or who you are listening to, ask yourself 2 questions, “What is the writer/speaker talking about?” AND “What is the writer/speaker saying about what they are talking about?” In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul is talking about “Love” but in context of 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 he’s saying that love should be the motivation for why we do what we do, especially in the arena of spiritual gifts. Listen and look for the 1 big idea. A great read on this is “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon Robinson.

Clarity trumps clever! A lot of us want to be clever but very few of us can pull it off. However, clarity will trump clever every time. Stop trying to be clever and work hard on making your ideas as concrete and clear as possible and people will connect with them more. Confusion in the pulpit will lead to confusion in the pew. Putting your ideas to paper helps clarify them. A great resource for this is a book titled “Make it Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath (I think).

Anointing doesn’t make up for lack of discipline! Practice, Practice, Practice. Every Friday morning for 2 years I practiced my weekend sermon in an empty auditorium with my parents listening and critiquing my content and presentation.

Tell lots of Stories! Everyone loves a good story. A good story will communicate your principle for you. Learn to tell stories well by finding them in your everyday life and start sharing them with anyone who will listen. The more you tell, the better you’ll get.

Listen to Good Communicators! There are a plethora of opportunities to listen to great communicators. Don’t just listen to be entertained but go behind their communication and listen for how they approached their subject. TED and iTunes is a good place to start. Check out Corey Turner Ministries (shameless plug 🙂

Develop Conversational Intelligence! Read Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser and put the principles into action.

Read and Listen! The more you read the more you’ll deposit into your mind a dictionary of words that you can pull out as you need them. Listening improves speaking. Ask good questions and then listen for the response. Log the response away in your heart and act on it at your next opportunity.

Structure your Outline! Don’t outline your notes into paragraphs but develop structure. Write your point and then explain your point, illustrate your point and apply your point. Transition to the next point and repeat the process.

Pray, Pray and Pray Some More! Our words are fruitless without the Holy Spirit. Ask for fresh fire and flow with the leading of the Spirit as you speak.

Hearing the voice of God!

Jn 10:27 ‘My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.’

Jesus always speaks the truth and he cannot lie because he is truth. If Jesus says, his sheep hear his voice, then this is exactly what will happen. On the other hand, the devil is a liar and tries desperately to convince us that God doesn’t want to speak to us and that hearing God’s voice is too hard cause he is so distant from us. Refuse to accept this lie.

Believe that you can hear the voice of God. Hebrews 11:6 exhorts us to approach God with faith because without faith it’s impossible to please God. We must believe that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Everything in the kingdom of God is received by faith.

God’s people will hear his voice, know his heart and follow his ways in the context of an intimate relationship with Him. We must give ourselves space to make mistakes along the journey of learning to hear the voice of God. I remember when my kids took their first step on the journey of learning to walk. I didn’t get angry at them because they only took 1 step and fell over again. I rejoiced and kept persevering with them, knowing they were going to walk very soon. We can be so hard on ourselves and yet God loves us and perseveres with us and rejoices that we are taking baby steps towards hearing his voice.

It’s important to discern the source of the voice you are listening to. There can only be 3 options: 1) Voice of the Holy Spirit; 2) Voice of the Flesh; 3) Voice of Satan.

Professional bankers detect the counterfeit bills by studying the authentic true bills, not the other way around. I know my wife’s voice very well because I’ve been in her presence for 18 years. Voice recognition increases the longer you spend time with someone. I worked with someone in the Police Force many moons ago who investigated a cop-killer for an entire 2 years, listening to phone taps and hearing his conversations during the day. He said that even though the investigation was years ago, if the cop-killer called up today and talked on the phone, the investigator would recognise his voice in an instant. That’s voice recognition. The best way to discern the truth is to spend time with the truth. You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. Discernment is sharpened by knowing the truth.

Test the Word. After you walk with God for a while, he gives you a witness of his spirit in your heart that is like a knowing in your spirit what the right thing to do is. However, it’s important you test the word. The bible doesn’t say, ‘put the word on the shelf’. It says test the word, otherwise you become defiled by it, if it isn’t from God. Is the word in alignment with the general revelation of Scripture or does it contradict it? Is there a witness of peace about the word and have you sought counsel with some trusted and spiritually mature leaders? Does the light of Christ brighten in your heart as you consider outworking of the word in your life or do you feel oppression and darkness? Important questions to consider.

The presence of God is worth committing to. No other pursuit in life compares to walking with God. Get a place or room where you can spend time with God. Train yourself to walk with God. Invest into your relationship with him. God doesn’t want you to perform for him through legalistic spiritual duties but he does want a deeper relationship with you and for you to have one, you will have to invest into it. Start today by opening up your heart to God, reading his word and being still in his presence.

The Oracle!

Spiritual sight!

The apostle prayed that the ‘Father of glory would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of our hearts enlightened to know and see’ (Eph 1:17-18).

What does this practically look like? It includes having our spiritual and or natural eyes opened to the unseen realm of dreams, visions, angels, demons or whatever else is relevant to the edification of others and ministry to the body.

You should ask the Lord to open your ears to hear his voice, both the audible voice and the whispering voice of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to enable you to feel his presence. You may feel a variety of things, including, external feelings of pressure, cold, burning, weightiness, wind or literal breeze around us. Internally, emotions may go from sobbing to deep inner awareness of peace and solitude.

The easiest and most basic way to stay spiritually alert is to regularly ask the question, ‘Lord, what are you saying or doing? Show me.’ Faint impressions are the most common manifestations we experience. However, if you don’t ask what God is saying or doing, then we will miss out on any opportunities that help us grow in our ability to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.