He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Thursday, June 21, 2007 

How to Listen to a Sermon

You mean there’s a way to listen to a sermon? Well, yes, at least in the form of these suggestions. The teaching of God’s Word is the central ingredient of our time in corporate worship. Here’s a quick guide to help you make the most of that hour each week:

Take it in. Come with an open mind, ready to learn. And come on time—the teaching time doesn’t start when the pastor stands at the pulpit. From the first moment of the service, God is speaking, through music, drama, video, baptism--if you come just for the "preaching," you're missing half of what God wants to tell you! When you come to the worship service, come to take it all in.

Write it down. Scholars tell us that your ability to retain what you learn increases 80% when you write it down, rather than just hearing it. Weekly we provide a “fill in the blanks” outline to help you follow along—but don’t stop there. Write additional thoughts, questions, scripture references in the margins. Write as if you had to reteach it from your notes (hopefully, you will).

Think it over. Use your notes during the week to begin to apply the message to your life. Look back over key points and Scripture. When you pray, ask God to reveal areas of your life that can be affected and changed by what you’ve heard and learned. If your finished notes stay stuck between the pages of your Bible for the rest of their existence, they aren’t doing you or anyone else much good.

Live it out. Hearing, understanding and applying God’s Word will have a visible effect on your life. Your attitudes, actions, dreams, goals, plans, focus, family relationships, business dealings--all of these will be influenced and even profoundly changed by God’s Word when you commit to live out what you are learning.

Most Listening Hints to Help You Remember...

Write the reference. Whenever you hear a scripture reference, write it down to refer to later.

Names, dates, places. When you hear examples or background information, write down important facts like names, dates and places. They can form a trail of “bread crumbs” to jog your thoughts when you review later on.

Questions? Does hearing something during a lesson sometimes spur a question for you? Well, you likely can’t interrupt the sermon to ask, but write down questions that come into your mind during a lesson so you can follow up later on to find the answers.

The power of the line. Underlining especially poignant thoughts, Bible verses or phrases, and application points lets you emphasize for yourself what God is teaching you.

"Glorify God in your listening." —Jim Shaddix

from the ministry team of the Church at Brook Hills

Saturday, June 09, 2007 

Oh Brother!

Who is my brother anyways? Turmoil in the times of the convention - story 1, story 2

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