There is a new website recently launched that is proving to be a valuable resource for the church of our King, Jesus. It is called For The Church, and I commend it to you.
One of their recent articles has to do with making the most of your Sunday mornings. Consider: if you go to church 52 Sundays in the next year, that means you’ll spend about 65 hours (at least) in the weekly gathering of God’s people. It seems like it would be really helpful to think how to get the most from such a sizable investment of your life.
Which is exactly what Nathan Lino wants to help you with, specifically as regards the preaching moment on Sundays:
“It is curious that we as believers take no time to think about how to listen to a sermon. In fact, it makes no sense.”
“But of course, there is a far greater motivation for a believer to want to listen to a sermon well: the fact that we know preaching is God’s design and a great gift of His to us. We find it in passages like 1 Corinthians 1:20-25, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Ephesians 4:7-16, and 2 Timothy 4:1-5: Christ’s appointed shepherd, delivering a message from God’s Word to God’s gathered people, all under the anointing and power of God. Natural or unnatural, easy or difficult, we know at a basic Christian level that regularly sitting under the preaching ministry in our Sunday morning services is God’s plan and a great gift from Him.
Listening to a sermon is a learned discipline that can be developed in you.”
He offers five tips:
First, just knowing that listening to a sermon is a spiritual discipline that must be developed is a game changer.
Second, I preach through books of the bible.
Third, pray in advance for the sermon time.
Fourth, know your learning style and prepare for the sermon time accordingly.
Finally, here is a basic technical aspect of a sermon that can help you focus: a sermon has a “big idea;” a main, central truth or principle.
Here’s a peek into his counsel, expanding on his fourth suggestion, “know your learning style and prepare for the sermon time accordingly”:
Here are some examples of how I do it: I am easily distracted by people around me. So, my solution is to sit in the very front and center of the room. Even when Nicole and I were 22 year old newlyweds without children, we sat in the exact same seats as lay people in the church to which we belonged in North Carolina that we sit in as lead pastor couple now: second row, front and center. If my pastor has a message for me from God, I want to be able to concentrate, which for me means sitting up front. I also know my mind wanders; a laser like focus I do not have. My mind resembles the attention span of a Labrador puppy more than a King Cobra. So, my solution is to take notes when I listen to a sermon. By taking notes, it forces me to concentrate more, and it keeps my mind on message.
As a preacher myself, I believe it is my joyful responsibility to do all I can to prepare to feed God’s Word to God’s people. And, I also believe, as Nathan encourages, they should prepare and be ready to eat. For the joy of your pastor, and your own health, I hope you will be encouraged to so prepare for this coming Sunday.
Grace and Peace to you as you get ready for the feast.
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