My husband and I have been blessed to sit under some excellent Bible teaching through the years. However, we've also endured some dry periods, when we were trying to function on meager rations of "skim milk" from the Word. (I've discovered that even dry periods are a blessing when they cause you to be more grateful for times of abundance!)
Since moving to the Georgia coast, we have been blessed to have an outstanding pastor who preaches the truth in love, seasoned with grace and a unique sense of humor! He is also sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, which makes for some powerful, life-changing messages!!
Whether blessed with a powerful preacher or a milk-toast minister, we can still do our part to get the most out of what our pastor shares from God's Word each Sunday. (By the way, If your pastor doesn't preach from the Word of God -- it's time to find another church!!)
This is What I Do to Get More from my Pastor's Messages:
1. Take Notes.
I find that taking notes keeps me alert, focused, and increases retention. If I don't take notes, I may remark that the message was great and not be able to list any of the main points. Sad, but true. :( Taking notes really helps to transfer the information to my brain. It also gives me a source to refer back to later.
2. Read over the notes on Monday.
Taking notes in a special journal, notebook or binder makes it easy to keep them all together and refer back to them later. I like to go back and re-read the notes from a message that blessed me on the Monday afterwards. This reinforces the main points of the message and keeps me thinking about it and applying it to my life. It doesn't do any good to be blessed by a message and forget it as soon as we shake the preacher's hand on the way out of church!
3. Re-read the passage.
I like to re-read the passage that the message was based on and see if the Lord brings any new insights to mind. Sometimes He will continue to speak to me through the passage. Also, I might look up cross references and define key words, if the pastor has not already done so.
4. Read the entire book.
If my pastor is preaching through a book of the Bible, I like to read through the same book during my devotional time, in order to help me get more out of the series. The more we read and study a particular book, the more insights we will get out of it.
5. Share it!
Sharing the main points of a sermon with others helps reinforce it. I often paraphrase the message to a family member or friend who missed it. Being able to restate a message in a few sentences demonstrates that we "got it." Recently, I was blessed when I started explaining our pastor's message to someone, and 7-year old Bethany jumped into the conversation stating confidently, "Pastor David said to love people that don't love you back and give to people that can't give you anything." WOW! Out of the mouths of babes!
This week I had an inspiration -- what if I shared a great sermon by blogging about it?! That would definitely help imprint the message into my brain, while also hopefully blessing someone else! So, that's what I'm going to do! Probably not every Sunday, but many Sundays when a message speaks to me, I'm going to share the highlights here on my blog on Sunday afternoon! That way we can all benefit!
I'm especially excited about sharing with you my pastor's Sizzling Summer Series on Being Obsessed with Jesus!! Check back next Sunday for the first message in this life-changing series!
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