Get the Most out of the Sermon

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Sometimes it’s not just them – it’s us. As consumers we are instinctively expecting to be entertained, and often that shows in our approach to engaging with the preached/taught Word of God during our gatherings. Sometimes it’s the fault of the one standing in front of us but often it is a failure to prepare ourselves properly. I struggle with distraction and boredom just like everyone else – if not more. But I have learned, by grace and over time, to use some tools that can help my attention and enhance the reception of what is being communicated. Our personalities would create a very different experience and you need to learn to figure out your own tricks and tips. Nevertheless, these suggestions might help you too.
  • Pray for yourself through the week – that God would make you spiritually hungry, receptive and attentive.
  • Pray for the speaker – that God would speak to them and enable them to communicate with clarity, compassion and courage.
  • If you have the bookmarks with the series – read the passage beforehand and meditate on it.
  • Attempt to do discipline yourself to come in the best possible shape mentally, ready to hear and engage with God’s word.
  • Participate fully in the prayers and singing in the rest of the service – as that can provide a healthy foundation for a grateful and hungry heart – ready to receive God’s word.
  • Bring a Bible, better not use a smartphone, keeping distractions at bay. Unless you’re Jedi-like in your ability to resist checking other stuff.
  • Bring a Notepad and a Pen.
  • Write the main points down.
  • Write some questions/issues that you need to work through.
  • Write what was the ‘one thing’ for you to take away and apply.
  • As the service has finished, don’t rush, ask the Holy Spirit to seal and bring forth fruit from that message.
  • While ‘doing life together’ is important – don’t be swamped by just talking about trivialities afterwards – ask each other what God spoke to us about.
  • If the message ‘hit home’ – get a coffee/send an email and explain to the speaker how this was relevant to you.
  • Talk in the car and over lunch with family (if you can) about what you have learned.
  • Take some time mid-week to review and simplify what God spoke to you through the message.
  • Take your questions and observations to the LIFE Group – that’s your spiritual contribution to the spiritual Jacob’s Join.
  • Figure out ways to encourage others by passing on what you have heard God speak to you either personally or by forwarding the podcast

In Praise of Excellence

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

How great to use a service or product that delivers the promise straight away? Even better, how good to know that it has longevity too! I’m sure that all of us could name something or some place that would fit that description… And the funny things is that we become unwitting advertisers, without a pay.

Gadgets and services have a way of disappointing us. They promise but don’t fulfil that promise. They advertise a glossy dream that becomes a grim nightmare. One thing both good products and good services have in common is a constant pursuit for excellence. Developing something both innovative and sustainable

Last night I touched on that issue in my message ( and I truly believe that excellence will open the doors of opportunity for the Good News, for us personally and corporately.

But what does excellence look like in the mundane and ordinary?

  1. do what you do with a higher motivation than just financial reward
  2. do what you do as well as you can
  3. do what you do with as much dedication as you can muster
  4. do what you do with as fair a price as you can think of
  5. go the extra mile in patience and kindness
  6. treat people as people not projects
  7. be punctual
  8. don’t take jobs you cannot do
  9. pay attention to the less noticed elements just as much as you would to the obvious
  10. do what you as if this was your one and only chance: your own masterpiece
The list could go on, but at least there is something to get us thinking.
Ask yourself: what would excellence look in dealings with:
  • my family life
  • my work environment
  • my faith community
  • my local community
Colossians 3:23 ESV : Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

PS: Excellence is not perfectionism.Avoid perfectionism like a plague.That way you will avoid making yourself and others truly miserable.