Get the Most out of the Sermon

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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

The Tapestry of Unity

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Unity has many faces. Some are hideously ugly, others mesmerisingly beautiful. Some enforced with an iron fist, others enjoyed with a selfless loving humility. Man-made or God-crafted.

One of the many reason I love our church (the people, not the building or the gatherings), is our variety. Our roots and skin shades, our stories and our struggles with one common denominator: Christ’s love. This diversity can be our blessing or our curse. We can chose to collide or be woven together by God’s skilled artistry.

The secret is to see those around me created by God’s amazing originality.

The secret is to allow God to do his work in me first, not just in us.

The secret is to see beauty in someone not being like me.

The secret is to ask what can I do for others, before asking what others can do for me.

The secret is to try to ‘get’ people,  getting over barriers of fear or eccentricity.

The secret is not to expect to see the beauty of unity close-up but only from afar.

The secret is to assume the best and make room for genuine excuses.

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

John 17:23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Colossians 3:13-14
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

This week (and not only this week): pray for unity & play your part in loving, serving and encouraging