Chicago Emerging Baptists

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Friday, November 02, 2007

What To Do With Sunday Sermons on Mondays
Part Two

Last weekend, I made the point that in order to get the sermon in your heart from Sunday to Monday most effectively (being a doer of the Word) requires anticipation and preparation on Saturday evening &/or Sunday morning before you leave home. I even started to recommend how our minds should be bent during the actual worship service. I'd like to draw that out a bit more in this post.

Second, Get the most you can out of the Sunday message.

As a preface, for many of us, one Sunday worship service is the only corporate worship (preaching being the climax of that worship) we "get" all week. My use of the word get betrays even in me that fallen tendency to juxtapose or match up Sunday worship with my "ideals." So it is important how we listen to the oracles of God being expounded.

Have you ever thought about how you listen to people? How do you listen to other public speakers or in the classroom? When God's infallible, inerrant, perfectly sufficient Word is unpacked for you every week, how responsible do you "feel" for what you hear? Are these expositions the words of God for you today, tomorrow and every other day? Is Sunday worship just an inspiration time or a recharge (it should be all those things)? What is your attitude toward the preacher and his office?

With these questions in mind, I challenge all of us on how we go about retaining the words of life? Keep in mind that God's covenant people, Israel and those in the first few centuries A.D did not tote their scrolls to the temple or congregation, but they were just as responsible to look into the 'perfect law of liberty' and take stock of their lives. I'm not sure if they took notes or not and brought them home to meditate on and study. They did have public reading (1 Tim 4:13). So, for us, in the post-printing press, info-tech age what can we do to retain and apply (hide?) God's Word?

First, take notes of the sermon. Some people like to take notes in a notebook; some use the paper or space in the bulletin provided by the church; others like to write in their Bibles. There is no hard and fast rule as to where you should note so long as you can find it on Monday. My guiding principle is to try to catch the key statement or theme of the preacher's message. I also try to follow and note his outline. I love words; so, if he uses a word I don't know or use often, I just jot it down. Trying to write as much verbatim as possible can be exasperating and actually reverse the point of the spoken word. Some people take copious notes while others just sit and do nothing at all. I opine that we should all have a pen on hand at least to underline something in the biblical text or jot a phrase in the margin of our Bible. While taking notes, remind yourself why you're doing this: "I want to be a doer of this Word."

Second, if you have the opportunity and money, buy the sermon on CD or download it onto your media player. There is nothing like reinforcing the word of God preached on Sunday throughout the week. These technological media are advantageous to us because we often do not catch everything the first time it is said.

Finally, purposefully plan to discuss the exposition over Sunday lunch. This is one way to really continue the "effect" that the Sabbath day is to have for believers. This can be as easy as: "What did you think of the sermon?" Or (more specifically): "How do you plan on applying today's sermon to your life tomorrow and the rest of the week?" This is where our discussion should go. It can be easy with some people to get lost in the details of theological controversy--which is ok-- but it ought not to end there. Praxis is the point of theology. If you lunch with an unchurched person, the message is a wonderful springboard into presenting their need for the gospel. I would like to hear further tho'ts from those of you who have regularly engaged the unitiated after a worship service.

I will finish this topic in two more posts: suggested disciplines for not "wasting" Lord's Day preaching after Sunday and reminders for those of us who preach.



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