by Jamie Barrett
Engaging Takes Effort
It is an understatement to say that actively engaging a sermon takes effort. It is easy for any of us to get into a rut of showing up for corporate worship and going through the motions. Listening to sermons in a meaningful way does not come naturally. We are conditioned by our culture to expect things to come easy. Yet, the Word of God expects that we will train ourselves for the purpose of godliness in1 Timothy 4:7. In order to do this, we must expend some holy sweat as we sit under the preaching of God’s Word. Here are twelve ways to expectantly engage a sermon on the Lord’s Day that will provide growth and encouragement while benefiting the whole church. Consider printing the list out and reviewing it often. Add to the list in order to interact with sermons in a refreshing, exciting way.
Twelve Ways to Engage
The Power of Curiosity
A curious mind is a powerful thing. This is especially true as it pertains to searching out the truths of Scripture. What we once viewed as dull and uninteresting becomes alive and invigorating. Consider bringing another translation of the Bible into your personal study. This helps you see a wider range of meaning of words and phrases. No one translation gets it perfectly right every time. In your sermon notes, ask some penetrating questions that lead to exploration. A curious mind will see the value in the time and effort spent in investigation. You might ask your pastor how he develops his sermons each week. Consider the process your pastor goes through to bake the fresh bread each week. Exploring this process could lead to new ways to grow your curiosity during the week in preparation for the upcoming sermon. Pursue these few options and come up with a few of your own. I believe your curiosity for God’s Word will flourish!
What Do You Expect?
Is your Bible living and active? Do you expect the Word of God to do something powerful as you encounter it each Lord’s Day? Have you grown bored with sermons? Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. Depending on your perspective, this could be very scary or greatly encouraging. God’s Word discerns the thoughts and intentions of your heart. Isaiah 55:11 declares, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it”. It has been declared, “this book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book”. Approach the Bible with the full knowledge that Scripture is living and active and will do something powerful.
Keep a journal of your discoveries and the immensely valuable treasures you find along the way in your studies. Your findings may lead you to more exciting insights as you continue mining the riches of God’s Word. You will find that you cannot possibly exhaust the depths of Scripture. What you once thought you knew may become the recognition of shallow perception masked as rote, familiar terrain. Review your journal on occasion to be reminded of the exhilarating treasures you have found. You just might receive some needed encouragement and help along the way.
Take an opportunity to create community during the week. Lead a short time of family worship using the sermon text or have a church member over for coffee, tea, dessert, or a meal. Go out to lunch with another same gender member to discuss your insights. This will likely lead to a more natural means of discipleship and help your church flourish. Creating community takes initiative on our part. It most certainly does not happen without our efforts. But the efforts will be well worth the investment as we watch the Word of God thrive in biblical community.