Engaging the Pulpit
We hear sermons every week. But how much of them get into us? Can we remember them? Have we applied them and let the word of God transform our lives? In the first place, were we listening to the sermons? Or did we let the word of God fall onto the ground without allowing it to impact our lives? Were we busy checking and replying our emails on our mobile phones? Or thinking of places to have a sumptuous lunch after service? Were we renewed by the sermon because God spoke to our hearts or refreshed by the sermon time because we had taken a “power” nap while the sermon was delivered? Don’t waste the time while the sermon is being preached, let us engage the pulpit.
How do we engage the pulpit? There are people who like to take a lot of notes during sermons. Personally, I find it not too helpful. We lose our retention power when we focus too much on writing. Furthermore, it gives us a false assurance that we have the sermon notes with us. We think that we could always refer to it later. But in actual case, how many of us will make the effort to go through those notes again? We may “safekeep” them forever. It is better to fully concentrate on listening the sermon. I suggest that we just take down the main points of the sermon. It is even better if we can formulate our own learning points from the sermon we hear. Jot down the key principles and values that God is speaking to us. Then try to recall these points later during lunch. It would be easier to internalize the sermon this way.
A point has to be remembered while we are listening to a sermon. It is not wise to take in everything that was preached. The Bible tells us to examine the Scriptures and test every spirit. With false preaching so prevalent, we need to be careful about what we hear too. Listening to preachers with big names do not necessarily mean that their preaching is correct. There are people who preach the prosperity gospel or a gospel that advocates grace without repentance. There are also those that proof text or preach out of context. There are also those who are better at telling jokes and conduct inspiration talks than preaching the Word of God. All these things are happening and we must beware. The Bible tells us that the days will come when people would preach what our itching ears want to hear. As such, we must listen with the help of the Holy Spirit so that we will be able to discern what is right or wrong. Our hearts and our minds must be constantly engaged with the preaching. We must learn to think critically and internalize the truths. At the same time, we need to filter those that are not biblical. Being a good workman of God is not just the responsibility of the preacher, the listeners must play a part too.