Listening at 45 Degrees

This is how you know your audience is into your presentation.

How much does this apply to sermons? Maybe that's why churches want pews--to "at least" make sure everyone is awake. Maybe we’re not giving people a chance to be more interested if they can’t lean back just a little.

Over the last six weeks or so I've tried to communicate to our congregation in many ways that the weekly sermon is only one facet of our worship service. What's more is it isn't even the most important part of our service. Please don't misunderstand my point.

Interpreting scripture is a very important aspect of our faith. However, any sermon of mine (or anyone) that is even remotely sound, practical, good or beneficial means nothing if the listeners do not do something with it. Food is supposed to provide energy for life, for living life. Likewise, sermons help give what is necessary for understanding God’s word to live out our lives as disciples.

Our life is a journey. Consider these words from Charles Wesley's famous hymn Love Divine, All Love's Excelling:
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
I love the third line, "end of faith, as its beginning..." That conveys journey. In other words, when we come to faith we have somewhere to go. What is the "end of faith?" It is our perfection--our Wesleyan understanding of perfection. Many people think perfection means not sinning.  That is incorrect, and a topic that needs to be saved for another post.  So, how do we get there (perfection)? First, we trust that God will bring us there. Second, we have to figure where God is leading us. Our sermons are a way to do that; of course, it is only one way among others.

So, the sermon is not the most important part of our service. How you respond to the sermon is what is most important. When you hear a sermon it is designed to prompt you to something. It is not just to teach (though that is important and there are plenty of opportunities to do that). You can learn a lot by your own reading. I did.  Oh, how wise G.I. Joe was.  He taught us that knowing is "half the battle.

You heard a good sermon.  Great. Exciting. I am glad. Now what?  This Sunday, then, do your best to sit up in your pew (or pew equivalent). Remember that the sermon is a tool to interpret God’s Word to prompt God’s people, of which you are, towards faithful service. Respond to what God is calling you to.

And God’s people said…

Stay blessed…john

+graphic link

0 Responses :