The Sermon with No Meaning

How do you treat it?

I’m talking about the Sunday morning sermon. Do you respect the message? How do you show that respect?

Obviously, you don’t totally disregard the Sunday morning sermon, or you wouldn’t sit through it. But are you really handling its value with the respect it deserves?

Those questions deserve some thoughtful consideration.

I’ll be honest. These questions only make sense if you believe the Bible is the Word of God. This subject only matters if you believe the Holy Spirit speaks through His Word and uses preachers and teachers to help us.

The message you hear is not just another sermon that should be filed away categorically in your mind. Truth to be told, none of us earns points with God for merely listening to sermons.

The sum total of your pastor’s spiritual life shows up in the preaching time slot. Many hours of meditation and prayerful contemplation over the content took place. And it’s really not just about that week.

Personally, I’ve been active in spoken ministry since 1994. The sum total of this week’s study hours is only a fraction of what I bring into the pulpit in this season of life. There’s an intangible skill set that can’t be taught or easily transferred. There’s a pastoral wisdom gained by thousands of pulpit appearances and decades of leadership experience.

In this season, some things come to me intuitively as a gift from the Holy Spirit. Like the ability to read a congregation while preaching. I can more carefully discern what’s not said by staff and other leaders. And then there’s the gauging of the emotional temperature of the room. I did not possess these intangibles during my first few years of ministry.

What you hear on Sundays represents a keen awareness that God wants to do much more for individuals and the congregation as a whole than what some think is possible.

So, please. I beg you. Don’t let the next sermon you hear become a sermon with no meaning.

Receive it as a message from God’s Word. Receive it as a message from a God-called messenger. Receive it as a valuable deposit into your life.

How can this be accomplished? If this is your goal, repetition is your best friend. Modern technology makes it easier than ever. Prayerfully listen to the message a second time with the intention of hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying. And then you might listen to it a third time to make sure you didn’t miss the careful nuances of the spoken ministry.

Much more care has gone into that time slot than can be quantified. The worst thing you could do is hear it one time and go on about your life while you wait for the next one to show up.

Please, don’t let your pastor’s next message become a sermon with no meaning.

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