Thought this was excellent and wanted to share!
15 Practical Tips for Receiving the Word – by Leadership Resources
1. Prepare your heart in prayer. Pray to have listening ears and that the Spirit would sow the Word into your heart. Confess your sin and examine yourself to see if any cares of the world might be choking out your desire to receive the Word and obey it (Mark 4:18-19).
2. Pray for the proclamation of the Word. Pray for your pastor to faithfully proclaim the Word in the Spirit’s power. Pray that the congregation would be challenged, instructed, and built up from the preaching of the Word.
3. Read the passage to be preached before the service starts. This is done preferably at home to set your mind on the eternal truth you will receive during the message. Humbly pray over the passage for the Spirit’s illumination and help applying it.
4. Prepare your mind and body for receiving the Word. This means getting a good night’s rest the night before and avoiding activities that might make it hard to wake up and focus. This may also mean refraining from watching TV or checking email before the service to ensure a clear mind.
5. Arrive at church early. While this may seem impossible for some, it will reap rewards. Arriving early (or at least on time) will make it so you don’t miss anything in the service, will help avoid unnecessary anxiety from running late, and allow you to fellowship with the body of Christ with your extra time.
6. Listen to the sermon with an open Bible. Follow along in your Bible when Scripture is read and referenced. In a discerning Berean-like spirit check your pastor’s word with what God says and submit yourself to God’s truth.
Read the whole article at How to Listen to a Sermon: 15 Practical Tips for Receiving the Word « Leadership Resources.
“It is a wonderful thing to find someone else who, when we are low, can speak to us words of real encouragement. In the church of Christ this ought to be more common than it is. Nevertheless, even in a good church people experience a certain measure of isolation, a certain poverty of human fellowship, and this is not without purpose.
For this loneliness, this place in our hearts that no other human being can touch, is the place reserved for God alone, the place that only He can fill.
- No other human being can love us as God does.
- No other person can speak to us from the bottom of our own hearts as the Holy Spirit does.
- No one else can plumb the mystery of our character and discern our peculiar needs and gifts as clearly as we ourselves can, by the Spirit’s light.
Photo credit: grace99.org
The…need for every individual [is] to cultivate a deep life of personal prayer and to hear and to heed the voice of the Lord. We need to take our problems to God first, before rushing out to spill them to others….Before we are answerable to any other person, we are answerable directly to the Lord, and in His eyes there is nothing more precious, no higher authority, than this intimate personal bond in which ‘deep calls to deep’ (Ps. 42:7).”
– from The Gospel According to Job: An Honest Look at Pain and Doubt From the Life of One Who Lost Everything, Mike Mason
I pray today that you find your deepest satisfaction and sense of being wholly understood in the One who created you.
I live on what I consider a busy street. Traffic passes impatiently through on its way to a nearby bridge. Of course, I didn’t know this when I moved in. Who knows these things? <smile>
When cars and trucks go rushing by in all the glory of revving engines and unmuffled carburetors, all I can hear is the noise. But the other day, I was sitting on the porch steps and I realized that there were also birds singing. Tons of them in fact! I think they sing most mightily just before spring becomes “official.”
Photo credit: animals-pics.com
As I started to listen more to the birds, the traffic noise somehow seemed to fade. It’s funny how when you focus on one thing (traffic noise, let’s say), you can largely block out the other.
Can you relate to acting like this in the midst of your suffering? The noise of our feelings floods our hearing and drowns out anything else. We begin to tune in on just one channel: the problem-solving or escape channel. It’s hard to listen for God’s truth through the clouds of chaotic thought.
What are your thoughts – how do you hear God in the midst of your suffering? What are things you do or say that help you (and could help others who read this)?