Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Listen to a Sermon

Sermons are an essential part of each weekend service. They provide the spiritual food for our church to feast on each week. I wanted to write a Bible Blog on how to listen to a sermon with thoughts about prayer, focus, taking notes, acting on what we have heard, etc. But this week I came across an old article by George Whitefield on How to Listen to a Sermon.

How to Listen to a Sermon by George Whitefield

Keys for getting the most out of what the preacher says.

Jesus said, 'Therefore consider carefully how you listen' (Luke 8:18). Here are some cautions and directions, in order to help you hear sermons with profit and advantage.

1. Come to hear them, not out of curiosity, but from a sincere desire to know and do your duty. To enter His house merely to have our ears entertained, and not our hearts reformed, must certainly be highly displeasing to the Most High God, as well as unprofitable to ourselves.

2. Give diligent heed to the things that are spoken from the Word of God. If an earthly king were to issue a royal proclamation, and the life or death of his subjects entirely depended on performing or not performing its conditions, how eager would they be to hear what those conditions were! And shall we not pay the same respect to the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and lend an attentive ear to His ministers, when they are declaring, in His name, how our pardon, peace, and happiness may be secured?

3. Do not entertain even the least prejudice against the minister. That was the reason Jesus Christ Himself could not do many mighty works, nor preach to any great effect among those of His own country; for they were offended at Him. Take heed therefore, and beware of entertaining any dislike against those whom the Holy Ghost has made overseers over you.

Consider that the clergy are men of like passions with yourselves. And though we should even hear a person teaching others to do what he has not learned himself, yet that is no reason for rejecting his doctrine. For ministers speak not in their own, but in Christ’s name. And we know who commanded the people to do whatever the scribes and Pharisees should say unto them, even though they did not do themselves what they said (see Matt. 23:1-3).

4. Be careful not to depend too much on a preacher, or think more highly of him than you ought to think. Preferring one teacher over another has often been of ill consequence to the church of God. It was a fault which the great Apostle of the Gentiles condemned in the Corinthians: 'For whereas one said, I am of Paul; another, I am of Apollos: are you not carnal, says he? For who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but instruments in God’s hands by whom you believed?' (1 Cor. 1:12; 2:3-5).

Are not all ministers sent forth to be ministering ambassadors to those who shall be heirs of salvation? And are they not all therefore greatly to be esteemed for their work’s sake?

5. Make particular application to your own hearts of everything that is delivered. When our Savior was discoursing at the last supper with His beloved disciples and foretold that one of them should betray Him, each of them immediately applied it to his own heart and said, 'Lord, is it I?' (Matt. 26:22).

Oh, that persons, in like manner, when preachers are dissuading from any sin or persuading to any duty, instead of crying, 'This was intended for such and such a one!' instead would turn their thoughts inwardly, and say, 'Lord, is it I?' How far more beneficial should we find discourses to be than now they generally are!

6. Pray to the Lord, before, during, and after every sermon, to endue the minister with power to speak, and to grant you a will and ability to put into practice what he shall show from the Book of God to be your duty.

No doubt it was this consideration that made St. Paul so earnestly entreat his beloved Ephesians to intercede with God for him: 'Praying always, with all manner of prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and for me also, that I may open my mouth with boldness, to make known the mysteries of the gospel' (Eph. 6:19-20). And if so great an apostle as St. Paul needed the prayers of his people, much more do those ministers who have only the ordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit.

If only all who hear me this day would seriously apply their hearts to practice what has now been told them! How ministers would see Satan, like lightning, fall from heaven, and people find the Word preached sharper than a two-edged sword and mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the devil’s strongholds!

This excerpt is adapted from Sermon 28 from The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield. Published by E. and C. Dilly, 1771-1772, London. George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a British Methodist evangelist whose powerful sermons fanned the flames of the First Great Awakening in the American colonies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Kingdom

Reflect on Matthew 13:44-46...

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

Now ask yourself these questions...

What is valuable to me?
What are my priorities?
Do I understand what Jesus is asking me to do here?
Do I even understand the value of Christ and His Kingdom?
Am I intently searching for the Kingdom?
Is the Kingdom all I want?
Am I willing to give up everything for the Kingdom?
What is my faith costing me?
What does "selling all" look like for me?
Is this one of the teachings of Jesus that made some walk away or even want to kill Him?
Do I really desire Christ and His Kingdom?
Do I really want to know God's will for my life?
Do I love Christ and His Kingdom? Or do I love this world more?

Finally, reflect on Matthew 6:33...

Seek the Kingdom of God...and he will give you everything you need.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

8 Things To Do When You Want To Quit

Let me share some of my notes that I took at our regional leadership conference for the Full Gospel Fellowship this past year. Mark T. Barclay shared “8 Things To Do When You Want To Quit.”

1. Refuse to quit.

2. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Talk to yourself if you have to. If no one
is there to do it, do it yourself.

3. Rehearse who you are in Christ. Meditate on these verses. 1 John 4:4. Romans 8:11. 1 John 4:17. 2 Corinthians 5:17. Philippians 4:13. Galatians 3:26

4. Remember what you have been called to do. Our lives are to be lived in
service of the Lord bringing Him glory. Begin with 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

5. Reminisce about past victories. Think about your testimonies. Remember the good and not the failure.

6. Go through the motions anyway. “Fake it until you make it.” Take one step at a time. Open your Bible. Kneel to pray. Go to church. You may not feel like it. May not want to do it. Just do it anyway.

7. Practice the presence of God. Don't run away from God, there is power in His presence.

8. Hang around motivated spirit-filled people. You may not feel like it but it will definitely have a positive impact on your life!


When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.
Jesus, John 12:32 (NIV)

We are celebrating a successful Harvest Crusade with Greg Laurie at the Allstate Arena. We believe God’s Spirit is being poured out on our city with tremendous fruit to follow. Let’s continue to pray for God to send revival to our city!

Our church has been entrusted to reach out and disciple some of the new converts from this past weekend. In a letter that was sent to those who responded to the Gospel message we gave four action steps for them to take after their conversion. It’s good advice for all of us. Allow me to share them with you.
  • Read your Bible daily. His Word is our source of spiritual food and provides direction for us in all matters of life.
  • Pray. Let your prayers be a two-way communication wherein you bring your requests to Him, and more importantly, where He can speak to you.
  • Get connected and committed to a good Bible teaching church family where the Bible is taught faithfully. Where you fellowship will have a tremendous impact on your spiritual growth, maturity, and your fulfillment as a Christian.
  • Lastly... be sure to share your faith with others, for in doing so you will be strengthened as a believer, and others will hear the “good news” of Jesus Christ.
Continue to pray for those who surrendered their hearts and lives to Christ this weekend! And may we as a church always embrace our sacred mission of evangelism and discipleship!

My Book Shelf – You Were Born For This

My Book Shelf – You Were Born For This by Bruce Wilkinson

Every now and then in my blog to our church I like to share with you the books that I’m reading that really help, challenge, and inspire me. My hope is that these books do the same for you.

Here is an excerpt from Bruce Wilkinson’s (The Prayer of Jabez) newest book You Were Born For This.

What if I told you that you missed a miracle yesterday?

I would understand if you were doubtful.

Yet most of us can identify an event in our lives that seemed impossible to explain without saying, “That was a miracle!” We call these experiences divine coincidences, miracle moments, supernatural provisions. It’s as if God Himself stepped through the curtain that separates seen from unseen to make something amazing happen, something only He could do.

Not that we can expect such a thing to happen again any time soon.

Or can we?

I wrote this book to help you see that the land of personal, everyday miracles is your rightful home turf. Instead of focusing on the nature-defying acts that God could do, this book invites you to encounter the miracles that God does do on a regular basis, and to embrace your exciting part in making them happen.

The truth is, you were born to live a supernatural life doing God’s work by God’s power. You were born to walk out your door each morning believing that God will use you to deliver a necessary miracle to someone in need.

You were born for this.