Take Care How You listen
How often do we leave the church service unaffected? How about unchallenged? How frequently do we go home invigorated, encouraged or, dare I say it, changed? Going to church can easily equal going through the motions. Why? One reason is easily overlooked: we come unprepared.
“Hey, be happy we’re here”, a father and mother of three small children may protest. I understand. Getting to church in one piece, on time (or almost on time!) can seem like a Herculean effort.
Yet I hear Jesus say to all of us: “Take care how you listen” (Lk. 8:18). Attending church should be more than something on our to-do list for the day. It deserves readiness of heart and mind. There is a relationship between the benefits received on Sunday morning and the way you prepared for it.
Here is list of suggestions that may be of help:
- Pray! Pray the evening before, pray before the service starts, pray before the message. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart and to feed your soul.
- Do what you can to make your Sunday morning pre-church time as hassle free as possible, especially if you have little ones!
- Avoid social media Saturday evening and Sunday morning. They can be helpful tools but also terrible distractors.
- Go to bed on time Saturday evening. Nothing spiritual here, just plain old common sense. It's hard to pay attention to the message if you've been watching movies till 2 a.m.
- If the pastor preaches through a book of the Bible, familiarize yourself with it. Read the text a couple of times during the week.
- If you’re easily distracted, find a seat where distractions are reduced to a minimum.
- Engage fully in every part of the service. We’re supposed to participate not be entertained.
- Pay attention to what’s being said, not to the clock, your neighbor or your plans for that afternoon. Listening to the message requires discipline of mind, a conscious effort.
- Come with a heart that expects God to speak. He knows what you need and His Word will not return empty (Is. 55:11).