Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hearing or Listening - In Church

I remember the first book of Joshua Harris' that I read. It was a small book called "Stop Dating the Church". I was at a friend's house, and was just after some light reading to pass the time. I did not realise at the time that my life and the way I viewed church was about to be changed for good. I started reading it, and at first was agreeing with everything he said, about some people not being willing to commit, and it being the same people serving day in and day out. (My parents have both been in ministry somewhat, mum running a kids club for years, and dad being 2IC at church.) It was not until he spoke about not getting anything out of the sermon, and how it is a personal choice to listen. (Sorry this is going from a few years ago memories from reading the book...) I realised that I had been hearing, but not listening. No wonder I was not getting much out of it. I was stunned when I started listening again how much I was getting out of the sermons. Now that does not mean I have been perfect since. Far from it, but now I know what is the most likely problem, and if I do not get fed it is my own fault.

Now it has been a few years since then, and the most recent memory of teaching on this is John Bevere's books. (He mentions it in several of them.) This will not be an exact quote, but he says that he was talking to God one day complaining about his pastor and how he was not getting fed at church; and this is what God said to him, "The problem isn't with your pastor. It is with you!" The reason you do not get feed sometimes is the pastor, but a much more common problem is that you are not listening. If you are having trouble concentrating try taking notes. Have breakfast before church so you are not hungry. Get to bed at a decent hour the night before. Of course do not forget to ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your understanding. If you expect to get something from God you most likely will.

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