How to Love Sunday’s Sermon

It is my suspicion that Sunday’s sermon isn’t the most anticipated event of your week. You love your church and you enjoy listening to your pastor. But you probably don’t wonder all week what he’s going to say, or have pertinent conversations with yourself in your head while he’s speaking. You probably don’t create a dot-to-dot out of your notebook as the insights flow in, and you probably don’t get overly excited about what his viewpoint will be.

At least that was never my experience. Until just recently.

My pastor began a series on the book of Ruth. At first, I was slightly disappointed because I had just studied the book of Ruth with a friend. I just knew my mind would go into “Ruth overload” and would soon be begging for something . . . fresh.

Was I in for a surprise.
sundays sermon

Do you know I loved, and I mean, loved that sermon series. It was the most enjoyable and profound series of sermons I had heard up to that point. And it had nothing to do with the church or the pastor’s preaching.

It had everything to do with the fact that I was already living in the text.

For once, I knew, really knew, what he was talking about. And my mind joined the conversation.

“That’s exactly what I was wondering!”
“Wait. But how does that work if . . .”
“Oops. I think I was way off.”
“Seriously? That’s what you think that means? Where did that come from?”
“Hey! I never thought about that!”
“Yes and amen!”

I literally hung on every word.

All of a sudden, I was very grateful for two things:

  1. A pastor who, as a general rule, preaches verse-by-verse through whole books {so I can study along}.
  2. A church who makes all sermons available online {so I don’t have to miss any}.

The Ruth series came and went. Not long after, a new series began: the book of Mark. Thanks to a few friends who caught the same vision, we started studying the book of Mark together, tracking along with our pastor’s preaching. Sunday sermons transformed.

Until you try it, you’ll never know. You’ll doodle to keep your eyelids open or clear your throat loudly to cover the grumblings of your stomach as you make mental restaurant choices. You’ll fight the urge to plan your next shopping trip. Or maybe you’ll listen while you plan. {They’ll think you’re using your Bible app.}

Or perhaps you’re a good note-taker. You don’t have a problem paying close attention, and you always get a lot out of the sermon.

Try me. Be that overachiever who does the prep work. I have never before found prep work to be so profoundly helpful that I dare say it’s joyously necessary.

Find out what sermon series is coming next at your church. Gather a few friends, if possible. Print off a markable copy of the passage. Read again and again. Think deeply. Ask questions. Exchange thoughts.

And let me know what you think of Sunday’s sermon. It is my suspicion that you’ll love it.

 [image credit: flickr.com, journeyoftheword.com]


13 thoughts on “How to Love Sunday’s Sermon

  1. Lydia, I really enjoy this post. I don’t often get advance notice of what topic will be covered but I love the idea of studying alongside and gaining new insights. Thanks for sharing your excitement with me!
    Wishing you blessings,
    Marva | sunSPARKLEshine

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    1. Yes, it is difficult if you can’t get advance notice of the topic. That’s another reason why I appreciate pastors who preach through whole books. Then you know you can live in a book for awhile and be prepared for Sunday! Have you ever asked your pastor for his sermon schedule? I assume just about any pastor would be happy to give it! {If they plan ahead, that is!}

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes and amen! I have experienced the same thing when I’ve studies something on my own and then been SUPER blessed by another person’s take on the same passage. The Word of God is inexhaustible in its riches and there’s nothing like a little knowledge of it to make us know the depth of the truth and to appreciate it more!

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  3. I agree so much with you!

    I am blessed to be a part of a church that conducts small groups whose sole purpose is to “follow along with the sermon”. For instance, we did several Tim Keller Bible studies on the book that the Pastor was preaching through. Even if a person is unable to attend the Bible study, they still have access to these books to follow along at home. To dig deeper into the content of the sermon series.

    Thanks for sharing this very edifying post!

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  4. Sometimes during a series we sort of know what’s coming – like now we are in Matthew. I love Sundays. I love taking notes. I love it all – the singing, the sermon and our wonderful Bible study class teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lydia…I am a note taker on Sunday’s morning. I am also a front row sitter. I want to be engrossed in what the pastor is teaching. I believe the Lord knows what you need to be learning at any given time. And right now our church is working through the book of Mark and our family Lenten devotional is using various verses in Mark to learn from. See? God knows where we need to be in His Word. Thank you for sharing at Monday’s Musings. 🙂

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    1. How wonderful! Oh, I just love the book of Mark! A few friends and I have been digging into it deeply for over six months now (as I mentioned in this article), and it is so much fun! Since you’re studying Mark, I’ve written several Mark-related posts if you’re interested. Just click “Mark” under “Taking it a Step Further” in the right-hand column of my blog. Enjoy! And blessings as you continue to take in all God has to say to us with joy!

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  6. This is great counsel, Lydia. I’ve never made an intentional effort to study along with the pastor, but I can testify that I DO get so much more out of a sermon when the text is one I’m already very familiar with. One would think we’d glean more from passages we don’t know well, but that’s not how it works, is it? Thank you for sharing your biblical encouragement with us at Grace & Truth!

    Liked by 1 person

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