Thursday, April 10, 2008

BJ interacts with a Downs Syndrome girl

Last night I had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with a group of students. I find it interesting how one can usually tell which ones are with you and which ones have other things on their mind.

The view from being the teacher is very different from the view of being part of the audience. Along the way, you learn little things that help keep the ones on the fringe, engaged. Employing them, usually works.

I often wonder how our attention spans might differ, if Jesus were the teacher.

Through the years, I've seen my share of congregants who sleep through the message. Nothing personal there, they sleep through everyones message. I've often wondered about the justification process in their minds.

If it were a fluke, and only happened to these individuals on rare occasions, that would be one thing, but to see them drift off on a weekly basis, makes you wonder.

Personally, I cannot get enough teaching! I am so thankful for the internet at this stage of my life. I can download sermons by others on a regular basis. I have my favorites that I return to, but I love finding new ones.

This is a practice that BJ used on a fairly regular basis. He would listen to or read a downloaded sermon and then engage others on-line to discuss it.

I do the same thing with my summer leadership. I send them weekly messages, and have them engage the rest of the leaders once they have listened. There is great benefit to this.

One can listen when they are ready. Too often, we are not in the right frame of mind on Sunday morning (thats a topic for another day). Being able to utilize the internet for listening or downloading the written messages of others has been inspiring in my own life.

When I run, I listen to sermons on my iPod. This helps me focus on God's Word instead of my pain. Recently, the iPod was on the fritz, and I didn't have any portable electronic device to keep me focused. I didn't make it near as far.

God has used many different men and messages in my own life to inspire the words and messages that He wants me to bring. My usage of the iPod increases as I near a mission trip. It is amazing how He will take things He's been laying on my heart and give them to me in a new way when I listen to some random preacher.

This has helped form many messages that I have delivered on the field. On occassion, a message is so good by itself that some of our leadership just play the message for the whole team, while on foreign soil.

In general, there is such a wealth of godly good stuff available to us in our day and age, that we really don't have any excuses for not learning or growing.

For those who sleep through each Sunday message, I certainly hope they are taking advantage of technology. Our presence on Sunday morning is not enough. For those who think we can coast through these times, reread the book of Amos. Especially chapter 5, verses 21 on. We cannot fake our way through this!

Whether we like to admit it or not, God sees the condition of our hearts, and knows if we are putting on show for others. Our connectedness to Him is often revealed, like it or not, by our body language and attention span on Sunday mornings (or in any service).

The preacher sees what is happening, and the Lord knows the reality of our heart conditions. I believe both are disappointed by too much inattentiveness.

We really cannot afford to take our Sunday afternoon nap, during the feast!



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