Justin said on Sunday, “During this part of our worship, we listen to God as He speaks to us through the preaching of His Word. He meets us in this moment with something to say to us. We should come to this moment expectantly, open-handedly, and gratefully.”
Consider those three ways of listening—expectantly, open-handedly, and gratefully.
Do you usually expect God to speak to you through the sermon? Why or why not?
What do you do to prepare your heart for the sermon each Sunday? If you don’t have a regular practice, what could you do in the future to set yourself up to better receive God’s Word?
Are you able to keep an open mind during the sermon or is that hard for you? Why might it be valuable to reserve judgment until the end? What do our open hands enable God to accomplish in a sermon? How might closed hands get in the way of God’s active and living Word?
How might you practice gratitude for the Word of God? What could that look like?
A few of the most important parts of active listening are reflection, seeking clarification, and summarization. What do you do after a sermon to be sure you’ve understood it, processed it, and made a plan to implement it.
Preaching isn’t just for the preacher. One of the easiest ways for you to preach is just to share the message you’ve heard. What’s one way you might share what you’ve revived in a sermon?
What is most likely to distract you during a sermon? What could you do to intentionally minimize those distractions?
Think back to a favorite sermon or a sermon you remember especially well. Why was it so powerful? What did it inspire you to do?
Consider our scripture reading from Sunday, Nehemiah chapter 8. Read it together and consider these questions:
How do the people of Israel feel about listening to the Word of God?
What’s their reaction to what they hear? Why do they react that way?
How might we learn from their example?
You might also read from Psalm 119 to consider all the ways the Word of God can bless us.
This week pray for your preacher, that he’d be empowered to study, process, understand, and teach the word of God with passion and integrity. Pray whatever you feel moved to pray for him.
You might also pray for preachers the world over.
Finally, pray that every one of us would seek to share the Word of God—that we’d have wisdom and courage.
If you have a preacher you really enjoy, be sure to share their name with the group. Use this opportunity to gather a list of good podcasts from churches around the world. Preaching, after all, isn’t just for Sundays. :)