Each week all around Australia pastors are standing at the pulpit before a congregation teaching and sharing from the Word of God.
What are the thousands of listeners thinking?
Perhaps they are performing a checklist like the one above. Perhaps they are thinking about the busy day they have after church. Perhaps they are having a little snooze (by the way, this is a lot easier in the larger style church if you'd like to nap unnoticed). Perhaps they are listening to what is being spoken? Where are your thoughts during a Sunday sermon?
Sermons are a very normal part of church life. We come to expect it will be there, right after the 3 slow 'worshipful' songs. If it doesn't appear then, we know it will, before long. If it was a good sermon the pastor will get a pat on that back and a maybe few encouraging emails saying, "That was your personal best". Who should be the judge on whether it was a 'good one' anyway?
Maybe no one should. If the pastor is preaching Christ in all His truth….then it is GOOD. Very good. There is no doubt about that.
So then, what's the point? Majority of pastors who spend countless hours on their preparation would desire that we see a point, that's beyond ticking the Sunday morning boxes. It's not just something they do because they get paid to present a 'good' message. If we could calculate the number of combined hours throughout Australia that goes into sermon preparation each week, by pastors, ministers and church leaders, I am sure we would be blown away by the total. There has to be a point in that.
Hebrews 4 verse 12 says for the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. We simply cannot walk away from hearing a sermon that preaches the Christ and not be impacted in any way.
If our leaders are going to go to all that time and effort to bring us a message from the Lord, especially created for that group of people at that particular service, then let us use those powerful Sunday morning sermons as more than a routine and something to make us feel good. May we use them as a platform to be changed, renewed, transformed, motivated and restored. Sure we can thank the pastor for that 'good' message but tell them how the Truth has changed your life that very day, that very moment.
Think of yourself stepping up to a high diving platform before a message. We are not sure what the take-off, the dive or the entry will be like. But we can take a deep breath and in faith we climb up to that high platform, ready to dive. What happens next is up to God, when we let go and allow Him to do something new in us.
The other six days of the week is THE POINT. Our time alone with God, our time reading His Word, our time with family, our time at work and our time with those who do not know their Creator intimately. Soak in the message on a Sunday morning. Take notes. Read the verses again later. Be transformed by hearing and applying God's Word to your heart and your life.
Our country needs every bit of that transformation as you become closer to and just that bit more like God. The point is that we live in a nation which is trying to squeeze God out. Take a look around. That is the point.
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html