Hey everyone! Jenn here with a new Blooming In Christ post.
If you missed the start of this it was a post titled Am I Blooming In Christ? Are You Blooming In Christ? And what I have realized is that I was not blooming in Christ so I have begun working on that. I made a list of the things I was doing when I felt the most growth to compare to what I am doing now…..so I can address the things on the list and correct them.
Today’s topic is:
Being Distracted During a Sermon
I am not going to sit back and say that “if you don’t take anything away from a sermon you have a heart problem”, because I don’t believe that is always true. Sometimes it is caused by us thinking we do good in the topic at hand, so we really don’t think we need improving, so we don’t pay attention to the sermon. Sometimes it is caused by negative feelings for someone else, and we let that cloud our mind and then we get nothing from a sermon. Sometimes it is caused by thoughts of someone we know who is struggling, and when we really care about people their struggles hurt us, this can distract us from the sermon. Sometimes we get distracted by our “smart” technology. Sometimes it may be that there is a heart problem, but you have to examine yourself to determine that, that is something that only you and God know.
Letting “it Doesn’t Apply To Me” Distract:
Have you ever seen the topic for a sermon and immediately thought “this doesn’t apply to me”? What an injustice we are doing to ourselves! We may do a great job at evangelism, inviting others, praying, teaching, using our talents, we may already know how to observe communion respectfully, we may know baptism is required for salvation, whatever the topic we may have it down…..that doesn’t mean we can’t improve or learn something we could teach someone else.
Christianity is a constant growth process. For example, we may be great at inviting other to do things or into our home…..but we should still listen intently to a sermon on inviting others. We may find that yes, we invite others to our home or out with us shopping or for lunch…..but we may realize through a sermon that we only invite certain people or we only invite the same people all the time. By listening to a sermon on inviting we could realize we need to invite new families to our home, we need to invite new Christians out for lunch, we may need to invite strangers to services or events. We can never invite enough different people to services, lunch, our home, shopping, ladies class….we never know how much that invitation could mean to someone.
-No matter what the topic and how great you think you are at it, there is always room for growth or new ideas. –Even if you “know all about” what the preacher is talking about, he may say something that makes you see something in a whole new way, he may point out a verse that you just need to hear, or he may say something that will help you discuss that topic later with someone else.
Letting Negative Feelings Distract:
How many times have you been listening to a sermon and the whole time you had a certain person or people’s in your mind and all you could think was “man I hope so and so is paying attention! Because he is talking to them!” Or have you had this thought “man he is giving this sermon, but so and so isn’t here! This is for them! He must know what they did, why didn’t he wait until they were here?”
You may not struggle with this, or you may not have realized that you struggle with this, but I feel it is pretty serious.
If we start to hear a sermon and it brings negative feelings to mind about another person, it hurts us. We should listen to sermons intently and look for ways to apply them to our daily lives, not sit there thinking harshly about a brother or sister in Christ. When we do that we may miss something that could help us bloom.
I am not saying its easy. We have all had a problem with someone and it is sometimes hard to get past that. So we need to focus on pushing that negativity out and filling that space with person growth and love.
So how do we get past that negativity?
– Remember that everyone makes mistakes and everyone has their own struggles, yourself included.
-Is there someone who has wronged you or offended you that you need to mend fences with? Take the time to sit with that person and talk to them about the problem, and make sure to listen to their side to.
-The next time you hear a sermon and those negative feelings start to come up, pray about them and pray for your heart to be rid of that negativity so good can come in.
Distracted By Others Struggles:
Now sometimes when we are listening to a sermon we think of someone else and it is not in a negative way. We may know of something someone is struggling with, we may know of someone suffering with what is being discussed, we may be having a Bible study with someone on the very topic the preacher is discussing…..there are times that other people will come to mind and we mean nothing negative by it at all.
In those times we can still find a way to apply it to our lives, but we can also learn so we can go back and talk to that person who has popped into our mind.
If this happens my goal is to not be so distracted by my thoughts of the other person that I fail to pay attention to the preacher. I want to pay attention and take notes, that way I can go back to the other person as prepared as possible. And I want to go talk to that person as soon as possible so the sermon is still fresh in my mind.
So what to do if this happens?
-Take notes so you can go back and talk to the other person.
-If appropriate write a note or card using verses or quotes from the sermon that may uplift the other person.
-If you need this for a Bible study see if the sermons are recorded. If so ask for a copy so the other person can listen to it or y’all can listen to it together and discuss it.
-You could also get a copy to simply give to someone that you know is struggling. They may find comfort in listening to it in private, but make yourself available for them if they need to talk, cry, eat, whatever.
Distracted by our “smart technology”:
In this day of iPads, iPhones, droids, tablets, and Bible apps a lot of us have switched from using a paper Bible because the electronic one is so much more convenient. But we need to beware of what a distraction they can be. It is so easy to click on a notification about a new email and completely stop listening to the sermon. It is also easy to hear something and then you feel the need to google it and then you are way off track because you started down the Wikipedia trail. Be careful of electronic devices!!
-If you use an electronic device and have come to realize it distracts you, I encourage you to switch back to a paper Bible or work harder at not letting yourself be distracted by all the other things at your fingertips.
Distraction of not getting anything from the sermon:
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try….we just struggle with the sermon. This has happened to me before and it makes me feel like a terrible Christian because I leave going “man, I got nothing out of that, I am more confused than anything”. I have really struggled with this and beat myself up over it, but I don’t think that is healthy. Don’t let that happen to you. If you really have a heart that is zealous for God and learning about him and you tried…..don’t worry. God knows the heart, He knows your love for Him and if your heart and mind was in a sermon or not. But, if you leave every sermon feeling as though you got nothing out of it, then I beg of you, examine yourself; we shouldn’t leave every time not learning anything.
So lets all try to bloom in Christ by keeping away distractions during sermons. Lets always look for ways to apply sermons to our own lives.
Until next time,