A couple of weeks ago at Common Ground we heard a great message about passion from Jason Taylor, the youth pastor and worship leader at First Baptist Church in Joplin. He spoke of how we have a tendency to believe ourselves better than we ought, and how we tend to lessen the weight of the cross by lending credence to the idea that Christ is one of many ways to know God. And he told us that be doing these things we lessen the gap between ourselves and God to a point where we believe we can bridge it on our own. He closed the message with saying, “What we do with Jesus in this life makes all the difference in eternity.” Great quote, right?
Looking over notes from Jason’s message today, weeks after he spoke, served as a reminder that taking notes during the sermon is quickly and tragically becoming a lost art in the church. In college, professors use electronic chalkboards and overhead projectors to visually illustrate everything worth knowing and students are diligent to write it down, type it up or even snap a picture. Pastors often do the same, using technology to make their main points as vibrant and obvious as possible, but in church everyone sits in silence and observes impassively instead of taking notes. Without the threat of a final exam, why bother? Bother because the final exam for Sunday’s sermon happens every day. It’s called life, and it’s full of pop quizzes and tests. Some you’ll see coming, many you won’t.
Too often you go to church, listen impassively to a sermon, and forget it faster than you can drive to the restaurant afterwards. By taking the time to jot down a few notes from the message—the title, the main points, key verses—and tucking those notes away in a pocket or between the pages of a Bible (if you’re serious enough to carry one still), you’re setting yourself up for that moment in the future when you pull it out and are reminded afresh what God laid on the pastor’s heart to share with you. It might not be earth-shaking every week, but how would you know if it is when you’ve forgotten it before you got home? It might be just what you need reminded of on Thursday afternoon or Tuesday morning. So take a few notes this weekend, and take a minute to look at them later. Talk about it with a friend or maybe even post something you learned on social media. Let us know how it goes!