Monthly Reading Recommendation
by Ken Ramey
From our Elders:
Many people wrestle with listening to a sermon. We understand the responsibility to listen, but we struggle with how! In fact, it’s been said that it’s hard work to preach a sermon but it’s even harder work to listen to one! And our media driven culture hasn’t helped. We’ve nurtured a pallet for fast-food, twenty second sound bites with high pixel imagery – quite a long way from a preacher who stands behind a pulpit for nearly an hour. We need to change our diets, but that doesn’t come easy.
We understand the responsibility of the pastor to come to the pulpit prepared to preach. We expect him to have worked hard, but you may not have considered your preparation for the sermon. That is of equal, if not greater importance! Just like we need to cultivate the soil for spring-time planting, we need to cultivate our hearts to hear the message preached. As Rick Holland, dean of The Master’s Seminary D.Min. program said: “Too often, churches are evaluated solely by how the pastor preaches. This is a place to start, but it is not the complete test. Of equal importance is how the people listen.” When we talk about “listening” to a sermon though, we mean more than just paying attention. What we mean, as Ken Ramey points out in this book, is that you listen with your heart.
To benefit from a sermon, we must allow the message to affect us and change us. James says that we should be “doers of the word, and not merely hearers” (1:22). To that end, Ramey makes a very pointed comment, “At the end of your life you will stand before God and give an account for every sermon you heard. On that day, God will essentially ask you, ‘How has your life changed as a result of the thousands of times you have heard My Word preached?’” I don’t know if you’ve ever really considered that, but it’s certainly a sobering thought! So, if you want to reap the greatest benefit from a sermon, then you need to read this book!
– Matt Tarr
This title is now available at the church Welcome Center
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