If you went to worship yesterday, do you remember what was preached? How much of the sermon can you recall today? Last week I posted an article on 6 ways to bring a sermon home. Those tips were things to do during worship to help you get more out of worship. If you really want to take a sermon home, you don’t want to stop there. Here are three tips to practice on Monday that are sure to literally make your experience exceptional, because the average person is failing to do them.
Seriously, how much of the sermon can you recall? I mentioned in my prior post taking a moment to recall the sermon during worship. Do it again the next day. If you took notes, you can check your recall against the notes. The key is to work as hard as you can at recalling as much of it as you possibly can first. Don’t just review the notes. Use the notes to spot check your recall. Let me repeat that. Don’t just review the notes. Use the notes to spot check your recall. This will greatly enhance your memory.
Research has shown that you need reviews repeatedly and at strategic intervals to shift knowledge from your short term memory to long term memory. Ideally, you would review within 10 minutes and then within repeated expanding intervals such as, one day later, one week later, one month later and four months later. For your average sermon or Sunday School lesson I would suggest that you review as follows:
- Within 10 minutes
- At the end of the day
- The next day
- At the end of the week
You may feel like you don’t have time to review. Reviews need to be no more than 5 minutes and the later reviews may only be 2 or 3 minutes. A weekly investment of 15 to 20 minutes of review will radically transform what you take away from Sunday morning. Just think what a wasted opportunity it is to listen to the Word unpacked and then not actively attempt to recall and apply it. Yet, that is the average experience. Why be average? Why not be exceptional, when exceptional is only 15 or 20 minutes away from you?
Okay, in the suggestion above I asked you to work at recalling everything you possibly can from a sermon. I would recommend you do that for 6 sermons in order to build your ability to recall. After six sermons, discard trying to remember a whole sermon and start practicing some selectivity. As soon as you have heard a sermon make some choices about what you are going to remember and act upon. Actively let go of everything else. You don’t need it all every Sunday. Then during your reviews, only review the selected items. I highly recommend though that you really work at recalling six whole sermons before shifting to that sort of selectivity. The investment on practicing the skill of recall will pay big dividends.
Did you apply something from the sermon? Do you have a plan for applying it? At the end of the sermon on the mount Jesus shared the following parable:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27, ESV)
In the prior post I recommended setting goals. Goals without action are irrelevant. Furthermore, you truly don’t understand the Word of God until you live it out and experience it. Be transformed by the word of God, don’t just catalog it in your head. Settle for nothing less. If you have never been taught how to set goals, you may want to read my prior post, Resolutions need Goals. Be sure to include review you goals as part of your review of the sermon.
It’s not too late to respond to Sunday’s sermon. Right now why not try to remember, set a goal, and then review those things tonight and tomorrow. Blessings to you and may the Word of God dwell in you more richly every day.
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