Sunday, July 26, 2009

Taking Notes in Church

Satan's great joy is to steal the Word of God from the minds and hearts of God's people before they ever leave church on Sunday. A quick errand at the grocery store or chore before work on Monday will erase the lessons learned earlier in the day. If this is your problem, try buying a Composition Book or Steno pad. Carrying it with your Bible and a pen on Sunday will help you gain the following advantages:
  • Focus your attention during the message. Write down sermon points, important quotes, illustrations, etc.
  • Minimize distractions. Write chores and errands in the margin so that you can get them off your mind and bring you back to the text.
  • Add to your retention. Before the service, read through last week's notes. You'll begin to see the larger picture- how the passages and the sermons are connected. Read through the passage again in the coming week, using your notes as a guide. Add to your notes any new discoveries.
  • Rejoice in God's provision. After you have been taking notes for awhile, you will be able to look back on the men and messages that God has used to shape your spiritual life and bring you to maturity. God has used many different voices to make you who you have become in Christ.
  • Increase accountability. Practice the attitude of the Bereans. Write down questions that occur to you as you listen and search out the answers later. Make sure what you are hearing matches what you are reading in the Bible.
  • Add prayer concerns in the back so that you can keep running prayer list of needs mentioned during the church gathering.
  • Note action points in the margin. How would the Holy Spirit have you apply what you have learned? Any points of conviction, encouragement, or compassion?
Speakers are all different. Some speak with complex outlines, others with memorable turns of phrase. Even the worst sermon can provide spiritual help when you actively listen to the Word being preached. Whatever you write down is for your profit. Try taking notes and see what the Holy Spirit will do with your Sunday morning worship!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Already Gone" is Wake Up Call for Church

Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, has written a prophetic book that the church will ignore at its own peril. The book is the result of a survey of 1,000 adults who have stopped attending church, but were active in their middle and high school years. The researcher does an excellent job of separating reasons from excuses and modern opinion from actual solutions.

The conclusion of the book is that the church has become irrelevant. Nancy Pearcey, in Total Truth, describes the two-tier theory of truth. Secularism has taken the objective fields of knowledge (the sciences) and left the subjective truth of religion and ethics to the domain of opinion. What Ken Ham adds to the discussion is that responsibility for that dichotomy lies squarely at the door of the church.

When differences between the claims of science and Christianity arose, the church caved. As a result, students never hear the counter-evidence. The stories and the worship, the sermons and the music feed emotions, but not the mind. They never relate to the world outside the church doors. Add to that the distance between our beliefs and our actions and we have a recipe for apostacy.

It is past time for the church to answer the questions of the secular world and reunite the worlds of science and ethics under the lordship of Christ. We must take very thought captive for the sake of ourselves and our children. Are we too late? Francis Schaeffer would remind us, "We are not called to be successful. We are called to be faithful."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Science and Public Don't Always See Eye-To-Eye

USA Today is reporting that the public's unquestioning allegiance to the pronouncements of Big Science is showing signs of decay. A gap between the views of the general public and Members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science is widening, according to Pew Research:

58% of the public approve of embryonic stem cell research. 93% of AAAS members approve.
49% of the public believe in man-made global warming. AAAS members, 84%.
The biggest gap was between scientists with a belief in natural evolution 87%, and 32% for the rest of society.

This is an opportunity for the church to be 'relevant' again. The two-tier theory of truth has marginalized the opinions of religion by pushing them outside the walls of Big Academia. "All truth is God's truth" could again be the marching orders of the church.

Unfortunately, the contemporary church may not be up to the challenge. Answers in Genesis' new book "Already Gone" shows that the church is already largely viewed as irrelevant by the next generation. As faith in Big Science is waning, confidence in the church is waning as well.

Maybe the church had better start teaching science again. And economics. And sociology. And take up the task of taking captive every thought found in contemporary society and making it obedient to Christ.