Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are you "sitting by" or "sitting under"?

I am currently in Beth Moore's study "Jesus the One and Only". We are only into week 3 and it has impacted me in a huge way. I love the way that Beth gets you to really envision Christ. But this week really hit home to me. First, as a follower of Christ, it challenged me and secondly, as the wife of a preacher, it encouraged me.

We started off the week with Jesus, now starting his ministry, going back to his home town. If you have read the Gospels, you know that Jesus was rejected in his hometown. But the passage starts out with the people being "amazed" by his teaching. Beth says "the word could be used by spectators after attending a rock concert and being impressed by a talent. The wording suggests that they were impressed by Christ's delivery--not so much by what He said, but how He said it."

As a pastor's wife, we have had people leave our church because they did not enjoy, relate to, like my husband's delivery. Some even told us they wished he preached more like so-and-so. Instead of focusing on what he said, they were focusing on how he said it.....frustrating (hurtful)! and yet, here I am encouraged in that even Jesus had people focus the same way on him!

How many times have we said or heard someone say "wow that was a great sermon" why? "He was so funny and I just connected with him" but what about his words? what pierced your heart? What did you hear that caused you to leave the room changed?

Beth ends this section with "grab a spiritual stethoscope and perform a quick heart check. When you hear a message, do you tend to grade it or receive any possible insight, no matter how elementary the message or unpolished the messenger?" hmmmm......ouch.

We went on later in the week to study Luke 5 and 6. Here the Pharisees were trying to catch Jesus breaking a "law" on the Sabbath. Luke 5:17-18 says that the Pharisees and doctors of the law were "sitting by" as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue.

She quotes Matthew Henry in "How many are there in the midst of our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, that do not sit under the word, but sit by." She goes on to say that believers can sometimes be as unaffected by a powerful message as any unbeliever....convicting! She tells of a church in New Orleans where "the listeners involve themselves in the message. They are not spectators. They take responsibility for the effectiveness of the message by actively engaging themselves in it"

How often do we come to church and expect the worship leader to lead us to is MY responsibility to engage my heart and come into the presence of the Lord. The worship team just provides the music. How often do we expect the pastor to have great delivery to keep our minds focused on the is MY responsibility to again engage my heart and mind to listen and hear what God is wanting me to hear! The pastor just provides the words. If I am not engaged and anticipating a Word from God, it doesn't matter how good the delivery is....I won't hear least not in my heart where it changes me and makes me more like Christ!

This week has certainly challenged me to actively engage myself in every message I hear or read!!! I want to sit under the Word of God, I don't want to sit by it.

I would like to challenge each of you to do the same. This Sunday, prepare your hearts before you get to church to sit under the Word of God.

I don't want to miss out on a single nugget God has for me, even it it's uncomfortable, do you?



beckyjomama said...

Well said!!!

Anonymous said...

Sara, I'm so glad you posted on this! I was convicted of this very thing last week. The Word of God is living and active - it's nobody's fault but my own if I don't "get something" out of even the simplest sermons. I was convicted about my pride, that I was getting too puffed up and imagining my intellect "above" (or I guess in the Pharisee's case, "by") the simpler teachings. A true love of the Word of God will find joy, encouragement, correction, and edification in ANY teaching of it, regardless of how simple! At least that's what I was convicted about. :)

TCKK said...

Amen Sister!

I was just telling someone this week I love it when I hear a sermon and it makes me feel guilty. Because then that gives me a place to move up closer to the Lord!

I'll take your challenge to prepare my heart for a true word from the Lord this weekend!

Thank you for your reminder.

darla said...

very well spoken!

Becky said...

Thank you. Great message to put me back in line mid-week.

Mom To Six said...

I love this post!!! A great reminder to be vigil for that "nugget" that changes hearts.



Jill said...

Sara, how TRUE, how TRUE...thanks for the reminder! I will go into service this week ready to be moved by the word of GOD in whatever capacity it is delivered!

Heather of the EO said...

Sara, you articulated this so well. Thank you for sharing what you've been learning so we can learn too.

Elizabeth said...

I hear you! I hate to say that I've been guilty of passing over someone's words simply because I didn't like how they were spoken. And you're so right- it is MY responsibility to engage my heart and mind and come into the Lord's presence. If it takes a brilliant worship pastor to do that for me, something's wrong.

LuAnn said...

That was so greatly written. I too have had the experience of people wanting to be entertained by my husbands sermons instead of the listening to him. Hear how proclaims the gospel.
Thank you for sharing what you have learned!! This Sunday I want to be "sitting under".

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Great message and one that I needed to hear too!

Beverlydru said...

I read this post through on my first visit marked it to come to back and savor it. You have clearly expressed a profound truth. What I read are 2 keys: a message rooted and grounded in The Word and hearers. Hearers who are hungry for truth can draw on the annointing of the Word, regardless of the personality of the vessel. I've heard it phrased "we can put a demmand on the annointing." I'm getting dressed today for Sunday - in the Spirit that is. ; )

Smilingsal said...

I love Beth Moore.

We ought to strive to sit under the Word of God rather than finding fault with the messenger.

Growin' with it! said...

as another pastor's wife (even if its a kids pastor)...PREACH it sista. and i am on the receiving side of this one too. very true post and motivating as well!