When Jesus was saying “goodbye until I see you again,” he gave some comforting and reassuring words which John recorded in his gospel at John 14:26. He said “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jesus could well have added, “Now be sure to read the book that’s being written about me. It’s going to be a best-seller.” Since he knew that down the road we would be sitting in comfortable chairs listening to preachers and teachers deliver “messages,” he might have added . . . . “It would do you well to take notes as this can be some pretty heavy stuff.”
Let’s talk about “notes” for a few minutes. Perhaps none of you who are taking the time to read this blog are “average” Christians, but there are a few characteristics of the average that we could take “note” of. Pun intended. The “average” person who professes to be a follower of Christ attends church at most two times a month. So, what does this provide them? An average of 20-30 minutes of “religious” indoctrination per week (not including the music), if they are lucky. This “average” follower likely doesn’t spend an hour a week outside church taking in Bible truths or getting biblical enrichment from other reliable sources. Rolling this together amounts to an estimated 1 ½ hours out of a 1680 hour week. That’s .001 of the time each week affords us. Would you agree that’s “slim pickings”?
Lectures are arguably the least effect means of imparting information, and that’s what sermons or “messages” are. So, how does taking notes help? I thought you might not ask. Taking notes engages our minds more fully. Having our minds and bodies active combats drowsiness, lessens distractions and improves attention. Trust me, Pastors like that. Taking notes helps impart material into our minds and feeds our mental “filing systems,” storing material for review and reflection. Going back to John 14:6, we then provide spiritual “fodder” for the Holy Spirit to work with. He cannot “remind” us of things we have not yet been exposed to, but He can work wonders with the information and truths once we’ve taken them in. It allows Him to do His job more effectively. Not to mention (though I am), it increases the quality of our worship experience.
Take into consideration it may not totally be the eloquence and wit of the Pastor/speaker that prompts you to nod your head in agreement over certain comments or even have a “yes” or “amen” at the tip of your tongue and almost audible. You do that once in a while, don’t you? These are things worth recording and revisiting. The Holy Spirit may be impressing upon you something that he wants you to consider more deeply, perhaps even using this in conversation with others as something you found to be valuable. If you are sitting under good instruction, there should be points that cause you to pause and think and consider exploring more thoroughly later. Information is running by fast during a preaching service. Without notes, you are left to your own memory and your intermittent concerns over what’s for lunch.
Allow me to challenge you to take notes for a month and see if that doesn’t improve the quality of your personal worship experience. Besides, taking notes makes you look good, doesn’t it? (I just threw that in to break up the more serious tone). But it does look impressive, doesn’t it? Think About It.