Tell ‘Em, Jesus.
Have you ever been in church listening to the Pastor preach and started thinking, “Hmmm, I hope my husband is paying attention” or “Ooooh, I wish my friend was here to hear this message”?
Have you ever tapped your spouse on the leg when the Pastor says something that you think they need to hear?
Here’s a tip: Never tap your wife during these moments because you just never know what emotion that tap will set off inside of her lol.
Now don’t get me wrong, the response may be legitimate, but don’t spend the whole service writing down notes to pass out to family and friends of things they need to work on. Make sure you are trying to figure out how the message applies to you – what you’re going through, and what you are working on. God is so good at this that He puts something in every message that is just for you and everybody else. Remember, God already knows who the message will reach – how, when, and why.
Right time, Right Message
I recently listened to a sermon by Pastor Charles Metcalf from Mark 5:22-42. It’s a long passage, so I won’t type it all out here, but please go back and read it.
This is the story of the synagogue official, Jarius, who asked Jesus to come with him to heal his daughter, and Jesus immediately started off towards Jarius’ home. On the way there, a lady “with an issue of blood” knew that if she could only touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. This lady had been suffering for 12 years and was healed instantly by just a touch. Jesus stopped and acknowledged the woman’s faith and then started back on his journey to heal Jarius’ daughter.
You find out in verse 42 that the little girl was 12-years-old. Pastor Metcalf pointed out that it was no coincidence that the woman had been suffering for 12 years and that the little girl was 12 years old. God knew from the beginning that the woman would be healed as Jesus passed through her town on the way to heal Jarius’ 12-year-old daughter. So, the fact that woman started bleeding 12 years prior and the little girl fell deathly ill at the age of 12 was no surprise to God. As a matter of fact, God intended these events to happen simultaneously so that He would get the glory.
The point I’m trying to make is that God knows how to deliver what we need when we need it.
God definitely uses people to deliver prophetic messages and confirmation to His people; but it becomes messy when we operate outside of God and start to think that God is using the Pastor to deliver a message to you that you, in turn, need to deliver to someone else.
Remember, “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV). This piercing and division will not happen if you are more concerned with writing your own sermon to preach to your spouse or your friends. It will only take place if you are seeking food for your own spirit in the message.
What’s in the Word for Me?
When you spend your time in church trying to find meaning in the message for other people, you may miss your revelation.
This also indicates that you may think more highly of yourself than you should (Romans 12:3). As someone who has been on the receiving end of this, I have to say that it feels extremely condescending for someone to randomly come up to you, without relationship or a previous conversation, and tell you what you need to do to be more “in the Will of God”.
When this happened to me, all I wanted to do was scream, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). I would not have been offended if the individual and I were discussing the subject or if I asked for an opinion – but I didn’t. And, when you are talking to someone who actually knows you, that person most likely knows something about you that needs correcting, too.
So, What’s The Play call?
Listen and take notes at church for your own benefit. Review the notes at a later time and ask God to reveal to you what He wants you to understand and what He wants you to act on. Then, do it.
Trust that God will deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. Don’t go through your sermon notes writing the names of friends and family members by specific bullet point for future conversation. This is guaranteed to elicit some angry responses.
Even when you and your friends are having a conversation, be sure to remove the plank from your own eye before pointing out the areas in their lives that could use some work (Matthew 7:5).