Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why You Need A Sermon Notes Journal

My Mom has been cleaning and sorting for an upcoming move.

This is BIG, folks! B.I.G.!

We are super excited for Mom! She found an adorable house in a condo community where the yard, snow removal, trash and recycling are all covered, leaving her free to enjoy her home without the stress and worry. More than a "down size", this house move is a "right size".

Mom has been doing some packing, sorting, and cleaning in preparation. Forty-eight years of memories packed into one house. Open a drawer, and you are liable to spend an hour travelling down memory lane.

Mom called yesterday to read me a letter I wrote her in 2005. What a hoot! We were living in St. Louis at the time, and attending a church that we really loved. I had written about a sermon that Pastor Hower had preached the week before. He told how the church will always be counter-cultural and will always be an irritant. But just like the grain of sand that irritates the oyster, one day the church will produce a pearl.

Wow. I LOVE that! And if I had not written that to my mom almost ten years ago, I never would have remembered it today.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog post: Why You Need a Sermon Notes Journal!

Back then, I am sure that I was taking notes on my church bulletin. I might remember them for a week, but then recycling day would come, and the notes were long gone.

I decided to get a little more deliberate about worship at the beginning of 2013.

So here's my Sunday system.

I found a nice bible cover at the Barnes and Noble clearance table for five bucks. It stores my sermon notes journal on the left, and my Bible on the right. I take it to church with me every Sunday. It is my grab and go bag, and when it is not in use, I keep it on the same shelf so that I do not have to hunt for it and make my family any later to services than we already are. Why, why do we rush out of the house every week like the house is on fire? Herding cats, my husband calls it. Herding cats.

When I began this system at the beginning of 2013, I had no idea how invaluable it would be for my family on our hunt for our next home church in Pittsburgh. Typically, I head the page with the church location, the date, and the pastor preaching that week. It has been a great resource.

We had been attending one neighborhood church for more than six months, but recently decided that this was probably not the church best suited for our family. We are continuing our search, sometimes visiting a new congregation, other times revisiting a church we've attended in the past. We would love to put this church hunt to rest in the not-so-distant future. It is one of our big prayers right now.

This leads me to an observation: If you are not attending a church where you actually need to take sermon notes, then maybe you need to reevaluate what you are doing in the pew. If the church isn't teaching you, if the Word is not being preached in fresh and new and meaningful ways, if you are not inspired to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ during the rest of the week, then you may be attending a club and not a church.

Just sayin'.

I guess I realized that I was attending a "church", noun. I wasn't involved in "church", verb. Too much talking, not enough doing. Too much eating and coffee fellowship, no discipleship. Too much Sunday morning, not enough  Monday through Saturday.

Life is never dull here, folks! Some days I think that "change" is our only constant. That is fine, too. It is spring, after all. Time to lift our faces to the sun (or is it the Son?), drink in the light, and grow.

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18


  1. Glad that you found a system that works for you. I hope that a church will follow!

  2. Loved reading this post! Thanks so much for sharing your insight.