Today's Word for Pastors...

I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Psalms 89

Today's Preaching Insight...

Link preaching to small groups to enhance retention

Pastor Larry Osborne of North Coast Church in Vista, CA, believes that listeners better remember the sermon content now that his church has linked its small group discussions to the topic of the past week's message. In a recent article for the SermonCentral.com newsletter, he writes: "The first thing I noticed was that once we started connecting our small group questions to the sermon, people were noticeably more attentive. I wish I could take credit for improved material, delivery or style. But I hadn't changed. What had changed was the congregation's awareness that they were going to discuss the message later in their small group. As a result, they were much more attentive.

And to my surprise, I discovered that attentiveness is contagious. When everyone else in the room is dialed in, it seems to send a subtle, perhaps subliminal, message that this is important stuff -- don't miss it. So most people work a little harder to hang in even during the slow (should I saying boring?) parts of the message.

The most obvious sign of the congregation's increased attentiveness was a marked increase in note taking. That alone had a significant impact upon the memorableness of my sermons. Educational theorists have long pointed out that we forget most of what we hear unless we also interact with the material visually, verbally or physically. In short, taking notes dramatically increases recall. And tying small groups to the sermon dramatically increases note taking." (Click here to read the full article.)]

Today's Extra...

Compassion

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man.

She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night, the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength.

Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital - the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients. Now and then, she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.

Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited. Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

"Who was that man?" he asked.

The nurse was startled. "He was your father," she answered.

"No, he wasn't," the Marine replied. "I never saw him before in my life."

"Then why didn't you say something when I left you with him?"

"I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed."  (from Cybersalt Digest)]

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