Things I Learned at Church Today

I’ve long taken notes at church with the thought that one day I might go back and review the things I learned.  For a little while I even went so far as to take pictures of my notes at the end of church.  In all the years I’ve done this I have never, not once, gone back through my notes.  So, while I think note-taking is a good practice and I will continue doing it, I was thinking today that I want to start writing down a small summary of what struck me from the sermon.  In a way, I suppose this will serve as a small journal of what I hear from God on any given Sunday…what points from a sermon (even if it’s not really the main thrust of what the pastor is talking about) God causes to resonate and stick.  Today is Sunday, so here goes:

The thing I learned today came from a verse that was up on the screen during one of the songs…it actually really wasn’t part of the sermon at all.  (Sorry, Matt…I really liked the sermon, too.) Hosea 10:12: “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”  Sowing doesn’t sound too bad.  Reaping fruit sounds great.  Plowing the hard soil of my heart to make for good dirt for God to sow righteousness into sounds…hard.  I sense the need for my heart to be tilled but I don’t know how to approach that…or at least that’s what I tell myself, because it’s easier to say “I don’t know how!” than to say “It’s hard and I’m lazy and like comfort!”  When we want to get into physical shape, what do we do?  We choose action over inaction, to produce a desired result…a result that makes struggle and discomfort worthwhile.  We wake up early or stay up late and do the things we know we have to, even when they are hard and uncomfortable, because we are certain of the good outcome.  So why would spiritual growth be any different?  Plowing a hard heart means breaking up the dry, unfruitful dirt and turning its world upside down.  The seed is ready to be sewn…it’s all around me, in God’s Word, in sermons, in conversations with friends and family, in stirrings of the Spirit in my heart.  The promise is there, that when the seed is sewn into a good, receptive heart, it will result in the kind of fruit I desire…that God desires for me.  I need to plow my heart-dirt of its laziness.  I need to choose action over inaction…waking up early to study and pray rather than staying in bed, because that’s easier and more comfortable.  And I need to do these things out of a certainty that the result is worth it.

And that’s what I learned in church today…

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