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Earlier this year I bought a copy of the Sermon Notebook (published by Matthias Media). And after my first week using it, the Sermon Notebook was my new favourite thing. So here’s what I love about it.
First of all, there are the practical considerations. I take notes during sermons. They help me to concentrate on what’s being said. But usually they end up squashed in the bottom of my bag after a few weeks, never to be reviewed again.
The notebook keeps all my notes in one safe place. And I’ve found that if there’s something that I’m discussing elsewhere (such as at Bible Study), I can easily check my notes to see how it was explained during the sermon.
Within the notebook, for each week, there’s a double page for your sermon notes. You make note of the date, sermon title, Bible passage and speaker; then you’re free to make whatever notes you like.
At the end of the space, there are some prompts to record particular details, like: I never knew; I was reminded; A biblical truth I could share; A key verse and; My prayer response. There’s also a review section, every six weeks, that prompts you to look back over your notes, and reflect on what you’ve learnt, how you’ve acted on it, and subjects for prayer.
Also, within the notebook, there are tips on note-taking, and how to prepare for and listen to a sermon. These have been good to reflect on, and there are some skills mentioned that I’m still working on. There’s also a section with tips on memorising Scripture.
As part of the six week review, I’ve chosen one of the key verses to memorise. In fact, just choosing which verse to memorise was helpful – reflecting on why I would select one verse over another, and how the truths of that piece of Scripture would be helpful in my day-to-day life.
But the big benefit for me has been the prompts for the sermon notes (and the review). During the sermon, I’m thinking about the bigger picture, keeping an ear out for a key verse, making note of things I want to know more about, and looking for a Biblical truth that I can share. I don’t have an answer for each prompt each week, but the process of thinking about them during the sermon helps me to focus on God’s word, and figure out how to apply the teaching to my daily life.
Of course, you don’t need a fancy book to have this benefit (although, I am quite pleased with the pretty sage colour of my copy – also available in black). Any notebook could be just as helpful, if you bear in mind helpful prompts such as those in the Sermon Notebook. The book is simply the motivation for more considered listening and recording of the teaching of God’s word.
The challenge, as always, is to embrace that teaching, apply it to my life, and work with God’s Spirit as he grows and changes me more into the likeness of Christ.
(Editor: There are copies of the Sermon Notebook currently for sale at on our mini-bookstall on Sundays!