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Riveting Sermons

How to Get and Keep Listeners' Attention

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Of the thousands of sermons I've heard in my lifetime, I remember only a few; but those few glitter in my memory like diamonds scattered on a beach. One of the brightest did not shine with humor (though I recall laughing at points), nor did it shine with a showy delivery (though I distinctly remember the passion in the preacher's voice). That sermon riveted my attention because the preacher spoke about something vital to me. He exhorted us to "guard our hearts, for the heart is the wellspring of life," and you could hear a feather drop in the sanctuary, because my church had just lost our worship leader, who was having an affair. We sensed we could fall just as the worship leader had.

Every sermon cannot, indeed should not, strive to be a once-in-a-lifetime sermon. But every sermon should rivet attention on the Word. How can we increase the level of attention granted our sermons? Here is a clue.

On Thanksgiving Day, my family and I visited Old Sturbridge Village in central Massachusetts. ...

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Displaying 1–5 of 9 comments


April 22, 2008  2:17am

Halleluyah, to God be the Glory. I must admit, the Lord blessed us all with listening more not even saying a word - "obedience ".

Howard Jones

January 02, 2008  2:16pm

Even as preachers we must always listen. James told us, " 1:19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" So when we become riveting listeners we can become riveting preachers.

Douglas Quenzer

December 27, 2007  8:53am

When Jesus gave the crowd bread he rebuked them for not seeking something greater than bread. The crowd needed bread to eat, but they needed something that was ultimately more satisfying. The paralytic in John was healed after 38 years. Jesus' final word to him was, "Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you." The man couldn't look beyond his own physcial ailments to see his real ailment. There is nothing wrong with speaking to people's needs. But sometimes their perceived needs are not their real needs.

Daniel DeVilder

December 21, 2007  4:54pm

Thank you. I will let that ruminate for a while . . .

Pastor Bill Stevenson

December 17, 2007  3:07pm

Excellent article. Speaks to the heart of the issue! We need to focus outwardly as well as inwardly.

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