Monday, September 12, 2011


A powerfully insightful piece by Steven Furtick:

The Perception Principle

There’s a secret to listening to sermons that dramatically affects what you will get from them. I call it the perception principle.

I’ve preached about this before and share it with our staff regularly, but I’ve never blogged about it. I want to give it to you because I believe it will revolutionize the way you listen to sermons and exponentially increase their impact on you.

The perception principle goes like this: I can only receive someone on the level that I perceive them.

This is true for God, and for every human relationship you have. The way you choose to see someone determines how you will treat them and how you will receive whatever they have to give you.

Negatively, this means that if you perceive your wife to be a nag, that’s the way she’s always going to sound to you. Even when she really isn’t being one. If you perceive your husband to be a loser, that’s how you’re going to receive him. No matter what he does.

Positively, it means that if you perceive someone to be wise, what they say will sound wise. And you’ll give it more weight. If you perceive someone to be ‘cool,’ everything they do will look cool.

Here’s how this matters when you’re listening to a sermon. How you perceive the person preaching will determine what you’re able to receive from them. And ultimately from God.

If all you see is a guy with good ideas and not a guy with a message from God, that’s all you’ll ever get. If you go into a sermon with an attitude of bless me if you can, you’re probably not going to be blessed. If you go in skeptical of every word, you’re probably going to find fault. And only find fault.

On the other hand, if you perceive your pastor to have a message for you from God, you’re probably going to be a lot more attentive and engaged. If you go into a sermon expecting to hear a word from God, you’re probably going to get one.

I’m convinced that what someone ‘gets’ from a sermon has nothing to do with the skill level of the person preaching. It’s how they perceive the person preaching. It’s how they decide to engage. When people tell me, ‘that’s the best I’ve ever heard you preach,’ I always want to respond: No, it’s the best you’ve ever listened.

I don’t care who your pastor is or who is preaching to you. Whether their podcast is downloaded by millions or their sermons are heard by five people, the principle is the same. Perceive them to have a message from God for you, and that’s what you’ll get.

Show up ready to hear from God, and don’t be surprised when you do.

Pray with me…. Dear Father, we are reminded of the words of Jesus, often after he had delivered a difficult to receive teaching, when he admonished his listeners, ‘He/she who has ears to hear, let him/her hear.’ We want to have ears to hear, on the inside as well as on the outside. We want to have a positive perception of others so that we can receive your best from them, especially when they speak from your Word to our hearts. Give us the humility and discipline to ‘receive with meekness the implanted Word.’ In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

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