Oh, you have got to see this! John Piper who wrote such classics as “Desiring God” and “When I don’t desire God” (available free online http://www.desiringgod.org), speaks about the importance of small groups and following up the preached word.
I came across it while thinking about producing a couple of booklets for the church. One on small groups for people wanting to find out more about them and one for people who might be thinking about helping lead a group.
Anyway listen to this:
“I preach, God is merciful often to take the word preached and pierce and open and save and heal. But the church is designed to do another thing as well as preach, namely gathering little assemblies and ask the prophetic question “go get your husband”. I can’t come down out of this pulpit and go to every single person and say “go get your husband”. And that’s the next step often needed after I commend living water and you’re locked up and nothings happening and you leave and go nowhere. Because small groups are designed to take the word and by supernatural wisdom and gifts and holy Spirit power penetrate where I didn’t. That’s the way the church is supposed to work. So I’m pleading with you. Don’t play games by making this a preaching point. We are not hear to entertain people who jump from church to church. We want to gather saints and do church the way Jesus designed for us to know each other love each other and take the word of God preached and push it into the recesses of each others hearts and hold on to people and never let them go five marriages or what. ..please please live in community as we try to help you, in small groups.”
It’s 10 times more powerful when you hear him say it so why not visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC4pmIZ5GhA or go to youtube and type in “Piper small groups”. Actually you could spend a very productive time just typing “John Piper” in to youtube.
Back to preach preparation. I’m looking at “Calling on the name of the Lord”. It’s a little verse right at the end of chapter 4 about Cain and Abel. Its like hearing the bubbling of a spring in a dry land. What a beautiful noise. So soon after the fall and the curses and the thrones and murder, we come across people calling on the name of the Lord. And its only in chapter 4!