One of my daughters started the service with a heart of anger. She couldn't find her Bible and was angry at her brother because she felt he was responsible for it in some way. She found it under the pew a few minutes later but as the sermon began, she sat there empty handed (no Bible or Sermon Notes) and heavy hearted (weighted down with anger).
Part way into the sermon, my husband noticed and told her to open her Bible and begin taking notes. She did, though she wasn't happy about it at first.
Later that afternoon, she showed me her notes and told me that God had convicted her during the sermon and repentance took place in her heart.
Can the Holy Spirit speak to a child's heart through a sermon if he is not taking notes? Absolutely!
Can a child take notes and still have a closed heart? Absolutely!
However, I believe most kids will benefit greatly from taking sermon notes. Children need to be taught active listening. Children will find it easier to succumb to day dreaming than to active listening to a sermon preached primarily to adults.
A sermon ought to be preached to an adult audience. It should not be brought down to the level of a child.
However, a sermon is not above the ability of the Holy Spirit to use that sermon to touch the heart of a child.
I believe that when the Word of God is preached, something supernatural takes place.
Why and How?
For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
There have been times that I have allowed my children to refrain from taking notes. But it has been proved over and again that when they do, the doors to their heart of belief and mind of understanding are open that much more.
As in the case with my daughter, certainly the Holy Spirit could have touched her heart without her taking notes. But the pull of the sinful nature is strong. Anger had taken a grip on her heart and closed its door.
I can't control my daughter's heart, but by having her take notes, we were helping place her in a better position to be reached. We helped move her mind from dwelling on what made her angry to a place of active listening of the sermon. Her heart was then in a better position to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit.
Don't forget that children in the pew is about more than just the sermon. It's also about having them witness the tone of worship. The reverence. The awe. The joy. The participation.
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