“Boys, would you please pay attention”

Way back in the day when I was 12, my brother Bob and I sat in church on Sunday morning next to each other and made paper airplanes with our church bulletins. Or kicked each other in the leg. Or played “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

And, of course, we tried to carry off our antics without either of our parents seeing what we were doing, even though normally we were sitting shoulder to shoulder with them.

Fat chance with getting anything by them. One of our parents, usually mom, turned her head, gave us the evil eye and whispered loud enough for those sitting in the pew ahead of us to hear.

“Boys, knock it off and pay attention to the sermon.”

Sometimes on the drive home from church mom would say, “Well boys, what did you learn from the sermon today?”

If neither of us had any idea, which we usually didn’t, one of us might pipe up and say the one verse we had memorized, John 3:16: “I learned that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

“That’s true,” mom would say, “but it is not what the sermon was about today.”

My dear mother now is with the Lord (June 19, 2020 @ age 86). But if she had been asking me about today’s sermon at Sun Valley Community Church in Gilbert, AZ, I could have answered her question immediately and perfectly.

As the preacher began today, he invited everyone to “take out your cell phone and pull up the sermon notes.” That’s not so unusual these days. I already had downloaded the church App, so I clicked on the “Sermon notes” tab and there they were.

In the online notes, there were blanks for parishioners to fill in the blank spots by tapping the keyboard on their mobile devices. I used my iphone. From the screen shots I’ve included here, you can see in one of the blank spaces I wrote in the word “life,” which in the screenshot has a green line beneath the word life. The blank lines were blue before anything was typed on them. The blue line turned green after I typed “life,” indicating my answer was right. I waited to type the word life until after the preacher said it.

But then I started looking ahead, and based on what the preacher was saying, I decided to guess at the answer from the next two blank blue lines: “You and I were created to Join _____ _____.”

Here’s what happened.

I guessed wrong. See the red underline. That’s what I get for trying to get ahead of the preacher and somehow thinking that I could make the sermon shorter by filling in all the blank spaces before the preacher got to that point. 🙂

Oh, but wait…

Look at the black box above my wrong answer where it says: “Reveal Answer” with the two small arrows. I clicked on it. And yes, you already know what I happened.

Wallah! The right answer revealed! It is: “The dance,” not “God’s dance.”

But there is more. Look directly below the answer. There is an option to email the sermon notes, which of course I did — to myself! And with all the right answers filled in perfectly.

As I entertained myself, I suddenly found myself daydreaming about when I was a boy growing up in Northwestern Kansas and what might have been if I had a cell phone, one that I took to church with me.

Do you see me there? I am sitting way in the back, in the third seat of our white Ford station wagon with red vinyl seats. I am that red-headed 12-year-old boy squished in next to my brother Bob. I am looking at my iphone, reading the stats from yesterday’s football games played by my Kansas State University Wildcats and University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Suddenly, almost on cue, my mom interrupts us by saying, “Okay, boys, what were the main points in today’s sermon?”

Well, don’t you just know. I am as cool as cucumber. I don’t look puzzled in the least. I don’t quote John 3:16 for the upteenth time. Nope, nothing like that. I just glance down at my iphone, which is laying on my lap. Pulling up my email using my 12-year-old index finger, I look down at the sermon notes I had sent to my email during the sermon. I tell mom every point.

“Wow, you got it,” mom says. Smiling and shaking her head she says, “My goodness, son. Good memory.”

Oh, and about that point in today’s sermon I missed while I was daydreaming about giving my mom the right answers from my iphone.

No worries, friends. I’ve got them all right here in my email.

Oh my. Isn’t it just so great that these days we get to use our cell phones to take notes during the sermon? And like me this morning, who got the blank spots in the notes all filled in before the sermon was over, you, too, can be an overachiever. Then you can spend 5 or 10 minutes while the preacher finishes up the sermon, catching up on all the college football scores from the day before! How great is that? 🙂 … Just kidding, friends. Well, partly kidding!