"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8
Sometime back, while we were still grappling with the enormity of getting the Fruit of the Spirit devotional produced, we felt the Lord gently nudge our hearts with the idea of getting a sermon journal out. "But Lord," we reasoned, "we've just barely gotten started on the devotional, and it's already driving us insane! Can't this wait till after?"
But the nudging persisted. And we knew it was Him. So we sat down one afternoon and started dreaming about what a sermon journal would look like. Firstly, we knew that it wasn't to be just another sermon notebook. It had to be a journal - so that it would not only contain notes (head knowledge), but also intentional reflection (heart understanding) as well as an action plan for real change (life application).
Secondly, we wanted it to be customisable. That every person who has a copy of the book would be able to personalise theirs in such a way that it would be immediately identifiable. That's why we decided that the design would be in black-and-white, so that users could add their own colour to their own journals.
Thirdly, it had to have universal appeal. We wanted it to be a journal that anyone could use - from kids to adults. So it couldn't be too serious, and it couldn't be too kiddy. Well, we thought, why not marry the 2 concepts so it straddles both demographics? We immediately thought of Isabelle, our illustrator friend who had been quietly drawing a serious of comics on Instagram centered on a character known as "Serious Rabbit". We felt that Serious Rabbit really encapsulated the artistic soul of the journal - Serious Rabbit is serious, but most times he doesn't really take himself too seriously either. And that's how we felt the journal should be - it should be a place where sacred encounters with God are documented, and yet the act of recording these encounters should be enjoyable. So we asked Isabelle if she would like to come on board with Serious Rabbit - she said yes, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Finally, we wanted it to be easy to use. It had to be mobile, so that users would be able to bring the journal out with them wherever, whenever - hence it's A5 size. It had to be easy for users to open its pages and write, draw and doodle within - hence the use of binding instead of stapling. And it had to have sufficient space for users to fill its pages with all their notes and reflections from sermons, cell lessons and even podcasts - hence the 114 pages.
Our hope is that this sermon journal reignites something that has been missing from many believers' lives - the need to not only read or hear the Word of God, but to meditate on it and to translate the Logos into Rhema by discovering how we can daily live out what we are hearing and learning. Let's face it - cellphones are inherently distracting devices. Have you tried taking notes without being tempted to open Facebook during a lull in the preaching? Or how about that WhatsApp notification that pops up in the middle of service? Took a picture of that awesome slide your pastor showed? Great! But how likely are you to return to that photograph to digest what was on that slide?
The truth is, writing is still one of the best ways to take notes, simply because research has shown that when you write, you are more likely to remember what you heard. And when you remember something better, the more likely it is that that something will move you to action, or at least provoke you into thinking more deeply. And of course, writing using good ol' pen and paper means no more pesky notifications, and less of an urge to casually swipe over to Instagram.
And that's our heart. To bring back old-school note taking, so as to re-ignite the Christian's passion for God's Word. Imagine churches full of believers who are attentive and anchored in the Word - reflecting on and digesting the nuggets of wisdom they are gleaning from sermons and lessons, and regularly hearing directly from God as to how His Word could transform their lives.
I'd say that's a recipe for revival.