How many times have you heard a great line in a sermon, or a quote in an article and thought — “Hey, that’s really good!”
How many of those can you remember?
For most of us, we can’t remember all those great lines, and we wish we could remember them when the opportunities to use them came along!
Just writing it down helps me remember things, but it’s not quite enough. I can remember, for example, that the pastor had three points in his sermon, but I can only remember two.
And the bits of paper start piling up!
I figured out that it doesn’t do any good to write it down on the bulletin, scrap of paper, napkin, whatever, and then pile them those up. After the pile gets so high I go into “cleaning” mode and just toss them out. (I used to just file them in the file cabinet, thinking, “I’ll get back to those someday.” Yeah, right. Now I know it’s more realistic to just toss them.)
Here’s a better strategy: write these down in a special place, all together.
Here’s what I recommend you do. First, decide where you are going to compile these sentences, ideas, quotes, great ways of saying things. Then build the habit of recording them there on a regular basis, so you don’t build up a big pile that you’re tempted to toss.
I use a nice wide-margin Bible that has about 40 blank pages at the end for notes. At least two or three times a week I transfer the great stuff I’ve picked up by writing it neatly in those blank notes pages. I write pretty small, so these 40 pages are going to last me for several years. (I like having as much as possible IN my Bible, so it becomes an increasingly powerful tool for me to use.) After transferring the good stuff, I toss or recycle the paper.
Another man I know keeps a little journal for this purpose. This is separate from his prayer notebook.
Now just recording these things isn’t the end purpose — it’s USING them!
So the next habit you want to develop is to review the pages periodically. This helps fix great words in your mind, and you’ll be surprised how many times God points you back to something you learned earlier. My own pattern is to take a few minutes every other Sunday morning to review these pages.
You can also look forward to the times when you can physically show someone — a new believer, or a not-yet believer, perhaps — what you’ve written. That turns out to be meaningful for both of you.
One last thing: these recorded insights are a fabulous legacy to leave to your children.
Get started today, and get the real value out of your notes.