3 Things Your Audience Is Doing While You Are Speaking #3 . . . .

relevant 1  That Is The Balance!


Three Things Your Audience Is Doing While You Are Speaking

#1) Some listeners are mentally processing YOU!

#2) Some listeners are mentally processing your understanding.


#3) Some listeners are mentally processing the application (to them).

If the message has little to no import or value to their lives, the “receiver” is only on because they are there in the room.  However, it is only general “background music” until some “music” comes on which is engaging.  Then it has his-her attention!

Presence Does Not Mean Attention

You may not like this, and the pushback is — “Even if it does not apply to them, or to them today, they should give heed to what all of God’s Word teaches.”

First of all, I would argue that you listen — or do not listen — the same way.

i.e., When is the last time you attended a single’s seminar as a married person.  It is more likely that a single person has attended a marriage seminar, and the reason is????

Yes . . .

You do not believe the single seminar relates to you and your life at this time in your life.

They believe that it might be relevant to them at a point in time in their life.


Second, I would suggest that you “make it and state it” — make that very point in your message . . . .

i.e. — “While you may be here today and be thinking, this does not apply to me and my life — insert the word “today.”  Today it may not apply, but one day when you need to help someone who is in this situation, who needs biblical advice, who is struggling with . . . . You will need to go to this exact passage and help them understand how the Lord see this area of life. . . . “


When preaching or teaching, realize that some will mentally check out . . . .

if it is not relevant to them


if you do not make it and state it as relevant to them


Andy Stanley is masterful at taking time in the introduction to pull in the audience to the relevancy of their lives.  One might even argue that at times he takes an inordinate amount of time.

Here is a typical and a great example of him doing that . . . .


(clip @ the 2:20 minute mark of original Guardrails series — The Heart of the Matter by Andy Stanley)


but I learned something — my behavior was forever modified — do not shoot your sister with the bow and arrow — I learned that very important lesson


and then throughout my childhood — this is – this will be surprising -throughout my childhood — I had other behavioral modification lessons


they went through middle school

and high school and

all the way through college

and this is something we’ve all experienced


in fact we are all really really good monitoring and modifying our behavior — aren’t we


because I mean when you into that new job they said this is how we do it here


when you went to college and joined a fraternity, they said this is how we do
it here – sorta – this is how we do it here we don’t do that we don’t dress this way
we don’t use that language


so throughout life, we’ve learned that in order to be successful we monitor and we modify behavior — and we’re pretty good at it


but then every once in a while — from out of who knows where — I don’t know where — this -we don’t know where this comes from do we?


out of nowhere – it seems –or out of somewhere for sure –we say, and we do the dumbest things –and we even say sometimes — I don’t know where
that came from


–and the people around us are going — we know where it came from right
there – the thing (tongue in your mouth) that does this


 –we know where it came from –and what we’re saying when we say I don’t know where it came from — is –that’s not me –I don’t I don’t think that way –I don’t feel that way — where did that come from


So where does all that stuff come from?

that’s what we’re going to talk about  – today


We’re in part five — the final episode of our series guardrails

if you’ve been with us for a while – you know why we call the series guardrails but if not — a guardrail — is a system designed – as you already know is a straying and too dangerous or off-limits area off-limits


guardrails are never placed in the danger zone

guardrails are always placed in the — what? — the safety zone

that is why we get in trouble sometimes when we talk about – the
kind of guardrails we’re going to talk about

guardrails are designed on the highway to do two things primarily to
direct us and protect us


but as we’ve said throughout this series –the highway is not the only place we need guardrails in our lives


we need some financial guardrails

we need some moral guardrails

we need relational guardrails

we need guardrails in our marriage

some of you need guardrails in terms of how you parent your children because you were parented in such a way that you don’t ever want to do what your parents did, but you have a tendency in the veer off  in the very same direction that your father — how your father disciplines you – or your mother disciplined or didn’t discipline you

so sometimes even as parents, we need guardrails


and specifically when we talk about a guardrail outside the context of the
highway or curbs or bridges — a guardrail is actually


a personal standard of behavior that becomes a matter of conscience


it’s a personal standard of behavior – that is — I’ve decided for me not for you and you not for me


– I’ve decided for me there are certain things that once I begin veering at these directions something’s going to go off on my conscience — ah-ah –and say you’re getting a little bit too close to the side of the road


– not when I’m in the danger zone  because guardrails aren’t in the danger zone


when I’m in the safety zone but moving in a direction


that may be dangerous for me personally

or the people that I love


so the point of a guardrail is to light up our conscience before we hurt ourselves

to light up our conscience before we hurt other people


to begin feeling uneasy early — before it’s too late


-so today as we wrap up this series — I want to talk about what I think is the most important guardrail of all — for all of us to establish


I want to talk about how to guard your heart



Notice how Andy Stanley works at including the various groups of people who might well be listening!


By Age Group:


middle school

high school



Young Adult Life:

new job


throughout life


guardrails to direct and protect us


Areas of Life:

financial guardrails

moral guardrails

relational guardrails

in our marriage



Us & Others:


people I love


hurt ourselves

hurt others



I want to talk about what I think is the most important guardrail of
all — for all of us to establish



Stanley realizes that . . . .

Presence Does Not Mean Attention

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