Many years ago, at  PromiseKeepers event, one of the speakers made a statement that has stayed with me since:

Every man needs three men in his life: A Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.

The point he was making is that all of us need to be involved with someone who can teach us (Paul), a peer that encourages us (Barnabas), and someone we can teach (Timothy).

I seem to gravitate toward “Paul” figures, and have learned much from them over the years.  One gentleman has a discipline that intrigued me a bit, and I began to emulate his example to much benefit.  Just last week I heard Mark Driscoll describing the same discipline and thought it might be good to share it with others.

My friend carries with him a small pocket-sized notebook (a moleskine).  When he hears something of interest – scripture perhaps, the observation of a friend, or even words of a prayer – he pulls out his handy notebook and jots it down.  No great fanfare, no announcing what he’s doing…he just writes it down.  In doing so, he fills his tank with words of edification and encouragement.

Driscoll’s friend uses his moleskine like a reporter.  From time to time he finds himself in the company of a person that might be regarded as an expert of sorts.  Perhaps he discovers someone with a knowledge of real estate; the questions follow those lines.  What direction do you think the market is going?  How do you recognize good investment opportunities?  If I were thinking of selling my house in five years, what should I do now to get ready?

When you think about it in these ways, the art of taking notes is simply the art of learning from others, and that leads to my last thought, the one I picked up last week.

Sometimes we tend to think that every sermon is going to have five new revelations and three clear points of application.  That isn’t realistic, and it is a setup for disappointment.  Look for one good solid point.  Dig deeply into it.  Ponder it for the week.  See how the Lord will bring it to mind at odd times, and ask Him to help you understand Him better.