Thursday, February 3, 2011

Prepared to Praise

If you think about it, worshiping God is central to our faith. Worshiping God, also, goes on into eternity. Worship requires a wholehearted commitment. Worship is more than our assemblies, but not less than our corporate services either. Our worship, in our assemblies, prepares us to worship throughout the week. If you'd like to be better prepared to worship as we gather on Sundays, here are a few thoughts off the top of my head:

1. Read the Text that drives the sermon/songs, before showing up. We post (at the end of my bulletin article) the title, text and the focus of our upcoming sermons one week ahead of time, so that you can be thinking about these before time. For example, you can read LK 16:19-31 this week. The sermon this Sunday is, "What ever happened to Hell?" and our focus is: Turning up the heat on an unpopular topic.

2. Resolve your conflicts, and help other people find closure with any issues they have with you. As Jesus says, "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24 ESV) Think about how harmony and peace enhances our time together :-)

3. Humbly open your mind and your heart to God's moving. Worship is more, much more, than hearing a Scripture read or listening to a sermon. When we take the Lord's Supper, we are practicing unity with each other, and with God together. When God shows up in the Bible, people are different, people are moved. If you don't plan to be transformed during worship, you don't plan to worship: "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (II Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV)

I remember talking with a lady where I used to preach, she was well into her eighties and remembered well how she prepared to worship as a child... She told me about how as a child her family began preparing for Sunday's worship on Saturday night. They would lay out their dresses, comb their hair and get to bed early so they could be ready to meet God. In the winter time they would warm up bricks in the fireplace, and set those warmed bricks in the floorboards of their wagon. No snowstorms ever prevented them from attending services. What impressed me more than their determination to beat the bad weather was their dedication to meet God, by being ready the night before...

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