Have you ever planned a vacation? You saved and planned for the best hotels at the cheapest price. Every day was packed with ideas and you were sure that it would be the vacation of a lifetime. You were so excited as the day of departure neared, and you could hardly contain yourself. No alarm clock was needed to alert you the beginning of this dream vacation, you could barely sleep in anticipation of the beginning of the greatest trip of all time. It happened slowly almost imperceptibly, you noticed the plane was little more crowded than you imagined. The motel did not look like the pictures on the internet. You could not believe how many hidden costs there were that no one told you about! The exciting day trips, were really just repeated waiting in long lines. The children became cranky and started to complain and all of the sudden the sparkle of this exciting vacation evaporated. You discovered that it did not quite work out as expected.
Now, I am going to change venues. Let’s talk about the last worship service you recently attended. Did it let you down, were you expecting to receive more from it than you experienced? Well let me give you three things that you should all do in preparation for worship. Did you notice that I used the word ‘preparation?’ It is not just the pastor and the worship team who need to be prepared to lead us in worship, all of us should do some preparing.
Did you leave home expecting to encounter God? Did you anticipate experiencing the presence of Christ in the worshipping community? I know anticipation can set us up for a let down. But your anticipation for worship, begins with your preparation. It is hard to stay up late and fill ones minds with things that do not edify. What a difference if we came with a sense of awe at entering into the presence of God? You and i need to prepare ourselves ahead of time and enter the service with a holy anticipation.
Worship is not a ‘spectator sport,’ but rather something we enter into and are participants. When we are instructed to pray, pray, when encouraged to sing, sing. Ask the Lord to speak to you and show you His glory in the service. Perhaps we get so little out, because we put nothing into it, and expect the people up front to entertain us. We are not a part of the audience in a worship service, God is the audience! We are there to worship and praise Him! We are all a part of the church, we are not there to be critics or complainers, We are there to worship!
Never enter into a church service with out asking the Lord to show you something in the service that you need to apply in your life. What truth from the Word needs to be incorporated into my life? What praise should I make the theme of life? What word of encouragement may I receive and seek to return the encouragement to someone in my neighborhood or where I work? The church service is not just something to check off of my to-do-list. It is something that will help me to love and serve the Lord and to strengthen me on the journey this week. The applying of truth to my life is not just for me, I am then entrusted with passing the blessing along to those I come in contact with and I can be a source of blessing and help to others.
How abut putting these things into practice before gathering for worship the next time?