Getting the Most Out of Church: Get Your Heart Ready
How many times have you commented on the way home from worship that you really didn't get anything out of the service? I have to be honest and admit that I have done that. Allow me to share with you a very simple truth. You can't expect God to meet you on Sunday when you have ignored Him Monday thru Saturday! Anytime someone tells me how they aren't getting anything out of worship I do two things.
First, I remind them that worship is not about them, nor is worship about what they get out of it! Worship is about God! Worship is about those that profess to be Christians giving God the glory and honor that He deserves. Worship is not for your entertainment.
Don't misunderstand me, there are blessings that we reap from worship.
- Worship helps you to fulfill the very reason that you were created. We were created to worship God. To sing praises to Him. To glorify and honor Him. When we worship our Heavenly Father we are entering into His presence. When we enter into His presence we are where He longs for us to stay.
- Worship will change your spiritual climate. When you are in the presence of God nothing else matters. Worship allows you to get a Godly perspective on the trials and troubles that you are facing. Worship helps you to remember that God is sovereign and that He has never failed you or abandoned you. And He never will.
- Worship strengthens you for the days ahead. God knows what our future holds and worship gives us a peace, no matter how uncertain or fearful we may be. Worship reminds us that with God all things are possible, and that He is our Rock, our Fortress, and our Hope in times of need.
- Worship builds harmony in the family of God. Paul tells us that the church is the family of God. Like any family, there are hard times and people don't always agree with one another. Worship reminds us that we all serve the same God. Worship reminds us that as long as we keep our focus on Him, that all the stuff will work out.
Second, I ask them what they did to prepare for worship. You see, worship begins long before you ever step foot in the church building. What you do, or don't do, Monday thru Saturday goes a long way in determining what Sunday worship will be.
Most Christians today act as if worship is a chore. They show up at the last possible moment (or late!) and then they are constantly wondering when it's going to be over. Many can't even go 10 minutes without having to look at their phone. Yes, the pastor can see you checking your phone. And no, he doesn't believe that you are looking at a Bible app! Worship has lost its importance in the lives of most Believers, and if the church is ever going to see revival that must change.
Several years ago I heard someone joke about their church, saying, "Our worship begins at 11:00am sharp…and ends at 12:00pm dull". So, if the worship at your church is dull, don't simply blame the pastor, or the worship leader, or anyone else for that matter. Start by taking a look in the mirror. Here's a few steps that you can take to prepare for worship.
- Pray for yourself. Ask God to search your heart and reveal to you all those areas that are not pleasing to Him. Ask God to give you an open heart as you come into worship. Ask God to move in your life.
- Pray for the message that God is giving your pastor to preach. Pray that God will guard his heart from any distractions in his time of study and preparation. Pray that God will give him the confidence to proclaim God's Word and not just his word.
- Spend daily time in worship. If you only worship one day a week then either you don't understand what God's Word says about worship, or you are compromising your walk with God. Worship must be a priority for the child of God. If worship is not a priority in your life daily, it will never be a priority in your life weekly.
- Stop. All of us lead busy and hectic lives. All of us have more things on our "to do list" than we could possibility accomplish. We have allowed our lives to become so packed with "stuff" that we have pushed our time with our family, times with our friends, time with ourselves, and time with our God. Stop. Make time for yourself, your family, and your friends. Most importantly, make time for your God.
Sunday is just around the corner. Will worship be any different this Sunday? That's up to you! You can make the choice to not do anything different and expect a different result, or you can choose to prepare your heart for worship and see what happens when we encounter the Living God. What will you do? The choice is yours.