My hope is that we will worship God in a way that is worthy of Him and discover how important we are to one another in this most vital of all human experiences and expressions.
We are all worshippers. We cannot help it. God made us to delight in what we perceive is glorious and great. The problem is that in a broken world, in fallen flesh, and being pursued by a powerful demonic army, we are easily deceived into making something less than the one true God our god of choice. Anything we worship that is not the one true God is an idol.
C.S. Lewis spoke powerfully to our issue.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Our problem is not that our passions or appetites are too strong, but that we are all too willing to settle for second best. God has offered us what is best and most glorious – Himself. Unfortunately, many are pursuing what is good, but not glorious: baseball and kid’s sports, extra sleep, hobbies, and other pursuits that are not bad, but not best. Many are replacing the time meant by God to bring Him glory and rest for our souls and giving it to things that cannot measure up and certainly are not worship of the Father in the Name of the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This month we are going to focus on how we Worship Better Together. Worship can be and six days out of the week will be alone, with family, or with a small group of friends. At least one day a week, God calls us to gather with our church family and praise His name, pray to Him, and hear and rightly respond to the preaching of His Word.
What most of us do not realize is how vital we are to that process. We either help or hurt in that effort. What each of us chooses to do will have a significant impact on our church family and those we know who do not have a relationship with Jesus. When we miss church, it leads others to believe that we do not believe God is worthy of our worship. A person who is not walking with Jesus becomes more convinced they do not need Jesus, when they see God’s people choosing sports, sleep, or something else rather than gathering with their church to worship God.
When those who do gather for worship see others not attending or coming in late or not participating with passion, it influences their own commitment to Christ. What you do has a huge impact on other people. How you give your time, attention, and resources matters to God and to the people around you. God and everyone we know are watching each of us. Our decision about worship will impact them.
Don’t miss worship this month. Come and hear how great our God is! Come learn how to be prepared for worship and how to give God the glory He is due. Come learn how to be strengthened in your own faith. Come learn how you can help others in their pursuit of God.
Speaking of our worship gatherings, please be in prayer for our search team. They are looking for God’s leader to guide us in praise. When I became the pastor of Living Hope, I was 28 years old. I felt I needed a more experienced leader to help me lead worship so we hired Pastor Benny, who was 44 at the time. Now I am 44 and I need a younger leader to come and help me lead worship. Finding a strong, gifted, called, and competent 20something to lead in a large church gathering like our Worship Center is not an easy find. Please pray for God to provide in a miraculous way.
Pray also for the transition. Keith Brown will be stepping in to provide leadership on an interim basis, as pastor Benny is redeployed to oversee our new campus, being launched at Easter, and the local impact opportunities available to us. He will be helping lead initiatives to help us reach the 1 percent of our city. Given the changes in our worship dynamic, we are going to make some changes to our stage to provide greater flexibility and a better use of the space. Our choir will be leading us on a less regular basis and so we want to maximize the stage so that when they are there and when they are absent, we can best communicate the glorious truth of the Gospel. Please pray for those plans. There’s a lot that goes into our worship planning.
We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of prayer that needs to be offered for our church. We will soon be gathering for worship in six different services in three different rooms on two different campuses. We are seeing new faces come to know Christ. We are seeing our church’s impact in the city through the Counseling Center and other ministries that are making a difference. We soon will see the Pregnancy Center saving women and their babies. What a joy and honor! Satan hates it and will be working against us trying to divide us. We must remain loyal to Christ, committed to our mission and faith, and united with one another as a covenant community connected in our committed to Christ.