Easter - 2018

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Prepare to Worship - Acts of Entrance

Solomon brings all the “stuff” 2 Chronicles 5:5 – “They brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishing in it.” They were preparing to worship.  It took a great deal of prep work for this hour of worship this morning… Someone prepared the communion trays, Kathleen cleaned the building, the praise team rehearsed, the deacons unlocked the building, Nancy prepared and printed the bulletins, communion meditation, prayer time, and I had to study for this message. It takes a great deal of time and effort and PRAYER to prepare for our worship. The very first act of any worship service is to prepare the people. The anticipation of worship defines the attitude of the worshiper.

I recently read an insightful story that would serve as a good reminder for us in the area of preparation. The story is about a group of climbers who set out to scale a large mountain in Europe. The view boasted a breathtaking peak of snow capped rocks. On clear days the crested point reigned as king on the horizon. Its white tip jutted into the blue sky inviting admiration and offering inspiration
On days like this the hikers made the greatest progress. The peak stood above them like a compelling goal. Eyes were called upward. The walk was brisk. The cooperation was unselfish. Though many, they climbed as one, all looking to the same summit.

Yet on some days the peak of the mountain was hidden from view. The cloud covering would eclipse the crisp blueness with a drab, gray ceiling and block the vision of the mountaintop. On these days the climb became arduous. Eyes were downward and thoughts inward. The goal was forgotten. Tempers were short. Weariness was an uninvited companion. Complaints stung like thorns on the trail.

Worship is like that. As long as we can see our dream in Jesus, as long as our goal is his grace and mercy, there is no mountain we can’t climb or summit we can’t scale. But take away the goal of Jesus, block the view with mediocrity, and complacent bias, and worldly desire or our personal preferences, and the result is as discouraging, lifeless worship.

I pray that you prepare your hearts before you come to worship. In our house, worship preparation starts on Saturday evening. Karen and I treasure the value of worship in our lives and we want to pass that along to our children. So, on Saturday evening, we start to prepare for Sunday Morning. We start to settle down, get our Sunday clothes out, write out the offering check, typically Karen will have what Sunday dinner is going to be may it has already started in the crock pot. We will turn down the volume and be ready to rest. I read through the sermon again, and she will be studying her lesson and the music. In the morning, I get up early, read and pray, and read through the sermon again.

As the children get up and we are preparing to come, we play praise and worship music while we eat breakfast. Then, in the car, we pray together as a family before pulling out of the driveway.  This is our family preparation.  We prepare to draw near to God.

James 4:8 states: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” 

There is a direct ratio in James' statement. God does not arbitrarily bless some and curse others. God is open to everyone and seeks to have a relationship with everyone living soul. God encourages us to seek first His kingdom and all will be revealed. Drawing near to God is dependent on your attitude in drawing close to him. 

You know I love ya, Don

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