Happy start of September! Fall is coming. I can feel it. Okay, the last couple days it’s more like July came back, but fall is coming. I’ve been eyeing my hoodies and apple cider. I hope you’re looking forward to the change in the season too.
This summer, we took a church trip to an amusement park. I agreed to ride one roller coaster. I’m not a fan of adrenaline. Or speed. Or really anything that makes me feel out of control. So that was a fantastic idea.I kept my eyes shut almost the whole time.
I could say a great many things about that roller coaster, but I’ll stop with this: I felt something. A lot of people get a thrill from them, and if you’re one of those people, I’m very happy for you. When we watch movies, we want it to reach us in some way. Maybe a good movie makes us laugh, cry, or scream. When it’s over, we want to know it happened.
We want to feel something.
That’s what we’re used to. After reading a book, eating a meal, or watching a ball game, one of the most dreaded remarks is, “Well that was boring.” We’ve gotten used to life being exciting.
What about when church isn’t?
What if we leave and think, I didn’t really feel God today? Let’s talk about that.
Why We Go to Church
If I asked you why you go to church, what would you say? What about if I asked you why God tells us to go to church?
There are a lot of good reasons we should go. For one thing, God expects us to.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:24-25
For another, we need each other. We’re around a lot of people all week who may not believe in God the way we do, so it’s important to have a good support system. We’re supposed to work together. Some days church service is especially happy because one of us got good news and we’re celebrating with them. Some days we’re there sharing a friend’s pain as they go through a hard time.
These aren’t things we could do if we didn’t get to know each other first during normal life, if there is such a thing. Besides that, we’re on this great planet on a mission for God, and we’re supposed to work together on it. A basketball team that never talks to each other can’t meet up five minutes before a game and cooperate on the court.
…so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. – Romans 12:5
We go to church to worship God. There’s a certain way He tells us to do this.
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. – John 4:23-24
We need to have to have the right attitude when we worship, and we need to do it His way. He doesn’t tell us to just get together on Sundays and remember Him. He tells us how to do it.
What is Worship
There are several parts to worship. Each is special, and each of them improve our relationships with God and each other in a different way.
- Communion – “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” – 1 Corinthians 10:16
- Praying – “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” – 1 Timothy 2:8
- Teaching – “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” – Acts 20:7
- Singing – “…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” – Ephesians 5:19
- Giving – “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” – 1 Corinthians 16:2
These are all parts of worship. The focus of each of them is either God or our brothers and sisters. Worship takes us outside of ourselves. We praise God and encourage each other, and we should be encouraged ourselves.
So when we go to church, we should get something out of it, but our first purpose isn’t for ourselves. The best measure of a good service isn’t whether I had a strong feeling. But, I think that if the service was good and I went into it with the right expectations and was prepared myself, I should feel something. If we have focused on God and given and received support with our church family, then we should leave better than we came.
How do I get something out of it?
I think there are a couple ways to make sure we leave church service feeling filled. First, like we just talked about, we should approach service with the right attitude. A feeling isn’t the goal, but it should be an outcome. If we go into it looking for that feeling, then our worship may feel hollow, because our focus isn’t where it should be.
Second, let’s look at church as a way to praise God, but not as the main place to build our relationship with him. We have 168 hours in each week. If you get the recommended eight hours sleep each night (insert shifty eyes here) that leaves you 112 awake hours. Let’s say you spend two hours Sunday morning, one hour Sunday evening, and one hour on Wednesday evening going to church. That leaves 108 hours.
If I haven’t been building my relationship with God in the 108, I’m probably not going to feel very close to Him in the four when I’m involved in organized worship in a group.
How can we do that? To grow closer to God, we need to spend time with Him. Prayer and spending time reading His Word are great ways for us grow a deeper relationship with Him.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints… – Ephesians 6:18
So let’s go into church expecting to put something in to get something out, and let’s bring a good relationship with God along. How about you? How can we make the most of church services?
Have a blessed week!