Prepare

worship

Saturday and Sunday is upon us. Most people are rushing home after work to enjoy the start of another weekend. To enjoy spending time with family and friends. To find time to veg out and not have to worry about specific schedules again until Monday. Then there are many people who try to fill up as much of the weekend as possible to do things and run errands that there was not enough time for during the week.

We all are excited about time to spend without the demands of work and people constantly expecting certain results from us. One of the things that begins to happen is a busy weekend that simply “includes” going to church instead of making it a priority.

For those of you who are religious, Saturday or Sunday is a time when we gather at our church, supposed to be praising God and lifting the name of Jesus Christ while living in and listening to the Holy Spirit. Many people (including me some weekends) have turned our time of worshipping Jesus Christ into another to do list item to simply check off and then go about our day.

I believe we are all challenged to look at church another way. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, would begin preparing for Sunday worship on Thursday. This may make some people nervous thinking, “I just don’t have that kind of time to prepare.”

With the business of our schedules day in day out, week in week out, year in year out, we all should look at how we prioritize our schedules. Now, I do not presume to know, nor am I trying to judge or condemn people here in any way. I simply hope to encourage each one of us as we walk with Jesus Christ and allow him to transform our hearts which has a direct affect on our lives.

So, here are some questions I invite you to consider:

  • Why do I attend church? Is it for me and my inspiration? Or is it truly for God and allowing my heart an opportunity to hear from God and become recharged with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
  • How often do I pray for the worship time, church leadership, and the church as a whole?
  • How much time do I spend reading the Bible along with other sacred writings or devotionals during the week?
  • How is God moving in my life and through my life to make a difference in my community, state, nation, world?

These questions may be a little convicting; I know they are for me.

My prayer for each one of us is that we allow God is make himself known so that we can see the world through his eyes and allow our hearts to break for what breaks his heart. Let’s all take some time to prepare ourselves for the literal presence of God when we gather for worship.*

*On a quick side note: worship can be done anywhere, even during your personal quiet times with God.

Look Beyond What You See

“Look beyond what you see” is my favorite line from Lion King 1 1/2.

The point being told to Timon is to not focus on the situation or the problem. If we allow ourselves to step back from what’s going on, we may be able to see the bigger picture; which may even allow a solution or ray of hope to be seen.

The Bible has a great story of this in 1 Kings 17:8-16.

The Lord’s word came to Elijah: Get up and go to Zarephath near Sidon and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to take care of you. Elijah left and went to Zarephath. As he came to the town gate, he saw a widow collecting sticks. He called out to her, “Please get a little water for me in this cup so I can drink.” She went to get some water. He then said to her, “Please get me a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any food; only a handful of flour in a jar and a bit of oil in a bottle. Look at me. I’m collecting two sticks so that I can make some food for myself and my son. We’ll eat the last of the food and then die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go and do what you said. Only make a little loaf of bread for me first. Then bring it to me. You can make something for yourself and your son after that. This is what Israel’s God, the Lord, says: The jar of flour won’t decrease and the bottle of oil won’t run out until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.” The widow went and did what Elijah said. So the widow, Elijah, and the widow’s household ate for many days. The jar of flour didn’t decrease nor did the bottle of oil run out, just as the Lord spoke through Elijah.

The widow could not see past the lack of flour. Elijah saw and trusted God for greater possibility than what everyone else saw.

I tend to represent each person at different times of the day; mostly trusting God for the outcome and possibilities.

Who do you see yourself as?
I hope we all can trust that God provides what we need. Have you trusted in God today?

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Destroying Bridges to Build New Ones

Watching this bridge being destroyed so a stronger one would be build in place of it made me think about the bridges we have built in our lives that need to be destroyed. Think about that for a minute. What bridges have you or I built that we need gone, or to be redirected? Is there a bridge of lust? of greed? of pride? of despair? of insecurities?

When we can recognize these bridges only lead us toward the darkness of life, we are ready to search for the Light. Where is it we need to destroy these bridges? The crews to help us rebuild a stronger bridge toward the Light are those around us: our family, our friends, our pastors, our youth directors, etc.

We do not live this life on our own; we live life in community. Community strengthens and reminds us we are not alone. Our community is there to strengthen and to carry burdens and to help rebuild the right bridges in our life.

The call today is to recognize and see the paths we are on may not lead us to complete peace and complete joy. The Light, Jesus Christ, is calling us to work with him to rebuild the bridge on the right path toward life with freedom, life with hope, life with peace, joy and real love.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~Galatians 2:20

Open your ears, my God, and listen! Open your eyes and look at our devastation. Look at the city called by your name! We pray our prayers for help to you, not because of any righteous acts of ours but because of your great compassion. ~Daniel 9:18

For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve. ~James 5:16

Full armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20

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