I do not recall that last time I allowed a football game to affect me as much as the Big 12 Championship Game affected me a few weeks ago. As I sat there in my living room, all I could do the first quarter of the game was sit there and fume over how lousy the Sooners were playing. Susan even commented that she has never seen me react that way to a football game. However; as the game went on, I began to see the Sooners “wake up and put it all together” and ultimately go on to beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 23-20 and claim their seventh Big 12 Championship.
As I watched the Sooners hoist the trophy and gather together for the team photo, I was elated and frankly stunned that they were able to achieve such an accomplishment after losing several dynamic players to the NFL. However; with a great recruiting class filled with many talented freshman, the team prevailed.
The next day, as I entered into the church building to get ready to attend Bible class, a good friend of mine made the statement, “Does it ever get old?” I asked him what he meant. He went on, “watching your team win so many Big 12 Championships.” I thought about it for half a second and replied, “No! not at all!”
As I went on to class I began to think about his question, “Does it ever get old?” I found myself contemplating his question in regards to the Christian assembly. Is it possible for times of study, praise, worship, teaching, fellowship, encouragement, remembrance, and prayer to become old habit? I shudder at the thought but sadly, I have experienced other Christians exclaim that worship has lost its meaning in their lives. What a tragedy…
For the past few weeks, I have been interviewing some of the older faithful members of our congregation and asked them, “You have been attending worship for many years, how do you prevent it from becoming an “old habit”? Following are a few of their responses.
Make a decision to be present for worship regardless of what else is happening in your life. Satan is constantly doing everything within his power to hinder us (physically, mentally, and spiritually) from entering into His presence. It is far too easy to convince ourselves that we will be ok if we do not attend the assemblies. As parents, we must take the time to refocus our lives (and the lives of our children) on the cross and the blessings found in Christ (Eph 1:8). I can recall countless times in which my dear friend Tony Hall stated, “If you claim that you are busy beware…because busy stands for “Being Under Satan’s Yoke” and that is a terrible place to be.” May we stand firm and boldly proclaim, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Prepare your heart and mind for worship. In Revelation 1:10 we find that John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” Is it possible that if has been far too long since we were in the spirit for worship? One man I interviewed made the statement, “You can’t pour anything into a jar with the lid screwed on.” What he was saying is when we come into the assembly; we need to enter with an open mind. We must not allow ourselves to become critical of things we don’t like but must have hearts which want to receive the blessing of that day.
Peter stated that we need to “prepare our minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13). The best was to prepare our minds is through daily, constant study of his word. The psalmist stated in Psalm 119:10-16, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”
Follow the pattern found in Scripture. True worship according to John 4:21-24 involves the right object which is God, the right attitude which is in the spirit and doing it the right way which is in truth. One member stated that when we do things the Biblical way, by following the examples found throughout the book of Acts, then God will bless us.
I know these are just a few things we can do to keep our assemblies from becoming “old habit.” However; I want to hear from you. What advice do you have to help each of us have a better attitude/focus on our worship assemblies? In my opinion, the younger generation needs to hear and learn from the older generation ways to keep worship/assemblies meaningful and purposeful. (Titus 2) Please share your thoughts below.
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To God be the Glory!