a great church service last night

20 08 2007

Yesterday’s church services were awesome, particularly Sunday night.  I think we had a real breakthrough.  I know it was a breakthrough for me, anyway, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone.  The sermon really stepped on my toes (i.e., convicted me), and then God manifested His presence during the altar time.

Being in the presence of God is difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it before.  There is so much love and peace and fulfillment, and you realize you were created for that intimate fellowship.  There is also such a purity.  You realize how much you fall short of God’s standard of holiness, and then you understand His grace even more because He has forgiven us despite our shortcomings.  You realize that you aren’t worthy of what He gives you, which makes you so much more thankful.

I wonder why we ever allow ourselves to get caught up in “religion” and traditions to the point that we forget about that real fellowship with God…  Maybe I shouldn’t say we forget, because it’s not totally forgotten, but why do we accept “normal” services where we go through the program and possibly didn’t have an encounter with God?  God wants to fellowship with His people — that’s why we were created.  He isn’t impressed with our singing or speaking skills, nor is He awed by our regular church attendance.  And He isn’t excited that we manage to live a little bit more moral than the unsaved people of the world — especially considering how far short of His standard most of us still fall.  Let us not get in the mindset that fulfilling our religious “obligations” is sufficient.  I imagine most Christians wouldn’t say that they think that way, but perhaps we sometimes live that way.

Do you ever find yourself ready for a church service to be over so you can go home for your selfish indulgences?  Now, don’t get all defensive here.  I know that the term “selfish indulgences” sounds so bad, and we’d rather explain it away that we’re hungry and/or tired.  Maybe we’re ready to go fellowship at a local restaurant with some of our friends.  Maybe we’re missing an exciting sports game on TV.  But wouldn’t those things qualify as “selfish indulgences” in this situation?  Think about it…

If you find yourself just going through the motions at church or if you’re distracted during the sermon by thoughts of anything other than God and your walk with Him, consider it a warning sign that something isn’t right in your heart.  It doesn’t mean that you’re not saved or that you’re intentionally doing anything wrong, but there is a problem that needs to be addressed.  Why is anything competing with our desire to grow closer to God?  What’s more important than this encounter with God that we could be having?  (That is why you go to church, right?)

I try to apply this to myself.  If I catch myself not focused on God during the time of praise and worship, then I need to deal with a distraction.  If I’m “zoning out” during the sermon, then something else is competing for my attention and might cause me to miss out on an encounter with God.  I know, some people might say, “It’s just one service — there’s plenty of other ones.”  And that might be correct, but that mentality can cause you to live a life of mediocrity in God’s Kingdom.  The people saying that might not be bearing much fruit for God, and maybe they’re just barely staying saved.  I’d rather see how close I can get to God.  I know He has big plans for my life (and your life), and to be used of God in a mighty way takes increasing levels of devotion.

Ultimately, it’s your choice how much you seek God.  He offers intimate fellowship with Him, where we hear His voice and learn His will, and He offers for us to walk in victory and power.  The question is, will we do whatever it takes to keep growing closer to Him, or will we settle for less and have regrets when we stand before Him someday?




2 responses

21 08 2007

…Nothing like getting *slammed* after church in the prayer line… I know the feeling!

23 08 2007

wow. good stuff. i am glad to hear that god is doing great things at the church. being in a good church is one of the greatest blessings on the planet. it is one thing to worship god by yourself, it is something entirely different when there are many followers of the Lord celebrating God. honoring him because of who he is to us and not what he can do for us.

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