Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's Friday...but Sunday's Coming!

Assuming that most of us still worship with fellow Jesus-followers on Sunday, what do you do to prepare for Sunday? Change your alarm clock from 6:30am to 9:50am so that you can be ready to slip into the service by 10:15am? Do you give any thought the night before as to what you might experience when you worship God with your local church?

In a recent sermon, I challenged my friends to think through how they could come ready to hear from God and ready to encourage one another. To help them, I gave everyone a copy of a something that Pastor John Piper prepared for his home church, Bethelhem Baptist Church. It's called Take Heed How You Hear. And even though it directly addresses the question "How can I prepare myself to hear the Word of God preached?" it can be applied to the larger question "How can I prepare myself for the whole experience of gathered worship?"

Here's an excerpt:
3.Purify your mind by turning away from worldly entertainment.
James 12:1, "Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." It astonishes me how many Christians watch the same banal, empty, silly, trivial, titillating, suggestive, immodest TV shows that most unbelievers watch. This makes us small and weak and worldly and inauthentic in worship. Instead, turn off the television on Saturday night and read something true and great and beautiful and pure and honorable and excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Your heart will unshrivel and be able to feel greatness again.

9. Think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached.
1 Corinthians 14:20, "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature". So Paul says to Timothy, "Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything" (2 Timothy 2:7). Anything worth hearing is worth thinking about. If you would take heed how you hear, think about what you hear.

SO let's here it: what do you do to get ready for Sunday?


dwight said...

First of all, thanks for doing this weekly post Josh. It helps me think through this.
Second, my Bible doesn't have James 12:1 in it (I know it's a typo).
Third, this summer, honestly, on Sunday mornings it is hard for me because we are out on the streets until so late on Saturday night doing evangelism. And also because I really don't have a home church here in Montreal. But, during the year, I think through and meditate on lots of things driving in to church. I focus on what Jesus has done and what His death and resurrection has accomplished.
On the mornings I preach this summer, I have found that I've needed to seek Jesus in the Word, song and in much prayer.
As I think through this more, I'll let you know. Thanks for titillating my thoughts on this subject.
See you soon brother.

Josh said...

So good of you to drop by. I don't know how you find the time. Seriously!

I wish more of us had your excuse. "Sorry, pastor, that I fell asleep this morning while you were preaching about how people need Jesus. It's just that, um,...I uh...was out until 3 o'clock this morning actuaully telling people about Jesus!"

Keep serving in the strength that God supplies, Dwight.

corey thomas said...

honestly speaking i do watch tv most saturday nights and sometimes get caught up in wanting to watch 'saturday night live' which is WAY to late to be up before church. however, i do start preparing mentally on friday and on saturday i at least make sure i am home early going over my notes and music and studying scripture before bed (or before i start watching the blasted television). my new habit has been in going over my new 'worship source book' looking for last minute ideas.

that's about it and thanks, Josh, for this new weekly series. i look forward to it being another great source of encouragement!

by the way... day 2 and counting...

Nate and Aimee said...

Everytime we visit your blog, it is such an encouragement! Nate and I have been discussing this very subject lately--a few weeks into college I was challenged in a class by a professor on preparing for worship and for all of my college time I was very concientious about making Friday night my night to hang with friends and going to bed early Saturday. It really was helpful and I didn't mind missing out on stuff for the ability to be clear-minded on Sunday mornings. Thanks for the reminder--we needed it!!

Josh said...

So glad to know that you've been encouraged by posts like this.