And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another. -Hebrews 10:24,25
This is part 2 in our series aimed at cultivating love for God & His people. Last time, we covered praying for the church. Today we will look at church gatherings, particularly Sunday morning, but the same applies to any gathering of the body.
In 2020, prioritize the gathering of God’s people. Jesus calls this group of people His bride, the Church! What a title! This should signal that there is something VERY significant about the people of God gathered to worship Him, and there is. At the least, these people are worthy of our time. We must remember, it is called “the Lord’s DAY,” not “the Lord’s hour.”
We tend to arrive late to church because a lack of immediate consequences (make no mistake there ARE consequences, but we won’t tease that out this time). We stand in grace right? Nobody is going to scold you for showing up 5, 10, 30 minutes late right? Yes, praise God we stand in grace and we will always strive to believe the best about one-another…but if we’re honest, we let grace make us lazy. It should have the opposite effect! Grace ought to energize and eagerly drive us to let the work of God overflow to others (1 Cor. 15:10)!
Let the gathered church for worship become the main event of your Sunday and I assure you, you will grow in love for God’s people, and grow nearer to God for it. Now what does that mean?
Come early. This allows you to show hospitality to new-comers, greet your church ohana, & encourage those who give of their extra-time to serve (like the praise-band, teachers, greeters, and others).
Stay late. The worship service is a large part of our time together, but by no means is it the ONLY element of our time together. Don’t rush to your car before/after the final prayer. Stay late and talk with others about the sermon, pray over their life, form new relationships.
Participate in the ENTIRE service. I’ll be brief here, it is a mistake to skip singing and only show up for the sermon. The sermon starts at the Call to Worship as God’s word is proclaimed in song by His people. And let us remember, Jesus himself undoubtedly sang, often. So if you want to be like Jesus, you’ll sing. Do you need more motivation than that? The best way to spread Christ-centered cheer is singing loud for all to hear…or something like that=).
Leave margin in your schedule for lunch or other engagements with other believers or visitors. Often a jam-packed schedule causes us to miss opportunities placed right in front of us for ministering that we so often desire when we pray “God, use me, I want to make my life count…”
I was told a story by a member in our church who recounted a time one of his daughters came up to him and said, “Dad, how do you spell love?” He answered, “L.O.V.E.” to which she replied, “no, T.I.M.E.”
Our time is short. God invests much in His people, it’s a safe bet for us to do the same.