Look back at Matthew 28:17. Don’t let doubt keep you from worshiping the Lord. Keep pouring out your heart & he’ll keep refilling it.
Some of us have barely gotten over Monday, yet others are busy planning the next church service. Pray for those working behind the scenes.
Prepare your heart now for worship at church tomorrow. Confess your sin and enter that time of praise with an open and listening heart.
Jeremiah 5 reminds us that to fear God means to give him our utmost respect and heartfelt worship. He loves us too much for anything less.
Even at church, we can put on an outward show for others that distracts us from worshiping God. Get your heart ready now for tomorrow.
Why not tune in to a Christian radio station or listen to some other praise music and lift your voice to the Lord in worship today?
As you prepare your heart for church tomorrow, think about the matchless gift that Jesus offers us through his life, death, & resurrection.
I don’t splurge on very many things, but I have a bottle of perfume that cost about $40 on sale, which is expensive, in my book. I justify paying so much because I can make a single bottle stretch for a couple of years. The other morning while getting ready for work, I applied some hand lotion, and instead of waiting to let it soak in and dry, I immediately reached for that bottle of perfume, and it slipped right through my greasy fingers!
Thankfully, it landed in a basket in an open drawer and did not bust. I would have been disappointed to waste it, not to mention having to deal with cleaning up the mess. My whole house would probably smell girly, much to my sons’ chagrin! As I finished getting ready (more carefully!), I thought about a perfume story that I remembered from the Bible.
All four gospels give some account of a woman anointing Jesus with expensive perfume (see Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, & John 12). We’re not talking $40 type of expensive, either. The Bible says that this special perfume cost about a year’s income! Maybe some people nowadays would spend that kind of money on a fancy car or an original masterpiece of art, but I can’t imagine anything other than a house that most people would pay so much for.
Anointing usually involves pouring oil on one’s head, and Matthew and Mark bring attention to the extraordinary cost of the perfume as she anointed Jesus, but Luke and John share some additional details that I find remarkable. John mentions that the woman also anointed Jesus’ feet, then wiped off the perfume with her own hair. Luke adds that she was crying while she anointed his feet, and she wiped off her tears and the perfume with her hair.
You and I may not have the means to give extravagant financial offerings to the Lord, but each of us can give him things that are even more important: our love and our lives. The perfume anointing was an outward display of the woman’s heartfelt worship. In the same way, we can offer the Lord our sold-out hearts in worship every day.
What impression do you want to make at church tomorrow? Begin preparing your heart for worship and let God clear out the distractions.
In the hopes of sending the kids out of the house each morning in the right mindset, I taped a Dr. Seuss quote to the door that reads: “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.” Similar to the cliché about having only one opportunity to make a first impression, if you see someone infrequently, then your attitude and actions from that day will stick in their memory, whether good or bad. Unfortunately for parents, it seems like the times when you want the kids to make the best impression, they do completely the opposite and act like hyenas in a boxing ring.
As a church family, we have a similar opportunity every week to make a good impression. Every detail matters – from having enough greeters in the parking lot to enough toilet paper in the restrooms, from the printed bulletin to a handshake during welcome time, from the music to the sermon. What do we want visitors (and members, for that matter) to remember as they leave the building each week?
I’ve been guilty sometimes of showing up to church in a grumpy mood, stressed out or preoccupied. It pains me to think that I may not have smiled at someone who really needed to be uplifted that particular day (even more than I may have) or didn’t go a few steps out of my way to say “hi” to a new person because I wasn’t feeling sociable. Those aren’t the things I want them to remember. I want them to remember having a personal encounter with God because of their worship experience that morning.
Psalm 111 provides a great example of a lasting impression. The author begins by declaring, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation” (v. 1, ESV). Surrounded by people who are creating a first impression of us (and Christ in us, consequently), will we put aside the distractions and focus on giving thanks to God with all that we are?
The good news is that even though we are human and screw things up more often than we’d like to admit, God is still so gracious and faithful. Today marks another fall and another new school year for us as a church family to strive to live authentically (albeit, imperfectly) in community together. Looking back we can claim dozens upon dozens of people baptized and hundreds of lives changed. God deserves our praise and thanksgiving! The psalmist wrote, “He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful” (v. 4). But, looking forward our hearts must still ache to say, “Oh, there are more stories God has for this fall and into the new year.” If we are faithful to live out our calling as a church family, just imagine the stories we will be telling in the fall of 2015. And what about the stories to come in the years that follow? It starts now! It starts today!
Originally posted June 2, 2013 (revised)