I recognize that I am pretty unique in the fact that for me Sunday is probably the most significant day of the week. When I am engaging in conversations at supermarket tills or even with friends, the questions is often asked: ‘Any plans for the weekend? Getting away anywhere nice?’
My vocations enables me to probably reach the highest number of people in my congregation on a Sunday and engage in something very unique: the gathering of very different people that come together to glorify God, encourage one another, pray and submit themselves to the authority of God’s proclaimed Word. As you would expect, I try to make sure that I am prepared about it.
I will attempt to write some (hopefully) helpful and very practical ways in which we can prepare ourselves for the Sunday gatherings very soon. In the meantime, just to start us off, I will re-post part of a superb prayer that Tullian Tchvidijian posted yesterday:
As all of us prepare our hearts and minds for worship tomorrow, my prayer is that we go, first and foremost, expecting to encounter the glory of God.
I pray that, as we sleep, God would expand our want to sing of who he is and hear of what he’s done.
I pray that we go ready and willing to feel the grief of our wreckage so that we can feel the glory of his rescue.
I pray that we go to see God on display, not preachers or musicians. A worship service is not the place to showcase human talent; it’s the place for God to showcase his Divine treasure. A worship service that contains the power to change us (even us preachers) is a worship service that leaves us with grand impressions of Divine personality, not grand impressions of human personality. Isaiah did not leave the temple in Isaiah 6 thinking, “What great music, what a great building, what a great preacher.” He left thinking, “What a great God.”
Perhaps John Stott’s words will be used to grow our love for the great gospel we will encounter tomorrow:
The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.
Remember: we gather for worship not to escape the real world, but to be reminded that this present world in its present fallen state is not all there is. For the Christian, the best is yet to come.
So worship humbly and hard tomorrow. You need it…So do I!