This is not a devotional in the traditional sense. What I have to say today could be categorized/labeled as “reflections”.
Our worship time yesterday was one of those times where it seemed like God’s presence was especially evident. I’m not sure why. I pray for that every week for the coming Sunday worship time. We didn’t even have a full worship band. But God blended Yvonne’s playing of the keyboard, Ron’s drumming and Jordan’s beautiful voice in such a way that it just sounded full. The congregation’s “voice” (multiple voices were almost like one) sounded so strong.
We had a
larger than normal break between our first and second songs with: the welcome,
announcements, the introduction of and the charge given to the Advisory Team
from our elders who are stepping down after serving their three year term, the
call from Teresa (Terry) Jackson for volunteers to serve in the children’s
ministry, and then the observations about our pro-life stand and time of prayer
for our country after the moves by the pro-abortion leaders of New York last
week. The very first words of the next song were
“It’s there in the newborn cry…” What
Then Jordan read the background to the hymn “It Is Well”. It’s a very moving story no matter how often you hear it. And the singing of it was so strong. I don’t know how it happens but it was like I could sense God’s presence in a more powerful way. By the time I got up to preach it was just few minutes before 11:00! So I shortened the sermon and we had the closing prayer right about 11:20. So it went over a little bit. But it was one of those days where we had to take care of some things and address some things.
I was so touched by the comments I heard from probably 3 or 4 others about the way they seemed to sense God’s presence in a more powerful way yesterday. I heard that and thought, “Okay! So it wasn’t my imagination.” I don’t like the phrase some have used, “God really showed up today”. That’s a popular cliche that is flawed. It is said as if “God isn’t showing up on other Sundays” – like He skips church. He is always among us. But there are times where it seems easier to sense His presence and it is sort of confirmed when others make such comments.
I look forward to worshiping with the MCC family every Sunday. I think the key is for us to be ready for our time of worship together every week. Here are a few things we can do to prepare our hearts: pray beforehand – saturate yourself and our church with prayer each week in anticipation of our time of worship; get ready earlier on Sundays so you’re not late and frazzled and you can begin worshiping from the very beginning of the service; read some Scripture before you come; sing from the depth of your heart; open your heart and mind to God; pray for the preaching of the Word; and while you’re at it, invite people to come with you.
Let’s pray for God’s protection and provision for a healthy atmosphere where His Spirit moves freely and touches the hearts of all who come to worship the Lord here.