Saturday, May 24, 2008

MIKE'S THOUGHTS ON WORSHIP


[I’ve asked our worship pastor Michael Cathey to do a couple of blogs on the theme of encountering Christ in worship. I believe this guy can preach. Each of the two blogs is a little longer than usual, but well worth the read. So if you’re in a big hurry, come back to this one when you have time to soak it in.

We all have one... that person we love spending time with. Whether it's going out to dinner, meeting them in Harbison to do some window-shopping, inviting them over for a pig-picking or simply watching a Sunday afternoon game in the living room, we all have that person that we can always "hang" with. Our conversations pick up right where they left off, and sometimes we know what they are thinking before they even say it. More often than not, we'll drop everything (or at least change our plans) so that we can spend time with that person who makes us feel wanted.

We also get a lot out of the time we spend with this person. We feel like we belong and are a part of a special relationship. And we know that if we ever need anything, they will most likely be the first person to give us a call and offer assistance, and they know they can expect the same from us.

One of the unique things about us humans is that we unconsciously say a lot about whom we hold dear by the amount of time we spend with that person. If we have a grouchy and inconsiderate boss, we don't tend to ask them to dinner or to the family barbeque. On the flip-side, we will go out of our way to make time for our friends - we'll change tee-times, take vacation days, get a sitter for the kids and even drive out of our way and spend more on gas to make sure we can spend quality time with those we care about.

As we are looking to the future changes in our schedule this August, I have been asking myself who I devote the majority of my time to. Of course Karin and Carson are high on the list, as are some of the great friends we have made here in Chapin since last September. I know that they can gauge my love and devotion for them by the amount of time I spend with them.

One of the convictions that I have received from the Lord is that Karin and I need to be spending more time together as a couple. One of the books we read as we were anticipating the arrival of Carson emphasized the fact that a new baby needs to understand that when he enters the world, he is a part of the family, not the center of it! Mom and dad had a family before he came It actually helps him to become a more respectful and secure child if he experiences a mom and dad who spend time together without him.

What would it mean to Karin if I was constantly telling her that I loved her, bought her flowers weekly and even gave her a nice diamond necklace each year on our anniversary, but could never really spend time with her? She would appreciate my gestures of love and affection, but what she would really desire is my attention. "I'd love to stay and hear about your day, but I've got a dinner meeting tonight." "You know I love you, but I'm fishing today and can't keep the guys waiting." "We can talk as long as I can still play my video games at the same time." These things I'm wanting to do aren't bad, and I should do them on occasion. However, these excuses would get pretty old if I used them every week! Part of loving someone is showing them that love with our time. Without sacrificing our time, our words of love can become empty. Bottom line: We show the importance of things in our lives based on how much time we devote to them.

Another way to think about quality time is to think of how we wash our cars. We can choose to do a 5 minute once over, or even decide to take our vehicle to the $20 full-service car wash and get it decently clean. But the truth is that if we take our time to do it right, we'll come out with a much cleaner car. No doubt we will end up spending more time doing the work, but in the process we will reveal stains and debris that would not have been caught and dealt with if we had paid someone else to do it quickly. It takes time to do thoroughly, but we end up with a result greater than we had even expected.

It is most likely obvious that you see where I am heading with this. When our time is one of the most precious gifts we can give to anyone or anything, what does it say to our Creator when we reserve a simple hour each week to celebrating him with our spiritual family? And when we do get together to give praise to our God, are we constantly checking our watch or slipping out early to get a good spot in line at La Fogata? When we worship corporately, are we giving enough time each week?

The only way to truthfully answer this question is to look at exactly what we are supposed to do when we come together to worship. I Corinthians 14: 26 - 33 gives us the outline for an appropriate, orderly worship service. Singing, a lesson or sermon, a testimony or story, reading of the Word, a prayer, and an insight or prophesy. These are the physical pieces to a service. (Side note: notice how they didn't take an offering - this was collected daily without needing to ask for it... another article for another time...) Can these things be accomplished in an hour? Certainly. Should they be?

(Ken’s note: Great question that deserves a thoughtful answer. Mike will answer this question in the next blog.)



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