Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
August 24, 2014
Should we expect the church to entertain us?
Some people do not go to church because they find the worship services boring. I understand that complaint. I have gone to sleep in church several times. The monotonous sound of a preacher’s voice can put people to sleep. And I must admit that I have preached sermons that had I been in the audience I would probably have gone to sleep.
Those of us who are pastors should be ashamed that sometimes we have offered worship services that were about as exciting as watching paint dry. We know in our hearts there is no excuse for worship that is devoid of passion and enthusiasm.
But before we lay all the blame at the feet of the pastors perhaps we look at worship from another perspective. Some of us may have the wrong reason for going to church. We may, for example, be going to church to be entertained. That is one of the poorest of all reasons for going to church. Yet in a culture that craves entertainment many have mistakenly decided that the church should entertain us. And sadly some pastors have capitulated to this demand for entertainment.
Nowhere in the Bible does God counsel pastors to entertain those who come to worship. We are admonished “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” For what purpose, then, should we come together to worship? Even a cursory study of scripture reveals that the primary object of corporate worship should be to praise God. So our basic motivation for going to church should be to blend our voices with others in praise to God, out of gratitude for our salvation and for his strengthening presence in our daily lives.
The pastor’s role is to design worship so that people are confronted, and comforted, by the holy scriptures. When this is done well, with passion and enthusiasm, worship is not boring.
Consider that one Sunday I am overwhelmed by guilt. A sense of my sinfulness has made me miserable. Then I hear the pastor read the story in Luke chapter seven of a sinful woman to whom Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven.” The pastor goes on to say that this same Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God and he is here this morning ready to whisper in your heart: “Your sins are forgiven?” In that moment I repent of my sins. I believe that Jesus has forgiven me of my sins. Instantly the chains of sin that had bound me are broken; Jesus has set me free. That, beloved, is not boring worship!
Such an experience on a Sunday morning motivates me worship God every day – to praise him for the peace that comes from a restored relationship with my heavenly Father. We do not receive any brownie points by "going to church" one hour a week; what God desires for us is intimate, daily fellowship with him through his Son who died for our sins.
True worship is not sitting in church as though you are the "inspector general," there to evaluate what others are doing. True worship is bringing your life before God moment by moment and saying with sincerity, "Here am I, Lord, I am your servant; thank you for the joy of my salvation, for the peace that passes understanding. Show me today how to do your will so that I may honor and please you.”
Real worship is sharing God’s tender compassion for the poor, the lost, the lame, the blind, the suffering and saying to the Father, "Where can I join hands with you in helping hurting people?" Get into a life like that and what happens on Sunday morning at eleven o’clock will become more exciting than you ever dreamed! + + +