What Are You Getting Out of Worship? (Part 1)
When you assemble with the saints for corporate worship, what are you getting out of it? Do you find the atmosphere less than inspiring? Is the preaching dull and boring? Is the song service lacking in enthusiasm? Are the prayers dry? Has communion become predictable and routine? Does the weekly collection make you feel like the church is trying to get something out of you? Is observable spirituality deficient in the people around you?
Perhaps you would get more out of worship if the atmosphere were different. What if the surroundings were more appealing, the preaching was more dynamic and interesting, the music was livelier, the prayers were more stirring, communion was spruced up, and there was less pressure to contribute?
Maybe you would receive greater satisfaction if the scheduling of services was more convenient, the seating was more comfortable, and your felt needs were being met. Are you longing for a better worship experience?
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God …” (Acts 16:25a). Who helped set the mood for these guys? Who was responsible for getting them in a worshipful frame of mind? Who provided an atmosphere conducive to an uplifting experience? Who made their comfort and convenience top priority? Who directed their attention to spiritual things, ensuring they got the most out of worship?
These servants of Christ had been unfairly treated, falsely accused and arrested, severely beaten, locked in a dungeon and fastened in stocks amongst a bunch of criminals (Act 16:20-25). Yet somehow they managed to offer praise to the heavenly Father. How is this possible? There were no worship leaders, praise teams, choirs, or orchestras. There were no special lighting effects, motivational videos, air-conditioning, padded seating, or free coffee. Neither convenience nor comfort was afforded them. How on earth were they able to engage in meaningful worship under such unfavorable conditions?!
Apparently Paul and Silas had something deep within themselves that was not dependent on (neither bolstered nor hampered by) externals. Irrespective of their dismal circumstances and gloomy surroundings, they demonstrated an inner conviction with an unyielding commitment to and focus on God. Worship was not done for them. Worship was not done to them. They assumed personal responsibility. They took initiative. Their experience was void of complaints or excuses. They set their minds on things above and dutifully expressed their heartfelt devotion. Are you longing for a better worship experience?
–Kevin L. Moore