Pastor Joshua West
Worship Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
Ah, Sunday. A day of rest. A day of worship. You’re so happy Sunday has finally come. With your week’s events and duties and commitments behind you, you mosey through the church doors ten minutes before service actually starts, just to allow yourself time to decompress and prepare your heart to worship. How wonderful that your children are all fed and they dressed themselves in coordinating Sunday attire and are now blissfully enjoying their own time of worship in the children’s ministry. No other worries, cares, or concerns are on your mind because you are completely focused on you and the Lord. The music starts. You take a big breath and instantly feel even more peace. You are now worshipping. With hands raised, you sing along to the chorus, “How great is our God // Sing with me, how great is our God // and all will sing how great, how great is our God.” You listen to a wonderful message from God’s Word and then, after service, spend time fellowshipping and discussing the ways your heart was moved by the teaching and the time of worship.
Obviously, this would be a church Sunday described out of a fairytale, right?
Let’s be real. Often, Sunday’s can be a little crazy and messy. Sometimes we come 10 minutes late to service, exhausted and overwhelmed after a hard week. We count it as a victory if the kids are even wearing shoes, and breakfast is frequently eaten in the car, on the way to church because we’re running so behind. The stress of trying to get out the door for church often breeds grumpiness, crying babies, and unnecessary arguments on the car ride there, leaving frustration lingering even in your church seats. Sometimes, it’s hard to shake the reality of a terrible, stressful week at work or at school or at home, and then shut our minds off long enough to focus on worship. The Lord’s instructions to us: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10), can sometimes be easier said than done. Life can be a hectic, overwhelming whirlwind and I get it.
In fact, even as your worship Pastor, I have had many days like that myself. Days when it’s hard to “shift” from wild and crazy life into a place of sincere worship. For example…
Typically, on Thursday evenings, before worship practice starts each week, I spend an hour and a half preparing, practicing, rehearsing, and getting things set up for the rest of the worship team when they arrive. This 1.5 hours serves as the time I need to turn my eyes from my busy work day and focus on specifically preparing for worship practice. However, on this particular Thursday, an unforeseen series of events led to an eventful hour and a half before worship practice.
It all started as I was tuning my guitar, as I usually do. Sadly, as I was tuning, one of my guitar strings snapped! I drove as fast as I could (within the law) to the music store I typically go to when buying a new set of guitar strings, but they were sold out of the ones I needed! So, I had to drive to a different store that was even further. Time was running out and I was in a rush. Finally, I got my new guitar strings, arrived back at the church, and hastily re-strung my guitar. Quickly, I realized I had accidentally put the strings on my guitar backwards and would need to re-buy the strings and string them back on my guitar all over again! Now, time was getting tight. I then had to drive all the way back to the music store, buy new strings again, drive back to church, and string my guitar again (this time the correct way!). I barely made it back to the church by the time all the worship team members were arriving. Now, I found myself frustrated and unprepared and expected to suddenly “enter into worship.”
Isn’t this how we often find ourselves walking into a Sunday morning worship service-
sometimes a little chaotic? A little preoccupied? Through this event, and several conversations with other church members who had been/were recently experiencing the same, crazy Sunday morning church scenario, I realized that sometimes we can view worship with an “all or nothing” mentality.
We’ve all heard a thousand times that we are called to live a life of worship instead of simply showing up for a Sunday worship service. As Rick Warren puts it: “Worship isn’t an event to attend and watch. It’s a lifestyle to be lived.” This is true. But how do we apply that concept of a “life of worship” in a practical sense when life is truly busy and pulling us in so many different directions, calling for our attention in so many different areas?
I believe the first step of recognizing what a true life of worship looks like, begins by identifying what it is not. Understanding what worship actually means, starts with identifying some lies our current Christian culture has come to believe about worship.
Next week I’m going to unpack what I believe some of those lies are. So come back next week and check out the blog…