For the last couple of months my wife and I have been visiting several different churches. Every week we go to another one. Some are huge and others are not. Some are lead completely with contemporary music while others are more traditional hymns or a blended mix of traditional and contemporary music. The order of worship, although similar, is still different in every church. The Pastors vary in age, style and experience of preaching. It becomes very easy to begin comparing one church to the other, It becomes too easy to begin creating a list of what I like or don't like and make many comparisons. All this can distract my attention away from what is really important.... Do I hear God speak?
Worship is a time for not only our praise and adoration to our heavenly Father, but also a time to listen and hear what it is that God wants us to hear. In each church I visit I hear from God. I have not been to one yet that I haven't heard God, and if I did attend one where I didn't hear from God it could quite possibly be a problem on the receiving end (me) rather than on the delivery of the message or the worship service. I guess what I'm trying to share is that I need to focus less on the differences and more on what I'm hearing God say to me. Am I connecting and is the Spirit of God moving within me to allow me to become more like Him through the message. Am I more concerned about the songs, or the Preachers ability to preach, or the order of service... etc. Or am I going with an attitude of Worship and praise and an expectancy of hearing from almighty God?
I've almost come to the conclusion that it's not the church as mush as it is what's being said and am I listening? God's word has a way of penetrating our heart and soul even in spite of a preacher or music getting in the way of it all. Man can stumble but God's word is greater than all that. What is being preached and am I listening, that's what's important.
As I visit churches lately I see God at work in all of them. I sense the Holy Spirit in all of them. Yet they are all different! The decision on where it is that God would have me serve is still undecided. Until then, pray for me and my family and may I always be sensitive and open my heart and mind to listen carefully for God to speak.
You may not be searching for a new church like I am, yet you may have days where your worship experience was lacking in your own church. Something was missing or maybe you were distracted by other things that really are not that important yet intrude on your ability to focus on Christ during the worship service. May we all be focused on Christ and go prepared to listen, expectantly waiting to hear from God. God is there, we just have a difficult time seeing or hearing him sometimes. How can we live for God if we don't listen? If we don't hear? God wants to speak to you and I. Are we listening, or are we talking? Are we experiencing God, or are we making a list of things we like or don't like? Where's our focus during the worship service? Jesus Christ must be the focus and may we be ready to hear from Him today.
God bless you in your service and the next time you attend your church, go with a different attitude of why you are there. Go expecting to hear from your heavenly Father and you'll experience true worship. Focus not on the things of man, and completely on the things of God. You may leave seeing your church in a different way. One things for sure... you will be different and after all, isn't that what church is all about.... a body of believers lead by Jesus? All focused on Him and his direction?