Unspeakable Joy Devotional



Didn’t Get Anything Out of That Sermon? I saw this comment recently – have you or someone you know say recently “I really didn’t get anything out of that sermon”? We need to realize that we will get out of a church service, exactly what we put into it! Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

“I didn’t get anything out of that today.” “I didn’t get anything out of the sermon.” “I didn’t get anything out of that service.” “I guess her song was all right, but I didn’t get anything out of it.” Sound familiar? Not only have I heard it countless times but have said it myself. Let’s see if we can make a difference in the churches where we serve and worship. The 7 things we regularly get wrong about worship:

1) You Are Not Supposed to ‘Get Anything Out of the Service’. Worship is not about you and me. Not about “getting our needs met.” Not about performance from the pastor and singer and musicians. Not in the least.
2) Worship is About the Lord. “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name.” That Psalm 29:2 verse is found also in 1 Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 96:8. We are in church to give. Not to get. We are giving glory to God. Not to man. We do so because glory is His right. He is “worthy of worship.”
3) Self-centeredness Destroys All Worship. If my focus is on myself when I enter the church-getting my needs met, learning something, hearing a lesson that blesses me, being lifted by the singing-then Christ has no part in it. He becomes my servant, and the pastor and other so-called performers are there only for me. It’s all about me. The typical congregation in the average church today really does think the service is all about them-getting people saved, learning the Word, receiving inspiration to last another week, having their sins forgiven, taking an offering to provision the Lord’s work throughout the world. Nothing wrong with those things but if we go to church to do those things, we can do them. But we will not have worshiped.
4) Evangelism & Discipleship, Giving & Praying, Grow Out of Worship; Not the Other Way Around. The disciples were worshiping on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and drove them into the streets to bear a witness to the living Christ. Isaiah was in the Temple worshiping when God appeared to him, forgave his sins, and called him as a prophet to the people. It was in the act of worship that the two distraught disciples had their eyes opened to recognize Jesus at their table.
5) We are to Give Him Worship and Glory in the Ways Scripture Commands. Psalm 96:8 “Give to the Lord the glory due His name and bring an offering.” The Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, “Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 We must balance our worship between spirit and truth; all that God has revealed in His word.
6) We Are the Ones Who Decide Whether We Worship upon Entering the House of the Lord. Don’t blame the preacher if you don’t worship. He can’t do it for you. No pastor can decide or dictate whether we will worship by the quality of his leadership or the power of his sermon. I am in charge of this decision. I decide whether I will worship. When Mary sat before the Lord Jesus, clearly worshiping, He informed a disgruntled Martha that her sister had “chosen the good part,” something that “will not be taken away form her” Luke 10:42. That something special was time spent in worship. Such moments or hours are eternal.
7) Remember: Worship is a Verb. And it’s an active verb at that. Worship is something we do, not something done for us. What we cannot do is leave church blaming my failure to worship on the poor singing, the boring sermon, or the noise from the children in the next row. I am in charge of the decision whether I will worship, and no one else.
Someone has pointed out that ours is the only nation on earth where church members feel they have to have “worshipful architecture” before they can adequately honor the Lord. Millions of Christians across the world seem to worship just fine without any kind of building. Believers in Malawi meet under mango trees, and their worship is as anointed as anyone’s anywhere. What? No stained glass!

Our insistence on worshipful music, worship settings, and worshipful everything are all signs of our self-centeredness. I see it in myself and do not like it. No one enjoys great music more than I. I love to hear a soloist transport us all into the Throneroom by his/her vocal offering in the service. A great testimony of God’s grace and power thrills me. I delight in hearing a sermon that I feel is direct from the heart of God. But if I require any one or all of these before I can worship, something is vastly wrong with me.

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names and small American flags mounted on either side of it. The six-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up; stood beside the little boy and said quietly, “Good morning, Alex.” “Good morning, Pastor,” he replied, still focused on the plaque. “Pastor, what is this?” The pastor replied, “Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.” Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex’s voice, barely audible and trembling with fear asked, “Which service, the 8:00 or the 10:30?”



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