Rev. Stew Royce, Senior Minister, Noelridge Christian Church
Back in the 1800s, Henry Ward Beecher was a famous preacher and large crowds would come to listen to him. One Sunday, Henry was away and a substitute had been lined up to preach. When the substitute pastor stepped into the pulpit, several disappointed listeners began to move toward the exits.
That’s when the minister stood and said loudly:
“All who have come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church. All who have come to worship God keep your seats!”
What a wake-up call! This directs our attention to the primary reason for coming to church, and that is to worship God. We need to be coming to church with a desire to enter God’s presence. True worship is always God-centered, and involves giving Him praise for all that He has done for us in Christ.
A challenge for our church family is to examine what God gets from us when we gather to worship. This doesn’t have anything to do with raising our hands or engaging in some outward expression of worship.
What each one of us needs to ask ourselves, though, is the following question:
What does God get from me in corporate worship?
At times, there may be some who are disengaged in worship. Even non-believers notice whether the people present are engaged in worship or bored and checked out. If we’re looking at our smartphones, there is no sacrifice of praise to the Lord God Almighty, and worship is devoid of gratitude and passion. The main point is that we are not bringing God the praise He deserves!
Remember, our God, the Creator of heaven and earth, wants to hear our prayers and have us sing of His mercies. Worship involves surrendering our whole lives to God. Hebrews 13:15 tells us:
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name.”
In worship, may we find a new appreciation for something that has been here all the time – the presence of the living God!