Bring no more vain offerings.
Isaiah 1:13 (ESV)
Is God & His Worship First in My Life
Even Regular Church Goers Need to take a Spiritual Inventory
Two weeks ago I wrote about the 5 Awesome Excuses for Skipping Church. I want to double back and touch on the topic of worship again. This time I'd like us to look at it from the other side.
Just because you are in the pews on Sunday mornings doesn't necessarily mean that everything is peachy with the Lord. You can sing with the greatest zeal and still not have the Lord's priorities in mind.
So consider these questions. Evaluate your presence in worship in light of them.
1. Is God really your priority? Malachi laid into the Israelites of his day, despite their regular attendance in worship. God was angry with them despite their pristine record.
The problem was that they were not offering their first and best. The sacrifices they brought were sketchy, consisting of lambs that were blind, lame, and diseased.
It wasn't the sacrifice per se. Something was wrong with their hearts. They were holding back on God. They essentially said He didn't deserve their best and their highest esteem. Sure, they will worship (and do so with ardor), but not in a costly way or a way that reflects that He was their highest enjoyment.
The Lord should never be given the leftovers. When we come to worship, we must give Him the first and the best. We must give from the heart and internally witness to the fact that He is the first and best.
2. Are you worshipping God with your life or just your lips? Amos gave the Israelites a royal ripping too. His beef, however, was that their worship was so incredibly inconsistent with the rest of their lives.
These Israelites offered the purest worship; every jot and tittle of the law was followed. But their worship was a cover for the gross sins they were committing (negligence, oppression, and injustice). They may have been better off skipping church because God hated and despised their assemblies.
This tells us that what we do on Sunday must equalize with the rest of the week. The bully and the bossy shouldn't waste their breath if they are not repentant. One who steals and then gives an offering makes God's nostrils crinkle in anger. The inconsistency of justice and worship is offensive to God.
3. Are you putting a priority on restoring relationships? In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells people, of all things, not to go to worship. Really, he told them to drop everything and high tail it out of the service. If there was a broken relationship and they had not sought to rectify it, that was to take priority. (Matt. 5:24).
We might rank worship higher than relationships, but God does not. Sometimes the most pleasing offering is an attempt at reconciliation. When someone is estranged from us we must seek them out. Otherwise our worship is profane.
Granted, the other party may not want to reconcile, but that really doesn't negate our duty. Jesus would like us to at least give reconciliation the old college try (preferably before Sunday comes rolling around). That's because relationships are a priority to Him.
4. Is worship your gateway to heaven? No amount of good works will ever outweigh our bad or make God happy with us. So, if you're depending on your presence in worship to get you merit with God, think again.
The only thing that can make us right with God is the blood of Christ. Worship is a response to God's grace; not a means to it. It flows out of our gratitude for His saving us and giving us eternal life.
5. Are you rating the service? Worship is not a performance. It is a meeting with God and His people. So if you are in the habit of evaluating the music team or the preacher, you've got the wrong attitude.
Sure, the message might not be quite up to snuff on occasion. Other dynamics might not meet your preference level. Nevertheless, God is there in the midst. It's a 5 star service every time because He comes in power and, miraculously, does not strike us dead.
Do you have any questions we should be asking? Are there obstacles to pure worship that you know of that are not mentioned here?
We'd love to hear what you have to say.
Send your thoughts now.
Contribute Special Music - Got a song you want to sing or an instrumental that you'd like to perform? We are happy to schedule you for our communion time or other special.
Join the Worship Team - If you're a guy who likes to sing or are talented with an instrument, we always appreciate the contributions of our musicians.
Join the Set up Crew - Would you like to make a "behind the scenes" commitment? Once a month you can be in charge of setting up for worship. We'll be sure to show you the ropes on the equipment and make sure you are confident.
Take Photos - If you have a knack for snapping pictures, feel free. We love compiling material for our yearly slideshows, putting them out on our social media, and capturing our milestones & memories.
Kiddo Care - We love it when moms and dads have a break and can enjoy a little more fellowship after worship. Volunteer to play with or keep eyes on a little one so the parents can spend a few moments chatting with others.
Bible Bee Squad - Contribute a helping hand with the Bible Bee gatherings, preparations, and organization. There's so many kids involved there's sure to be a place where you can fill in.
Do Something New - Don't see your niche listed? Let us know what you'd like to do. We'll happily consider supporting your service.
Notice on Worship Protocol
The governor of Kentucky has issued a request that churches not meet on Sunday as part of the state's COVID19 precautions. It wouldn't surprise if other states soon follow suit. Should Ohio's officials issue such a decree, please know that it will not affect Hopewell's regular Sunday morning meetings.
While we do encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions for their health and welfare, our doors will remain open for those who are inclined to attend. In sum, unless the situation rises to a critical level, we will follow our normal "inclimate weather" policy: Come if you are able.
Should other churches refrain from meeting, we by no means resent their decision. Many factors may go into their choosing to do so. This is merely our way of seeking to balance the command to honor the Lord's Day and be faithful in our communion with one another.
If you are showing symptoms, we do ask that you remain home. We have appreciated the discretion our family members have always shown in this regard.
If you do see the need to remain at home, we would appreciate your letting us know. It's always good to have a heads up, especially so that we can be in prayer for you. Also, we have life streamed the services in the past. This is an option we are certainly able to implement if we have enough advance notice.
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A Reformed and family integrated Church in Ashland, Ohio.
Come & Worship
@ 10:30 am
1995 Baney Road
Ashland, OH 44805