Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015 “The Desired Destination”

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Good Monday Morning Everyone!

While I am far from exemplary when it comes to physical exercise (and my current physical condition will readily attest to that less than desirable fact), I do regularly exercise my mind. I do a fair amount of reading in preparation for these daily posts, and I enjoy playing a number of mind stimulating games that are currently available…word games, trivia games, games that require quick response to changing situations, etc. These all help me to keep my mind sharp and I enjoy them. Would that they would also lead me to engage the rest of my nature in similar pursuits! The fact is, the more engaged we are physically, mentally, and spiritually, the more effective and prepared we become to receive and to return those gifts from God He is prepared to give us for our edification as well as the edification of the body of Christ and the effective proclamation of the Gospel.

Take, for example, the time we spend in His presence in worship on a Sunday morning, or, for that matter, any time spend worshiping. I invest considerable time in preparation for the leading of Sunday worship. It is my desire that each element of the service be cohesive and conducive for bringing all those in attendance closer to God. Hymn selections, opportunities for fellowship, uplifting prayers, thought-provoking scripture, and a thoroughly prepared message are elements that go into the planning of the Sunday worship experience. These are things that I can and do prepare throughout the week. But there is one necessary element over which I have absolutely no control or input whatsoever…the receptivity of the individual worshiper. How we approach worship and what we derive from it and bring to it are matters of our own heart our personal preparation, our attentiveness, and our intent. Being an individual myself (just imagine that!), I am well aware of how our mind tends to wander off in all sorts of directions during worship, much the same way it does in other settings, be it driving down a highway or sitting in a classroom or watching a television show , or talking with a spouse…or reading a prayer blog! In our church, there is an old hymn we occasionally sing written by Charles Wesley called “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”, the last line of which speaks of being “Lost in wonder, love, and praise.” There are occasions,(would that they were more frequent), when I have experienced such a rapturous experience in worship. I pray that every worshiper would delight in such emotion. It is something, I believe, we can cultivate. Just as I daily exercise my mind, I encourage you to exercise and develop a heart for worship. Christian theologian Richard Foster writes,

“Just as worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship.”

There is a desired destination that comes with the worship of God…we begin with holy expectation, for God has promised to do great things as we fellowship with Him. We conclude with holy obedience, as we are sent forth once again into a world hungry and thirsty for that spiritual food which only God can provide, and we are the “vessels” of that provision. Exercise regularly. Consume those things that are good for you: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Let’s pray!

My Lord and my God; a day in Your presence is better than a thousand elsewhere. Build me up in my inner being as I come to You daily for fellowship, renewal, empowerment, grace, and love. Make me an instrument of Your peace, I pray, in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen!

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