What Am I Grateful for Today… Worship

Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: Stand near the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim there this message: Listen to the Lord’s word, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you[a] in this place.Don’t trust in lies: “This is the Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple!” (Jeremiah 7:1-4, Common English Bible)

Everyone seems to love to say something to the effect of, “I really don’t like Mondays.” Hey, I get it. I understand what you mean. I am not a big fan of Monday either. It is just such a let down from Sunday. Sunday is my favorite day of the week.

I love Sunday because I love worship! Sunday is my favorite day of the week because I love worship!

What is that you said? I can worship any day of the week? All I have to do is be in the presence of God? I turns out I was wrong.

What we all too often believe is worship isn’t really worship at all. It is devotion. Devotion is what we do when we are alone. Worship is done in community.

For years I have heard people say, “I can worship God on my _______________ as I can in the church.” You can fill in the blank (bass boat, tractor, rocking chair, etc.). My response used to be, “Yeah you can, but you probably won’t.” Again, I have come to understand I was wrong.”

In my experience, when we decide we are going to try (emphasis on try), to worship on our own, it is because there is something we don’t like about the church. I don’t like the worship time. I don’t like the style of music. I don’t like the preacher. I don’t like all the liturgy. I don’t want to sing. I don’t like that person who sits on the third row. I think you probably get the idea.

Do you notice a trend there? Perhaps you need to re-read the paragraph.

All those things start with the letter/word “I.” It is all about me and what I want. Would you believe worship, by definition, isn’t about me at all. Worship is about what we bring to God! We bring our gifts (spiritual, talents, tithes). We bring minds. We bring our souls. We bring our hearts. In other words, we bring all we are.

We bring all we are and unite with other believers. We come together to worship God but it is even more than that. We come together for worship but we also come together to serve. We come together for fellowship. We come together to lift one another up, to support each other, to love each other. Remember John’s words in his first letter, “You can’t say you love God you can’t see if you don’t love your neighbor you can see” (my paraphrase).

Many have been hurt by churches. I am truly sorry that has happened to you. I wish it could have been different for you. Christians can be, and many are difficult. That just means we are all alike. We are all messed up and need the grace of God in our lives. At least to me, the place we best experience that grace is within the Body of Believers. In other words, the Church. So, each of us need to pick ourselves up and search for a place where we can worship, a place where we can fellowship and find support for the difficult times that come in life for all of us.

I ran across a story sometime ago. I’m not sure who wrote  it but I want to share it with you today. It is titled, “The Lonely Ember.”

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going.

After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination.

As the one lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and “dead as a door nail.”

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.”

So, today I am thankful for Sunday. Well, what I am really grateful for is worship, whatever day celebrate being in the presence of God as we gather with like minded believers.

That is what I am grateful for today. What about you? What are you grateful for today? Take a moment to write it down in your journal. Then share it with someone. Let them know that something for which you are grateful today.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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