“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”- Colossians 3:16
The days are getting shorter, the weather is cooler, the costume stores and pumpkin patches are popping up all over town, yet my mind has not fully shifted to the reality that we are in the fall season. If anyone should be prepared for the fall, I feel I should be and not simply because I had the summer off while on sabbatical. I should be better prepared for the fall season because I have such a genuine passion and enjoyment of it! I love seeing the kids go back to school, I love seeing the start of the football season, I love entering a time of fresh-focused vision for the church, and I love the holidays.
I believe that one of the things the Lord desires is for us to be more attentive to the seasons of life and His workings in them! God spoke this promise to Noah in Genesis 8:22, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” And Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” As we are quickly approach November, a month focused on thanksgiving, I am being reminded of my need to express deep gratitude for the multiple blessings the Lord delivers on a daily basis. As I consider His goodness today, I want to share with you both a HEARTBEAT and TARGET for our worship/praise times on Sunday mornings. It is an acronym that derives from the word “GET” and it clearly communicates one of the primary pillars of the Shepherd’s House: Joyful Expectation. This phrase means that we believe for God will do marvelous and mighty things in our midst each time we gather.
Our worship time is so much more than just moving through 3-4 songs, getting people energized, or filling our service with needed content. There is something present and powerful at work when we call on the name of the Lord and give thanks to Him. Here is what it means for us to G.E.T. Up for worship:
1) G= GRATITUDE!
We begin our week (on Sunday) and our service time (at 10 am…not 10:30) by expressing praise for how good our God is. We are stopping to reflect upon and celebrate the many ways He cared, covered, provided, displayed mercy, and showered us with love. I don’t know about you, but I am sure that there are many things about God’s loving presence and guidance that I fail to recognize or honor. From waking up to a new day to a roof over my head to having my physical health to having a job to my loved ones, there is much that can be taken for granted. We start our worship time with celebration, because as Psalm 107:1-2 tells us, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”
2) E= ENTER!
As we continue through our worship time, we begin to quiet our hearts and focus our attention on His holy presence in our midst. It is a time of resting and receiving. A time of getting past the noise of the world and getting into the arms of our heavenly Father. As I shared in a recent message from our “Healthy Heart” series, you have been invited to and ensured a place at the King’s Table and the Father’s Arms! I have found no other place in life that brings the type of clarity and comfort we need as when we find ourselves immersed in God’s presence. Psalm 91:1 states, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
3) T= TRANSACTION!
The truth target we desire to reach by the end of our time of worship is not simply feeling good but being changed! I have always said about church, “I don’t want something that just pleases the eyes, I need something that touches the heart!” Every time we enter the sanctuary and into a time of worship may the weary soul feel refreshed, the burdened heart feel lightened, the troubled mind feel renewed, and the pressing need feel surrendered. One of my favorite things to experience during these times is to have the Lord deliver a “word” to a person right where they presently find themselves. Isaiah 61:3 prophesies this holy, heavenly transaction, “And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”
The great news is that we can G.E.T. Up each day! When we wake up each morning, when we take time to read the Bible and pray, when we engage our daily activities/responsibilities, and in our many interactions with others we can express gratitude, enter into His presence and receive a powerful transaction. Church family, let’s G.E.T. worship on Sundays, but let’s also G.E.T. faith every day!