Periodically I'll remind you of some of the best advice I have ever received with regards to growing in my faith when I'm in a worship service or Bible study.
My old Sunday routine was that I would show up to church on Sundays, still thinking about what was on my plate from last week that I didn't get finished or what was coming up in the week ahead. I found it hard to focus on the times at hand if my mind was always looking simultaneously forwards and backwards.
Even in my days as a pastor I sometimes came to church scrambling and unprepared. (Can you relate?) I found that it is hard to be present in the present if my mind is not ready for it.
Then I gave the preacher a very difficult task in that I made it his job to get me ready for worship. I had no idea what we were talking about that morning so he was having to inform me, catch me up, get me in the 'mood', and then present the Word of God.
The best advice I have ever received on how I can fix this goes something like this...
At the beginning of a worship service, Bible study, etc. that takes about an hour I think "an hour is going to be here in an hour. How you spend the time between now and then is up to you."
So what do I do? As best as I can, I consciously turn off my brain to anything apart from worshipping God. I try to ignore my calendar for the day, week or month. I don't think ahead because it frankly does me no benefit in the time I spent worshipping.
When I am not preaching, I also read the preaching text before the service. I set aside about 5-10 minutes and read the chapter or so before and chapter or so after. So when the sermon starts I have a head start.
Two simple things: staying present and skimming the text have changed how I worship God and made it more meaningful and rich. I realized that is such a small investment for such a great benefit.
See you Sunday!
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