I know this is tough, and no one knows it better than my wife, because I’m no help to her on Sundays. I’m up here early getting ready for the day and so she’s at home wrangling three kids, by herself. Her favorite thing to say is that whoever wrote the song “Easy like Sunday morning” didn’t have kids and didn’t bring them to church. It’s not easy!
But if it’s a priority then you make a way. You wake up earlier than you would want, you leave the house early, and you find your way into the church so that you’re ready to help someone who is new or so that you can quiet your heart before the service starts.
I heard someone say, to sit under the teaching of God’s Word without a pen and notebook is to say that you don’t expect anything noteworthy to occur. Let’s come hungry. Let’s come ready.
If you use your phone for your Bible at church, put it on Do Not Disturb. Maybe even better, bring a physical Bible. Why? Because you and I are distractable!
Another great way to cancel distractions is to sit near the front.
A lot of distractions you need to work on are mental. You will need to fight to keep focused. You’ve got to fight to not make lists. Don’t create next week’s agenda. Don’t make a shopping list. Fight to cancel that distraction.
I’m so thankful for podcasts, livestreams, and video archives, but there is nothing like being in the room. And that has nothing to do with this actual, physical room, I’m talking about the value that comes from joining with a group of believers, reminding yourself that you’re a part of something bigger, and responding collectively on mission.
There is value in being physically here. My challenge is for you to put it to the test this year. Because if you’re here, you are not only able to learn, but you’re also able to be used. And that’s huge. If the point was just gaining information, we could just send you a lecture series to listen to in the car. But the point is God wants to change you and then use you in the transformation of others. And to be present you’ve got to be available.
A good story has a way of illustrating truth in a way that makes it come alive. Stories stick with us because they are memorable and easily understood. Stories are important.
There is no greater gift, and we have no greater giver than the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s pray that every day we will turn our hearts to the giver, acknowledging him and praising him with a heart of gratitude for everything he is.