It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. I want to go back to a quote from R. Kent Hughes that I mentioned in my very first preparing for worship post. He said: “We must discipline ourselves in preparation for corporate worship, and that does not begin with the thirty seconds after we have breathlessly sat down.” So, we need to discipline ourselves Saturday night and Sunday morning as we prepare ourselves for corporate worship. John Piper says that as we prepare for worship we are seeking to stay alive in our souls ‘to keep the juices flowing, to fan the flame again…and have it burning bright on Saturday night.’
We need to figure out what are some things in our life that help us fan the flame in our souls for God? What are those things that raise our affections for Jesus? When we figure out what those things are then we need to fill our life with those things, especially Saturday night and Sunday morning as we prepare for worship. Matt Chandler phrases the questions like this: “What stirs your affections for Jesus Christ? What is it, when you are around it, when you’re in it, when you’re with them, that really stirs up your heart and mind so that you want to know the Lord, you want to worship and follow Him? What are those things that stir your affections?”
Matt Chandler then says that graveyards actually stir his affections for Jesus. He tells this story when he was just 24 and he had attended the funeral of his friends father, and he and his friend: “were kind of walking around the graveyard and I came across a tombstone of a guy who died when he was around my age. And so I was 24 at the time. So the guy on the tombstone was 24, and I began to try to imagine his life. Did he get a chance to get married? What did he die of? There was nothing but this is when he was born this is when he died, and then there was this little race car thing on his tombstone? I began to wonder about his life, and in all that wondering, I was reminded that I am mortal and that I’m going to die and that I’m not guaranteed any amount of years to come. Being in that graveyard that day stirred up my affections for Jesus Christ. Because my confidence needed to be in Him and my life needs to be in Him and my focus on the things that are above and the mindset in my brain focused intently on Jesus Christ as I looked at the tombstone with the guy’s name on it who died when he was my age.”
Chandler goes on to say that we also need to be aware of those things that rob our affections for Jesus. Which the things that tend to rob our affections for Jesus are usually morally neutral things as Matt Chandler explains: “If I had to bet, what hinders the bulk of you in your relationship with Christ is not something that’s morally wicked but something that’s morally neutral.” He goes on to say that: “it could be morally neutral things just absolutely sabotaging your depth of intimacy with Christ. So, what stirs your affections and what robs your affections? I think you’ve constantly got to be aware of this. You’ve got to constantly be tuned in and dialed in to this.”
So, as we prepare for worship lets examine our hearts and see if there is something sabotaging our depth of intimacy with Christ. Let’s repent if we find things that have sabotaged our intimacy with Christ this week and let’s race to the cross. If we have had a great week spiritually, then let’s examine our week and find out what were the things that raised our affections for Jesus? Maybe it was fellowship with Christian friends, maybe it was evangelism, or worship songs, or a testimony that you heard. Whatever those things were, let’s be sure to dial into those things as Matt Chandler says. Let’s be sure to spend time reading God’s Word before we come to worship tomorrow, and let’s be sure to spend time in prayer as well.
Let’s be sure to pray for Ian, Erin, and Ethan who will be leading us in worship. Let’s pray for Jerry as he leads us in a time of confession. Let us also be sure and pray for Mark as he opens up God’s Word for us tomorrow. As Pastor Alistair Begg said: “A congregation who prays for their pastors will be a better-fed congregation than those who do not.”
Mark will be preaching on Genesis 45. The link to the ESV text is below.
Picture from here