Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting Excited About What Matters!

Today my oldest boy Ethan woke us up at 5:00 a.m. in excitement. It was the first day of the school year. Collin our middle son was so filled with joy this morning, too, as he is starting Kindergarten. He put on his backpack at 6:00 a.m and was wanting to wear it until he got to school. Of course, we made him take it off for breakfast. As we took them this morning, we could tell that it is going to be a great day for all of them and us as the house. We plan to have some quality time together and my wife will be getting her things ready for school.

I was wondering this morning why don't Christians have that excitement about church? Why don't we wake up at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday and exclaim, "Is it time to worship God yet?" When and why are we bound by time on the Lord's Day? Why is it that we can sit in a three hour movie the night before but only give God an hour of our time on Sunday? Is it that we are slaves to time, ritual, tradition, that we have lost the heart of worship? Why is it that we can read a 300 page book by Olsteen and find the Word of God boring? What does that say about Christianity and our hearts? How can we get the excitement back? The joy? Do you feel this way? Do most Christians? Churches? When I preach I look at it as a pep rally for Christians to give them energy, strength, and excitement for the week ahead? Do any of you see worship in this way? Why or why not? Would it help if we did?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger That Girl said...

I am finally at a place where I DO get excited about going to church on Sunday mornings. I get there about 7:45 to get a seat and I stay after to talk to people. I haven't done that in years.

I don't even hate Sunday nights anymore.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Ryan Dunn said...

I love the "pep rally" analogy you used. That's a great way of looking at it. And I believe it will do much to energize people--if leadership is genuinely excited to be there, others will be, too. It's also important to keep a sense of newness. Your kids soon won't be very excited to go to school. The Bible is 2,000 years old--and maybe that's why some people don't pursue it with a passion. We need to continually add some freshness to the routine to ignite new passions and excitement. So books that lead us back to scripture can be useful. If people are motivated to go to church out of a sense of newness or refreshment instead of obligation, things will be really exciting... I hope.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

Great questions yet again. I like Ryan love the "pep raly" illustration. I think that kind of preaching is great! I hope and pray that Christians will get more motivated and committed over this next century.


1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we are as Christians so caught up with time, bound by tradition that many have lost the heart. We go...punch our are service for the week and go home. I think it is great Kinney that you are asking us as Christians to get excited about our faith and relationship with God. I believe that is when real revival will take place in America. The world needs to see that we are passionate about what really matters.


2:09 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Great thoughts for us.
Congratulations on your sons starting school. I know it is an exciting time for your family. I know they will have a great day today as they see and make new friends. I think this is key to our success as Chrisitans. Going to church and seeing and making new friends. As we as leaders are excited the excitement catches on. I think it is wonderful the way you view your sermons and worship for Christians of the 21st century. Striving to energize and encourage them. I think we are starting to see with your generation of preacher a new excitement for Christianity, worship and relationship with Jesus Christ. I like the testimony of "that girl". I see this new excitement and think it is going to spread like fire. I pray that God will fan the flames in our hearts not to become to traditional and set in our ways.


2:51 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

My son started kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. When we picked him up from school on his first day, we asked him, "So how was your first day of school?"

He said, "Great! I think I'll try to listen to the teacher every day this year!"

I think I'll try to listen to the Teacher every day, too!

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kinny, I think we need to structure our gatherings to make them exciting. I am now at a church where the meetings are WONDERFUL.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I don't get excited about church. I DO get excited about bible study and research.

Church often seems as you put it, like a pep rally. Christians trying to get themselves pumped up but devoid of GOD's presence.

I love studying with friends or on my own. I love prayer. The church thing I am having trouble with.

I hope the church becomes a place that seeks GOD and not seeks to appeal to people. Move away from the entertainment and become contemplative and I will be excited.

8:54 PM  
Blogger magdalune said...

I think it has everything to do with familiarity. The first day of school can be exciting because it's new (this can also be scary, but blessed are those who embrace new things without fear). In the same way, a special celebration at church may get a larger audience than the services that follow the same routine. Eventually, your son will not be so excited and may even dread going back.

The Bible reads more like a religious text than a novel - it's sometimes dry and sometimes convoluted, and there are those laws and genealogies. :) While a novel or a nonfiction self-help or spiritual book is condensed, focused, and is usually written for readers rather than for passing down oral traditions through priests. After all, almost everyone being so literate is quite new when you think about it.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. We need motivation it seems. Slow of heart or hard hearts, callous hearts? I don't know.

I like a combination of liturgy and spontaneity in church gatherings. Both are biblical and important.

I really think Christians have to work at it. We need to be about our Father's business in whatever special ways God has called us to, as well as the general areas such as personal prayer and Bible reading/study. This will help us in the essential gatherings to be blessed through each other in the Lord, and be a blessing.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great questions preacherman. I think church can be fun if we are involved and stay busy in the Church.

Another way of putting it is...I think many people go to the ball game to be a spectator and be a arm chair quarterback. That can be boring. How great would it be to be the quarterback? You would show up at every practice then. Because you are involved.

If the analogy seems corny, sorry. It is football season though.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you ask great questions Preacherman. We should not get bogged down with the normal but get excited about what God is excited about.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Scott Packett said...

I believe that the reason that many Christians don't wake up on Sunday morning excited about going to worship God, is because they do not worship God excitedly the rest of the week. They are worn out, discouraged by their week, and drained. What people need to realize is that if they spend time during the week worshiping God where they are at, they would be energized and excited to share with other Christians at church what God has been doing in their lives during their week.

I do see Sunday morning as a pep rally, but not one with the congregation in mind but a pep rally for God. People need to hear from their pastors that the message is not just something the pastor has prepared for them, but is a result of the overflow of their personal time of worship with the Father during their week. This should encourage and challenge the congregates to pursue this discipline as well. The church of the 21st Century needs to refocus their attention on God and His glory, and spend less time on what we need and desire. God promises to remain faithful to meet our needs, but He has also asked us to seek His face as well.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Royal said...

I think the attitude a person brings to a Sunday service has as much to do with his or her response as does the elements or the attitude of the service. If God is being honored within the individual and truth is being taught corporately it will feel like a pep rally to the person who needs encouragement and conviction to the person who needs to change......

10:53 PM  
Blogger mmlace said...

I'll admit that I actually do feel that way about church these days! I usually wake up at about 6:30 or 7:00 although class doesn't start till 9:30!

But I'm part of an AMAZING church, and in an AMAZING singles group, and I enjoy all the opportunities for worship, prayer, singing, Bible study, fellowship and just togetherness!

11:23 PM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

Paul proclaimed to the Galations, "The only thing that counts is faith (in Jesus Christ) expressing itself in love (love for God and man. The two greatest commands). James calls 'love for one another' a royal law (James 2:8). Make the connection here: "Faith without works is dead"(James 2:20). Or, this: "How can you say you love God but hate your brother?".
There are too many Christians today, preaching tolerance and thus failing in love for God and their brother in standing by without making any effort to restore the wayward brother. Failure because, the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.
I hope that you do not mind if I address each of your readers with this. I don't feel that your readers pay attention to my comments. And this, is really what matters. If Christians understood love as a command and not a suggestion, then people would value attending Church.
I may not visit your readers. I would like to hear from you on this. And then, I would like to pray about it. I'm tired and I need to hear the Lord clearly.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Scott. I think we should understand that worship is 24/7 not just Sunday and that the reason many Christians aren't excited about worship is because the aren't doing it the rest of the week. Like you mentioned we are slaves of time, ritual and tradition. We are schedule oriented people especially on the weekends.


9:18 AM  
Blogger Laure said...

as long as the body looks to one day, the Lord's day as you put it, as THE DAY for worship ... corporate and/or otherwise, i believe she will be out of balance and out of order. i find the tradition of man in this regard leaving many wanting. perhaps we would not be so inclined to find a way to 'pep' the disciple up once a week if we lived more relationally with God and one another throughout the week. in my marriage, i probably would need a pep rally of sorts to stir me up to love, honor and servanthood if my intention and attention to be intimately related to my husband was typically only one time a week.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laure, I love the way you put that in your last long as Christ-Followers define their spirituality simply by a once-a-week corporate "event" on Sunday, we will continue to rely on excitement as the foundation of our faith (my paraphrase; hope it didn't take what you said too much out of context). Don't get me wrong, I think the corporate worship time is absolutely vital to the life of a church community, but it isn't the only thing.

I guess I wonder sometimes if Christians end up "lusting" after excitement more than God? Is God exciting? Absolutely. But I believe there is also a place in worship for mourning and crying just as there is for joy and celebration. And a place for quiet reflection and meditation just as there is for loud noise and conversation.

I absolutely love the eschatological dimension of worship that invites the church to create an end-of-time kingdom reality when we gather as a community. Suddenly, things have a richer, deeper meaning and everything we do (from singing to praying to communion, etc.) points to a greater reality that Jesus has already begun on earth but has not yet brought to full completion.

Just a few random thoughts. Thanks, Kinney, for your thoughtful questions.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get to the building at 6 AM each Sunday morning. I am excited about worship and I am excited that I get to preach. I wish I could motivate others to get excited. One of the difficulties in preaching is being excited as I preach and look out at many (not all) that are bored stiff, sleepy, talking, playing with babies and many other responses.
Allow me to say that worship is not 24/7. Praise, adoration, commitment is 24/7 but all is not worship.

1:57 PM  
Blogger The Crow said...

My son Christian started Kindergarten a week ago. Every weekday since, he's worried about being late. I know the day will come when that won't be the case. But for now, I'm grateful.

You ask a great question Kinney. How do you share passion? Our leadership does everything we can to encourage, but ultimately it's individuals and their relationship with God/Holy Spirit that those individuals must feed.

Just one problem with the post: I've never made it past page 10 in an Osteen book.


3:54 PM  
Blogger jeleasure said...

Hey Kinney,
I prayed about it. I decided my idea was not such a good idea.
Thanks for indulging me.

4:59 PM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

I'm with that girl in that our church is such that I do look forward to Sundays. For us I think the "Pep Rally" atmosphere applies because our church is in a state of change and freedom in Christ.

For other churches they may be experiencing challenges or losses so for them, worship time may be more of a time to encourage each other to hang on.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we focus on what we get from it instead of what we give then maybe that would help.

Our kids were not as excited, maybe familiarity has an impact on that but again, they don't approach school thinking what can I give.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Wes Woodell said...

Thanks for the encouraging comment you left on my blog - my wife and I really do appreciate the prayers :)

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant to say focus on what we give to it instead of what we get...

11:48 PM  
Blogger phil said...

Why is it that Michael Phelps will be disciplined enough to train 5 hours a day to receive gold medals that will eventually be rubbish, but several Christians aren’t even disciplined enough to spend 1/5 of that time with God to be molded and to work out their salvation for a crown in Christ?

8:06 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I want to thank everyone for sharing thoughts on this discussion. Wonderful everyone, wonderful!

9:12 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Great post, you see people excited in the church, but we must be excited about what matters most. Great stuff.

12:53 PM  
Blogger thoughts of a person on a journey said...

I have just read a friends blog where he was talking about a passion he used ti have as a young person "having as an adult been well and truly institutionalised, corralled into a dull programmed area" he wanted to get that back again.

I wonder if too many adults lose that passion they gained when first coming to faith? The passion is so important!

5:48 PM  
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