(This is Part II of my experience at the “Doxology” Conference in Springfield, IL, July 10th-13th. You can read the first part of the article on our church website, “www.graceserves.org” under the heading “2017 JULY NEWSLETTER – DOXOLOGY PT. I”)
As a pastor, I spend a great deal of time leading our worship services, but I don’t often have the opportunity to just absorb the worship experience. What those worship services reminded me of in the midst of all this information was:
- 1) I need to be in God’s presence as often as I can.
- 2) I cannot accomplish anything without His help.
- 3) I am a poor, miserable sinner.
- 4) His love on the cross and His resurrection in Jesus, bring me the forgiveness I need.
- 5) He is the reason there is joy in the ministry.
- 6) He alone enables me to deal with the challenges of ministry.
- 7) . . . and much, much more.
Worship is where I need to be – where you need to be – where we all need to be. We may believe our schedule is too full already. We don’t have time for it. What I discovered at this conference was something that I already knew, but sorely needed to be reminded of for my own spiritual benefit,
“Satan is after MY soul. He is after YOUR soul. He wants us to believe that we don’t need Jesus every day – every week. While I may not always get ‘lightning bolt’ inspiration in every worship service I attend, I do hear over and over again – my need to be in His presence – His power in my life – my sinfulness – forgiveness in Jesus alone – His joy in my life – the certainty of His presence in my challenges.”
Our worship together is where God’s Holy Spirit works through the Word and Sacraments to cleanse our sin burdened hearts and lives. Please come for the sake of keeping your faith in Jesus firmly anchored.
I know what it’s like to struggle in this world. Our only refuge is in Jesus Christ and the only place we find it is in His Word. When we have the opportunity to be together and the need to be together, why shouldn’t we?
In part, we come to worship because we are to “Remember the Sabbath Day, by keeping it holy” or “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
But, we also come to worship because we have so much personal, physical, spiritual junk that we have to put up with the rest of week. It’s refreshing to come to a place where we can drop the mask of “having it all together”, confess our sins, receive His forgiveness in Jesus, praise Him for His blessings, receive encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ, and leave strengthened and encouraged about who we are in Jesus.
As we begin the Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons; make it a time of renewal, a time of change. If you need to “make yourself” come to worship, then do so, you will be glad you did. Let God’s Word work in you and your life.
Remember that our worship times from the weekend after Labor Day until the weekend before Memorial Day will be: Thursdays – 7:00 p.m. and Sundays – 8:00 & 10:15 a.m.
Be more consistent in your worship – if you’re not coming at all, come at least once a month. If you’re coming only once a month, come twice a month. If you’re coming a couple of times a month, come every week.
Whatever steps you take in being in worship more, you will not be disappointed, because I promise that God’s Word and Sacrament will be offered and will be at work in all of us there, including me.
I am looking forward to seeing you in worship.
Shalom in Jesus your Risen Messiah,
Pastor Peter M. Peitsch