where love is alive 

In 1940 a philosopher named Mortimer J. Adler published a book giving guidelines for critically and effectively reading good and great books of any tradition. This writing had a very straightforward title: “How to Read a Book.”  Today I’d like to give you a few practical instructions on the straightforward subject of “How to Experience Worship.

Start Early

We all know that on Sunday we will hear a sermon from the Bible, we will hear songs of the faith, and we will be challenged intellectually as we ponder new things about God and His ways.  So before Sunday morning, before the Call to Worship even begins, prepare your own heart and life for God to speak. Pray that God will open your mind to what He wants you to hear. Fiercely protect your “church time.” After all, you are anticipating an audience with the Lord of all the universe.

Arrive Early

When I go to the movie theater, I want to arrive early to settle into my seat and watch the trailers for “coming attractions.”  Getting inside just as the feature film starts feels like I missed something.  Granted, arriving late or just in time for the worship service is better than not arriving at all. Still the benefits of arriving early allow you to experience informal fellowship with others in attendance (who also arrived early), to familiarize yourself with any church news printed in the bulletin or shown on the screens, and settle your mind into the worship experience that awaits.

Sit up front

I know the back of the church will always be more popular. But the folks up front have fewer distractions and remain more in touch with the theme of the message.


I enjoy singing the songs of the faith. I know everyone does not carry a tune as equally as others.  In the Broadway musical, “The Music Man” Harold Hill says that singing is just “sustained talking.” Everyone can at lease speak the words as they go by.  Those who stand and merely “endure” the songs of worship miss out on so much. The lyrics are rich expressions of our theology. They poetically communicate the depth of our beliefs and speak to our souls. I often try to give you ways to participate through the Children’s Sermon, reading scripture in unison, or distributing an object to remind you of the day’s lesson.

Take Notes

Almost every Sunday there is a Listening Guide distributed for you. Occasionally I see completed outlines where people not only filled in the blanks, but they also wrote down thoughts that came to them throughout the message.  This does a pastor’s heart good!  Folks are listening and thinking.

Show Grace

Not every sermon is “top shelf.”  Not every song is as good as it could be. The temperature in the room may be off a few degrees from your ideal. But remember, “A mature Christian is easily edified” (-Harold Best).  Even the weaker offering of worship, there is a truth worth gaining.

I am looking forward to worshipping with you Sunday!



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