“The sacrifices of god are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 (NIV)
A church service should be a time where the believer and unbeliever come in comfortably; but the one should leave challenged and the other concerned …
The purpose of the local church is to engage believers and unbelievers with God. When we attend a church service it should be a meeting place – an encounter with God. We should show up and God should show up. But sometimes, if we’re truthful, it’s a one sided affair. There’s no encounter. Now why is that? Why don’t we always meet with God when we go to church?
Here are three Biblical ways to prepare yourself for an encounter with God:
Pray to God purposefully . . . Do you prepare yourself in prayer before going to church? I’m not talking about a ritualistic prayer to facilitate a service. For church to be an encounter with God we need more than a petition asking God to meet with us. You have to prepare yourself to meet with Him. You have to sacrifice self. Do you confess your sin and ask God to cleanse you? God is holy. Humility and brokenness are prerequisites for an encounter with God. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise” (NLT).
Praise God passionately . . . “Praise the Lord” is a command that’s repeated over and over again in the Scriptures. Are you thankful – deeply thankful for all God’s done for you? Do you adore Him – truly adore Him? God inhabits the praises of His people (cf. Psalm 22:3). He meets with us when we unashamedly and unreservedly praise Him with our bodies, minds and spirits (cf. Matthew 22:37). For church to be an encounter with God we have to offer Him a sacrifice of praise (cf. Hebrews 13:15). Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that lives sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (NLT).
Proclaim God publicly . . . “Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds” Psalm 9:11 (NLT). Are you telling friends and family about God? When you tell others about God’s righteousness and faithfulness, He shows up. God loves to hear you talking about Him. When you proclaim what He’s done, He’s right there listening in. So “preach the Word of God” 2 Timothy 4:2 (NLT). Preaching isn’t passe. It’s His way to broadcast the good news. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe” (NLT).