Monday, January 13, 2020

How to Celebrate God This Week

Imagine this: You are walking along the beach one morning searching for pearls.  It’s your great joy and passion.
  Near the beach, you see some people who have set up some tables, selling a wide assortment of jewels and trinkets.  There is a table with pearls over by the side but none of them are impressive to you.  You ask the merchant, “Are these all the pearls you have?”  She smiles and says “No.”  Then she pulls out from under the table a massive case.  As she opens it, you see a pearl that takes your breath away.  It is about 9 ½ x 5 ½ inches and weighs 14 pounds.  How much does it cost?” 

Three million dollars.

Well, obviously, you can’t come up with that kind of money.  You begin to think – if you sold your boat, that would cover some of it.  You could sell your business and call in favors with people who owe you money.  You quickly figure out your retirement plan and it’s cash value… you sell your house…

You trade it all.  There you stand on the beach: unemployed, penniless and homeless, but holding the pearl.  You’re the happiest person in the world.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46 (ESV))

That is a crazy, ridiculous story, but it is exactly the picture that Jesus used to describe worship: giving my highest value to my greatest treasure even when it costs everything.

This is what we talked about at our December Sunday evening during our series, Growing as a Bethany Family.  We considered how to grow in the worship of our Savior.  God created us for worship, and He loves us to demonstrate our love for Him through words and actions.  I gave two Biblical examples of that in Job 2 and I Samuel 15.  I would encourage you to read those for yourself to see how God was honored or dishonored through words and actions.  

I ended our evening with six words that can have a huge impact on each of our hearts and lives for God.  I would love for you to consider these words as you think about gathering with the church this coming Sunday, the Lord’s Day.  

Commit:  Make every effort to go to church.  Don’t allow excuses to keep you from gathering with God’s people.  

Hebrews 10:24-25 – “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.”

Prepare: Go to sleep on time.  Ask God the night before to give you strength for this important gathering.

Expect: God has given many promises about our meeting together as the church.  He promises to be with us in our gathering: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).  About His word, God says, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it”(Isaiah 55:11).  Come expecting great things!

Arrive:  Get to church early.  Read the Weekly (our bulletin) to find out what’s going on.  Pray and tell God how ready you are to hear from Him and to celebrate His goodness with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Do this before the service starts.

Participate:  Use your hands and your voice to express to God your love for Him.  Be a participant, not a spectator!  Take notes.  Write in your Bible. Sit through the whole service.  We are given seventy-five-ish minutes each week as a group to unite our hearts with joy about the most important thing.  We can’t afford to go after it half-hearted.

Protect: Ask God to help you remember what you learned.  Jesus warned us in Matthew 13:19 that the evil one wants to take away what we have learned.  But “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (I John 4:4).  Pray and ask Him to keep it fresh in your mind throughout the week. Hope to see you on Sunday!

Mike Chambers

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