“Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord ? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 CSB
Saul fell into a trap. He wanted to pick and choose when he could obey God, mostly based on what was most convenient for him. But Samuel would have none of that. No sacrifice or external accolades could ever cover over the sin of disobedience. Nope, you might be able to fool people, but you can never fool God.
Samuel’s response is a key passage of scripture. God is not mocked, and He does not want false, fake worship and hypocrisy. He does not want our praise, especially public praise, if we are not obedient to Him.
He wants obedience, not sacrifice.
Partial obedience is 100% disobedience. Before you worship, be sure to examine yourself, seeking God in every area of your life.
God delights in this sort of self examination, and a humble heart for Him will result in a deeper, more intimate worship than you have ever experienced before!
Well, with worship cancelled due to the ice and awful driving conditions, I thought that I would try to do something different. I went ahead and had a Google Hangout Air with as many people as wanted to come to study the Word. Here’s the link of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mkG6ydyoiU
All in all, it was fun. Yeah, we had a troll come on and try to distract the study from the topic at hand, but it was still very worthwhile. I can see application of this tool for a variety of bible studies and content delivery for the church. With a little practice, I foresee us using Hangouts for several applications. Keep in mind that won’t replace live, person to person interaction, but it is a good alternative in circumstances like what we had or if people have to travel long distances.
So let me ask- what ways can you see this tool used for the Kingdom? If so, how?
First of all, I hate cancelling worship. I have always hated cancelling worship. I avoid it like the plague. Yet though deep down inside I felt that something was not right about it, I could never express what the reason was that I had. Until I read this post.
I don’t agree with everything that was written concerning cancellations, but this post did help me to think a bit more about the why of cancelling. Let me then restate some of the thoughts written and add my own on why I want to avoid taking a snow day for worship:
- First, I never say never. I realize that some conditions merit cancelling worship. However, worship should be the number one priority for the church. Extreme or dangerous conditions may deem it necessary to cancel in the name of safety. There’s no reason to put people in danger, but this action should be taken rarely (if at all). That said, I don’t cancel worship unless it is indeed dangerous. By the way, 1-2 inches of snow is usually not dangerous. Inconvenient, yes, dangerous, probably not. If you doubt this, ask the Minnesotans or Alaskans and you’ll get a hearty Canadian sounding laugh out of them.
- Second, I also think that other activities are open to cancellation. Team meetings, bible studies, and other activities are not critical if they are missed. We can be flexible and reschedule many of those events. We also have to be flexible in our use of ministries such as nursery and be understanding of those who can’t make it to church for various reasons.
So why is worship so important that cancellation should be avoided at all costs? As the author of the referenced post wrote, the glory of God is shown through worship. Sure, God’s glory is seen in other places such as our homes, our work, and our lives, yet the corporate gathering of God’s people now is a taste of what we will experience when every tribe and tongue will gather before the Lamb. We worship to give God His worthiness in a sacrifice of praise, and if we cancel because of inconvenience, what are we really telling God? As a leader who will stand before God one day, I must proclaim the worship of God with God’s people as most important.
Besides, again as the author wrote, if our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries worship with threat of physical harm, we should likewise be willing to step up and overcome some inconvenience to worship Christ. Our worship together is a show of solidarity for the persecuted church, that though we are absent from their conditions in body, we at least in a small way, are identifying with them in spirit.
I hope this helps. I am an imperfect and frail human, limited by my own knowledge and lack of gifts. However, by the grace of God, I press forward, hoping to see God glorified in a weak man that I am. May God be glorified today as we worship Him!
Blessings to you and yours,