One of my duties every Sunday morning with my church family – whether I preach a full sermon or not – is that I open our service with inspiration (following our first worship song and leading-in to our second worship song), and I also close our service with encouragement.
After about 75 minutes of service the goal is to send out my brothers and sisters into the world on a high note – to encourage each of them to keep the praise, worship, and celebration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ going through the front doors, into our vehicles, and continuing on in whatever we do and wherever we go. That’s how we bring the church instead of go to the church. If you’re going to church on a Sunday then you’re doing it all wrong. You’re going through the motions. You’re following a religion. If you are the church, and you’re bringing the church with you on a Sunday then you’re glorifying God. That’s not a religion. That’s a way of life. That’s a fantastic journey that started at the point of salvation and continues through the point of resurrection.
I always have an opening and a closing prepared in advance of each service, but my plans are not God’s plans. (I write that with a smile on my face because I have to remind myself of that on a fairly regular basis.)
Today I had this Scripture from Colossians 4 prepared for my closing:
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray that God will give us many opportunities to speak about Christ. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive, so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Well God took me on an impromptu mission at the precise moment that I would’ve recited that Scripture. I essentially went rogue, walked off the stage, welcomed a couple of new faces by name to our church body, and lifted-up in prayer our brothers and sisters (by name) who weren’t present with us. I went straight from that to a few ad-libbed remarks, and then I read one of my longtime Scriptures of Benediction (Psalm 19:14 KJB).
It’s good to be prepared in-season and out-of-season, but when God leads you in a different direction then you must abandon those plans and go with God. He is The Way, The Truth, The Life.
All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries