The Sunday After Easter
“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” 1 Chronicles 16:29
“Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.” Psalm 29:1
I have a theory about why people don’t attend services every Sunday as they do on Easter. I think there is a generally universal notion that regular church services will be pedantic, dull, routine and not at all like the pageantry of Easter, so they feel no particular impetus to come back. In many cases their notions are correct because average Sunday services in many if not most churches are predictable and lack luster.
If churches put as much energy into celebrating the Sunday after Easter and beyond as they put into Easter Sunday I think more people would be excited to attend again and again. Especially, now with billions of dollars campaigning for people’s time in media, TV, social media, smart phone apps, recreation, entertainment and sports, churches that refuse to invest in presenting the gospel every week in the most compelling way they can will never compete successfully.
Jesus accomplished His mission on earth with both teaching and DEMONSTRATION of the Gospel with signs, wonders and miracles. We tend to be long on teaching/preaching and very short on, or not at all, on signs, wonders and miracles. The pageantry is fine, but without a demonstration of God’s power we are presenting little more than a moment of entertainment.
I don’t diminish the unseen works of the Holy Spirit that happen in the hearts of those who are in Easter services. That is wonderful! And thank God for it! I just wonder if that is all God wants us to see and receive when we gather for worship— have a warm fuzzy feeling then leave the same as we came. Surely not! But if we rely on our human ideas apart from a desire to see, to pray for, to seek and embrace a manifestation of God’s presence and power in every service with an earnest expectation that He will do it, we will just continue to slowly stagnate and sadly, to decline.
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
That’s what people need, liberty from a host of burdensome life issues, whether they know it or not. If we, the church, became the places where that liberty is found, then our buildings could not contain the people who would flood our gatherings every time we open the doors.
Undeniably, God loves us and as His dear children He wants the best for us. But, we need to put more of ourselves and of His resources into the things that make our offerings of all that we do in worship, worthy of His greatness, power and glory. Before anything else we do, the first fruits of our resources should be offered in worship to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If we make that our first priority I believe all the other resources we need will be provided in overwhelming abundance for all other works of ministry He is calling us to do.
“Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10 KJV
Here’s an idea. What if churches employed a tenth of all offerings received to be used in offering up to God the most dynamic compelling worship, with the most excellent, talented and dedicated God gifted worship ministers, media and presentation systems we have available?
What if we earnestly honored the Lord with our substance and the first fruitsof all our increase not only as individuals, but as the whole church, every gathering of believers everywhere on the earth, not just once or twice a year but every time we gather to worship God.
“Dear God our Father in Heaven, give us the true passion to truly love You first with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and then to love our neighbor as our selves. Give us a heart to serve You, to worship You with the best of all we have every day, in every way and all the time. Just as we desire all that You have for us, let us desire and give to you the very best of all that we have to give in Jesus name our Lord we pray. Amen!”