Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come before him with shouts of joy!
Know that the Lord is God—
he made us; we belong to him.
We are his people,
the sheep of his own pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
enter his courts with praise!
Thank him! Bless his name!
Because the Lord is good,
his loyal love lasts forever;
his faithfulness lasts generation after generation. – Psalm 100
I’ve got to tell you, I’m excited about going to church today!
Last week we worshiped as a family in the state park in north Georgia. It was a powerful experience, especially sharing communion – being the Body of Christ and a family at the same time. The previous week it was just the four of us – Rebekah, me, and my parents – having church together in our cabin on the cruise.
But I’m super-stoked to be back in Wake Forest, listening to Rebekah preach again, and doing church with the beautiful saints and disciples at WFPC. Worship is always special, but worship with a community of people we love so much is better still.
Please consider this:
I don’t know who is – or will be – reading this post today. Some of you are folk I know, but the majority of you are people I have never met. Regardless of the level of intimacy we share, I’d like to take privilege in this moment, and speak seriously into your life as a child of God. What I want to say is this:
- Please don’t take your connection to the Body of Christ lightly.
- Please don’t get into the habit of being dismissive, or “take it of leave it” in response to church.
- Please don’t miss the amazing blessing of being part of a congregation that is alive with the Spirit of God.
- Please don’t go another week without recommitting yourself to following Jesus in the context of a community of faith.
There is something uniquely powerful and dynamic about gathering together for public worship that I don’t want you to miss. I believe church is good for the soul, and – just as importantly – I believe your soul is good for the church.
I believe church is good for the soul, and – just as importantly – I believe your soul is good for the church.
My Invitation to Prayer:
It’s my turn to assist in worship this morning, so to help me make my point I’m going to share the opening prayer I prepared for the 11:15 service in Wake Forest. I’m quite confident no more than a handful of attendees will read this before worship; but, if you’re one who does, simply consider yourself part of the prayer.
Creator God, imaginative author and visionary architect of this most extravagantly beautiful world, we approach you with awe and with respect; we sing your praises with enthusiasm and with joy; we receive your love with humble minds and with grateful hearts.
We are invited into your presence here in this sanctuary; and it is here also that we are confronted by your truth. We learn and we grow, and we are sent from this place to serve you, and to love your creation with the same kind of passion with which you love us.
May your presence descend on us in this hour like a cloud of pure love. May your joy so fill us that we cannot contain it. May your word fill us with motivation to live our faith without reservation. May this service of worship honor you in every way…
My prayer is that everyone who reads this post will respond positively to my challenge to be faithful in worship – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.