In recent days, I was invited to be a guest preacher at Antioch Church Family near Oakland, California. As people gathered and greeted each other, it was apparent they were happy to be there. However, it hadn’t been an easy week for the congregation.
Early in the previous week, someone broke into the church and stole some multi-media equipment and computer systems. If your church has been vandalized, you know the empty and frustrating feeling this congregation endured that week. What’s more, someone used the communion table in an attempt to steal a large monitor on the sanctuary’s back wall. No respect or reverence. The thieves were interested in themselves while rummaging God’s house.
In my sermon that morning, I emphasized that someone can steal a microphone, but no one can take away your witness. Someone can pillage a computer, but God’s Word will never fade away. The people seemed to respond very well to the real focus of being in God’s house. Indeed, worship was never intended exclusively for us. We benefit from it, but all worship is to be directed to God as we praise, learn, adore, and remain in awe of his majesty.
When I pastored a local church, I prayed every Sunday morning before anyone arrived: Lord, may our worship be pleasing to you and may this day be the highlight of everyone’s week. I knew the order of the prayer was important. God was to be first. Our worship was to be for him. Yet beyond that, I wanted Sunday to be a day of hope, joy, renewal, instruction, and revival for everyone who was able to be in church. I knew God could use every Sunday like this because:
- Sunday is to be a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. How could this not be a highlight?
- Our focus on worship and God’s Word focus gets us beyond the daily grind and in touch with the supernatural.
- Sunday would be the first day in many that someone actually felt loved and cared for.
- Someone needed some hope–there should be no better place for hope than at church.
- Someone needed to hear from God. In our world of mouths, I need God’s Word most.
- Isaiah 55:11 is still true: That God does his work through his Word and it will never return empty. God’s Word is the only place God has always promised to do his work. There are other ways God works, but he always works through his Word.
As the service concluded in Antioch, California, a man approached me while I walked out. He grabbed my hand and with a huge smile on his face and a tear in his eye, said, “This is the highlight of my week, preacher!” May it be so. May the highlight of your week be the time you worship and hear from God. May every Sunday be Resurrection Day! And may you sense God’s presence and leadership every day forward. Amen!
Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.