So much hype is built up each year for this once a year event. Already the NFL is advertising the Fantasy Football Experience for the 2012 Season.
Every one contemplates what the commercials will be like. Will they be funny? Who will have the best one? Will the "stock babies" come through again? What will a Dorito's fan have to do this year to win their challenge?
And the game ... Will it be close? A blowout? Will there be the "unforgettable hail mary" pass that we can usually expect at some point?
Last night these questions were answered. Some in short fashion, some in good fashion, and some ... well, they had no fashion sense. So now we await the big tourney's for the basketball fans starting in March. Until then, what will sports fans do?
I have a suggestion.
Church ... with the same enthusiasm that we have shown for the past few months.
We have an opportunity to share an excitement with each other at least once a week. Worship services are generally held once a week, and sometimes even more often than that. When was the last time you felt an excitement for the coming service? When was the last time that you felt you couldn't wait to get in the doors of your house of worship? Or better yet ... When was the last time you even WANTED to get in the doors of your house of worship?
To some it's a duty, a drudgery of sorts. To not go is to: upset a family member, miss out on who is doing what to whom, miss an opportunity to rub shoulders with the important people in the community. Thus these people go week after week. Stand when told to, Sit when told to, bow their heads when told to (usually not in prayer) and leave when the first opportunity arrives.
To some they show up because they have always done it. They grew up going to church, so they are going to teach their family to go to church as a habit.
Guess what? If you belong in the above two groups you have a partner there right along with you. His name is Satan. He shows up every week, not particularly for the purpose that was intended, but instead to see who he may lose and keep those that he can from going astray from his deceptions.
And it's easy. Most people don't know alot about why we should worship or even how to worship. And there is generally no one to teach them.
My wife has never had an interest in football until we got together. Now she is learning the rules of the game and what different penalties mean and she is even developing some favorites among the players. (Watch out Aaron Rogers if she ever gets near! lolol)
What is different? I point out different things, answer questions and explain how and why certain things take place. Now football sunday is a lot more fun around the house (thanks to velveeta and rotel ... j/k)
Have churches and pastors forgotten to do the very same thing with the same people in God's House? Most of us in the ministry have become complacent in making sure that the congregations understand and are able to fully participate in worship. Standing when told to stand, sitting when told to sit and singing some words off of a screen or book do not make a worship experience.
And it's not about the style of worship either. When I allow myself to truly worship in His presence, you could play Jesus Loves Me and I would fall prostrate while praising my Savior.
When you understand the why's and wherefore's and anything else about the event, it makes it an experience. My wife now enjoys the super bowl and any other football game experience because now she understands what is going on. Why things happen the way that they happen. Not that it happens because that is the way it is always done.
Why don't you try to have a super bowl experience the next time your church doors are open.
Here is an easy way to do it:
(1) Sit in your vehicle in the parking lot (make sure the vehicle is off) and take a minute to pray. Ask God to show you and anyone else around you something fresh today and pray that your heart will be open enough to receive it. What a great way for kids to learn why they should be going to church and what to get from it when they see and hear you lead by example.
(2) Go inside the church, greet those along the way with a heart that truly means the words you say.
(3) Find a seat and instead of gawking at who else is there and with whom, close your eyes and clear your mind of everything that you left when you pulled out of the driveway.
(4) Silently continue your prayer, asking forgiveness for your sins and for the Holy Spirit to come within you and prepare you for worship.
(5) This time when you stand, stand in reverence. Sit in reverence. And sing like you mean it. Not just words, but praise that you want the whole world to know that you are glad that Your Redeemer Lives!
(6) This time when you leave, greet those around you. Don't rush out the door. Allow yourself time to be spoken to, both by God and anyone else in attendance. Go home with a heart renewed, awaiting the next service and a vow to live a more godly life in the meantime.
Then you can win every week, no matter how your team does that afternoon!