According to Proverbs 16:9, “we can make our plans but it is the LORD who determines our steps” (NLT). I personally experienced the reality of this verse as I prepared to preach on Sunday. Although I had made my plan to preach on the topic of self-control, over the weekend the Lord directed me to speak about vision. Honestly, I love it when this happens because I know that God is up to something big in our church! If you missed the message, you need to watch it because I believe God will use it to recalibrate and refocus us on His vision for our lives and our church. As Proverbs 29:18 teaches us, “Without vision people run wild, but the one who listens to instruction will be blessed.” You can watch or listen to it here. Furthermore, be sure to join us this Sunday because I am going to continue the message on vision, and I am so excited to share what God has placed in my heart for us! In order to help keep this fresh vision before our eyes, I wanted to take the next days and share a little more about each of the points that I shared this Sunday. So, be sure to keep checking back here this week.
WE COME EARLY AND SIT CLOSE
This is all having a posture of expectation. It is about knowing the greatness of God and anticipating that He is going to move mightily in our midst. It is about taking God at His word and believing when He tells us that He is “able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). When we come together and expect God to move, I believe that we will truly see God move! God is ready to pour out His blessings, but are we ready to receive it? Here are some practical steps you can take in order to cultivate and demonstrate a heart of expectation:
- Don’t be late. We wouldn’t show up late for our wedding. We wouldn’t show up late if we had an appointment to meet the President. So, why would we show up late to meet with God each Sunday? Yes, if Jesus is our Lord, the Spirit of God dwells within each of us. But His presence is made known in a greater way when we come together. Our worship experience begins each Sunday at 11. Why not arrive at 10:30? You’ll avoid the stress of rushing. You’ll be prepared for unexpected delays. (Parents, can I get an amen?). You’ll be able to grab a cup of coffee and a great seat. Which brings me to my next suggestion…
- Sit close. There are a lot of practical reasons why sitting close is good. When you sit close you tend to pay better attention. When you sit close you tend to stay engaged. Now, don’t get me wrong. God isn’t going to love you more if you sit on the front row. And it doesn’t mean that you hate God if you sit at the back. But sitting close can be a great way for you to demonstrate to God that you have come with expectation. So, let’s fill the front rows this Sunday!
- Take notes. Taking notes will help you become an active participant, not just a passive observer. It can keep your mind from wandering. It can help you remember and revisit the things God was saying to you. When we sit with a blank sheet and a pen in our hands, it communicates that we expect for God to speak to us. And for those who have abandoned pen and paper, using a notepad on your phone or using BridgePoint LIVE can be a great way to take notes. (For more thoughts on note taking, check out this blog post, Recovering the Lost Art of Note Taking).
- Bring your Bible. Every Sunday we read, explain, and apply the Bible to our lives. The Bible is God’s Spirit-inspired word to us (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Bible is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). Like note taking, having a Bible will help you stay engaged. You can underline verses that really impact you, take notes in the margins, and follow along with the message. If you don’t have a Bible, just ask and we’ll give you one this Sunday for free. Or you can download the free YouVersion app.
Join the conversation: What practical tips would you add to this list?