Preparing Your Heart for Tomorrow

There are two things at least that you can do today to prep your heart for the Lord’s Day at OGC.

First, you can read through 1 John 2 before bed to familiarize yourself with the text that Kevin Wilhoit will be teaching in the 9:30 hour in the fellowship hall. If you’ve been attending the Peacemaker class (now concluded) why not join those of us who are working through 1 John in a survey fashion with our summer pastoral intern? There are some terribly intriguing passages in 1 John that we will tackle tomorrow. Of course, if you have been participating in Delroy Thompson’s study of the Thessalonian epistles you will want to read whatever section of the book he has you working through tomorrow.

Second, you can read through John 9:1-41 in preparation for returning to our study of the Gospel of John. We’ve been away from this book of the Bible for two months now. I will actually preach from vv. 13ff so if you missed the messages about the sixth sign, the healing of the man born blind, you could also listen to them here as part of your preparation as well. I will seek to show from the example of this man’s faith how to be certain that your own faith is certifiably genuine. This will be a two part message spanning tomorrow and July 11 as well.

Here is a quote from J. C. Ryle’s book Holiness which stresses the importance of assurance of salvation (I have it included in the introduction to tomorrow’s message):

I lay it down fully and broadly, as God’s truth, that a true Christian, a converted man, may reach such a comfortable degree of faith in Christ, that in general he shall feel entirely confident as to the pardon and safety of his soul, shall seldom be troubled with doubts, seldom be distracted with fears, seldom be distressed by anxious questionings and, in short, though vexed by many an inward conflict with sin, shall look forward to death without trembling, and to judgment without dismay.  This, I say, is the doctrine of the Bible.

Whatever you sow this evening in the way of preparing for tomorrow’s services will cause you to reap all the more in the way of spiritual blessing and encouragement!

Planning for the Lord's Day

Someone recently sent me this excerpt from Tim Challies’ blog about how to plan for our Sundays.

In his book Expository Listening (read Challies’ review here), Ken Ramey offers a list of ways you can “Plan Ahead, and Schedule Your Week Around the Ministry of the Word.”

“For the majority of people, even church members, church is not the priority of their week. Too often school, work, sports, and other activities take precedence over going to church. They make the mistake of letting their time be ordered by the world, which views the weekends as a time to relax, to play sports, to stay up late and sleep in. For Christians, however, Sunday should be the most important day of the week. You should try to schedule your work, activities, get-togethers, and vacations around church. You should live by the principle that Sunday morning starts Saturday night.”

He offers several practical suggestions on how to prioritize the Lord’s Day:

  • Make it a habit to be home on Saturday night.
  • Be careful not to do, watch, or read anything that will cause lingering distractions in your mind the next day.
  • Get things ready on Saturday night to alleviate the typical Sunday morning rush (lay out clothes, set the table, write the offering check, stock the diaper bag, etc).
  • Get a good night’s sleep so you can be sharp and energetic to worship and serve God. It’s hard to listen when you’re nodding off.
  • Eat a simple but adequate breakfast that will hold you until lunch. It’s difficult to hear over the grumbling of your stomach.
  • Work together with the other members of your family to get ready, and to establish and maintain a godly atmosphere on the way to church. Listen to music, sing, and pray together.
  • Arrive at church ten minutes early instead of ten minutes late so you have enough time to find a parking spot, drop the kids off in the nursery or their Sunday school classes, get a cup of coffee, visit with your friends, and find a seat.

“When you fail to plan ahead,” he warns, “Sunday morning ends up becoming a chaotic crisis, and by the time you get to church, you are frustrated and frazzled and your heart is in no condition to receive the Word. But when you plan well and are able to arrive in a relaxed, leisurely way, you will be in a much more receptive frame of mind.”

I trust God might use these suggestions to prepare us all the more for our fellowship tomorrow and every Sunday to come.