“The Day After”
Yesterday was the Dodger Stadium Harvest Crusade in L.A. We went to bed well past midnight, blessed and exhausted (Greg far more than me, for sure). He has described the ramp-up to a night of crusade preaching like being in a vice. All of us in the Laurie household, down to the grandchildren, try to be sensitive to the pressure as we pray for him.
This morning, the day after many long days and nights of anticipation, preparation, praying, and waiting, we look over our shoulders at last night, thankful that God touched lives in truly amazing ways, in some ways exceeding our expectations.
There is a sense of euphoria about evenings like last night; one can get caught up in an emotional high that can leave you flat the day after. But after many years of such evenings, I keep my mind and emotions in check, thankfully grounded and balanced by Jesus’ words to the disciples when they returned after seeing God work through them mightily: “Rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
But today is Sunday. As I write this you may wonder what do we do the Sunday following a night like last night? Well. . .we get up and go to church.
I am there because I need to be there, not because people expect me to be there (after all I am the pastor’s wife!) and not because I am under obligation to attend Sunday morning church. I am Christian first, and in order to love God the way He wants me to love Him, I must tremble at His words, and “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. . .” (Hebrews 10:25).
There may be times when it is not convenient. There may even be those days when I don’t feel like it. But it is His will for all Christians, and not least the Pastor’s wife, to attend church faithfully, joyfully, expectantly! At the end of the day, all of us, whether in full-time ministry or not, are children who should love to hear and obey our Father’s Word.
Listening to Greg preach for almost 40 years (!) I can say, apart from the fact that he is my husband, he is also my pastor and I need to hear him teach. I smile at times, having lived many of the illustrations he uses in his sermons. Many times I can finish his sentences before he does. And after church, I will go home to ordinary tasks like doing his laundry, although (by choice) he does his own ironing! Yet when I am in church listening to him preach, I expect God to speak to me. . .every time. I come with my pen and paper and an ear ready to hear what the Lord has to say.
I recently came across this list of questions on Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ blog that wonderfully helps in examining our hearts so we can get the most out of Sunday worship. I was challenged and convicted by them and hope you will be too!
Do you highly esteem, respect, and reverence the Word of God (Nehemiah 8:5; Psalm 138:2)?
Do you prepare your heart to hear the Word of God (Psalm 119:18)?
Do you find delight in hearing the Word proclaimed?
Do you listen attentively when the Word is being read or preached (Nehemiah 8:3; Psalm 85:8)?
Do you expect God to speak to you every time you hear His Word proclaimed?
Do you have a teachable spirit (Psalm 25:9)?
Do you tremble at the Word of the Lord (Isaiah 66:2; Ezra 9:4)?
Do you pray for those who proclaim the Word to you, that they might be pure, anointed vessels of God (1 Thessalonians 5:25)?
When the Word is preached, are you conscious that you are not listening to the words of men but to the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13)?
Do you have a commitment to obey anything God shows you from His Word (Matthew 7:24; James 1:22–25)?
Do you respond in faith, that is, acting on the Word you have heard (Hebrews 4:2)?
Is your heart good soil that receives the Word and produces fruit (Luke 8:15)?
Are you willing to let the message sit in judgment of you rather than you sitting in judgment of the message?
Do you take the message personally (James 1:22)? Or are you more focused on how it applies to the people sitting near you?
Do you pass on to others what you’ve learned from the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:2)?
Do you express appreciation and gratitude for those who minister the Word of God to you (Galatians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:12–13)?