January 25, 2022
Pastor Jeff VanGoethem
Wow, I have really been enjoying our Worship Services since returning to East White Oak. Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. For forty years on Sundays, I made that walk from the front row to the pulpit. I was “working,” working all week to get ready and working to do as well as I could to deliver a message from God’s Word on Sundays. I’m not making that walk anymore. Now, I just mosey into the Worship Center, sit next to my dear wife, and take it all in, no longer as a preacher, but “just” a worshiper.
It has been wonderful. Several times I have remarked to myself, “I need this.” “This is healing my soul.” “I’m being blessed.” The music, the praying, the greetings, the fellowship, and of course the message from God’s Word. I need this brethren, big time. So do you.
I write this in the hope that we never ever take our participation in Sunday worship for granted or treat it lightly. It is doing so much for me in this unique and transitional season in my life. I have learned again how important it is to engage in worship on Sundays. Thank you to Pastor Scott, the worship leaders, the singers, the players, the ushers, the greeters, the nursery and children’s workers, the tech guys in the back and everyone and anyone who is doing something up front or behind the scenes. Your work is blessing me, I’m sure it is blessing others.
It can be easy to fall into an overly casual approach to worship. Or to skip it for the slightest reason. Or come late and leave early. I recommend we not do any of that. Rather, we should make a point to savor it. Come early, engage completely, stay and visit. NEVER skip unless absolutely necessary. We need it. For our souls.
As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, we need to take our worship gathering seriously (Heb. 10:24-25). We need to be “stirred up” and “encouraged” by our gathering. If we engage in it like we should, it will do so much for us. I’ve been experiencing that afresh.
How precious is that brief time we assign to weekly worship. God wants us to experience His presence, hear His voice, learn His will, and yield our lives. It will not happen if we are distracted, late, inattentive, or careless worshippers. The old Puritans called weekly worship one of the main “means of grace.” We need grace (God’s gracious help) and the worship-meeting delivers it.
Let’s fan the flame of God’s grace in our lives by being serious participants in weekly worship.
Pastor Jeff VanGoethem has been in pastoral ministry for 40 years, including nearly twenty as Senior Pastor of East White Oak. He has returned to East White Oak after pastoring for some years in Dallas,Texas to serve as Associate Pastor of Spiritual Development and Missions. He is married to Karen. They have four daughters and four grandchildren.
February OakLeaf Articles:
Preparing for Sunday Worship by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Sunday Worship as Outreach by Pastor Justin Waples
Worship, It’s Good for the Soul by Pastor Jeff VanGoethem
Music in Worship by Paul Jones
Worship from the Psalms by Craig Nelson
Parenting In the Worship Service by Jon and Pam Scott
What I Miss About Physically Gathering for Worship by Janet Schlagel