When I attended seminary, there was a older woman who was a secretary that had a saying, “God is never late, but he sure has missed quite a few opportunities to be early!” After attending the early service today, that saying has been buzzing through my brain.
At the early service, the music worship portion ends rather quickly. At the early service the message ends at a scheduled time. At the early service, this is no drawn out ministry time as the staff quickly disappears to prepare for the next service.
I am not sure what that says about us, either we do not need an extended service for God to be present, or the lack of an extended service means that God is not showing up for the early service.
I must admit, I prefer the early service. My personal conclusion is that sometimes we confuse long and drawn out with more of God. I think long and drawn out is more of us meeting our needs than God meeting our needs. I have been in two hour services with an hour of worship and an hour of preaching and the service just flew by. And then I have been in many long services where by I found myself wishing that speaker would just end his message so we can go home. What was it that Jesus said:
- Matthew 6:7 NASB – 7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.
I think that not only applies to the message and altar call, but the worship as well when we feel the need to repeat a chorus over and over and over again confusing our need to be heard with God showing up.
I realize that the style of church is not laid out in Scripture and some prefer a more drawn out service. I look at it like:
- Romans 14:5 NASB – 5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day [alike.] Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
And I agree:
- Romans 14:6 NASB – 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
He who sings longer does unto the Lord, and he who sings shorter does so to the Lord. My unspoken theology for today is that sometimes it is not necessary to have an unspoken theology! Sometimes choices are a matter of preference. So let us not pass judgement on each other and whatever type of church service you attend, do it unto the Lord! Love much my friends . . .