Sunday, February 8, 2015

Adventures in worship

attended worship services at two different churches today. It reminded me of some of my best times at the church I've attended about 30 years. Some 10 years ago or so, we had a contemporary service with a live band and praise team that presented Christian songs with more of a classic rock/pop sound. I would go from there and the "lite" service of worship to what was considered a "blended" service, but really was traditional Methodist, with liturgy, hymns and a choir. The combination of the two felt like a complete worship experience for me. 

A conversation with my husband before Christmas led me to look into again attending a service with contemporary worship. I think I've now gone to New Life Bible Church at least six times. My husband has attended with me, which means so much to me. But he travels a lot, and I wondered what I would do when he is gone. Would I go to the nondenominational, contemporary church we've been attending, or would I return to the familiarity of my United Methodist family at Goodrich? Last week, it seemed a good choice to go to Goodrich. The opportunity to go to choir practice the preceding Wednesday, then sing a solo at both services and also sing in the choir Sunday, and join in a fellowship luncheon afterward, provided timely touch points for assessing this spiritual journey. 

During this past week, it occurred to me that since Gene would be gone again, I faced a decision point. Would I go to the new church or the old church? I knew I wanted to attend Goodrich because of a special message on missions. But I also felt like I needed to attend New Life. It occurred to me that I could attend both. I could go to New Life at 9:15 and Goodrich at 11. The more I thought about it, the better the plan seemed. 
But even when I got up in time this morning, I was unsure I would follow through and go to the new church on my own. Somehow, God got me out the door on time. I went. It was good. The contemporary praise and worship music engages a part of my soul and spirit that sometimes stays unmoved during a more traditional service. And the message again really brought the words of Scripture alive, this time Ephesians 5:17 and Acts 8: 26-40.  Perhaps today more than ever, I heard words I needed to hear. 
Among them was the idea that sometimes worrying about what to do next stops us from obeying what we are called to do first. Also, "the mark of a life useful to God is a greater focus on obedience than results," pastor Jason John said. He also shared something he heard from a coach as he was growing up that stayed with him: "The two things you can control are your attitude and your effort." And I had two important conversations afterward. 

Then I headed to Goodrich, getting there in time to run through the anthem and share fellowship with the choir before worship. I was grateful to be there, worshipping with people who have been my family for many years. More conversations followed afterward. 

 For today, and actually several weeks now, I believe I followed the leading of God. I don't have to know what the results will be. I trust Him. I humbly pray to be obedient, that I may be of use to Him and that He be glorified. 

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