The Seeker

A computer scientist and a Google engineer created an algorithm to search the internet and rank the most influential people in history. As resistant as our culture seems to Him, Jesus still ranks #1. There are more websites that reference Jesus, more searches made of Jesus, and more information on Wikipedia about Jesus than any other person in history. What does this mean? It means that people are still interested in Jesus.

There are people in your life who are searching for Jesus and would welcome your conversations about Him. People are not interested in religion. People are not interested in debating your beliefs, but they are interested in Jesus. How can you help the seeker in their search?

Eternally Lost

The Bible speaks of an awful, coming judgment. Every prophecy of judgment in the Bible climaxes in a terrifying paragraph in Revelation 20:11-15. This vivid scene of the Great White Throne Judgment is not shared to inform us, but to warn us. The language of this text invites us to stand in the scene and see it for ourselves.

In contrast to this awful judgment is an inspiring scene of triumphant salvation shared in Revelation 21. Every reader has a choice to make before it is too late.

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Past Posts:

How to love your family when they become your enemy.

How pornography short-circuits intimacy.

the worst way to waste your life, blog post by Brian Branam

The Worst Way to Waste Your Life

Have you ever had one of those insomniac, hypochondriac nights were you laid awake all night afraid you were going to die? Perhaps it is some odd pain in your stomach that is the focal point of anxiety, but your mind won’t allow you to think logically. Did you have too much spaghetti for dinner? No! Your mind goes straight to basketball sized tumor in your abdomen.

I think it is freeing for all of us to realize – you’re not alone. We are all semi-crazy.

Ecclesiastes 2 is much like those late night contemplations of life and death where you think way too much and sleep very little. For Solomon though, he is not afraid he is going to die, he is afraid he has never really lived.

For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:16-17

Solomon realizes that he is going to die. We all die. But catch his true fear. He is not as afraid of dying as much as he is of living and it meaning nothing. Then comes the most startling reaction. “So I hated life.”

And then he goes back to thinking! In verse 24 the man who hates his life suddenly finds a way to enjoy it.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24

Love It or Hate It, Your Choice!

In summation, you can either hate life or enjoy it. Your choice! On a hopeful note, if you hate your life right now, you can find a way to enjoy it! If you want to find out how to enjoy it, hang with this week’s series of posts. I’m going to show you how.

The importance of this passage, aside from being the inspired Word of God, is that it comes from a man who had it all, tried it all and is now willing to share with you and I about the experience. We can either learn from him or repeat the same mistakes – but we will not come to another conclusion (Ecc. 2:12).

So according to Solomon, how do you live and really love it? This week I want to share from Ecclesiastes 2:12-17 and 2:24-26 two ways to waste your life and hate it; then I will show you how to truly enjoy life and have eternal life.

  • The worst way to waste your life.
  • The best way to waste your life.
  • The only way to enjoy life.
  • The only way to eternal life.

The Worst Way to Waste Your Life

Solomon compares two ways to waste your life. There is a foolish way and a wise way.

Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them.

Ecclesiastes 2:13-14

Fool or foolish, as used in the Bible, describes a person who does things with no thought of consequence. Foolishness doesn’t really speak about a lack of intelligence as much as it refers to a lack of foresight. A fool may have a decent IQ, but he or she is reckless.

The Keke Fool

A great example of foolish is a cultural meme known as the Keke Challenge. If you somehow missed this moment of viral idiocy, the “challenge” was to step out of the driver’s seat of a moving car and do a dance in the middle of the street to a popular song by Drake called “In My Feelings.” What could possibly go wrong?

Jimmy Kimmel deemed a Keke “fail” by Jaylen Norwood as the viral video of the year. If you haven’t seen it, allow me to share a shockingly, surprising spoiler of what could possibly happen to a guy dancing in traffic. He gets hit by a car.

The good news is that Jaylen is OK. What’s even more foolish is that the whole thing was staged. Yep, the fool planned it! The problem is that rather than “jumping” the oncoming car, Jaylen slipped on a greasy spot in the street. Dance and jump a car? Right? Again – what could possibly go wrong?

On his show, Jimmy Kimmel commented to Jaylen, “You risked your life for a meme.” Now get ready for this! And Jaylon’s brilliant response? “But I’m the most famous guy in Florida.” So Jaylen got hit by a car and became the most famous guy in Florida? I’m sure Tim Tebow is jealous.

Such is the fool. Reckless. Thoughtless. Un-phased by his last idiotic mistake. Headed full speed toward the next one. The Bible has a lot to say about a fool.

The Bible and the Fool

  • The fool says there is no God.
  • The fool can’t control his tongue and slanders others.
  • The fool despises his parent’s instruction.
  • The fool is self-centered and never takes ownership of his mistakes.
  • The fool is sexually impure and promiscuous.
  • The fool mocks the seriousness of sin.
  • The fool builds his life on his own opinion apart from the firm foundation of God’s Word.
  • The fool acts as if he will live forever and makes no preparation for eternity.

The fool does a lot of damage to himself and to others for one simple reason. He’s not thinking about the consequences of his actions.

A lot of people are just living and waiting to die. They are reckless and rebellious. It is ironic that a human created with such purpose can become so destructive with the life he or she has been given.

What if you end up like Solomon thinking that you are going to live it up, only to find out that you’ve never really lived? If you’re going to waste your life, being a thoughtless fool is the worst way to do it.

If you’re going to waste your life, there is actually a much better way. What’s the best way? Check back tomorrow . . .

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Check out videos from this sermon series, Finding Meaning or read last week’s series of posts, Don’t Push the Panic Button.

Blog post on how to react to change by Brian Branam.

Don’t Push the Panic Button on Change

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.

With this series of posts, we are gleaning truth from Ecclesiastes 7 that will help us avoid those wild swings of emotion during turbulent times of life. It is easy in the ups and downs of it all to push the panic button. To see the introduction to the series, visit Don’t Push the Panic Button on Death.

Change

The Book of Ecclesiastes is included in a group of Old Testament books known as Wisdom Literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon). These books are often filled with short, smart, tightly packed riddles that have an inexhaustible depth of meaning. Also true of the genre is that these wise sayings can seem disorganized, which makes identifying the thought flow of the author difficult. Ecclesiastes 7:8-12 is a great example of this issue. If you read 10 different commentaries you will find 10 different ways of piecing these verses together.

The way these verses string together for me is in the ideas of attitudes and generations. Verse 8 speaks to the younger generation that is prone to think that a new thing is the best thing. Solomon reminds them that “the end of a thing is better than its beginning.” Don’t fail to pay attention to what has already been done. Investigate it. Learn from it. Figure out the “why” of an old thing before you scrap it and try to start a new thing.

Verse 10 speaks to the older generation that seems to romanticize the past. “Say not, why were the former days better than these? For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

There is always that temptation to think that the older days were much better than “these” present days. There is something about the human mind that puts a warm glow on the way we grew up. I grew up in the ’80s which everyone obviously understands to be the greatest decade in human history (I say this felicitously of course – but it was 🙂 – wasn’t it!)

We gave the world E.T., more Star Wars, Hacky Sack, and the original Rubik’s Cube. I have one word for you – Atari! Do you remember Beta-max, Walter Payton, Dominique Wilkins, Jordans, Reebok, Thriller, Dale Murphy (I grew up in Georgia), and Ronald Reagan. Was it not a perfect world?

Not quite! They also told us in the 80’s that your school desk would save you from a tornado and a Russian missile attack. Do you remember the Cold War? Inflation? AIDS epidemic? Do you remember the 80’s version of Climate Change – yes – Acid Rain! And perhaps the greatest crisis of the our generation – – – – – – – – New Coke!

Old is not bad.

New will not be the death of us.

Despite the good and bad of every generation there is something about human nature that is prone to think that the older generations have nothing left to offer and that the younger generations will be the end of the world.

The panic button is pressed in verse 9. Here comes the attitude – anger. “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.” Once anger takes up residence it colors the way we view every change or lack thereof. The resistance to change inherent in the older generation angers the younger one. The propensity to change in the younger generation angers the older one.

As with previous generations, we are once again in a day of divisive ideology, politics, and values. Once again, our culture seems to drive the wedge between the generations for the sake of personal gain. It is hard to ignore the cultural shifts that are taking place before us, and without doubt it is very difficult for us to wrap our minds around exactly what is happening.

But don’t push the panic button!

The gospel provides the greatest potential to create a harmonious, healthy, multi-generational community. Passages like Titus 2 more fully flesh out what is alluded to here in Ecclesiastes 7. Christ-centered, gospel community provides the richest of blessings across every generation.

For the younger generation, don’t push the panic button. You provide great energy and excitement. In our waning years we admire the vigor you still possess. At 45 your brain knows what to do, but your body lags behind. But take it from me as we watch you 20-somethings. Your body is fine, but your brain is desperately trying to catch up! Let’s work together on some stuff! We got the brains. You’ve got the not quite so tired, more flexible, less prone to acid reflux bodies. We need each other!

While it is true that each generation leaves some mess behind for the next to clean up, not everything needs “new.” Sometimes change for the sake of change simply brings turmoil. The end of a thing is MUCH better than its beginning. We fought the battles. We tried and failed. Just leave it be. Save yourself the headache and the hassle. Appreciate it. Improve on it? Yes! Implode it? No! Slow your roll!

Now let those of us who have less days ahead than behind gather around the fire and chat. While it is true skinny jeans and man buns are questionable, despite what Fox News says, millennials will not be the death of us. They carry with them some concerns we should not have allowed to go by the wayside. They are picking up with some things we said were important, but we failed to follow through. While it is true that the mills will eventually figure out how bad vinyl sounds and end this odd comeback of the record player, I am excited to see what NEXT looks like. The future days may indeed be much greater than the former ones. May it be the church that exemplifies this for the glory of God!

Change is never easy – whether you are trying to initiate it or stop it. Wherever you are in the midst of it, don’t push the panic button. Allowing anger to lodge within you can turn you into a bitter old fool at 20 as well as 70. Remember Ecclesiastes 7:14. God has made every day, each generation, and He has something for us in all of it.

Conclusion:

As we finish out the passage, Solomon leaves us with three thoughts to help us not push the panic button in any seemingly turbulent situation.

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously (Ecc 7:15-18) Solomon brings us to balance. Some people will waste their lives thoughtlessly. Some will waste their lives with too much thinking. The world isn’t perfect and you aren’t either. Some people are trying to kill themselves trying to fix it all. You are not the standard of all things. Don’t push the panic button when the world doesn’t suit you.
  2. God has something for us even in the turbulence (Ecc. 7:14) God has made one day as well as the other. Consider it! Don’t push the panic button.
  3. Go straight to Jesus (Ecc. 7:13) I see verse 13 of this passage as the gospel according to Solomon. “Consider the work of God. Who can make straight what God has made crooked?” In Romans 8:13 Paul explains that the word was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope. We have to understand the times and we have to acknowledge our nature. Both are fallen. Both are crooked. Both are incapable of saving or fixing themselves. Turbulence is going to be a part of our existence. In each instance, our tendency is to push the panic button. But consider it! Has not God ordained in the turbulence, not that you push the panic button, but that you reach out in desperation to Him with repentance and faith? Don’t push the panic button. Turn to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life.

Don’t Push the Panic Button on Rebuke

It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.

With this series of posts we are gleaning truth from Ecclesiastes 7 that will help us avoid those wild swings of emotion during turbulent times of life. It is easy in the ups and downs of it all to push the panic button. To see the introduction to the series, visit Don’t Push the Panic Button on Death.

Rebuke

I don’t know of anyone who enjoys being called out on their character, or on a critical error. We tend to surround ourselves with “yes men.” We like people who will celebrate us and tell us how amazing we are. But Solomon warns us. Surrounding yourself with “yes men” is as he says in Ecc. 7:5, “the song of fools.”

The songs of fools sound great, but amount to nothing. In Ecc. 7:6 these empty words are described as “crackling thorns under a pot.” There is a fast flame. It makes a lot of noise. All of the crackling makes it seems as if there is something really exciting happening, but it burns out with no real benefit. It is a flash fire at best, it produces no real productive heat. In Ecclesiastes 7:7 Solomon says much like a bribe corrupts the heart, so does surrounding yourself with people who will only tell you what you want to hear.

Ecclesiastes 7:5 contains a great line. If you want to be successful, mark it! If you want to make a difference in life, mark it! If you want to be a great father, great mother, great husband, great wife, great student . . . find someone who will love you enough to tell you what you may not want to hear, but what you need to hear – receive rebuke!

It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. -Ecc. 7:5

We live in a snowflake society that props us up on praise. We want celebrations of every post and pic. Everything is #themostamazing thing. When someone dares to bring rebuke, we push the panic button and absolutely melt.

Rebuke doesn’t feel good. Guess what, it’s not supposed to, but it benefits. Rebuke hurts, but it helps. We tend to avoid those people. We may even criticize those people. But if you look closely at the wisdom of the passage, those may be the people who care about you the most.

The person who brings rebuke sometimes hurts the worst but often cares the most.

In my first ministry gig, I became the youth pastor of my home church. It was a wonderful opportunity that set me up for success, but there were some subtle traps within it that could have easily been my downfall. For one, my parents were in the church. We were longtime members of the church. Most of the adults in that church raised me, coached me, taught me, encouraged me. I was surrounded by people who would celebrate everything I did as if it was the greatest thing that had ever been done. They were proud of me.

I truly appreciate their encouragement, because looking back, I realize those were some bad sermons and a lot of dumb decisions. Now at 45 and the father of two daughters, I realize what it must have been like for a parent to trust a 20-year-old to take their teenager to youth camp. Thank you New Liberty for your days of grace.

But there was one person in my life at that time who not only encouraged me, but he loved me enough to tell me the truth. Not everything I did was great. Not every sermon I preached was amazing. Not every decision was the best decision. When I did wrong, he would sit me down and call me out on it and correct it. He was my pastor.

His name was Wayne Hamrick. And I’ll be honest, I would leave his office so mad at times that I wanted to quit. But even at that time I had the good sense to know, maybe I didn’t like what he was saying; maybe I didn’t understand what he was saying; maybe I didn’t even agree with what he was saying; but 1) he was the pastor and 2) he had been doing this a whole lot longer than me. Intelligence means you have information. I was in school, I was learning a ton. Wisdom means you have information AND application. Bro. Wayne knew where certain decisions and actions would lead. He could see down the road, I could not.

The older I get, the more I appreciate him. And I will say this, the older I get, the more I realize he was right especially when I thought he was dead wrong. When I got mad, I should have been glad that he was a caring, wise, honest voice in my life.

I pushed the panic button a lot of times when he would rebuke me, but I wonder how much better I would be now if I had laid off the panic button and been more ready to receive what he was saying. Rebuke does not feel good, but it is good. Don’t push the panic button.

Be bold enough to invite some people into your life who are willing to rebuke you. Be vulnerable enough to listen and make correction. Be teachable. Wisdom does not come from what we want to hear. Wisdom is gained in what we need to hear.


As I was working on this post I came across some great material that relates in Paul Tripp’s Dangerous Calling. This book is cutting me to the core and will most likely be added to my “5 (now 6) books that rocked my world” list.

None of us is wired to live the Christian life along. None of us is safe living separated and unknown. Each of us, whether pastor or congregant, needs the eyes of others in order to see ourselves with clarity and accuracy. And what is this daily ministry of intervention protecting us from? The answer should sober every one of us: the grace of having our private conversations interrupted by the insight-giving ministry of others is protecting us from becoming spiritually blinded to the point of the hardening of our hearts. The author argues here (Heb. 3:12-13) that personal spiritual insight is the product of community. It’s very difficult to get it by yourself. Perhaps every pastor needs to humbly recognize that because of the blinding power of remaining sin, self-examination is a community project. Every pastor needs people in his life in order to see himself with biblical accuracy.

Dangerous Calling – Paul David Tripp (p. 73)

Don’t Push the Panic Button on Death

Other than crashing, do you know what is the #1 concern for airline passengers? It is not the hassle of delays. It is not even the long lines at security. It is not the high cost of tickets.

The #1 concern of airline passengers is turbulence.

I’ll admit, of all the things that I hate about the whole hassle of air travel, it is turbulence that makes me hold on to my seat and pull the seatbelt a little tighter.

But have you ever wondered what is actually going on in the cockpit during turbulence? According to Patrick Swift of AskthePilot.com, not much. He says from a pilot’s perspective, their reaction to turbulence is more about trying to avoid coffee spilling on passengers than it is a safety issue. He says:

“For all intents and purposes, a plane cannot be flipped upside-down, thrown into a tailspin, or otherwise flung from the sky by even the mightiest gust or air pocket.”

When the pilot comes over the cabin speakers to announce that we are going to encounter a small patch of rough air, all I hear in my mind is, “We are in a patch of rough air and WE’RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO MAKE IT! Those 17 tiny pretzels we gave you will be your last meal – we hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for flying Delta.”

What’s most interesting is that passengers tend to exaggerate the actual effects of turbulence. Some passengers would say that the plane suddenly descended by as much as 3,000 feet when in reality it may have been as little as 10.

Why are there such divergent reactions between the pilots who are relatively unphased by turbulence and passengers who are in a total panic? It all comes down to perspective.

Life has a lot of ups and downs to it. Along the way, there will be turbulence. How do we avoid wild swings of emotion? How do we avoid hitting the panic button?

In Ecclesiastes 7, Solomon outlines the ups and downs of life. Along the way he gives some incredible perspective. When a person trusts God he can actually glean some very good things at some very bad times.

The key verse that unlocks the meaning of the passage is 7:14a. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made one as well as the other.

It is in realizing that even in the turbulence, our pilot is not in a panic. God has something good for us even in the bad. In Ecclesiastes 7, Solomon is giving us a pilot’s perspective on life turbulence and in a sense telling us – don’t hit the panic button.

Don’t Hit the Panic Button on Death

At first reading, Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 seems to be a morbid perspective on life and death. He says that death is better than birth. Is this a gruesome wish to die? Is it a twisted encouragement to end one’s life? Not at all.

In the final line of verse 2 Solomon says about death that “the living will lay it to heart.” He is not endorsing death. He is pointing us to wisdom. The greatest lessons for the living are not learned at a party, but at a funeral.

Given the choice, I think we had all rather be at a birthday party than a funeral. A party is a much happier occasion – it involves feasting (v. 2b). At a good party there is a lot of laughter (v. 3a). Everyone is in the fun zone when they are at a party. Solomon describes it as a house of mirth (v.4b).

We can learn a lot about living if we take some time to think about dying.

But it is foolish to think that life is just one big party (4a). As ridiculous as it is to believe the earth is flat, so it is to believe that your life can be perfect. Every day can’t be a party. People who run from party to party usually make a mess of their lives. Parties are great experiences, but there is very little wisdom that is learned on the dancefloor.

A funeral has a sobering effect on life. Losing someone will make you push the pause button on the fun zone and force you to take some time to think. As hard as death is, don’t push the panic button on the moment or on the rest of your life. “Lay it to heart.” Learn from it. Remember verse 14, God made even this day. We can learn a lot about living when we pay attention to dying. What are the lessons of a funeral?

  1. Decisions matter. Funerals have a way of reminding us, that both good and bad decisions matter. Health decisions matter. Life decisions matter. Moral decisions matter. There is nothing more tragic than losing someone to a bad decision. There is nothing that would make that lost life more wasted than you making that same bad decision. There is nothing like a funeral to also remind us that good decisions matter. There is a greater spirit of comfort in a family whenever someone is lost who made great decisions. Those decisions blessed that family. Those decisions will continue to help guide that family. Every funeral puts a finality on decisions. Observing death helps us to evaluate life and wonder if it were to end soon, have I made great decisions that will last long after I’m gone?
  2. Family matters. There is nothing like a funeral to bring out the true family dynamic. You see some great, bonded families at funerals and you also see the horror that a segmented, divided family can bring. Funerals remind us that the decisions we make in marriage and parenting matter. Death brings finality but awakens us to the opportunity we have in life. How do you want to be remembered by your kids? How do you want to be remembered by your spouse? Funerals are sobering reminders to tell people you love them while you have them.
  3. Life matters. Funerals confirm what James says in James 4:14, life is but a vapor. It comes for a short time and then vanishes away. No matter how long we live, it is never long enough. I think part of what Solomon means by “the living will lay it to heart” is that the wise learn from death how to make life count.
  4. Jesus matters. If anything funerals remind us is that we are not going to live forever. But wait a minute; according to the Bible, we are going to live forever. The Bible teaches us that we are eternal creations of God. Each of us will live forever, but there are two very difference versions of forever. One is an eternal lake of fire reserved for those who have rebelled against God. The other is a new heaven and a new earth for those who have received God’s Son, Jesus Christ, by repentance and faith. Death makes the decision final, but you are going to live forever. Jesus said today is the day of salvation. Why not make your forever decision today?

Don’t push the panic button on death. Losing someone is a turbulent time. But remember, God gave you plenty of days to party and He has also made this day. Lay it to heart. Learn from it. The lessons we learn in dying give us the wisdom we need to really live.


How to Get to Church and Get Over It – Worship Mindset #5 Fearful

but God is the one you must fear

Getting to church on Sunday morning can be such a hassle that we get very little out of the experience and begin to wonder, “what’s the point?” With this series of posts, I am showing you from Ecclesiastes 5, how we can get to church, get over the hassle, and get to something great! Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s dissertation on how to avoid a meaningless life. In Ecclesiastes 5 Solomon shows us how to avoid meaningless worship. To see the introduction to this week’s series of posts, see Worship Mindset #1, Careful.

Fearful

Solomon ends with a succinct statement sure to stop our descent into pointless worship, “ButGod is the one you must fear.” Remembering who worship is ultimately for is the greatest way to help you get to church and get over it.

Isn’t it amazing that in a world created by God, in the midst of a people redeemed by God, in a worship service that is supposed to be for God, that we can completely miss God?

It is easy to get to church and just see singers and a band. We see the need to get our kids checked in. We hear the preacher bring the message. We put a smile on our face and say “Hi, I’m fine, how are you?” to all of our friends. But if we do not get over what it took us to get to church we can leave the building never having experienced God, needing God, hearing from God, or even speaking to God.

I recently attended the Exponential Conference in Orlando, Florida. The opening speaker was Francis Chan. There was very little exposition to his message. From a seminary standpoint, it was a hermeneutical “F”. But it was a powerful reminder for me of why I took the time to go to the conference – experience a 6 hour flight delay – get to my room at 1:00am and have a stack of work awaiting me each night after a long day. I was there to hear from God. Francis Chan’s message was little more than an impassioned reading of Hebrews 12:18-29. For 17 minutes it was the voice of God to me.

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made – in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

The greatest thing we can do to get to church and get over it, is to get over ourselves.

The greatest thing we can do to get to church and get over it is to get over ourselves and any delusion that we have done God a favor. We need to be shaken. We may arrive with inconvenience, but we need to be filled with reverence and awe. This is not about you. This is for God.

And let us not forget our brothers and sisters in dangerous places who are not inconvenienced by where they go on a Sunday morning, but are persecuted for who they are on a daily basis. They face daily economic hardships. They stare down the barrel of a gun. They watch as their children are slaughtered for one simple reason – their fear of God is greater than their desire to preserve their lives.

I think we need to have perspective. I think we need to keep ourselves in check. Getting to church? Is this really a sacrifice for our God who is a consuming fire?

Conclusion

I want to conclude this series of posts with a recap. What are the mindsets of worship, from Ecclesiastes 5, that will help us get to church, get over it, and get to God?

  1. Careful – When we guard our steps we walk with God daily rather than simply meet with Him once a week.
  2. Mindful – We need to be curious for the Word of God. Reserve some mental bandwidth so that you can receive what is being given to you.
  3. Truthful – The words we say are also important. Don’t use words as smokescreens. Let us not be satisfied with true, but press on to truth.
  4. Faithful – We serve and worship without excuse. We don’t have to go to church, we get to go to church.
  5. Fearful – This is not for us. This is for our God who is a consuming fire.