I am not a get to church “just in time person”, and I detest being late, I arrive forty-five minutes to an hour early for church, I started doing that at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa all those years ago, did it at the Vineyard, and currently at the Encounter Service. Why, because I love God, passionately love God and I cannot wait to worship Him passionately with others who love Him passionately. And I am excited to gather with other believes, to gather with the body of Christ, that we can be mutually encouraged by each others faith, to get together with them and be the church together. I cannot wait to one-another them, to give and receive prayer, to give and receive a word from the Lord. To hear what the Spirit has to say to the church, for the Spirit to move among us, so I don’t want to be just in time for church.
I realize that we need each other, as the body of Christ, to help each other walk with Christ, live out the life of Christ, to become Christlike, walk through whatever challenges life presents us with. That’s not something I am going to stroll in for as though it’s not essential.
The scriptures tell us we are living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, is that something you want to show up for at the last minute, be late to? Not me, I can’t wait to gather with the other living stones to built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood together.
Like Friday night Encounter Service I go to, arriving forty five minutes to an hour early also enables me to get ready for Jesus and the body to come together, the worship team always does a sound check of two or three songs, I call it pre-worship. After the pre-worship, I open my bible get in the word, then get on the floor on my face and pray. I empty myself of the things of this world, come down from the jerks in rush hour traffic that ticked me off, get my mind, heart set on Jesus. By the time the service starts, I have already encountered God in the pre-worship, the word and prayer, my face is set like flint towards God.
So you could say when it comes to meeting with Jesus, gathering with the body of Christ, gathering around the word of God, I am like a true football fan. I’m a tailgater, I show up early, I’m excited, paint my face, bare my chest and paint it, get out my foam finger, my picket fence, I’m and hoping and holing, ready to go, fired up ready for church to start, ready to encounter Jesus, encounter the Holy Spirit in action. I show up early because I’m excited to gather with Jesus, with His church, hear His word.
Jesus is going to show up if it’s really is a gathering of Christ followers, Jesus is going to speak to the church, the Holy Spirit is going to be equipping and teaching, moving in power, gifts will be given. Worship will be going on, one anothering is going to be going on. Love for one another beyond the worlds understanding will be going on. People may be healed, maybe people will be baptized into a new life in Christ.
Do you understand Jesus will be there, Jesus will be there, JESUS Will Be There, the body of Christ will be there, my co-labors in Christ, the beloved of Jesus will be there, and I do not want to miss one minute of it.
Also read this post about church Rituals vs Relationship – Worship from the Heart vs from a booklet