Family Worship: Be Prepared, Get Read

Ok, I know that this title sounds redundant, but stick with me. I’ll explain. This is the second in a series designed to help you and your family get the most out of worshiping together. You can check out the first post HERE. Today I want to look at how you can set yourself up to have a great worship experience, before you even get to church.

Be prepared. A great worship experience on Sunday morning starts way before you walk into church. I would argue that what you do on Saturday can have a huge effect on how you worship on Sunday. Take a moment and think about what Sunday mornings look like. If you’re anything like me, there is probably a fair amount of stress involved. If not, praise God, your awesome. Rare, but awesome.

  • Clothes: Remove some of the stress by getting ready Saturday night. No, I’m not saying you should sleep in your church clothes. However, you can pick out what you will wear. Get with each of your kids and help them pick it out. If you have older kids and your idea of church clothes doesn’t like theirs, then have them pick it out on Saturday night so you can approve it THEN.
  • Stuff: Go ahead and gather up all of the STUFF that will need to go with you to church. From Bibles to Sunday School books, to whatever else needs to go. Get all of this stuff ready Saturday night.
  • Food: Your family will need to eat Sunday morning. Go ahead and plan that out. Maybe it’s your turn to provide breakfast for your Sunday school class or for one of your children’s class. Take time Saturday to finalize any plans and make sure you have what you need. If you can do any prep or cooking ahead of time, do it.
  • But Saturday is busy: If your Saturday is full of stuff that will prevent you from getting all this done, then do it on Friday, or even earlier if necessary. The point is to remove this stuff from your plate on Sunday morning.

Get ready. We talked yesterday about worship being spiritual. This being true you want to do what you can to prepare yourself spiritually.

  • Keep It Simple Silly: Do all you can to simplify your Sunday morning routine. Some of this happens the night before, as mentioned above.  But, this can also be a matter of simplifying Sunday morning. Maybe it means cereal instead of eggs and bacon. Maybe it means cold cuts for lunch instead of something that requires a lot of Sunday morning prep. The idea is to remove as much stress as possible to be able to enter the church with a heart of worship.
  • Get up earlier: Ok, I know. It’s Sunday morning and you want to sleep in. I get it. But, if you want for you and your family to be in a better position to worship you might need to give up a little bit of sleep. You can make it up that afternoon. Or, even better, go to bed earlier. I know that’s not always possible, but when you can, it’s a good idea.
  • Leave early: You know how long it takes to get from your house to the church. Leave 10 – 15 minutes early. Worse case scenario you get there early. Trust me someone will be there. The building will be open. You can use that time to pray, to relax, or to talk with the other people who got there early. More importantly you will avoid the stress that comes from running late. This stress can derail your worship fast.

So, what. The bottom line is this. Look at your Sunday morning routine and do what you can to remove as much stress as possible from it. This will not guarantee that your worship experience is out of this world, but it will help to put YOU in a better place to worship.

Matt Norman

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Family Worship: Worship Is Spiritual

This Sunday we start July Jubilee. During the month of July we will have one Sunday school hour and one worship hour. For this month we will not have Children’s Church. We are doing this so families can worship together. I understand how difficult it can be to sit through a worship service with a small child, much less actually worship or try to pay attention to the message. This week I will share 5 posts aimed at helping you and your family, including the little ones, make the most out of worshiping together as a family.

Worship is Spiritual. In John 4:23 Jesus said, “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” This passages shows that worship is much more than a physical thing. TRUE worship is spiritual.

The physical matters. One could say that worship is spiritual and because of this the physical doesn’t matter. This simply isn’t true. Acts 16:25 says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” This was after they had stripped and beaten; and while they were sitting in prison. Clearly this example shows that we can worship God regardless of the PHYSICAL circumstances, but this does not mean that they physical doesn’t matter. The temperature in the room, the noise level, movement around you, etc can be distractions that make it harder to worship.

The spiritual matters MORE. Certainly the physical matters. Comfortable seats, few distractions, and music you like can all make it easier to enter into a state of worship. However, we have to remember what worship REALLY is. Is worship music? Well, that’s an expression of worship. Is worship sharing the word of God? That, too, is an expression of worship. One of the definitions Merriam-Webster gives for worship is “reverence offered to a divine being.” Clearly this is what we are talking about in a “worship service”. Can this be done through music? Yes. Does it have to be? No. At funerals we show reverence with silence. In the military reverence is shown by saluting. After tragedy we show reverence by flying flags at half mast. Reverence can be shown in a wide variety of ways.

So, what? The bottom line is this. The physical circumstances matter. The right conditions can make it much easier to worship. But, God is still God, regardless of the conditions. Suppose for a minute your at the Iron Bowl. Do you still cheer for your team if they are losing? Are they still your team when they do something you don’t think they should do? If they changed their uniforms and you didn’t like the new ones, are they still your team? How about if it starts raining. What if it’s really hot? Do you still cheer for them under these conditions? If they are your team, then of course you do. Yet we will let a restless child totally derail our worship of GOD. If God is your God, then He is still your God regardless of the circumstances. I know that it is not easy, but remember that even when the conditions are not ideal, worship is SPIRITUAL and God is still God so worship can happen.

Matt Norman

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Family Movie Review: Pirate’s Code

Recently I was given the opportunity to take a look at a new family movie called, “Pirate’s Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson.” Being a children’s minster and a father I jumped at the opportunity for a free movie night with my family. I mean, the opportunity to take a critical look at something being offered for the viewing pleasures of the families I serve. Ok, maybe a little of both. So, what did I think?

Story: The story was a fairly typical children’s movie story line. Bad guy tries to do bad things. Good guys don’t get along at first, but later come together and beat the bad guy. In spite of being almost cliche in it’s plot I enjoyed the story. Of course I’m kind of a sucker for stories where the good guys win and live happily ever after. If you are also a sucker for such stories, you’ll probably like this one.

Quality: When I was a teenager we used to enjoy going to the local video rental store and renting sci fi movies that we had never heard about. These usually had a bunch of actors we had never heard of and was made by people we had never heard of. These were movies that had less budget that some people spend on their cars. Still we enjoyed them. “Pirate’s Code” was somewhere between those old, no name sci fi movies and the high quality productions that we are used to today. While this was a feature length movie, much of the cinematography and effects were more inline with a children’s television series. Not bad, but not worthy of the big screen. that being said, I have seen some movies that were so poorly done that I couldn’t stand to watch it. This was NOT one of those.

Family friendliness: This movie scores high for family friendliness. It is safe for even the youngest members of your family, but also can be enjoyed by just about every member. My 6 year old daughter and 13 year old son both enjoyed it. I did too.

Overall impression: This is not a movie that I would want to pay movie theater kind of money to see. However, if it were available in Redbox or even at a decent price for purchase, I would pay to watch it. I enjoyed it the first time again and will, likely, watch it again. It won’t be on my top 10 list, but was a fun movie to watch.

Slight spoiler: I enjoyed that Christopher Loyd was in the movie and my entire family got a good laugh when one of the other characters in the movie responded to something Christopher Loyd said with a resounding “Great Scott”.

Bottom line: If you have the chance to see the movie, go for it. I think that you and your kids will enjoy it. It will not be the best movie you see this year, but it is worth popping some microwave popcorn, turning down the lights and gathering the family in front of the TV.

Below is a link to the trailer for this movie.

Matt Norman

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