christian growth

Holy Preparation: Three Ways to Prepare for Worship

holypreparation

I can vividly remember the preparation that went into taking the ACT College Assessment test when I was in high school. This was a grueling, four hour test which I had prepared for months ahead of time. Leading up to the testing day, I dedicated hours studying the material, taking practice tests, and preparing myself mentally. The night before the test, I forced myself to fall asleep early so I could perform to the best of my ability on test day.

If we spend this much time preparing for a test, which is of no eternal significance, how much more then should we prepare our hearts to hear from God on Sunday mornings?

Many of us forget the incredible opportunity we have on a weekly basis to gather with God’s people for worship, fellowship, and teaching. We tend to oversleep on Sunday morning and when we DO make it to church it is after spewing verbal vomit on our family members due to being woken up early. Once we arrive, we are consistently distracted by the endless barrage of thoughts that assault our minds at any given time. We leave in anger and frustration due to the hardness of our hearts and the deceitfulness of sin.

In order for corporate gatherings of worship to bear fruit in our lives, we need to practice holy preparation:

1. Go to sleep EARLY on Saturday night.
Thousand of studies have shown the averse effect sleep deprivation has on our bodies. Specifically, lack of sleep is a serious detriment to the healthy functioning of our minds –

“Lack of sleep interferes with your ability to concentrate and learn new things. It can negatively impact both short-term and long-term memory. It gets in the way of your decision-making process and stifles creativity. Your emotions are also affected, making you more likely to have a short temper and mood swings. Overall cognitive function is impaired.” (HeathLine)

When you come to church with your only energy coming from the coffee you hurriedly grab, you are setting yourself up for disaster. If you get a healthy amount of sleep, I can promise you will find church far more fulfilling and effective in making war against your sin.

2. Meditate on the passage or concept that will be shared.
In most churches (if not all of them) you at least have a general idea of what the pastor will be speaking on. Use this information to your advantage! If it is a specific section of Scripture, spend Friday and Saturday memorizing and meditating upon the verses. If your church is in a certain series, use a topical Bible (or Google!) and study the concept on your own.

If you do not know this information, give your pastor a call a few days before Sunday. Pastors LOVE to talk and I can GUARANTEE he will be excited to share with you what he is preaching on. This will greatly encourage your pastor as he spends time studying the passage!

3. Wake up EARLY on Sunday morning to pray.
Wait… You are telling me that I need to go to sleep early AND wake up early? Yup. I understand this can be incredibly difficult. With that being said, if you had an important job interview or test to take, you would do just that so quit with the excuses!

I recommend waking up and giving yourself thirty extra minutes (at the very least) in order to allow God’s Spirit to prepare your heart for church. In this time, I recommend confessing any known sin for it is the “pure in heart who will see God.” You can also lay down all of your burdens, anxieties, and worries in God’s presence – Trusting that He cares for you and is FAR more powerful than you could ever imagine. This will enable you to have a still heart and quiet mind to receive from the Holy Spirit during the worship gathering.


I can assure you that if you practice these three disciplines on a weekly basis, God will speak powerfully into your life through corporate worship.

What would YOU add to this list? Is there anything specific you do in order to get your mind and heart ready for church? Leave a comment and let me know!

Practical Steps for Spiritual Growth

The past year has been absolutely incredible. I have had the amazing privilege of pioneering and launching the Garretson Campus of The Rescue Church. One of the primary reasons we launch new campuses is to reach those who are far from God. Specifically, we do not seek transfer growth (growing via members of other churches coming). We intentionally seek to preach Christ to those who are currently separated from Him.

As a result, we have seen many people either commit their lives to Jesus for the first time or re-commit their lives to Him. Practically, this calls for discipleship in the church. We have to purposely develop these new Christians so that they are firmly rooted in the Gospel.

Whether you are a new Christian or have been following Jesus for decades, below are some practical steps for YOU to grow in your faith:

Set apart a time for Bible reading and prayer DAILY!
If you do NOT want to grow as a Christian, do not open the Bible on your own! Unfortunately, this is the route many Christians take. We have a tendency to believe going to church once a week and having a pastor teach us the Bible is sufficient enough for spiritual growth.

YOU NEED TO READ THE BIBLE ON YOUR OWN!!

Yes, I know it can be intimidating but there are many tools to help you along the way. I would recommend the following –

As you figure out a reading process that works best for you, you also need to set apart a specific time each day. You need to MAKE time to be in the Word of God. Make it as an appointment and keep it as strictly as you would anything else – It is INFINITELY more important than any human meeting you could possibly have!

Be INVOLVED with a local church!
I am disgusted with arrogant Christians who claim they do not need the local church. They cloak their pride behind slick spiritual phrases and use the imperfections of the church to excuse their disobedience. No, the church is not perfect which is EXACTLY why you would fit right in!

The following activities do NOT replace the local church:

  • Having coffee (or lunch, or bible study, etc.) with your Christian friends.
  • Watching church online or on your television.
  • Reading the Bible and worshiping on your own.

All of those things mentioned above are GOOD but they are NOT a replacement for your local church. In the future I will write a post on why those things are not a biblical church. Suffice it to say, Paul makes it abundantly clear in the pastoral epistles that the church has an organized structure consisting of ordained elders, qualified deacons, and the sacraments (communion, baptism).

DISCLAIMER: If you live in a community that is hostile towards Christianity and the only way for you to meet is outside of a church structure, that is a different scenario. If you live in the West (which most reading this do) BE OBEDIENT to Hebrews 10:25 by committing to an imperfect, local church.

Share what you are learning!
As Christians we are similar to sponges. As we study Scripture, spend time in prayer, and learn from qualified teachers, we absorb information and application. As we practice these spiritual disciplines daily, we need to “squeeze” ourselves and, like a sponge, allow the information to flow out of us. This does not mean you need to become a preacher; you simply need to encourage others by sharing what you are learning.

This happens informally as you talk with your family and friends. Ask your friends what they have been learning lately through God’s Word and listen to what they have to say. Afterwards, you can share with them what God is teaching you. This process of mutual teaching and encouragement will enable you to grow both in your faith and love for others.

One of the ways I do this is by writing blog posts! Heck, if you have the gift of writing it would be an honor to have YOU feature on tylerramsbey.com! 


These are only a few of the ways you can grow in your faith. What are some of the disciplines YOU practice in your own life that God has used to shape you? Let me know by leaving a comment!