Chocolate and Brussel Sprouts!
I used the rather weird combination of chocolate and Brussel sprouts in church one day to illustrate that we often get surprises that we were not expecting! I wrapped up both round truffles and Brussel sprouts in wrapping paper. They looked identical as I gave them out to the children. I had a mixture of reactions!
I asked the congregation what they were expecting as they came to church that day? I had a variety of answers. There are Christians in many churches who go to church not expecting much. But what should we expect?
1. Expect to participate – bring something to build the church
Worship is active, not passive as it says in 1 Cor 14:26
“What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church”.
Each of us can bring or do something – make the tea, welcome people, play the music, drive the technology, pray etc
- Expect God to move
I had the opportunity of visiting a church in India last year. Many people came to church from some distance ready for the 7am (!) service. They arrived with great expectation that God was going to do something. Many people have been converted from a faith where statue gods are worshipped but do not respond. Now they have discovered Jesus, a living God, who has touched their lives with deep forgiveness, His healing power, joy and eternal life. He changes lives and circumstances and answers prayer. No wonder they praise with passion and expectation!
So, why don’t all Christians go to church saying ‘What are You going to do today God?’ Maybe it’s because some haven’t seen God at work in power, so are not sure that He can or will…? Or maybe some are comfortable in their routine and are not used to expecting anything? Do not underestimate the power of praise and worship.
3. Expect the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin
We come to Him, confess our sin (not just saying sorry but saying I did it), receive forgiveness and be free.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Unforgiveness is a major problem for Christians, but forgiveness brings freedom
- Expect to be strengthened and challenged by God’s word
Colossians 1:3-6 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints — the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.
- Expect to have prayers answered
Share answers to prayer with each other and start each day as David did in Psalm 5 v1-3 “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation”.
- Expect to be equipped for the week ahead
Gods promise threaded through the Bible ‘I will be with you’ (Ex 3v12) That’s HUGE. Also Heb 13v5 I will never leave you nor forsake you’
What are YOU expecting this Sunday?