A Spiritual Time Change

March 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This weekend we change our clocks– we spring forward. spring-forward-2

I don’t know about you, but I like the time changes. Yeah, springing forward makes us lose an hour… But it stays light later. And when we fall back, we gain an hour and it’s light earlier.

I guess I just like the change. It creates variety and spices things up a little.

I was thinking about the idea of “time change” and have decided that there’s a spiritual lesson here– not specifically about gaing or losing time– but rather, about how we spend it.

For the last few months, our chuch has been in a series called “Encountering God”. We’ve been looking at people in the Bible whose lives have been dramatically changed by an encounter with the Living God. Moses, Abraham, and Isaiah encountered God and their lives were altered forever.

One thing that changed is how they spent their time. We can see that what they did changed after they were called by God. This change in activity or behavior, however, was the result of an initial change in who they were. Moses goes from a rural shepherd to a national emancipater; Abraham goes from a childless rancher to the father of a nation; Iaiah goes from a regal communicator to a prophet of God. In each case a change in their identity preceded a change in their mission/activity– in how they spent their time.

I believe the same is true today for everyone who encounters God.

I say all this to get to a real practical issue. One that those inside the church world all have to deal with– especially this time of year:

How do we get people to make it to church on time?

It all has to do with SEX.

(Actually it doesn’t, but I knew that I would lose most of my non-church staff readers with my statement about getting to church on time… See, I had a professor in seminary who once said in a preaching class, “If you feel like you are losing the audience say the word ‘sexand you’ll get them back”. I just would like you to continue and hear me out.)

Before I climb up on my soap box (which is actually quite difficult to find in today’s modern world), let me say that I have relaxed a great deal in my time sensitivity when it comes to church. Mostly because trying to get people to church on time is an exercise in futility (if you think that moving the starting time back 15 minutes will solve the problem, you will discover that you really have just given folks 15 minutes more at home).

So, my goal is not to make you feel guilty about getting to church on time– but I do want you to consider something that perhaps you’ve never thought about before– especially in a small church like I’m involved in right now:

People visiting our church show up early.

Obviously, since they are entering the unknown they don’t want to stick out by stumbling in late. Now here’s they irony– when they are early and everyone else is late– THEY STICK OUT MORE.

I think you’d get a kick out of me and the worship team trying to assure our visitors that there really will be a service and they actually are in a church… Even though there is only four people here with 2 minutes to go until the start of the service.

So here’s the thing… I don’t want you to feel rushed on Sunday morning. I want you to relax and enjoy the ride to church. But I also would love to have other who are investigating our church (Grace2f ) to meet some folks before the service– I mean you all ARE the church!

I’d like them to feel greeted and welcome. I’d like for them to NOT stick out if they want to.

Maybe part of the “time change” for all of us is to give some time to Sunday morning before the service. Time that we’ve set aside for whoever and whatever else God may have in store that day. Maybe you’ll actually enjoy it.

Before closing, let me state the obvious: I am the pastor– so I have to be there early. Maybe that’s why this is an issue that’s big enough for me to write 800 words about (actually it’s only 716 on my “word count” right now… but I ain’t finished). Maybe I want you there early so that I can feel good about myself and the church. Maybe I need to continue relaxing and roll with it more. Maybe…

… But then again, maybe not. Maybe God wants you (and me) to consider these things.

I will now dismount my soap box.

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