Key Word:- PREPARE
Title:- A’ Loaded for Bayer!
Isaiah 40:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD;
It was a passing comment regarding the background study done by a member of a Bible study group. His preparation was so impressive that the Kentucky comment went: “Mayan! He come a loaded for bayer!” For British readers the translation, alluding and implication would read “My goodness, he was so well prepared it was as though he had loaded his hunting rifle with munitions sufficient to fell a grizzly bear.” :-) He wasn't taking any prisoners that's for sure.
Now the point of this marvellous saying is the need for preparation. Sunday morning church services are often a bore for many people, maybe for most of us? We come away from our gatherings often unsatisfied and critical over the message or the man, the worship or the Word, the choir or even the chairs we sat on. We wanted to hear from God, we were desperate for His voice. “Anything God!” We asked in desperation, “Say anything! Be angry, be mad, kiss me or kick me, but O God, don't be silent for another week.” Yet, despite all our pleas we come away empty.
I believe Sunday morning shallowness is primarily due to lack of 'Preparation'. Saturday night we watch a movie, stay up late, eat too much and probably talk too much. Sunday morning comes and we literally get up into the mess of the previous night! We then rush around making ourselves outwardly presentable, throw some unhealthy breakfast in us which you can guarantee is going to sit heavy on our stomach and on our bladder. Indeed, half way through the sermon, getting to the toilet without embarrassing ourselves is going to be the main focus of our attention. Add to this, reluctant children or moody teenagers which you drag out of bed and then drag along to church, and by the time you get in the gathering place you end up feeling as though you've done three good rounds with Mike Tyson already and are wishing someone would throw in the towel.
I am sure you could add a number of other Sunday requirements that I have not put on the list, from lunch preparation to crèche duty. Friends, even today's emerging church will have it no less pressurised in the years to come, despite the 'coolness' (never mind the heresy) that comes with the present laid back and lackadaisical approach to gathering together. Just wait until the kids get a little larger!
My point is this: Expectation is killed by lack of preparation. Our gatherings need to be planned for by us, personally! Our hearts, minds and bodies need to be attended to in such a way that they are primed to both adequately give to and receive from the Lord. Spirituality takes effort, prioritization and planning. Sounds like mostly a matter of logistics doesn't it? Well it is! Let me ask you friend. When you gather together with the Lord's people, are you “A' loaded for bayer”? And you preacher, what are you bringing to the table to serve to your now expectant flock? Instant Mashed Potatoes you bought three years ago served out of a greasy little bag? Maybe some internet ordered pre-packaged drivel? Or have you got some present Oracle from God, prepared lovingly on your knees with some sweated integrity? Both preacher and congregation need to think about that, and in the applying of it, think about what a difference it would make to your often-sad little Sundays if you actually prepared for your encounter with God and came a’l oaded for bayer! PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD! I say again, PREPARE!
Listen:- And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. Ezra 7:8-10
Pray:- Lord, help me to prepare my upper room that we might eat and drink together. Oh God I pray, let me prepare to receive that which I need. Amen.