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An Empowering Presence

Pursuing real worship
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Church As It Was Meant to Be". See series.


Some years ago I had a conversation with a guest after one of our services. It was her first or second time at our church, and she offered some very direct feedback. She looked me in the eye and said, "It was a very nice service this morning. The message was fine. I agree with everything that was said. The music was beautiful and inspiring. It's obvious that everyone is happy to be here. But I want you to know that what goes on here has nothing to do with the real world." She went on to tell me a bit about her world—financial pressures that could cause her to lose her home, a painful relationship, a serious health problem, years of loneliness and disappointment with God. "That's the world I live in," she said, "and this has nothing to do with that." "Thanks for sharing …," I said, and then thought about her comments for a long time. She raised an important question. What does This have to do with That? What's the connection between what goes on in here on Sunday, and what goes on out there in the world all week long?

Some people would say there's no connection, and there's not supposed to be. For them, worship is an escape from the real world. Beautiful music, friendly people, awe-inspiring moments: they don't find much of these things in their everyday lives. That's why they come to church.

But for a lot of other people, the lack of connection is why they don't come to church. Church is irrelevant. In the words of a 30-something church drop-out named Vince, "After 20, 25 minutes, I'm so bored with the people and the presentation that I want outta there! I've got better things to do, like sleep or read the Sunday paper. And I gotta tell you: church wasn't good enough to get me away from my Sunday paper." ...

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Bryan Wilkerson is pastor of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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Sermon Outline:


I. This and That

II. Let's go to church!

III. Real worship

IV. Worship and witness