Strange things can happen in a church service, and I’ve seen more than my share. Once we had a young man in our choir who had a bad case of stage fright. The choir had finished singing, and I was just getting ready to preach when the young man suddenly passed out. He was fine, but someone called the paramedics. The medical personnel put the young man in a neck brace and stretcher, wheeled him out to the ambulance, and took him to the hospital.

Fortunately the young man was okay, but the experience reminds me of a similar situation in the Apostle Paul’s ministry. While Paul preached at a late-night church service, one of the young men, Eutychus, fell asleep near a window. Suddenly, Eutychus fell three stories to his death. Paul stopped his preaching and went down to the spot where the young man had fallen. Without commotion, the apostle embraced the young man, and his life was restored. Everyone was so excited that they spent the rest of the night talking and eating. It was a church service no one would ever forget.

It’s great to be in church. It is an environment where we can hear the Word of God and enjoy fellowship with other believers. But the responsibility for providing spiritual nourishment doesn’t just fall on the pastor; each member has a responsibility to physically and mentally prepare himself for worship. That means we may need to break the habit of staying up late on Saturday night so we aren’t tired on Sunday morning. We might need to take more time to get alone and clear our minds so we are able to think through the pastor’s message. This will ensure that we get the most out of each service.

Do you prepare yourself for worship, or is worship something you do by rote? If you want to make each service a worthwhile experience, then consider how you can make it happen. Do you need to adjust your schedule, spend more time praying for the pastor and God’s leading for his message, or study the text ahead of time? You will only get out of a service what you put into it.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.