THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING AHEAD
What would happen at your house if it was learned that some special dignitary, royal ambassador, or your mother-in-law, was coming to visit? I don’t know about your house, but here’s the way this would play out in mine. As soon as my wife, Andie, hears that we have company coming (for example her sister who is somewhat OCD) she starts making plans and preparations. A whole menu of cleaning needs to be done, groceries need to be purchased, and plans need to be finalized. Honestly, there have been times when I have heard someone was planning to come by that I have toyed with the idea of keeping the information to myself simply because of the work that I know it will bring.
Another example might be Thanksgiving. I love hosting Thanksgiving for our family. I really enjoy every part of it from the planning to the shopping, the cooking, and even the cleaning afterward. I start planning for Thanksgiving a couple months in advance because it’s such a big deal, and I want it to go well. As one slogan states: “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.” Making everything come together and work out means work ahead of time.
But I am thinking about a totally different and often—I fear—overlooked event. There is a far more important occasion that is taking place this week and I’m challenged and convicted by the amount of attention and preparation that is put into it. This week, and every week, we have an appointment with the creator of the universe. What I have discovered, however, is that people regularly wait until Sunday morning when it’s time to head out the door to put any thought or preparation into this occasion.
Even in the pastor’s house (confession time) this has happened. I’m not talking about the sermon or the music, but some of the basic things. How often I have heard, “I don’t know what I’m going to wear” just moments before it was time to head out the door. How often have I reached for my Bible and notes only to find them not where I expected them to be. We fail to plan and as a result we find ourselves distracted from the purpose of the day.
So, here’s my thought on this Thursday—just a few days from Sunday. Let’s get ready now…in every area of our lives…for this very important occasion and event. Here are some thoughts that I want to personally do (aside from the “pastor stuff” that I need to do) to be better prepared for Sunday, and they are things that you can do as well.
· Pray –
- o Pray for the church service
- o Pray for your heart and mind to be open
- o Pray for the pastor (believe me he needs it)
- o Pray for the people who serve in the service (music, ushers, etc)
- o Pray that God will “show up” on Sunday in church
- o Pray for the people who will be there who have needs
· Rest –
- o Saturday night get to bed earlier rather than later
- o It’s really hard to focus on God in church when you are tired
- o Get up and out of bed earlier rather than later on Sunday morning
I know that it really frustrates Andie, but I try to be in bed no later than 10PM on Saturday nights. It doesn’t matter what movie is on, what company we have, at 10:00 I intend to be in bed. Obviously, my Sunday activities are a little different then most, but the fact is that all of us need to rest if we are to be ready. I think many people succumb to the enemy before their heads leave their pillows Sunday morning. They say, “Oh, I’m just too tired to go to church” and then stay in bed.
· Take Care of the Basics –
- o Decide what you are going to wear the night before and have it ready
- o Keep breakfast simple (Frozen waffles have saved our home numerous times)
- o Be ready for the unexpected as much as possible—go with the flow
I’m actually thinking back to some of our Sunday mornings as a family when our children were younger. We actually drove two cars to church just to avoid some of the stress that can occur on Sunday mornings. One of the things that helped was being prepared the night before. Having the kids clothes out and ready. Showers, baths, whatever were done the night before. We almost always had at least one or two guests (friends of the kids or others) who had spent the night, so we would keep breakfast quick and easy. I know that without thinking ahead there would have been many Sunday morning disasters in our home. Even with preplanning we still faced our share of struggles.
You might be like I was, and didn’t ever really think about working to get ready for Sunday, but I have found that it makes a great difference, and not just because I’m a pastor. I know it will make things better and smoother in your Sunday morning experience too.
So…get ready, and I’ll see you Sunday morning!
I would love to hear from you. Comment here with some of your family experiences (I love the funny ones) and maybe some tips that you have found work best in your home. In addition, jot down some struggles you might face on Sunday morning, perhaps someone will have an answer for you as well.
Pastor Dave “Big D” Bentley