Preaching Magazine 001 Illustrations

In his book Worship: Beholding the Beauty of the Lord (Crossway), Skip Ryan reminds us, “Worship is not a matter of talking about the Lord. It is experiencing the Lord.  . . . You can’t analyze and worship at the same time.

“I learned a lot about football when my son played in high school. I was never much of an athlete myself, so in the Lord’s humor and delight, He gave me a son who is. I learned about wide receivers and the patterns that they are to run. Chris’ playbook was tattered and dog-eared. He practiced. He drilled. He counted his steps before he cut left and darted to the sideline. He ran every play a dozen times Monday to Thursday. But on Friday night, when the lights were on and the stadium was electric, at his best Chris was amazingly unself-conscious as he ran fifty yards, darted to the left, looked over his shoulder, leaped horizontally through the air, grabbed the ball, and landed in the end zone – much to the cheers of his dad.

“Sometimes when we worship we keep running the plays, rather than playing the game with a degree of self-forgetfulness that means we are seeking only one thing.

“In the words of C.S. Lewis, ‘As long as you notice and have to remember the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes or light or print or spelling. The perfect church service would be one where we are almost unaware of it. Our attention would be on God.’”