Listening should be our number one priority when we walk into church. We may be well trained at doing this for an hour or so. We may listen to the pastor speak, we may nod, we may hear about church happenings and events and we may even put them on our mental calendar! We stand up, we sing songs such as "Open the eyes of my heart Lord... I want to see You," or "My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like you... " But then what happens? Church ends and we get up to wish everyone well for the week to come, share a few laughs, give a few hugs. Then we go on about our life. Yes, we may feel an extra little pep in our step for a moment, but does it last? Do you work to make sure that it lasts? Many of us don't. We move on through the week slowly creeping back to our foolish, selfish ways... letting God drift further and further away. Well... until the next Sunday.
It is always best to come honestly before God (I mean, he knows everything anyways... you cannot hide). "Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth with declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." - Psalms 51:15-17 (NIV)
Doing anything part way is never the key. Going to church and not giving your whole self is pointless. God just doesn't want you to sign off on an attendance sheet and he surely doesn't want your payment in the form of tithing to justify forgiveness for your foolish ways. No. He wants you to come before him, praise Him, worship Him, learn from the teachers he has sent to you... and do this all with YOUR WHOLE HEART!
Yes, sometimes it is hard to focus when we have so many earthly things going on in our head. But make a point... this weekend when you attend church... to remember why you are there. It is not to just socialize, or catch up on Facebook, or write a mental grocery list, or even to count how many blue cars drive by. In fact, consider it a dinner date with God - a time to fill yourself of spiritual food. Then, use that food to begin fueling your week. Just don't forget to turn to God daily to keep that fire burning.
I'll end with a little side of Whitney & Mariah for ya..