and his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. [2 corinthians 7:15]
as you sit under teaching on a wednesday night, or at lot family on a sunday, how do you receive the word? how do you receive the teacher of the word?
we often talk about our consumer culture, we are so accustomed to being entertained and coddled. we come to church to “get.” to “take.” we want the sermon to apply to our situation, we want the worship team to play songs that stir our emotions. we want others to pursue us, ask us how we are doing in our sin, we want others to pray for us. i am not immune to this–i often don’t prepare my heart for the sermon, don’t position myself to serve.
the corinthians, after being rebuked by paul in his letters reoriented their hearts, they made preparation for titus, they opened themselves to him, served him, received his word, and didn’t just receive it, they obeyed and trembled with awe, because he was bringing them the truth, the very words of God.
how can we emulate the corinthians in this?
prepare your heart.
if you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. [job 11:13]
don’t just rush into service, or into lot family with no separation from the rest of your busy day; take time, be still and pray that the Lord would allow you to receive the teaching and preaching, that you will not be swayed with the worldly distractions–(i know this is difficult, i have kids!) stretch your arms out to God and plead for his presence!
don’t just come to “get.” don’t just come to “take.”
There is a sovereign design to all of this.
 for by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [colossians 1:16-17]
there is a sovereign design to what lot family you are in, where you sit in a church service. instead of looking up at marc or john or the worship team or your lot family leader and saying “ok, impress me”, obey the call to receive the word and then pursue others with truth! let the message take root, be ready to text someone with something that impacted, ready to pray for someone who sat next to your family, if you didn’t make it to the wednesday service, listen or watch the sermon before you arrive at lot family so you can come ready to be vulnerable and share about what you learned!
encourage your leaders.
 we ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,  and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. be at peace among yourselves. [1 thessalonians 5:12-13]
titus was honored well for his role as a teacher and messenger. it stirred his affections to see the obedience to the truth and the repentance that the Corinthians sought after being rebuked by paul. oh, that we might love our leaders well, not obeying just because they say we should, but stirred to action, desiring to really pursue God, love Christ, and love others.
pursue god’s presence.
we have access to God by the blood Christ and through the Holy Spirit-when we really understand that we are in his presence–that we are in him, he is in us, our “getting” and “taking” mindset will cease:
 then i looked, and i heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,  saying with a loud voice, “worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” [revelation 5:11-12]
there is fear and trembling. there is awe, joy, and wonder. there is no shred of pride, there is no shred of boasting, there is no shred of coming to “get”.
let us prepare our hearts. let us come to give. let us come to encourage. let us come to worship the Lamb of God!