I have to admit that I am a bit of a baseball junkie. I have followed baseball since childhood when I listened to my first game on a transistor radio (for those who don't know what one is, google it!). Don Drysdale was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite growing up less than two hours from Pittsburgh, I became a rabid Dodger fan until my wife, children, and I moved to San Diego in 1988. I "converted" to being a Padres fan and enjoyed watching the great Tony Gwynn master the art of hitting into the 5.5 hole.
If I haven't lost you, let me get to my point. San Diego is a beautiful city for baseball. There are many distractions that keep people from going to games - the mountains, surf, zoo, wild animal park, museums, water parks, etc. - all compete for people's attention. I loved going to games at the old ballpark - Jack Murphy Stadium (I know it's called Qualcomm not but the old name just sounds better). The new stadium, Petco Park, is absolutely gorgeous - a great place to watch a game. I've enjoyed taking my youngest daughter, Bekah, there on two occasions. I get a thrill just walking into the stadium. I love the smell of the ballpark (not just the brauts!). The rich green grass, pristine white chalk lines and brown base paths simply take my breath away! And when the Padres take the field, the fans go crazy letting the team know they are behind them all the way! When we are there, we expect the team to win.
Shouldn't that be the same feeling when we go to church? Shouldn't worship be a time when believers gather together to experience the awe of being in the presence of Almighty God? Shouldn't it be a heart-stopping, life-changing, celebration of the Lord of the universe? Why do we let so many other things distract us from going, and even when we are there, distract us from what our focus is to be? We worry to much about little things. Insignificant things. Petty things. We allow the temporal to keep us from the Eternal. Does God sense our "support?" Do other believers?
Some people think that it's the pastor's job to make things exciting. I agree that all church leaders have a responsibility to eliminate distractions and center the focus on God. At the same time, every believer walking in to the "stadium" has a responsibility to support the "home team." You have to come expecting to win.