How to Prepare for Worship

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life, leaving little time or energy to prepare our hearts and minds for the Sunday worship assembly. We often show up to church gatherings feeling distracted, exhausted, or preoccupied with the cares of the world. This episode of the Radically Christian Bible Study Podcast tackles these challenges head-on, exploring practical ways to cultivate a mindset that is truly focused on worshiping God and encouraging our fellow believers.

Drawing from the teachings of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3, the conversation delves into the importance of setting our minds on things above, rather than being consumed by the fleeting concerns of this world. Today’s guest, Daniel Dalp, helps unpack the biblical concept of corporate worship and the role it plays in shaping our spiritual lives. Wes and Daniel also examine the communal aspect of worship, highlighting the need to encourage and uplift one another, and how our mindset can either foster or hinder that process.

Daniel Dalp is the creator and host of the brand new podcast, “For Your Sunday Morning Drive.” Dalp’s unique perspective stems from his own experience as a preacher and his desire to help others prepare their hearts and minds for meaningful worship. With a keen understanding of the challenges families face on Sunday mornings, he offers practical tips and insights to help listeners cultivate a worshipful attitude, even during the journey to the church building.

Links and Resources

Transcript (Credit: Beth Tabor)

Welcome to the Radically Christian Bible Study Podcast. I’m your host, Wes McAdams. Here we have one goal: Learn to love like Jesus. Today we’re visiting with my friend, Daniel Dalp, about his new podcast, “For Your Sunday Morning Drive.” It’s all about helping Christians prepare themselves mentally and emotionally to worship God, but also to encourage each other on Sunday mornings. 

Before we get to the podcast, I want to thank Freed‑Hardeman University’s Graduate School of Theology. They’ve been sponsoring the podcast over the last few months, and I really appreciate their sponsorship, and I also appreciate what they’re doing for the kingdom of God. We’ve been telling you about their master’s and doctorate‑level programs, how they offer a unique blend of academic rigor, spiritual formation, and practical application to both deepen your understanding of scripture, but also sharpen your ministry skills. They offer flexible online courses, so of course you can pursue your graduate degree from anywhere in the world. Right now, in order to make it more affordable, all application fees are being waived and scholarships are available. So if you want to find out more about Freed‑Hardeman University’s Graduate School of Theology, visit  And, also, I want to mention that this will be the final podcast for this spring season. We’re going to take a break over the summer. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on personally and also in the church here, and so we’re going to take a few months’ break, but please stay subscribed so that, in the fall, when we relaunch the podcast, you will get all of the new episodes. And take this opportunity to share the podcast with other people so that when we relaunch in the fall, we’ll have a lot of new Bible studies, a lot of new guests, and we’ll be able to, as always, encourage each other to love like Jesus. 

But before we do anything else, I want to read from Colossians chapter 3, starting in verse 1. Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” 

As always, I hope today’s Bible study and discussion is an encouragement to you, and I hope that it helps all of us learn to love like Jesus.

WES: Daniel Dalp, welcome to the podcast, Brother.

DANIEL: Hey, Wes, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it, man.

WES: It is good to get to visit. I’ve known you, we’ve been sort of connected online for a lot of years, but it’s good to finally have you on the podcast.

DANIEL: Yeah, it’s interesting to see those circles that we all kind of run in but we don’t really ever interact, but I’m certainly excited to be here.

WES: Well, I’m excited about your new work, your new podcast. It’s really fantastic. It’s really unique, and I’m excited to talk about what it is, help people to understand about it and check it out, hopefully, but also how it got started and where the idea came from. So tell us about the podcast and what made you think of it.

DANIEL: Absolutely. So the podcast is called “For Your Sunday Morning Drive,” and how it kind of developed is I have about an hour‑and‑15‑minute drive to work with the congregation in Hawesville, Kentucky, and it was really kind of just dead space, right, where ‑‑ we get ready, we’re in this mad rush to leave the house and make sure everybody is ready to go to worship, and then there’s this hour‑and‑15‑minute lull where I’m like, I don’t know what to do here. And then we get there ‑‑ and I think you’re probably familiar with it, too. I won’t speak for you, though, but as a preacher, you have all of these things that you have to prep and make sure that this is ready, and it kind of felt like, on the way there, I was losing the intentionality behind worship. And so I would listen to a bunch of brotherhood podcasts, yours, and then there’s just so many others that are out there right now, and they’re all doing such good works, and it was really helpful for me to kind of help recenter my mind. 

And as I was driving, I would stop and I would share one of these posts, if I found one of these podcasts to be specifically really helpful, and I would say, “Well, here’s some thoughts for your Sunday morning drive,” and that kind of got me thinking. And the more I thought about it, I said, you know, this could be a really interesting space to fill and something that could help a lot of people, and if they’re having the same issues that I’m having with making sure I’m prepared for worship, then let me see if I can help them. So that’s kind of where the idea came from. They’re short, really digestible episodes with that intentionality behind it to help prepare our minds for worship.

WES: Yeah. Well, to say that they’re short might be a little bit of an understatement because I think that I listened to all of the episodes on my drive from my house to the church building, which is not nearly as far as your drive from your house to your church building. So they’re, what, about five minutes long?

DANIEL: Right. I try to keep it around five minutes long. The format is they ‑‑ you know, there’s a prompt to kind of help move you along and focus your mind spiritually, and then there’s some discussion questions at the end. And I think, at the time of this recording ‑‑ I don’t know when it’s going to come out, but there’s about five episodes, and I’ve got one in the chamber for Sunday, so… 

WES: That’s fantastic. Well, they’re short enough that I think families with even young kids that don’t have a long attention span ‑‑ I think families, no matter what their situation is or how long their commute from their house to their church building might be, I think everybody can get something out of it, has time to listen to it, and then even the discussion question is probably my favorite part of it ‑‑ maybe my second favorite part.  My first favorite part is the intro that you play every week, the little girl that asks ‑‑ or the little boy, I don’t know which ‑‑ that says, “Are we there yet?” Is that your family or is that ‑‑ 

DANIEL: That’s my daughter, Evelyn. She’s six, and she saw me down there with a microphone and she’s like, “Dad, what are you doing?” And I was like, “Oh, come here and I’ll show you.” And so she’s like, “Can I do it?” And that’s kind of where that came from. And, yeah, she steals the show, as far as I’m concerned.

WES: I love it. I love it. Yeah, that is definitely my favorite part of the show. You hear the car start, the door close, and she asks, “Are we there yet?” And it’s really, really good, and I really think people can get a lot out of it, and I think the mindset behind it, the intention behind it is really important.  But, in fact, speaking of mindset, one of the things that you quote every week is Colossians 3:2 about setting our mind on things above, not on things that are on earth. So let’s talk about that idea behind Colossians 3, that passage there, and why setting our mind on certain things, setting our mind on things above, why is it so important, not just for Sunday morning, but all the time.

DANIEL: Well, I think if we look at Colossians as a book, it has, of course, some amazing application to it, and if we are narrowing our view specifically to Colossians 3, there’s this list of things that Paul tells us to stay away from, right? He says you set your mind above because that’s where Jesus is, that’s where Christ is, on these above aspects of our lives. And if we look at our motivations for, like you said, not just Sunday mornings, but every day, our intentionality informs our purpose, right? So if I’m going to go throughout my day and just live however I want without purposefully directing my mind to God, then of course I’m going to move all over the place spiritually, and, I mean, I don’t think that’s any more important than whenever we’re coming before God in worship.

WES: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think the church at Colossae is dealing with so many different philosophies and ideas and things that distract them or get them focused on something other than Jesus, and Paul’s point throughout the whole book is the supremacy of Christ and how, if you have Jesus, you have everything, that he is the beginning and the end of knowledge and understanding, that if you have Jesus, then you have all that you need, and how many philosophies there were that they were dealing with that were pulling their minds away from Jesus. 

And I think about the world in which we live and how many voices with which we’re bombarded constantly, and so ‑‑ not just on our drive to worship on Sunday morning, but every moment of our life we are bombarded with advertising and we’re bombarded with podcasts and with YouTube and with social media, and there’s so many voices that are competing for our attention and our affection that I think that Christians are ‑‑ to just be able to sit down in worship or throughout their day, throughout their week, to be able to focus on Jesus, I think, is so difficult. It’s always been difficult in many ways, but I think especially today, in our culture, it is incredibly difficult because, again, even after we turn the radio off or we turn the podcast off or we turn off the computer, those things are still going through our mind and we’re still just kind of swimming in a noisy cacophony of all of these ideas and thoughts.

DANIEL: And worldliness, right? There’s just so ‑‑ we can’t escape it. It’s always around us. And I don’t think that’s any more evident than whenever we look at, you know, just everything that’s infiltrating through media, and like you said, just you turn on any screen and it’s there, and we’re supposed to ‑‑ according to Colossians 3, we’re dead to these things, right? We’re no longer involved in them: immorality, impurity, greed, evil passions. All of these things are to be set aside because we’ve been made new in Jesus. And how do we claim to be made new in Jesus if we’re still living over here with the old mindset? It’s certainly something to think about, and we should inform our decisions by that.

WES: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I think anything that can help us to recenter, reorient, refocus our minds on Jesus on any day of the week is valuable, but especially on Sunday. I always like to say ‑‑ there’s a silly little saying that I say all the time, is that Sunday not only makes for a better week, it makes for a better life, that when you gather with other Christians and you share the bread and you share the cup and you sing these songs together and you go through these things on a weekly basis, it transforms us. I think that worship and that gathering, that corporate worship, that collective gathering of people all focused on Jesus and worshiping him, I think it’s supposed to be transformational. 

So let’s talk about that specifically. Where do you think most families’ minds are? What’s the struggle here? When we show up for the assembly on Sunday morning, what’s the struggle?

DANIEL: And I don’t want to speak for everybody, but I’ll just speak from my perspective. I think Sunday mornings ‑‑ they can be stressful, they can be this awkward, empty space. You know, we don’t really know what to do with ourselves during this time period before we start worship, and I think a lot of it comes from this autopilot mindset that sometimes we can get in, right? And then we wonder why maybe I don’t feel like I’m getting a lot out of worship or I don’t feel like I can put a lot into worship. 

Whenever we are on the way to church or on the way to meet with our brethren and we’re getting there and we’ve spent all this time rushing and getting ready to put on our Sunday best ‑‑ and I know you’ve had episodes where you’ve talked about that in the past, but that should be more of a mindset, right? I’m making my mind right for worship, and then we walk into the building and, all of a sudden, we’re expected to, like, flip this switch and, “Okay, I’m here, I’m ready to learn in Bible class, I’m ready to be here for worship,” and I don’t really think it works that way. I think it’s more about building up to that and really putting ourselves, everything that we have, into worshiping God in Spirit and truth. I think a lot of families ‑‑ at least I know mine does, we kind of struggle with that idea of ‑‑ there’s so many things pulling at our attention. Let’s talk about the drive there to begin with. A lot of times, you know, we’re already talking about what we’re going to do after church before we even get into worship. How are we expected to worship God in a substantial way if we’re already thinking about when this thing gets out, right? It’s certainly worth, I think, a thought and preparing our hearts accordingly to that.

WES: Yeah. I’m so incredibly thankful for my parents, particularly my mom. When we were growing up, she was adamant that, on Sunday mornings, the television did not come on, that we listened to things that were edifying and encouraging and would sort of put us in the right mindset for the worship assembly, but I don’t think that that’s common. I don’t know. Again, you only know what you know, you only know what you’ve experienced. And so I feel like there is ‑‑ maybe the best analogy for me is like having a meal, that ‑‑ when I was growing up, again, my mom would tell me, you know, you can’t eat that because it’ll ruin your appetite. You’ll ruin your dinner if you eat this thing. So you wouldn’t eat a candy bar right before you sat down for a meal, and if you did, you probably wouldn’t have an appetite for the meal. Even though the meal is better and you might actually enjoy the roast and the potatoes and the bread, but because you

ruined your appetite on a piece of chocolate, now you really don’t have an appetite for that because you ruined it with junk food. 

And I feel like, not just on Sunday morning, but even on Saturday night, if we don’t go to bed on time, if we don’t think about the mindset we’re going to be in, the mood we’re going to be in, if we are just constantly filling ourselves with junk food of entertainment and we’re watching movies and we’re watching television and we’re streaming some series on our phone, then when we get to worship, of course our attention span is not going to be what it’s supposed to be. We’re not going to have the right ‑‑ again, I keep coming back to the word mindset, but it’s also about our emotionality, and we’re really not ‑‑ we’re not in the right space. We’re not in the right frame of mind to think about the Lord and his holiness and to be filled up with those things. We may want to, but sometimes I say, you know, our want to isn’t what it’s supposed to be. You know, we want to want to, but, in reality, we don’t really want to be there. We don’t want to be listening to a sermon or a Bible class or be singing these songs because our heart and our mind has been given over to these things that may, in and of themselves, not be wrong. The show you’re streaming may not be wrong, but it’s junk food and it’s distracting you even after it’s turned off. It’s distracting you from the worship.

DANIEL: Yeah. And I’m glad you brought up that point about, you know, getting to bed on time, right? That has such a huge impact on the rest of our day. And I had a brother in Christ, he’s since passed, Jim Clem, but whenever ‑‑ he was a Bible class teacher when I was in high school, and he would always ‑‑ you know, he’d see all of us, our youth group, walk in bleary‑eyed and exhausted from staying up to who knows how early in the morning, and he would say, “Daniel, worship starts on Saturday night.” And I’d always ask him, “What does that mean?” He goes, “You prepare your mind, you prepare your heart, and you make sure you’re prepared to be in worship on the Lord’s Day.” And, you know, we typically wouldn’t do that with our jobs; we wouldn’t do that with any kind of family gathering. We’d make sure we were adequately prepared. It’s concerning, I think, that, on some level, we’ve relegated worship to the bottom of that list when it certainly should be up at the top.

WES: Yeah. Well, I’ve never really thought about it this way, but the Jewish calendar ‑‑ in fact, you could even say the Biblical calendar that starts with the days of creation, it begins with evening and then morning. It doesn’t begin with morning and then evening, the way we typically think of a day. In the West, we tend to think of there’s morning, and then there’s evening later on, but the Biblical creation account gives us ‑‑ there’s evening and then there’s morning, that, really, in some ways, Sunday should begin ‑‑ like your Bible class teacher said, it should begin on Saturday night. And so Saturday night we should be welcoming in the Lord’s day, welcoming in this day on which we’re going to gather together with our brothers and sisters and not only learn, but also worship, and you just have to be in the right mindset for that. We wouldn’t take a test, we wouldn’t encourage our kids to go to school and take some big test ‑‑ the ACT or SAT, we wouldn’t encourage them to take that without sleeping and eating well and being rested in order to go into that, or if there was going to be a big day at school tomorrow, we’d want to be well‑rested for that. But, for some reason, we take for granted this huge blessing and responsibility of coming before the throne of God and offering up the fruit of our lips, the sacrifice to God of praise, and we’re just exhausted, we’re thinking about other things, we’re dozing off, and we’re really not where we’re supposed to be.

DANIEL: Yeah. And you’ve got to imagine, how does God feel about that, right? I mean, it impacts so many areas of our life, especially on a Sunday, right, whenever we’re thinking about the Lord’s Supper and in a worthy manner. Are we really doing that? Are we really there? And then there’s also the aspect of what are we doing for everyone else, our brothers and sisters, right?

WES: Yeah. Well, that’s exactly what I want to get to next, is so often we talk about what we get out of it, and I think we shortchange ourselves when we show up and we’re not in the right frame of mind for what we’re doing. We shortchange ourselves and we don’t get out of it what we should. 

But you used a phrase earlier about “put into it,” and I think sometimes we ‑‑ not only do we neglect the putting into it as far as what we’re offering to the Lord, but Hebrews 10, when the Hebrew writer talks about the assembly, he’s talking, in context, about stirring one another up and encouraging one another. I mean, I could worship by myself, and I do, and I should worship by myself. All of us should, you know, spend time in prayer. If you’re praying, you’re worshiping God. If you’re singing in your car, you’re worshiping God. But there’s something to this gathering together, and part of why we gather together is to encourage each other and stir up one another. Let’s talk about that for a second and just ‑‑ if we’re not in the right mindset when we show up, how does that impact the other people that are gathered with us?

DANIEL: Sure. And I love the word that you used, this offering that we’re bringing to the table, right? Because if we go all the way back to the beginning and we think of the sacrifices that were given to God, he always, always wanted the best to be given from his people. You know, we look at the rejection of Cain’s sacrifice, we look at Malachi, where, you know, the priest gave that which was defiled, right? But then we ‑‑ in the New Testament, we also have the aspect of saying, you know, this sacrifice I’m offering up to God, it involves more than just me because I’m also impacting my brothers and sisters. You know, we look at Hebrews 10:24‑25, and so often we relegate that verse to ‑‑ whether or not that’s correct, right? There’s also discussion on that ‑‑ to saying ‑‑ you know, that’s the you‑have‑to‑show‑up verse. And I get it, right? Because if I’m going to be stirring up my brothers and sisters to good works, part of that is you got to be there, right? 

But we also look at the aspect of ‑‑ I think when we come to the aspect of putting on our Sunday best mentally, we’re doing that because I’m going to go and I’m going to uplift my brethren with song, and I’m going to be there with them as they’re praying, and I’m going to comfort them, and I’m going to love them, and I’m going to encourage them through my fellowship. If we’re not stirring up and encouraging our brethren, or if we’re not in a place to do that, that might be the Sunday, that might be the day that they need us to do that. And if we’re not coming to the table prepared, we’re not just letting God down, which should be our first and foremost priority, but we’re also having an impact on those that are also trying to worship, and I think we’ve all experienced that. We look around and, regardless if we should be doing that or not on a Sunday morning, we notice, right? And it can dampen our worship. It can really start to bring things down and discourage us.

WES: Yeah. Well, you mentioned “I don’t know if we should do that or not,” the looking around. I think we should. I think ‑‑ I really think we should, not in a “we want to catch people sleeping” or “we want to catch people distracted” kind of thing, but we ‑‑ not in a judgmental way, but that’s sort of the beauty and the joy of it. In fact, I was in a building that was very much unlike the building in which I worship, that their auditorium where they do their worship gathering was very dark, you know, very little lights over the seats, and all of the lights were on the stage. And I just thought, what would it be like to be here on a Sunday morning? I wasn’t there on a Sunday morning, but I just was thinking, you can’t see anybody. You can’t see your brothers and sisters. What’s the point? 

And I feel like so many people, over time, will get to the point where they are asking, if they’re not already, why come if ‑‑ especially if your congregation live streams, you know, why be here at all in person if all I’m doing is sitting in a dark seat watching people on a stage or listening to people on a stage? I think the whole point of a gathering is that this is coming to ‑‑ you used the word “table.” We’re a family that’s centered around a table, and if my family shows up at the dinner table, you can’t just be an individual that’s like, “Hey, I don’t want to talk to anybody. I don’t want to look at anybody. I’m just here to eat.” You know, “I don’t want you looking at me. Keep your eyes to yourself.” 

DANIEL: Sometimes. 

WES: Yeah, sometimes, right? But that’s not the way it should be. And when we come to a family table, it is about spending time with the Father and spending time with the Son, but it’s also about spending time with the brothers and sisters, and we have to have that mentality when we get there. 

I think about Paul’s admonition to the church at Corinth, that they were taking the Lord’s Supper without, he says, discerning the body. And I think, there, it kind of has a double meaning. It’s the body of Jesus, I think, but also the body of Christ, the brothers and sisters in Christ, because they weren’t thinking about each other and they were eating while another person hadn’t even shown up yet, and they weren’t waiting for each other and they weren’t making this meal a communal meal, a family meal. They were focused on getting full individually and forgetting each other. And I think we can do the same thing if we just show up with this mentality that’s like, “Well, at least I’m here. I’ve checked the box. I’m here.” 

DANIEL: Right, yeah. And I love that you brought that up, Wes, because I think that a lot of times, whenever we look at the verses we’re discussing, there can be that danger to say, well, this is ‑‑ I’m just going to show up, and at least I’m showing up, right? As preachers, we get to look at everybody and we see everything that’s happening out there in the audience, right? And what’s so great about that on a Sunday morning is ‑‑ my favorite part is looking and seeing the kids, right? How are the kids involved? Because we have a ton of little ones at Hawesville, and it’s such a joy to be able to see them and their crazy antics and everything that’s going on, right? That’s uplifting. It’s also uplifting to be able to see your brethren looking at a new mom or looking at someone that’s struggling with their kids and you see, instead of people looking around in judgment, “I’m going to go and help this person. I want to share the love of Jesus and show that.” That’s incredibly uplifting. 

And I think whenever we look at forsaking the assembly, we need to widen our scope, right? We need to look at that more in terms of how am I forsaking my brethren even though I’m still here, than in terms of, well, that’s just about showing up to worship, because I can be present in worship and still not be fully engaged and still be forsaking my brethren.

WES: Yeah. Yeah, and if we come ‑‑ even that idea of getting something out of it might ‑‑ even that idea ‑‑ and I think you should get something out of it. I think you should receive a blessing by being there. But so often, I think that idea that “I’m here to get something,” that even gets in the way of giving something, and then we might actually be not getting something because we’re not giving something. Because there’s this reciprocal loving one another, and it’s only in that, when you give, that you actually receive, and I think sometimes, when we show up where we think of the stage, as it were, we think of the podium ‑‑ we think of that as our content device and we’re just listening to content. Then the other people in the room are only potential distractions, and we say things like, “Well, their kids were so distracting this morning,” or “That person was so distracting this morning; they really kept me from worshiping,” as if it’s all about ourselves, rather than, like you said, if we see them as somebody who ‑‑ “I’m so thankful they’re here,” and “Wow, maybe this is their first time. Maybe they’ve not been to worship before. How can I help them? How can I serve them? How can I encourage them?” It’s in that loving each other and stirring each other up to love and good works ‑‑ that’s where we actually do receive the blessing, and we’re not receiving that blessing because we’re showing up to get rather than to give, I think.

DANIEL: I think there’s a certain level of humility that we have to still have, right, when we’re coming to the throne of God in worship and we’re looking around and we’re seeing all of our brothers and sisters that are there with us. We want them to feel as encouraged as we are, and if we’re not encouraged and if we’re not in the space to encourage, maybe that’s something we need to work on. Are we going to be there, you know, every single time? Well, probably not, because we’re going to have stuff going on in our lives that’s ‑‑ which is also one of the reasons we come to worship, right, and that we assemble and we fellowship with each other, is so that we can be lifted up. And I agree; I think it needs to be ‑‑ instead of this constant thought of “What am I getting out of worship” ‑‑ especially if that’s a decision that’s made not to come, right? It kind of presents itself as, “Well, I’m trying to steal this thing away from God and just hoard it all to myself,” when, in reality, I’m there to give worship to God and to encourage my brethren to give more.

WES: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s amazing how all of that is enhanced by everyone else that’s there, especially when everyone else that’s there ‑‑ when we all have the same mindset. I think often about this family that I know, not here at McDermott where I am now, but where I used to be. But there was this mom who would sometimes come with her son who has Down’s syndrome, and her son was a big boy. He’s bigger than she is. And so if he decided that he was going to go somewhere or do something, there was very little she could do to stop him, and sometimes he would come up onto the stage. He’d come behind the pulpit where I was, and I loved those moments. And I would just ‑‑ I’d sit down by him. Sometimes if there’d be a song leader up there leading singing, then he would just kind of wander up to the stage and maybe sit on the pew behind or just sit on the floor, and I’d come up there behind him and I would just sit behind him. I’d put my arm around him and we’d just sit there until he decided ‑‑ ’cause I couldn’t move him, either ‑‑ until he decided he was done and he wanted to go back with his mom. And she was so embarrassed and she was so apologetic, and she would say, “Well, we don’t need to come,” and “I’m sorry we were here,” and “I’m sorry we were a distraction.” And I said, “No, you being here makes us better people. This is why we are all here, and it makes us better by caring for each other.” 

And I think about what the first‑century gatherings must have been like. You know, sometimes they gathered in a rich person’s home, but I’m sure sometimes they gathered in whatever home or structure they could find. And to this day, we have brothers and sisters around the world where it’s not unusual for a chicken or a goat or a child with special needs or a baby ‑‑ and they all cared for each other, and it wasn’t a professional production. It was a matter of mutual encouragement and participation, and they’re all gathered there as co‑contributors to this offering that we’re giving to the Lord and this love that we’re giving to each other.

DANIEL: I’m so glad you mentioned that last part, Wes, because sometimes one of the reasons we get ‑‑ I guess persnickety is the word I’ll use about what happens during worship is because, to be honest, sometimes it comes off as quite performative. And we get this idea ‑‑ let’s use babies crying because that’s the most common one, right? They’re going to mess up our audio or ‑‑ my goodness, what an un‑Christian attitude to have. And I haven’t always been the best at keeping that good mindset and showing people the grace that they need, but the people that are around us and are worshiping with us, especially if there’s a visitor there, they’re going to know that we are Christians by our love, right? And how we handle ourselves in these situations, it can mean the world to somebody. And if we handle it the wrong way ‑‑ and, you know, I’m sure ‑‑ I know I’ve done that occasionally ‑‑ that can rob someone of their joy and of their ability to focus during worship because now you’re thinking about, “Well, look how he responded to that,” and “Do I belong here?” And “Am I good enough to worship God?” Well, the answer to that is of course you belong here, right? Shame on us whenever we make it more about the production or make it a production instead of worship.

WES: Yeah. Amen. Amen, Brother. This is why I get so excited about the thought behind your podcast, that even just these five minutes can help ‑‑ I hope that people start earlier than that, but just this five minutes, and then maybe even the discussion that is generated from listening to your podcast, but if you can help two or three or four or five or six or seven or thousands of people to have the right mindset, then the exponential encouragement that will come from that, not just to the people that listened to it, but the people who are benefited by associating with and fellowshipping with those that listened to it, because now their mindset is in the right place and now they can give like they were unable to give before. 

But maybe let’s add to that. What else can people do in addition to listening to this podcast? I encourage everybody to listen to your podcast, but in addition to that, what else could people do to sort of help them have the right mindset on Sunday morning?

DANIEL: And that’s kind of the goal behind the podcast, right? I’m not trying to compete with the message that’s going to be preached that morning. I want it to be short, where it can kind of help flip that switch, and there’s a ton of different things you can do. I’m going to talk to some practical ones that I find useful, because, you know, the podcast probably isn’t going to be for everyone, nor is it going to be a solution for everyone. But if you’re ‑‑ the first thing you mentioned earlier, make sure you’re preparing the night before. Maybe you look at ‑‑ I don’t know how many bulletins are still sent out in an email ahead of time, but a lot of times you’ll have the sermon topic and a scripture reading. Get your family together and read over that. That way, on the way to church or while you’re in worship, you say, you know what? I know what this sermon is going to be about. I know where to focus my mind. 

Spend time in prayer. Maybe you spend the whole drive to church in prayer and talking to God and talking with your family. I put on a lot of worship music ‑‑ acapella worship music, and, man, that can really help to prepare yourself. And on that point, too ‑‑ it’s not just about the message that’s preached; it’s not just about the prayer. If you know what songs are going to be sung ahead of time, maybe spend some time learning those songs at home, singing them with your family. That’s something that my daughter, Evelyn, has really loved to do lately. She’ll be sitting in church and she’ll tug on my shoulder and say, “Dad, can we sing this at home?” And, man, talk about an impact on me. Yes, thank you. Absolutely we can. 

And there’s just a lot of things that we can use, and I think the biggest one is just to make sure we understand who we are there for and that it’s not about making sure everything or everyone or ourselves are looking perfect that morning or whether our kids are behaving well. It’s about, are we there for God? Are we giving God what he deserves? Because he deserves our very best.  And along the way, are we also building up and stirring up our brethren to love and good works? And if we keep those things in mind, it becomes less of a thing that we have to do every week, it becomes less of a just routinely planned action, and I think it becomes more of a ‑‑ this is something that I am looking forward to, and I think a lot of people struggle with that. 

You know, we all know that we should love worship and we should enjoy worship and we should be excited about worship, but I don’t know that we always feel that way, and I understand it. And I think there’s a big aspect of that ‑‑ if we prepare our mindsets, it can help us understand why we should be excited about it. And that’s what I’ve come up with, and that’s kind of what I’ve looked at this week, is I’ve kind of looked over and thought about that question. Did you have anything that you could add to that? Because I’d love to hear it, as well.

WES: Well, I love some ‑‑ I just want to go back to a couple of things that you sort of said or hinted at, especially the idea of we spend so much time thinking about what we’re going to wear to worship. We may lay it out ahead of time. We may do an extra load of laundry ahead of time, and we spend more time thinking about what we’re going to wear, what’s on the outside of us than what’s on the inside of us, and that’s exactly the opposite of what ‑‑ we have so few pictures of the assembly from the New Testament, surprisingly, so few sort of direct references to what was going on or what should be going on in the assembly in the New Testament, but we have a couple of references. James is one of them, and he’s very explicit that if somebody shows up wearing, you know, fancy clothes, don’t pay special attention, don’t show partiality to him. And we have these references over and over again to not put a greater emphasis on what is on the outside of a person than what is on the inside of a person, and we prepare ourselves externally, but forget to prepare ourselves internally, and I think that is such a huge mistake. 

I want to go back to also what you said about the songs. I never really thought about reading over the songs ahead of time, but what a brilliant idea that is, what a great idea.  There’s been times, as the preacher, I have not appreciated the forethought that went into the song selection that our worship leader has done to coordinate the songs with the sermon until I’m standing in the worship, and I thought, wow, that song fits perfectly with what I’m preaching, and he really thought about the words of every song and making sure that they lined up. And I look around and I think, I wonder how many, like me, have missed just how coordinated all of these words are in order to help us focus on one idea this morning. 

And if we went into the assembly already doing that ‑‑ in fact, we send out our worship list of songs and prayers ahead of time to the whole congregation. Every Saturday, that goes out to everyone, and I’ve never even thought about, hey, what a great exercise that would be on Saturday night, to look over those songs and look it up online, look up the lyrics and read through those as individuals or as a family and think about, okay, what big idea is being communicated? Because these are words, not only that are going to be sung to us, but are going to be sung from us, and we’re singing these things. Have we even stopped to think about the words that we’re singing?

DANIEL: I think there’s just so many things that we can do when it comes to preparing our minds for worship, and a lot of them ‑‑ you know, sometimes I think we’re looking for these big signs in the sky, like “This is how I magically change my heart overnight” kind of ideas, and a lot of it just comes down to practicality. What’s going to work for my family might not work for the McAdams family, right? And to that extent, the amount of time it takes for me to put my mind in this mindset might be different depending on how long we’ve been doing it, right? It’s a process. It takes time. Don’t get discouraged.

WES: Yeah, definitely. Well, Daniel, this has been such a wonderful conversation. It’s been incredibly encouraging to me. Your podcast has been encouraging to me. Before we close, why don’t you tell people a little bit more about where they can find the podcast and make sure they get subscribed so that on their next Sunday morning drive, they can be listening to it.

DANIEL: Yeah. Well, I certainly appreciate that, Wes. Yeah, “For Your Sunday Morning Drive,” it can be found on any of the major podcasting apps. Also, we’ve recently entered into partnership with Ministry League, and you can find us on their app or They have a lot of great resources for family worship, as well as personal development as a Christian, and it’s all free. So if you’re interested in looking at that or any of the other wonderful podcasts that are on the Ministry League network, please check them out.

WES: Fantastic. Well, thank you for a great conversation and thank you for your work in the kingdom, Brother.

DANIEL: Thank you, Brother. I appreciate it.

As I mentioned in the introduction, this will be the last episode for a few months, but we will be back in the fall with brand‑new episodes. Until then, I want to thank today’s guest, Daniel Dalp; Beth Tabor for transcribing, my McDermott Road Church family, and all of you for listening. Now, let’s go out and love like Jesus.

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