Reverence has been a hallmark of Apostolic Faith churches since the founding of our organization. That attitude of honor toward God and His house was apparent to me in 1974 when I first visited our Roseburg, Oregon, church as an unsaved, unchurched twenty-one-year old. I observed that the ministers and musicians went to their knees in prayer upon entering the sanctuary before the service began. Others in the audience also knelt or bowed their heads reverently in prayer. Though unfamiliar with church ways, it was obvious to me that these people took their “religion” quite seriously.
I didn’t know they had already knelt in a prayer room before entering the sanctuary, bringing special requests to the Lord. It is not unlikely that one of those requests was for me to get saved! Then, at the conclusion of the service, they invited all present to come and join them in prayer. Though I did not do so, I left church that morning convinced that these people believed God answered prayer. And God did answer! That very night I experienced the saving grace they had prayed I would receive by praying my own prayer of repentance. God responded in a dramatic manner, forgiving my sins and changing the desires of my heart before I ever heard that salvation would do such things.
Less than four months later, at the opening service of camp meeting, I entered the tabernacle on our Portland, Oregon, campground for the first time. Unlike the few dozen worshippers in the Roseburg church, there were a couple of thousand people attending services at the camp meeting. Yet, an earnest desire to revere the House of God clearly existed in that sanctuary as well.
Over time, I have come to understand that reverence for God’s House is much more than honoring a building. It is a deep sense of worship for God, the One we pray will inhabit the building. We are not approaching a structure as much as we are approaching our Creator! Our church services are often called “meetings” because the order of worship is structured to allow individuals to meet with God. He promised of the Tabernacle worship, “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee…” (Exodus 25:22).
In his sermon Reverence for the House of God, Andy Chasteen quoted a similar promise made at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. We pray that his sermon, along with the entire contents of this magazine, will inspire you to attend church and approach God in a manner He will find pleasing.