Worship While Having Fun

child playing soccer
photo by Markus Spiske

In this series of lessons, we’ve looked at what true worship is — that it is more than playing church when we come together to assemble. It is part of who we are everywhere we are. We’ve considered worshipful living while at work as well as in our home lives. We’ve looked at worshipful living in our school communities both as students and parents, and today we’ll be looking at worshipful living at something we might not usually consider – while engaged in our free time and while having fun.

A Life Meant to Be Enjoyed

Fun is an attitude, and the challenge is to keep a Christian attitude while having fun. This may be the most difficult time to stay Christ-like in our conduct. Hebrews 5:14 reminds us that we should have good discernment as mature Christians, even when entertaining ourselves. In the moment, we may not always do such a good job choosing between good and evil; we may be around people who are not the best influences; and we may give into peer pressure to prevent killing the fun.

God means for His people to enjoy their lives, and we see His people engaged in celebration and joy numerous times in the Old Testament. In the New, we even see Jesus’ first miracle taking place at a wedding celebration. To follow God is not to renounce the joy of this life. Ecclesiastes 11:8 calls on us to rejoice in the days in our lives. Verse 9 tells us to rejoice in our youth, and verse 10 calls on us to remove pain from our hearts. A joyless life will do nothing to bring others to Christ, and a joyless life is full of wasted opportunities to lift others up and to celebrate all God has given us.

Our Example in Recreation

We should be known by the example we set. We should have fun on our terms, rather than the terms of others. There are limits to the type of fun we should have, and when we engage in sin for entertainment, it takes away from our worshipful living. There is plenty of joy without sin, and Proverbs 13:9 tells us the light of our righteousness should always shine. I Peter 4:3-5 tells us we will give up some activities and some friends when we submit to following God, but we can be an example to them of joy without immorality.

So what do we do for fun? Who do we choose to be around? Do these choices reflect our Christian values? If someone will not be your friend because you abstain from sin, then you don’t need that influence in your life. They may think you are mean, a jerk, or a prude; but being a Christian is between you and God, not between you and them. Romans 12:1-2 calls on us to be living sacrifices. This means we won’t be like those around us. It means we won’t even be like our former selves. Philippians 1:10 admonishes us to keep ourselves spotless for Christ’s return.


We need to evaluate who we are when having fun. We have to define ourselves, our opinions of ourselves and our boundaries. We must refine ourselves, making sure our choices then reflect the definition we have of ourselves. Finally, once we define and refine ourselves, we must *be* ourselves. We are Christians no matter where we are; we must always be setting a Christian example to those around us; we need to make good choices about those we spend time with. As living sacrifices, we can succeed even while having fun if we decide how we will reflect Christ in the choices we make.

lesson by Mike Mahoney

Commitment to Things Above

man looking at stars

How are we leading others to call on the name of Christ? I want you to think a bit about your commitment, specifically in regards to our commitment to Christ in comparison to things of this world. It’s easy to say we’re dedicated to Christ while we’re sitting here in worship, but what does that dedication look like outside these walls? There are so many things that can and do distract us from our Christian walk, and we might think we’re involved in a noble pursuit while straying from His plan for us. If we are truly committed to Christ, we will be focused on Him and determined to do His will. This focus and determination may not make our lives easier, but they will give us peace that passes understanding.

Commitment Against the Odds

In Acts 5:17, we find the apostles being put into prison, charged to not speak the name of Jesus, and yet remaining focused nonetheless. Throughout Acts, we find Christians beaten, taken from their homes, imprisoned, and even executed for professing their faith. Regardless, those early Christians had a clear idea of their mission, and they did it. Life, however, pulls us in multiple directions — we have a continual stream of news and gossip distracting us. We feel we have too much too keep up with, but we don’t see those early Christians worried about all of those distractions. They were focused on Christ alone.

Nor did they did get caught up in the political climate or of the day. They weren’t distracted by secular issues — trying to end Roman occupation, seeking better rights for Jews, fighting for freedom of religion. They worried about nothing but the message of Christ, and this single focus led to determination. Those Christians knew what they were getting into and what they were doing it for. They had a mission, and they were determined to do it. Every inch of our Christian life is an exercise in determination. External obstacles test that determination, and the extent to which we let those issues sidetrack us speaks to the level of spiritual commitment and peace we have in Christ.

Peace in Our Focus

Hebrews 12:1 – 2 calls on us to look at the great cloud of witnesses who came before us. The author encourages us to lay aside the weights of this world and to share Christ’s purpose and single-mindedness. When the Hebrew writer talks about us laying aside every weight that entangles us, he’s not talking about sin. He points out sin separately. Instead, those weights are everything that can make our spiritual journey tiresome and difficult. He’s talking about all of the seemingly urgent distractions that pull us away from Christ. These damage our peace. We have a goal that is separate and apart from the things of this world.

When we know we are pursuing Christ’s mission with determination of heart, we have peace. Peace and joy were ever present in the minds of the apostles, regardless of whatever they were facing. Again, these were people being imprisoned, beaten, and executed, yet the end of Acts 5 tells us the apostles rejoiced that they were worthy to suffer for Jesus’ name. Suffering brought joy because it testified to the fact that they were living for Christ. They knew the consequences, yet they continued to push on, with peace of heart and joy of spirit. And the church grew.

Peace in the Face of Trials

We see this peace in the likes of Stephen, who prayed for those killing him to be forgiven. Never do we see faithful Christians demanding representation, rights, or even fairness from their leaders. Regardless of all else, servants like Stephen had peace. That’s because he and others like him were focused on things above rather than the things of this world. They were more concerned about being a voice for Christ than having a voice in the Roman Senate. We too need to have such a heart. In our culture, we have grown very used to our faith costing us nothing. We have grown used to Christianity being easy in a climate that has historically catered to us. It has led us to a place where we might value our American rights and values more than we should.

We have come to the conclusion that our individual rights are the most important thing we have, but Jesus had no rights. Paul and Peter had no rights. And none of these fought for Christian rights in Rome either. Instead, they fought for souls despite marginalization and persecution. We’ve forgotten how to trust in freedom in Christ and have instead come to rely on the freedoms of this land. Because of this, we have lost peace and have replaced it with struggles for influence and authority. Take a look at this quote from an article called “Christians Don’t Need Rights:”

…Since when does your relationship with God depend on your rights as a human being? In the book of Daniel, when Darius made a law prohibiting prayer to any deities for a month, Daniel went back to his house and prayed anyway.

And then he went to a lion’s den.

And when Darius came back to get him the next morning, the first thing that Daniel said to him wasn’t, “Give me back my rights, jerk!” It was, “Oh king, may you live forever.”

That’s an Old Testament example that we see mirrored throughout the lives of New Testament Christians in the Bible. Jesus and His apostles accomplished all they did without freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote, or the right to bear arms. Yet we have seen Christians become more and more concerned with these things at the expense of time spent on spiritual things and at the cost of Christian conduct. Jesus’ church thrives in times of trials. Yes, our lives may become harder. Yes, we may feel marginalized and treated unfairly. But that is what being Christ-like is about. Let’s get our eyes focused on things above, commit to focusing on spiritual things, and get to work with joy and peace in our hearts.

lesson by Donn Koonce

The Philippian Letter: Chapter 4


Through our studies of Philippians we’ve looked at our lives in perspective of the hope of salvation. We’ve talked about what it’s like to try to be like Jesus. We’ve looked at our goals and measured them against Paul had for his spiritual growth. Finally, we’re going to look at the joy we should have in Christ and the way prayer and thanksgiving can help us attain that deep spiritual joy.

Unity in Love

As he closes this letter, Paul once again makes an exhortation for unity. He reminds them and us of God’s providence and and he encourages to rejoice. Paul instructs us to seek unity and agreement with one another for the sake of the gospel on multiple occasions. For example, in 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul writes:

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

We see this again in Philippians 4:2 when he encourages us to again find agreement in the Lord. He dissuades us from quarrels and divisions that can drive unrest and lead us away from our focus on being Christ-like. He specifically calls out a couple of Christians named Euodia and Syntyche, who are involved in a disagreement, and he asks a dear friend to intervene and assist them in settling it. The same focus on unity is asked of you and me today. Let’s not let the things of this world get in the way of our focus on doing God’s will.

Contentment in God

The latter part of the chapter sees Paul direct us to focus on the contentment only God can supply. This can be tough, and it’s easy to get focused on self in such a way that we become discontent. There have been times in my own life when I’ve felt like God is ignoring me or has left me to fend for myself. Paul confronts times of weakness like that beginning in verse 12.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Skipping down to verse 19:

My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever.

Paul reminds us of God’s care for us and His desire for us to find contentment with what He has supplied us. Paul certainly didn’t go about preaching what some call a prosperity gospel. He faced more struggles and trials than any of us are likely to face in our Christian journeys.

A Higher Perspective

Has anything happened that ruined your day or week, or even month? I once thought I was on a sure road to promotion in the company where I was working. I finished my first large project and was looking forward to the rewards from that venture when I was unexpectedly laid off — one week before Christmas. That sure ruined my month.

But it’s hard to compare experiences I’ve had like that to the struggles that Paul had. Starting in II Corinthians 11:16, we see Paul talk about imprisonments, beatings, near-death experiences, torture, going hungry and sleepless, being shipwrecked, and more. And at the end of that passage, he talks about the concern he has for the well-being of all churches. He rejoiced with confidence in God. He didn’t shy away from the challenges or threats he faced.

What’s your focus? What are you thinking about as you go about your day — when things are great or when you are facing struggles? Do you dwell on the problems or find contentment and hope in Christ? I’d encourage you to reread through Paul’s experiences in life and take note of how he views things. Having a perspective like his can change our lives and lead us down a path of greater contentment and joy.

lesson by Aaron Kadel