Sunday, September 30, 2012
#2 of 5 – 30 Day Church Challenge
Wired for Worship: Committing to a Worship Lifestyle
Welcome to week two of the 30-Day Church Challenge! Last week we started our 30-Day Church Challenge. I asked you to commit to attending a worship service each week…To meditate on an assigned Scripture passage each day…AND to consider joining a small group, if you aren’t already in one. The objective of our 30-Day Church Challenge is to discover and engage in the five purposes of the church. We want to become the church: A community of faith – powerful, inspirational, and transformational – touching our community and the world with the power of the Gospel.
You each received a 30-Day Church Challenge Bookmark to remind you that we’re committed to this challenge. If you didn’t get a bookmark last week, please pick one up at the Welcome Center. This week I want you to place your bookmark at: Hebrews 10:24-25 and study it every day. Last week I shared with you that one of the five purposes of the church is community. We looked at the importance of being part of an authentic community of faith where you can personally experience love, encouragement, and support. The weekly challenge issued last week was to commit to joining a small group or class…So, how are you doing so far?
Our challenge for this week has to do with the second purpose of the church – worship. The story of the first church told in Acts 2 tells us that the members devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the Lord’s Supper (communion), and prayer. As a result it says they were, “…praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” This week, I want to talk to you about the power of worship: What is it and why is it so important to us?
Turn in your Bibles to Revelation 7:9…In this scene, people gather near God…They’re praising God because He created all things and keeps all things going…People from everywhere and every language are praising God because He saved them…Apart from anything else God has done, He deserves praise just for who He is because He’s wise and powerful and strong and eternal. Worship is reflecting well or giving glory to your maker – and, at least on occasion, gathering with others to acknowledge your gratitude for being made and provided for. Worship is an encounter with the Living God who made us…God asks us to give Him glory by getting together with other members of His family on a regular basis. If you turn to Hebrews 10:24–25 you’ll find a verse that challenges us and our busy schedules: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” “The Day,” of course, is the day of Christ’s return…and with every passing day, that day gets closer.
The Bible says it’s good for us to meet together so that we can spur one another on toward love and good deeds…The Bible says that meeting together ought to be a habit…Worship is important is because it is God’s will for us to gather weekly (Heb. 10:24–25). “Let us not give up meeting together…” When we’re here, we grow and give God glory…AND when we’re not here, we’re missed and everybody else who’s gathered feels a little let down because one of us isn’t here.
Our lives are a non-stop blitz of inputs…Books and magazines; television shows, radio, and iPods; all of these inputs are telling us something about life. WWE Smackdown and Survivor communicate a certain way to win; The Real Housewives of New Jersey and The Kardashians tell us how they think we should dress and talk and treat others. We may not agree with what they say or how they act, but the video recorder of our memories is always running and always storing what we see…So these inputs influence us. Our brains absorb them all, causing us to view God, people, and the world around us with distorted lenses. Where do you go to be reminded that you’re not necessarily the center of the universe, or that the things you buy, try, taste and wear aren’t going to make you happy over the long haul? The answer is church, where real truth is taught from God’s source of truth: the Bible. In church you hear a message that reminds you that this world doesn’t revolve around you. In church you hear that this is your Father’s world…He made it. In church the songs, the message, and the people you hang out with remind you that despite how you’ve seen people treated all week, they matter to God and ought to be treated with respect and dignity. At church, you’re reminded that you are significant and treasured and that God has a purpose for every person in this world. It reminds you that the Lord wants you to act with integrity, honesty, justice, love, joy, peace, and patience. In my opinion, the most important decision you make every week is the decision to come to church because at church you get the interior of your soul reset. Your priorities are repositioned and your sense of what’s true can be re-tuned to what’s really right and excellent and worthwhile for your life. So the challenge this week is not only to commit to coming to weekly worship…But also to do what Romans 12:1 in The Message version urges us to do: “…Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering, an act of worship.” Worship is a verb…It describes an action you should do with every breath you take. You give God glory by doing everything you do well. Tomorrow morning, when you get up, you can give God glory by saying, “Thank you, Lord, that I get to live another day.” When you get in your car, you can give God glory by how you drive to work, and the attitude you maintain toward the drivers around you…When the car next to you cuts you off, well, you can choose to give God glory…or not. At work, you can give God glory by working hard, or you can drain a little glory by slacking off and doing shoddy work. If you’re a student, you can give God glory by the way you treat your teacher and the way you attack your homework. Or you can kind of slide off the altar of worship with an “attitude” and do your own thing.
Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if you were working for the Lord and not for a person.” That’s worship. So, let’s worship. We were made to do it, God asks us to do it, and in view of who He is and all that He’s done for us, it’s the least we can do on Sundays here at church and during the week in every aspect of our lives. This is God’s Word for today…Will you receive it? In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen