Worship Through Identity
A well known Christian speaker held up a $20.00 bill and asked if anyone in the room would take it. Many hands went up. Then he crumpled it up in his fists and threw it on the floor and crushed it under his foot. Then he asked if there was anyone there who still wanted it. Again, many hands went up. He spat on it and yelled at it, calling it a worthless plugged nickel. Then again, asked if anyone wanted it. You know there were still plenty of takers.
The worth of that bill was established by the maker….and no amount of abuse or misuse can change it’s worth….
Our worth was established forever on the cross and no amount of abuse or self hatred can change or diminish our value or our identity. Created in His image, we are beloved children of God.
Worship Through Teaching , Ephesians 4
Almost without exception, everything you have in your head you learned from someone or something. Every one of our lives have been changed by the teachers we have encountered. When I first moved to Kentucky at the age of 10, I had little interaction with people of other races (moving from small-town MO). My 5th grade teacher, an African-American woman, to this day is a hero. From day one I had run-ins with the same boy in my class. Over time I began to associate my angst with the his race. My teacher pulled me aside one day after my lip was busted. She simply reminded me that she loved me and that not all that were of different races behaved in that way. I credit her for keeping me from becoming hateful and reactionary toward other races. Today I have the privilege of Pastoring a church with 20 nations and races. The devil tried to thwart the plan of God for my life.
Ephesians 4:11:13 reminds us that there are all kinds of teaching (winds) that blow through our churches. We must be careful to maintain right teaching. Right teaching comes from right teachers. Teaching is an act of worship to our God. From the woman who teaches a toddler in the nursery to the elder who proclaims the goodness of God to other seniors. We all teach. So, we must be mindful of what we are teaching.
Worship through teaching leads us to think of our actions, our attitudes, and our motivations. When I have had a bad day and I worship anyway, I am others teaching to press into God even when I don’t feel like it. When I pray, I am teaching someone else how to put their faith in God. The world is watching. What are you teaching? Worship God through teaching.
Worship Through Eternity
How would you define eternity? Maybe long or forever. Can you grasp that concept? Most of us cannot. We are surrounded by beginnings and endings. Buildings are built and they are torn down. Babies are born and grandparents are buried. Eternity is a hard concept to grasp because everything in our world begins and ends…that is except God.
John reminds us that our Triune (three-in-one) God has always been and always will be. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternal. This is what separates us from “Christian” cults. We affirm their eternality, specifically, of Christ. John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Adam and Eve had a beginning, but they should have had no end. They were created to be eternal. Ecc. 3:11 tells us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Did you catch that? Eternity is set in your heart. You were created to be eternal. Following Adam and Eve’s sin (separation from God) we needed one that could restore that relationship. That one was Christ….fully God and fully man.
So, through the forgiveness of our sins we are granted eternal life, WITH Christ. Forever in His presence. The picture I have in my mind of eternity is one great and continuous act of worship. For all of eternity we will look on Christ and remember what He has done and we will worship. We will see the Father in all His holiness and worship. We will see the Spirit and know His power and worship. Worship is an eternal act for those who are in Christ Jesus. Do you know Him? Do you know where you will spend eternity? Choose Christ and Worship through Eternity
Worship through Giving
[1Ch 16:29 NIV] 29 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
1967 Plymouth Barracuda coupe with a V8 318 4 barrel was my first car. Back in those days we drove cars to work, Sunday drives and the occasional rally race. My Cuda could really move and when I punched it; wow, what a feeling of power. Early on I remember using special finishing rub to remove the paint oxidation followed by a good wax. The transformation was incredible and I do believe the car drove better after that. To this day, I think our cars drive better when clean.
Through the blood of Jesus our oxidation is removed, spiritual transformation changes our mindset and we drive better in the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s generosity shines through as we are restored! We are generous because we have His character in us.
Paul wrote in Rom 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
King David said it best when his people were transformed from slave to free, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”
Give to God all what is due him. Make God look good through shining bright His brilliant character. Bring to him your best, the offering of your possessions, your mind and your soul. Worship God in the radiance of His sacredness.
We are given all, now let us give all.
Worship Through Fasting
When I married my husband, I was completely unprepared for the huge MacGyver fan that he is. He has all of the seasons on DVD and still enjoys watching them. He gains great enjoyment from watching a man in his mid-30s, with a great 80’s style haircut, high tops, and a bomber jacket diffuse bombs using a paperclip and duct tape. But every MacGyver fan knows what the most important tool is because it has so many uses—the Swiss Army Knife. This small but effective tool is a whole arsenal with many uses.
Much like the Swiss Army Knife, God has given us a tool with many uses and purposes for our lives… Fasting. Those purposes include seeking intervention from God; repenting from sin; guidance; mourning; spiritual warfare, and of course, worship.
When we fast, we give God the worship and the glory for what He has done and also what we look to Him to do in our lives. We take the focus off of ourselves and our needs, and place them on our heavenly Father and having communion with Him. In worshipping God through fasting, we grow in our intimacy with Him. I encourage you to make fasting a regular part of your spiritual life and see how God uses this “tool” to bring you into an even closer relationship with Him.
Worship through Joy
Leviticus 8:24 “And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.”
Psalm 16:11 “You have made known to me the path of my life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at you right hand.”
Psalm 28:7 ” The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trust in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”
Joy is one of the most talked about subjects in the Bible because joy is something that we are all looking for in life. When we became believers in Jesus, we learned of God’s great love. When we learned of his love, we were filled with his great joy. But life this side of heaven can be hard and we can feel or think that we’ve lost that joy. We can wander away and become overwhelmed with our trials, but all we need to do is return to His great love for us and our joy will return.
So right now, stop to think about that love. Think about who God is. Think about his great sacrifice in sending Jesus to the earth and the cross just for you! Think about how he thinks of you. As a result of Jesus’s sacrifice, he says, “You are beautiful. You are good. You are holy. You are loved completely and you are completely cover in Christ.” See, you can’t help but be filled with joy. When we worship through joy in the good times and the bad, that is true worship. When we worship through joy the lost are drawn to Him! Worship Him through your joy!
Worship through Witnessing
I was first called to a mission’s trip when I was a freshman in high school, 4 years ago. Weeks before even knowing of this trip I had constantly bothered my parents about going to Paris. I told them of how I was going to go tour, and see the Eiffel Tower. My parents thought this a joke. But for me, there was something deeper inside of me that desired this. Then there was announced that the following spring break they would be taking a team to Paris, France and to say the least, I was the first to sign up. This trip helped me realize how different everyone lives, how privileged I really am, and who I need to be. The people in France walk in darkness, blank faces holding no joy. Thankfully I helped reach them. Not only was I serving and worshiping God through this experience but I was also changed forever, there is not a day that I don’t think about all those sweet women I had spoken to, and all the faces of the children searching for love. My heart was changed and God was pleased.
God says,”Therefore go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.” Mathew 28:19
Maybe you aren’t called to another nation to witness, to a mission field in another country, or even to take in a child from a foreign nation, but you are called to the nation within your own feet, the nation that you walk and breathe in. Everyday we have that choice to welcome those around us to the all powerful God who created love.
Worship isn’t just singing a song or praising our God with our words but it’s also our daily actions that reflect him. Our kind hearts filling our schools and work environments with compassion and hope. Our courageous words filling the hopeless. Our constant joy on our faces that inspire those around us. The simple offer to help someone in their time of need, to feed a starving child of God, to pay for another’s groceries, and even a short prayer for faith to be restored in someone. It’s our actions that bring others to eternal life, that’s how we change the world for God, that is how we witness. Here in our nation, or in a foreign one, we are called to reflect and serve him and everything else will follow.
Worship Through Language
Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Our words, and the way we put them together are our language. Have you ever used your words, your language, to say something hurtful and then regretted it? Or have you ever given an encouraging word and seen a positive change in the one who received it? That’s because our words and language have power. Just think, God created the whole world and everything in it with His words! Just as God’s language came from his innermost thoughts, our words do too. Luke 6:45, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stores up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
The great news is that when we become believers in Jesus, God sends the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and minds with his enormous love. 1 John 4:16, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” With ever word, we express our innermost thoughts. When we are full of God’s love, we encourage each other with the language of love, and that is true worship.
Lord, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for sending Jesus to rescue us from our lives of sin. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to be our agent of change. Now, may our language, the words of our deepest thoughts, be pleasing to you. May we glorify and reveal your enormous love in every word!
Worship Through Sacrifice
Have you ever given up a vice or a habit? It can be so difficult! Right now I am going through caffeine withdrawals as I have given up soda for 2017. Sacrificing something, especially something we love or rely on, is difficult. Throughout our journey here on earth, God will call us to make sacrifices. It may be a sacrifice for what is best for our own well-being, such as sacrificing a vice or habit that as a negative effect on our lives. It may be a sacrifice in order to grow closer in relationship to God, such as the fast our church participated in the beginning of the year.
Genesis, chapter 22, provides us with a unique story. God calls Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son: his son who had been promised by God to be the beginning of a great nation. Abraham, in his unfathomable faith takes Isaac to Moriah to be sacrificed. During his journey, Isaac ask Abraham where the lamb is which they would sacrifice. Abraham Isaac, replies “God himself will proved the lamb.” In the final moments, God stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, and God provides a ram to be sacrificed.
Sacrifice is difficult, but obeying God through sacrifice shows our love and devotion to Him. It is how we bless Him and worship Him. Sacrifice communicates that our love for God is greater than our love for whatever He has called us to sacrifice. Abraham communicated to God that his love and devotion to God was greater than his love of his one and only son.
This resonates on to the New Testament, at a time when God sacrificed His one and only Son in order to show His love for you and me. As Abraham had answered Isaac’s question, God himself provided a lamb to sacrifice, Jesus Christ. What better testament of God’s love for us than sacrificing His own Son! I think of the song “Now Behold the Lamb’ by Kirk Franklin. Take a minute to listen to it today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CK1R1suY6U.
“Holy is the Lamb;
The precious Lamb of God.
Why you love me so,
Lord I shall never know.
The precious Lamb of God.”
Our sacrifice is one of the strongest ways for us to worship God, and thank Him for the amazing sacrifice that He made for each one of us. May we daily live a life of sacrificing our wants and needs to worship Him and show Him our great love for Him.
As we move closer towards the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the world around us gets more difficult to live in. The ungodliness can become so discouraging that we as Christians may feel as though striving to live righteously is pointless. Alas, take heart for as the saying goes there really is” nothing new under the sun”. Titus was struggling with this very concept when Paul wrote a letter to him lining out details of how to change the environment he was living in. The way the Bible describes the Island of Crete reminds me of the way we would describe Hollywood today. Picture yourself being a pastor on Sunset Boulevard, surrounded by people who don’t seem to want to hear what you have to say. When Titus felt he wasn’t making a difference, Paul reminded him of the Hope we have because of Christ.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11-14
We must remember that the sacrifice Jesus made provided grace enough for us to overcome worldly passions. If there’s grace enough for me and you, then there’s surely enough for the people around us. We can worship God by making his salvation known to the lost world around us, remembering that we don’t have to feel so hopeless and tired. The promise of Christ’s return is enough. And he is glorified through our hope of that return.