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True Worship

9-06-13 True Worship

I hear people talk about true worship all the time.

We discuss offering different things to God.  We talk about styles of music, or how loud someone sings.  We talk about different things in our lives that need to change.  Addictions we need to give up.  Habits we need to change.  People we need to love.

And, while all of these things might involve expressions of our worship to God, none of these things are the foundation of true worship.

Notice what Paul says in Romans 12:1,

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

There are two things that show true worship.

First, our worship exists BECAUSE of what God has done for us.  BECAUSE he gave his life for us.  BECAUSE he loves us.  BECAUSE he cares for us.  BECAUSE he sacrificed for us.

Anything less than that is not worship.

If we worship God out of some requirement to fulfill a duty, we are not truly worshiping him.  If we worship him because that is what’s expected, we are not truly worshiping him.

Worship BEGINS with Jesus, flows THROUGH us, then RETURNS to him.

If your worship does not begin with what Christ has done, then you are missing out on the foundation of worship.  It starts with Jesus.  We give ourselves to him in worship because he gave himself to us on the cross.  Our worship is a response to his actions.  Our worship flows from deep gratitude and love for he who gave his life for us.  Our capacity to worship him is directly given to us by him.

Secondly, our worship is only real when we give ourselves to God, not our things to God.

We so often relate worship to a giving up of things to God in order to honor him.

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up that pornography to honor you.”

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up smoking to honor you.”

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up my car/girlfriend/boyfriend/house/$10,000 to honor you.”

Etc.

Paul makes it clear in the verse I quoted above: the only real worship is when we offer our very lives.  During Old Testament times, the sacrifice that was offered to God was placed on the altar…a whole animal, or a full amount of a prescribed edible or aromatic substance.

Much like that, Paul is stating that we must place our very bodies…our very lives on the altar.  We are not giving up things for God…we are placing our entire lives in his hands.

And, here is the most powerful thing: No matter what your issue has been…addictions, wrong attitudes such as greed or pride, wrong priorities, etc…when you place your life into the hands of God, he will set all of those things straight in your life.  

They will come as a result of your worship, not as a requirement for your worship.

Let’s worship him today in the way that is true: fully giving ourselves to him BECAUSE he fully gave himself for us.

Enjoy your worship to God!

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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Bible, Life, Love, Uncategorized

 

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Accessorizing Christianity

5-28-13 Accessorizing Christianity

When did this happen?

Wristbands.  Tons of them.  Five or six of them.

My son Caleb’s wrist.

Let me repeat: When did this happen?

I don’t remember wearing all those types of things.  In fact, my wife Evelyn has had a hard time just getting me to wear a watch.  Ask her, and you can have a nice discussion about it.

After my kids got out of the pool at grandpa’s house, I was cleaning stuff up and realized how many different accessories I had to pick up.

Then, last night, I noticed something else.

5-28-13 #2 Accessorizing Christianity

Caleb has a bunk bed all to himself.  Sometimes he sleeps on the top.  Sometimes on the bottom.  Last night, he was on the top.  Apparently, he turned the bottom bunk bed into his personal accessory space, laying out perfectly all of his stuff for the next day.

If only he took care of the rest of his stuff that well!

Now, you read the title of my post and are probably thinking…

“I’ve got it!  Look right there in the second picture, there’s a cross also! It wasn’t in the first picture.  I’m an amazing detective.  I learned as a kid from all of those pictures in kid’s books where you had to compare two pictures and notice what was different.  I am highly skilled at this.  And, I also know that Jeff is going to say something about how we put on Christian themed accessories without really living the message that those accessories communicate!”

Great thoughts.  You’re a genius.  And, that is a good point.*

But, it’s not the point of this post.  Feel free to steal the idea that was inspired by my pictures and write your own post about it.  (/sarcasm)

Here was my thought.  The more accessories you have, the longer it takes to get ready.  It takes time to go through each one, putting each one on one at a time, then taking them off later in the day.

These accessories are nice.  They might have value.  But, they’re not essential.

They slow you down.  They become an unnecessary burden.

This is what I have noticed in my own life.  And, in the lives of others.

It becomes so easy to accessorize Christianity.  To add things on.  To add layer after layer of elements and eventually turn it into something it was never meant to be.

We do this in many ways:

We think that worship must be done with a certain music style.

We put models and methods into our churches that obscure the essence of Christianity.

We focus on outward appearance more than the soul.

We wait for our pastors/leaders/mentors to tell us what to do instead of going straight to Jesus and his word.

We try to make our churches look “cooler” so that they can be more popular.

And these are just a few.

Worship style is good.  Models and methods can be helpful.  A good outward appearance is necessary.  Pastors, leaders, and mentors are indispensable.  “Cool” can be good at times.

The point is not that any of these things are bad.

The problem is that sometimes they weigh us down and cause for true Christianity to get obscured.

Why don’t we make a commitment to getting rid of anything that makes it harder for us to connect with Jesus and to connect Jesus to others.  And, at the same time, choose only to use those things that accomplish the same goal.

Check this out.  Hebrews 12:1-2a says,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

“weight that slows us down”

“sin that so easily trips us up”

What weights and sins do you need to release?  Remember, some weights are not sins, but they still slow us down!

Let’s run freely!

*By the way, I did have a discussion with Caleb about wearing the cross because he knows what it means, instead of simply wearing it because it looks “cool”.

 
 

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