Real Worship

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What gives us pleasure?  I find pleasure in looking into my grandchildren’s sweet faces and seeing those big blue happy eyes. I recently experience pleasure listening to an orchestra concert and heard plenty of old tunes from the big band era.

God created us for his pleasure. Our first purpose in life it to bring enjoyment to God. Bringing pleasure to God is called “worship.”  Anything we do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. Rick Warren tells us, “The most common mistake Christians make in worship today is seeking an experience rather than seeking God.”

A. W. Tozer, once regarded as a prophet of the 20th century, said, “True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God, that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.”
So…how do we do a good job of pleasing God and making him smile?

“He takes pleasure in those that honor him; in those who trust in his constant love.” Psalm 147:11 (TEV)

We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.”  James 2:24

A.    We please God when we give him our whole being – our heart and soul and mind and strength.

“Love the Lord you God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  Mark 12:30 (NIV)

We please him when we obey wholeheartedly…when we love him supremely…. When we trust him completely…when we praise and thank him…when we use our abilities…when we enjoy his creation…when we use kind words…when we tell the truth…when we encourage others.

Question:  “How much pleasure is God getting out of my life?”

B.    The heart of worship is when we surrender all of ourselves to him.

A.W. Tozer said, “The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.”
We can’t fully surrender until we come to the end of ourselves. We fully surrender when we rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, control situations, and force our plan. Letting go and letting God have ALL is our challenge.

Surrender yourselves to the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7a (GWT)
Question:  "How much have I surrendered to God?"

It’s comforting to know that we are asked to surrender to someone who wants to be our best friend.

C.    We please God when we make him our best friend.

We make Jesus our best friend by getting to know him. We read of him and we talk with him. We carry on a constant dialogue with him. What are the characteristics of a best friend relationship? We trust our best friend. We share secrets with them. We are honest with them. We often indulge them. We talk kindly to them and they talk kindly to us. We say good things about them. We praise them. We introduce them to others.

 That only happens when we spend time with them. Jesus wants to be that kind of friend. How can we worship him in our friendship? All that we say, think, feel and do throughout the day will be an act of worship toward our best friend.
Question: "What kind of friend am I to God?"

Real personal worship characteristics

A.    Comes from a desire to give God our heart and soul and mind and strength

B.    Comes from full surrender to God

C.    Comes through building a relationship with God.
To hear an audio of my lesson, Real Worship, click below:

Life As a Metaphor

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

If your life were a metaphor, what would it be? Forest Gump’s mama taught him, “Life is a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” How do you describe life? Is it a game? A dream? A cabaret? A dance? A battle? A mystery? How we view life speaks volumes about how we shape our decision and what we think, feel, say, and do? In his book What on Earth Am I Here For? Rick Warren tells us the Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of life:

Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment.

 Life on earth is a Test.
All of life is a test.  We are always being tested. Everything is important because everything we think, say, and do reveals our character.  Our responses to people and our experiences reveal who we are.  When we experience problems, conflict, success, sickness, we have opportunities to reveal character, and  we either show that we are walking closer to Christ or moving away. Perhaps the most important test comes when we don’t feel close to God – like those days when we’re in our cave of sadness or anger or depression.  Everything is significant.  Every moment of life is a growth opportunity.  Can we consider our obstacles as opportunities? It’s good to remember that god wants us to “pass” the tests of life, and He promises to give us the strength to endure them.

Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out. I Corinthians 10:13 (GNT)

Life on Earth Is a Trust
God has entrusted us with gifts and resources.  He has given us all things to use wisely. Remember, he has given each of us our garden to tend. God gave Adam and Eve the original garden. I’m sure he showed them the beautiful rivers, and streams and trees and flowers. He pointed to the sun and said, “I give you warmth of the sun during the day.” And then he said, “I give the cool of the evenings.” “I give you each other to love and care for. And go out and populate the earth and then care for the children and all mankind. But… see that tree over there? That’s the one thing you cannot have. That is for me.  You may not have the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But enjoy everything else.  I set that boundary for your good and my glory.”  And what did Adam and Eve do? They crossed the boundary. God wanted them to take care of all the “stuff” of the earth and leave the one thing for him but they messed up his “trust system.”

Do we care properly for what gives us? Do we properly use our skills, and talents, and personality, and gifts, and finances and bodies and time and relationships? He’s entrusted us with them. Life is a trust. We are managers of all that God trusts us with.

Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. I Corinthians 4:2

Life on Earth Is a Temporary Assignment
Our life is short, we know nothing at all; we pass like shadows across the earth. Job 8:9

When compared with eternity, life is brief. I know that some days seem like an eternity, don’t they!! Are you familiar with the old gospel hymn, “This World Is Not My Home”?

This world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

 We really are just visiting earth. We’re temporary residents on earth. We’re citizens of heaven. The Bible warns us not to get too attached to what’s around us because it is temporary.

Those in frequent contact with the exciting things the world offers should make good use of their opportunities without stopping to enjoy them; for the world in its present form will soon be gone. I Corinthians 7:31 (TLB)

C.S. Lewis said, “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” How does our living today change when we begin to consider our permanent residence more important than our earthly one?

When we daily focus on life as test, a trust, and our temporary residence, we begin to bring more glory to God and greater blessings for us.
To hear the related lesson I taught from What on Earth Am I Here For? click here.
You Matter to God

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