Have you ever thought about how much time there actually is in a week? I mean, we all get the same amount of time to choose to do what we want with, week after week. Each week you have around 10,000 minutes to live out your life. Yes, you will be sleeping for some of that (if you are like me it will end up being quite a bit) but you get the idea- we have a ton of time in our weeks! The average church service at Oak Hill lasts about 60 minutes. We have one service a week. Now lets say that you attend church every week all year long. That means that you spend 0.6% of your weekly time in church each week. Let that sink in. 0.6%! 0.6% of our week we declare who God is, we lift up His name in song and we dive into what He has to teach us in scripture. What about the other 99.4 %?
I have great news- SUNDAY MORNING CHURCH IS NOT THE ONLY PLACE WE GET TO WORSHIP GOD! Worship is meant to be way more than a once a week experience- it is meant to be a Way of Life.
For me, Sunday morning worship comes pretty naturally. I love worshiping with everyone each Sunday! The hard part is Monday morning. Its Friday night, when I am hanging out with my friends or watching a movie with my wife. It’s the “in-between” time when I have the chance to live out what I declare on Sunday morning.
One of my biggest fears in life is hearing what God spoke in Isaiah, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules”. I think I can go out on a limb and say that none of us would want God to say that about us! We want to honor and worship God with our words AND our actions! We want to worship Him Sunday morning AND throughout the rest of the week!
We certainly don’t have a God who loves us “part-time”. Its crazy to imagine, but what if God had said that He would save us from our sins and that His son would die for us- and then Jesus just decided not too! Would it be just as crazy and unthinkable for us to get together on Sunday and declare that we worship, serve and trust God wholeheartedly, and then come the rest of the week, we serve and trust ourselves?
Now you may be thinking- this is impossible! I can’t possibly serve and worship God 100% of the time! On your power alone, you would be right. But through the power of the cross and the Holy Spirit that lives in us, you can! Since God followed through on His promises, we have the power to follow through on ours, and begin to see Worship as a Way of Life!
Wait…..What?? When I first read that statement I immediately thought, no way! This is just straight up wrong! My job matters! Taking care of my family matters! The list could go on. The more I thought about this statement and the implications of it the more I came to find that it is not just true, but that it should radically change how I spend my time and energy on this earth.
So most of you are probably still thinking that I am crazy. Let me set the record straight- I am NOT saying that you should leave your family and friends and join a monastery to devote your life to Christ. You shouldn’t go in to work tomorrow and quit. What you should do is re-evaluate your priorities. Take a look at your life. Where are your hours going? Where are your resources going? What is your focus? Is it getting that second or third garage stall? Are you more worried about buying that new car then growing the Church and spreading the gospel?
James 4:14 says, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.”
It is here, and then it’s gone. This life is all we have. One shot. One chance. Are you wasting it?
See, we are so stuck in this temporary, singular mindset. We have a really hard time grasping even the idea of eternity. I can barely imagine a couple of months from now! However the Bible says that what we do with our lives here, on this earth, matters in eternity. I bet we wont look back on our life and regret a sacrifice we made. I bet we wont think, “oh man I wish that I had spent more time watching TV then volunteering at church”. If anything we will regret NOT giving more time to further the kingdom of God!
The great news is that for the vast majority of us- life isn’t over! Yes we don’t know how much time we have left. It could be a day, a month, 20 years, or longer. What we can DO though, is spend the time we have left passionately pursuing a life of service to Christ. Stop worrying about the material things that honestly DON’T MATTER AT ALL. Start focusing on what matters; serving the church, spreading the gospel, loving your neighbor and serving Christ.
Prayer- Lord set our priorities on YOU. Be the center of our lives and the reason that we do anything. Give us the eternal perspective that we lack so we can truly see what matters and what doesn’t matter in this life.
In an article I read earlier this week the pastor described a couple that attends his church. Now this couple was strong. The guy was literally at one point the strongest man on earth! He could bench 1000 pounds! He was absolutely massive, and the crazy thing was that his wife could bench 400 pounds! They were both just absolutely huge! Now imagine if you met their children and they were scrawny little kids! That would be weird, right? You would expect that with such huge, strong, powerful parents that their children wouldn’t be these scrawny physically small kids! What if I told you that I was in fact describing what has happened to the church?
We believe in a powerful, all-knowing, mighty God who has giving us his Spirit of power and we go to church, hand someone a bulletin, say “glad to have you here, service should be done in an hour- see ya next week!” That doesn’t make sense! Shouldn’t our gathering reflect this power that God has given us?
In the early church people couldn’t stop talking about what was different with Christians. In Acts chapter 4 we see the power that the Spirit gave Peter and John. The rulers were amazed because they knew that Peter and John were ordinary unschooled men and that there was a supernatural power to their message. It also says that the believers “were one in heart and mind”. “With Great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”. We also read that the believers “spoke the word of God boldly”. Clearly this early group of believers had this supernatural power given to them by the Holy Spirit that enabled them to preach the gospel effectively and boldly.
Isn’t that same Spirit of power available to us today? Don’t we have the same access to the Holy Spirit as the early church did?
Let me answer that clearly. YES. Yes we do! This is great news for us! We don’t have to do it on our own! We don’t have to have the pressure and weight of our ministry to the church and to unbelievers placed solely on us! The Holy Spirit is with us! We can serve the church and the community in the power that He gives us. We can boldly speak the word of God because we have been given this Spirit of power. The same Spirit that empowered Peter, John, Paul and many more in the early church empowers us TODAY.
I challenge you to live in that power. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do, and most importantly, ACT on it!
Prayer- Lord may we be a church that ministers and gathers in the power of your Spirit. Thank you for meeting with us every day of the week and for helping us build your kingdom here, on earth as it is in heaven.
Imagine with me for a second, that you are at the Super Bowl (if you’re not a football fan imagine being at the concert of your favorite band or singer). You are surrounded by thousands of screaming fans, whose eyes are all glued to the field. You can literally feel the energy and excitement in the stadium as the teams battle it out in front of you. What happens if your team scores a touchdown in the final minutes of the game to win it?? Everyone goes nuts!! People are jumping up and down, screaming, and waving their hands in the air! Some may even be hugging the closest person to them!
I once read about an experience an author had while watching an episode of Oprah. The episode was on Michael Jackson, when he was in the prime of his career. They showed clip after clip of people around the world responding to him in concert settings. Thousands of people across many cultures were glued to his every move. All around the world they gathered, waving their hands in the air. Some fell to their knees. Others strained with outstretched arms hoping to briefly touch him. One young girl simply stood and looked on in complete awe.
The author then goes on to say, “I was watching some of the most intense worship I’d ever seen…anywhere. Far more ‘full-on’ than much of what I’d experienced inside the church”.
Now obviously the Super Bowl and Michael Jackson are not God- in fact they are far from it! Yet we can get so excited and energetic when it comes to things like that in our life. Is that bad?? NO! God wired us to get excited about stuff! He loves when we are passionate. But which is more important?
Do you think our priorities need to shift? Is it okay for us to be that excited about something as small as a football game or an entertainer, but so apathetic about gathering together as a body of believers and worshiping? Why are we comfortable with raising our hands and shouting out in excitement at a football game but not when we are praising the one who MADE the football game?
I would argue that we should have MORE excitement and MORE physical expressions in our worship on a Sunday morning than at a concert. Check out the blog right before this one and you will see just how active our worship should be! Remember that we are worshiping the One who created everything! He is the beginning and the end! He saved us from our sin by sending His son to die on our behalf! He is in everything and everything comes from Him! He also loves US and wants OUR worship!
Now THAT is something to get excited about!
Source- The Air I Breathe by Louis Giglio
That’s right! Worship is something you do. It isn’t something you watch, or attend. “Worship is something you enter into with all of your might!”
If we look at society today, and even at our churches, it is clear that we have adapted a “spectator culture.” Everything is designed for our viewing pleasure. In fact, I bet that most of you out there have your living rooms (or the room you spend the most time in) designed around watching the TV. Now I am not saying that watching TV is bad, in fact I have a huge list of favorite TV shows and movies! What we have to realize, however, is that this “viewing” culture that permeates so many aspects of our lives also tends to permeate our church-- and our worship.
How many times have you gone to church on a Sunday morning and (if you’re really honest) just sat back and watched? I have definitely been guilty of that! Why? It’s easy! It’s way easier to just sit back (or stand) and listen to the cool music, watch the worship team, listen to the pastor, move your mouth a little on the Doxology, say hi to some people you haven’t seen since last Sunday and head home. GOD WANTS SO MUCH MORE FOR YOU! I wonder if our worship would change if we could actually grasp the literal presence of God with us. Would we sing out a little louder? Would we pay closer attention to the message? Would we realize that we could take what we learn on a Sunday morning with us for the rest of the week? When we realize that worship isn’t something you watch, but something you do, we experience a total shift in how we view church and life in general.
In Psalms we see so much direction, and many examples on what worship looks like as a verb. Shout to God. Sing a new song. Dance before Him. Clap your hands. Bow down. Lift up your heads. Stand in awe. Meditate on His truth. Walk in His ways. Cast down your idols. Lift up your hands. The list goes on and on! Lets stop viewing and start doing!
Remember that worship is not just what happens on a Sunday morning. Our worship isn’t packed into Oak Hill Church from 10:30-11:30. Worship is our whole lives! It’s the stuff that we do throughout our weeks. It is our response to what we value most.
So as we enter a new year, lets follow David’s example in the Psalms and DO worship. Lets be a church that enters into worship together with all of our might every single week. Lets be a church that doesn’t WATCH worship, but actually DOES worship.
Sources: Psalms 18:3; 29:2; 45:1; 48:1; 96:4; 104:1
The Air I Breathe by Louie Giglio
Having the opportunity to worship God came at a price. God requires perfection- and sin kept us from being able to enter into His presence. A price had to be paid for the access that we now have. That price was death- which was paid for at the Cross of Christ. At the center of all true worship stands the wonderful cross…the cross on which the Son of God died.
The cross of Christ is a cross of healing. A place of unconditional love. From His cross comes salvation's song, declaring to all that redemption is here. From it flows forgiveness.
It’s the place where true worship begins.
In Mark's gospel we see a Roman centurion, who just hours before had beaten mocked and crucified Christ, proclaims, “Surely this man was the son of God”. The supposed enemy of Christ was the first of many to have his eyes opened to God’s redemption story. He was the first among us to see the wonder of it all.
In a heartbeat, right there in the midst of all the stench and sorrow, worship began at the foot of the cross.
You are a Worshiper! Thats right, all day long, everyday, you worship. At its core worship is our response to what we value most. What do you value? Your job? Your phone? Your spouse? Now inherently these things are not bad, in fact they are pretty great! But when they become THE thing, thats when we can have a problem. How can you find out what you worship? Simply follow the line of what you spend your time, and energy on. At the end is your throne, and ultimately what you worship.
So worship is our response to what we value most. Now lets put that into the sense of Christianity. Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God- for who He is, and what He has done, expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.
First off it is personal AND corporate. Nothing can replace the importance of spending alone time with God. Cultivating that intimate relationship with the LORD through personal worship is vital for growing in your faith. Just as important is the aspect of togetherness. Coming together as a body of believers in corporate worship is a powerful and life changing experience. One body of Christ declaring the glory of the Lord in One voice can change a generation.
Secondly, it’s our response to God for who He is and for what He has done. He is the creator of the world, who sent His only son to die for us so that we could spend eternity with Him. This is the essence of the gospel and it is certainly something worth declaring!
Finally, we express our worship through how we live our live and the things we say. Our lives should reflect what we believe in, as we strive to live out the example Jesus set for us. He is the same Jesus who came to this earth, suffered and died on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins, so that through Him we have access to eternal life and a restored relationship with our creator. He is the same Jesus who is deserving of our time and resources. The same Jesus who is deserving of our worship.
We all worship something. What do you worship?
Worship service is at 10:00am on Sunday mornings