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September 25, 2022

Baggage Check? Week 6: Why We Worship

So, I don’t really watch TV. I watch Kentucky Basketball. That’s it. No. Literally, I watch two things. I watch Kentucky Basketball and I watch if there’s something major going on. Maybe the President speaks or something, and I want to hear what’s going on. That’s about it. But I do, for whatever reason, find myself — I like YouTube. I don’t know how YouTube works, but there’s some algorithm there. They feed you stuff that they think you might like. I don’t know why, but when I was looking for stuff — normally, I’m watching professors teach and stuff like that. I love that stuff. It’s incredible, the amount of information that’s out there, these days.

I ended up with this video where a dad had put his young boy on a rollercoaster. I don’t know how that works when all my YouTube is theology or old, 80s rock bands. I don’t know how that works out that it becomes the rollercoaster ride, but it did. So, it’s crazy. I looped it several times. So, they’re going up the rollercoaster, and the dad starts filming the son on the rollercoaster. The son is, I mean, when I say profusely crying with anxiety — I mean, I felt bad. There were comments, like, “This is abuse.”

I mean, it the kid was — I mean, it was bad, the way he was crying. And, of course, they’re going up, the dad’s filming this, and then the dip comes. The sheer fear on this kid’s face as they’re pummeling down at 60 or 70 miles per hour. I mean, he’s crying. It’s terrible. Then they hit a curve. As they hit the curve, the kid’s hands go up in the air, he starts smiling, and he starts going, “Woo! This is great!”

I’m like, “What a change from this to that.”

I watched it enough to go, “How many times in our life is that true?”

Like, we may be fearful about something or maybe we’re uncertain about something or there are things in life that we don’t understand, and somebody pushes us or prods us or, for whatever reason, we find the strength to do it, on the other end, it’s like, “Man, this was awesome. I should’ve always done this.”

I remember when my dad taught me how to swim, he told me, “Either get in the pool or I’m throwing you in the pool.”

Then when I was in the pool, it was like, “You’re either going under or I’m putting you under. Which one do you want to do?”

Of course, my mom and everybody around, I think, we're like, “What’s going on? What are you doing?”

But then, of course, once I learned to swim, it was the great thing in the world. My dad also told me, because I was talking to him this week, that he did the same thing on a water flume. I wouldn’t go down the water flume. I was crying on the water flume. Everything else. He put me on the water flume, and I had no choice. We were going down the water flume. We went down the water flume. As soon as we were done, I was back up there, running around, doing it again. Thank God for dads that put you on the water flume.

But that being said, if you’re not that dad, that’s fine. But that being said, I think there is a story there of how sometimes we’re scared or uncertain to do something, and then when we do it, it’s like, “Wow. Why have I never done this before?”

I see that, a lot of times, when people go snow skiing or water skiing. They’re scared, then they do it, and they enjoy it. Maybe you had thought to date somebody, and you got the nerve up to ask them out. Then they said yes, and it was like, “Why did I not do that before?”

I say all that because we’re going to sort of talk about an aspect of our Christian life, this weekend, where there is, sometimes, a lot of uncertainty, fear, and misunderstanding. I’m hoping that what we can do is move to the other side of that to see that, wow, this could be an absolutely incredible thing. And many of us have made that transition, but I want to encourage everybody.

So, before we get into that, I do want to remind everybody that we’re in a series called “Baggage Check.” At the beginning of every series that I do that’s thematic in nature, like this, I try to have a big idea. The reason for the big idea is that every weekend, when we get together, we can remember what we’re doing. It’s also good if you’ve missed a few weeks. You can come right back in. Or if you’re brand new, you can walk in and feel like you’re a part of what’s going on. It’s a really big deal to me to have a big idea, just as a teaching thing, to bring us back under the same umbrella.

So, when I came up with this idea of “Baggage Check,” I knew that it was not the first series that had ever been done on baggage because there have been people that did series on baggage. But typically, when you do a series on baggage — and this is part of the big idea — typically, the way it is is that baggage is a problem that needs to be removed. In other words, people go, “Oh, I’ve got so much baggage. I’m dying with the weight of the baggage.”

And there are videos out there where guys have got 14 bags, somebody comes and removes the bags, and they feel so much better, and so much lighter. And I think there’s a place for that, but that’s not what I wanted to do in this series. Rather than seeing baggage as something that needs to be removed, which means that the metaphor of the baggage is negative, I wanted us, instead, to see that baggage is an opportunity for God to move. What I did is I wanted our bag, here, to sort of be our life. In the bag that we carry, there are shirts, pants, and shoes, and all of them tell a story of our life. They’re all things in there where we went to this place, did this thing, got that job, or did something that we shouldn’t have done or whatever it may be. It’s in here.

I wanted us to say, “Hey, I want to open up my bag of life — the good, the bad, the indifferent — and allow God to get in here and move.”

So, that’s what we’ve been doing. We’re talking about a lot of things. I’ve been very appreciative — thank you all — for many of you all who have sent in — we have an enormous amount of emails — that this has been a good series. So, I’m glad because I do try hard to say things that matter, and it’s great to know that some of the things that we’re talking about really matter.

So, let’s get to work here, this weekend. I’ve got a question that I want to put out there. It’s a question many of you have probably thought about. You probably didn’t ask the question in church. If you’ve gone to school or seminary, you might’ve asked the question. It may be appropriate. But a lot of us have thought this, in many ways, and I think it’s something that we can all look at because I think it’s important for us to talk about this.

Why does God want us to worship Him? Why does He do that? Because I think, for many of us, we might not say that. You might go, “Well, I couldn’t say that because, if I say that, it’ll look like I don’t really want to worship God.”

But some of you, right now, went, “Yeah. I’d like to know the answer to that. That sounds like a good question.”

I think that underlying that question is what we know. We know that people who want to have adulation, or want to have praise, in some way are deficient. So, I think what underlies this question, “Why does God want us to worship Him?” is another question: Is He needy? Is He needy of our worship? I think people really struggle. This is a thing that people struggle with when you talk about worship because, sometimes, it’s strange, it’s foreign to many of us. We don’t even know what it is, what it looks like, or whatever. I think that underlying that, especially when we get together like this, people go, “Why do we sing anyway? The singers up there are better than me. Why do they want us to? Is there something about singing? Why do we do this?”

In fact, I’ve had many people, over the years, who have just written me and said, “We’re going to walk in 25 minutes after service because we just don’t want to stand for 20 minutes and sing.”

But is that the right posture? Is that what we should do? Or, even further than that, people ask the question, “What’s up with people raising their hands? Do they have a question?”

But what I’ve found — and I’m serious about this — is I don’t know — I mean, I think we’ve been preached at to worship. I think we’ve been preached at about doing things that are worshipful. I’m not quite sure that we’ve ever really been taught well. I know, at least in my life, I look back at my life of church and I’m like, “I’ve heard worship, I’ve heard sermons telling me to worship, but I’ve never heard the ‘why.’ I’ve never heard why worship is so important and what worship actually is.”

I mean, Joseph said it’s our life. We go to work and we’re worshiping there. Some people are like, “We raise hands.” What does all that mean? So, I want to talk to you about that, this weekend, and I’m going to do a little bit more teaching, probably, than normal. I’m going to cover a lot of material. So, the good thing is we record all of this, so if you feel like, “Man, Chip, after about five minutes in, you lost me,” you can go back, watch it again, and put it on slower speed. It’ll be good. But I’ve got a lot of material. I’m just the type of guy that goes, “I’ve only got like 30 minutes every week to bring it, so I want to give an overload of stuff so people have to be thinking about it on Monday and Tuesday.”

I want you to be, on Wednesday in your car, still going, “What was that? He’s crazy.”

Which is good. So, what I’m going to do is this: I’m going to take three passages of Scripture that are stories, and I’m going to read them and tell you a little bit about them. Then I’m going to come back and put them all together, at the end, with six points that I think about worship that will help us out. And I really hope that this is helpful to you. So, the first story — and all of these passages deal with worship in some form or the other. That’s part of the way Scripture is, too. Most of Scripture is narrative. So, to learn about God, you sort of have to read the story. Then you have to read the story and go, “What’s going on in the story? What does the story mean?” to draw applicational principles from it. So, we’re going to look at three stories and see if we can’t find out some things that maybe will help all of us understand what exactly it is that God wants, and why God wants us to worship Him in the first place.

So, the first story is the story in John 4 where the woman was at the well. She’s come, and Jesus says something to her where she realizes Jesus isn’t just a normal dude. He says, “You’ve been married five times, and you’re currently living with someone. She realizes, at this point, that there’s something more going on than just a man. In this conversation that she’s having with Jesus, she tries to change the subject. Have you ever been there when somebody gets on a nerve or something that’s sensitive to you, where you just sort of try to change the subject? Do any of y’all have kids where they’ve got their hand in the cookie jar, and they tell you, “No, what I was really doing is putting money in there. I thought it was a piggy bank.”

So, she starts talking about, “Well, what about worship? You guys worship over in Jerusalem. We’re Samaritans. We worship on Mount Gerizim.”

Jesus sort of stops and He corrects that it’s not where you worship, but it’s who you worship and how you worship. He says, to her, this: “The hour is coming, and is now here,”

So, we’re here, in this moment. He says, “When the true worshipers…”

So, He’s not saying that worshiping in Jerusalem or worshiping at Gerizim is the way to do it. He’s introducing something new. He’s not saying, necessarily, that the people there who were doing that are bad, but He’s saying, “This is what true worship looks like.”

He goes, “There are going to be true worshipers who will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”

They’ll worship God spiritually. Not a place. It’s connecting with God. And they’ll do it in truth. In other words, His truth and the way He says.

“For the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.”

It’s like, wow. So, God’s actually seeking people to worship Him. Why is He doing that? What’s going on? That leads me to my second passage I want to work through. This comes out of Deuteronomy 6. Deuteronomy 6 is where the children of Israel are getting ready to go into the promised land. This is what we’re told in Deuteronomy 6:10.

“‘When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers…”

Let me just take a moment here and tell you something. If God says He will do something, He will do it. Y’all must have a lot on your mind. If God says He will do something, He will do it. Right? Amen? Okay. Just making sure you’re with me. Just making sure.

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give you — a land with great and good cities that you did not build,”

They’re going into Canaan. He says, “When this happens, you’re going to inherit some cities that you didn’t build.”

“…houses full of all good things that you did not fill them with, cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant — and when you eat and are full,”

In other words, “I did all of this for you. When this happens, and when you eat and are full, then…”

Listen: “…take care lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Pay attention. In those moments when everything’s going your way, pay attention. Don’t forget the Lord. He’s the one who delivered you.

“It is the Lord your God you shall fear, Him you shall serve, and by His name you shall swear.”

The third and last passage I want to look at is a story that takes multiple chapters in 1 Kings. It’s a story of Ahab, Jezebel, and a prophet named Elijah. So, let’s pick up here and see how this story unfolds.

We’re told, “In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years.”

Now, if you’re going to be recorded in Scripture, what you don’t want is the next verse. But this is what it said.

“And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.”

It’s not a great setup. Can we agree? That’s not what you want to hear, but this is who Ahab — if you’ve never heard of Ahab, or if you’ve never read this passage, we’re seeing who this guy is.

It says, “And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal…”

Now, you already know this ain’t going good when you’ve got “Baal” in the name of the dad. Right? I mean, you should go, “Yeah, this is not going to go good.”

“…king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him.”

This is a side, little sermonette. Let me tell you something. When you marry the wrong person, it’s not good. Don’t settle. Don’t think that you’re going to change everybody. Typically, you’re the one who gets changed. Just listen to your pastor here because I want you to hear me. Okay?

“…and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria.”

In the promised land, he built a house for Baal. In the promised land. Not only that — because, typically, when you get going in idolatry, you just keep going. Not only did he build a place for Baal, but we’re told:

“And Ahab made an Asherah.”

This was a pole. This was another god that they worshiped.

“Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”

He married the wrong person, got caught up in the wrong stuff, and ended up in a bad place. Well, the story continues because when you have a person like Ahab, who is walking in blatant sin, there are consequences. So, Elijah tells him, “Hey, it’s not going to rain for a long time.”

Now, you have to understand something. When you’re a king in this timeframe, rain is hugely important because it’s an agrarian society. If you don’t have rain, you don’t have plants. If you don’t have plants and food, you don’t eat. This is not a good thing. Elijah says, “It ain’t going to rain.”

Well, later on, years after this confrontation, in 1 Kings 18, we’re told that the word of the Lord came to Elijah. Elijah told everybody, “Hey, do you know what? It’s going to rain.”

So, Ahab decides to bring everybody to Mount Carmel. He’s got 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. Elijah says, “Bring them. When we get together, bring them, because they’re the ones who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

It’s so bad, it’s so corrupt. They finally show up at Mount Carmel, and we’re told, “So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.”

So, this is 850 prophets; 450 of Baal and 400 of Asherah. They’ve gathered together at Mount Carmel. Here they are. This is going to be like the showdown, like the cowboy movies. The O.K. Corral. You’ve got the prophets of Baal, the prophets of Asherah, and the man of God, Elijah.

Everybody’s gathered together, they’re there, and Elijah comes near and says, “‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions?’”

He’s saying this to the people. What gives here?

He says, “‘If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’”

You would think that there would’ve been a rousing applause. You would think there would’ve been a massive, “Yeah! This guy is telling the truth.”

But we’re told, “And the people did not answer him a word.”

They were straddling along, like, “Well, if we say that God’s god, Ahab is a pretty bad dude. I don’t know how that’s going to affect us.”

Elijah is just saying, “Hey, man. At some point, you’ve got to stand up here. At some point, you’ve got to say what’s right and what’s wrong.”

So, now the showdown happens. They get these two altars. They put the burnt offering on the altar. Elijah has his altar, and the false prophets have their altar. Elijah says, “Alright, man. Do your thing. If your god is god, have him pour down fire to consume the offering.”

So, they start doing their chants, they start doing their thing, they start writhing around, and they start cutting themselves. One of the funniest passages in all of Scripture is here because Elijah says, “Hey, it doesn’t sound like your god is hearing you. Maybe he’s in the bathroom.”

Literally, he says, “He must be relieving himself.”

That’s funny. They’re doing their thing, and nothing happens. Finally, Elijah says, “That’s enough, man. Why don’t you get a bunch of water?”

“There’s no water. It’s been a drought.”

He said, “Get some water and put it all around the offering. I don’t want anybody to think there’s some sort of hocus pocus going on here, that somehow we’ve rigged this thing that it’s going to fire up or whatever. Soak it.” Then we’re told that Elijah prays.

“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.”

So, what’s going on in all these passages? There are a lot of different stories and a lot of different things. Lean in here. Like I said, this is teaching. I really want to help here. I want to give you something of substance. So, first of all, what we can learn about worship is that God is seeking people to worship Him. I know that doesn’t answer your question of why. We’ll answer that next. But He’s seeking people to worship Him. In fact, Jesus Himself says there’s a time, and it’s now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit. In other words, it will not be where or all that stuff. It’ll be a spiritual encounter with God, and it will be done in truth. Which means God wants people who will worship Him spiritually, but will also worship Him in truth, which means they’ll do it His way, what is true.

And I’m just going to tell you, as your pastor, we’re living in a day and age where, even in the Church, we’re succumbing to culture, and we’re succumbing to all kinds of stuff. God wants us to be people that truly worship Him with truth. What God’s Word said, what He says, is true. We don’t need to try to make it make sense. We don’t have to try to water it down. If God says it’s a certain way, He knows what’s going on. I’m going with God. In fact, He says that’s the way you should go because He’s looking for people who will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. So, at the very least, if we’re followers of Jesus, we need to know that the Father is seeking people to worship Him. So, if you’re a follower of Jesus, He wants you to worship Him.

So, there shouldn’t be a question of should I worship. The question should be, “What does that look like? Why does it look like that?” and all that stuff. But the bottom line is He’s seeking people to worship Him, which means, well, why is He seeking people?

Second: God’s concern with our worship is of utmost importance to Him. It’s all through Scripture. Totally important. Don’t forget. Worship the Lord. Sing to the Lord. Because He knows how vital it is to our lives. He knows something that you and I both know. We know this to be true. We sometimes just want to push it down and suppress it, but this is true. We become what gets our time and our attention. That’s the bottom line. You hang around it, you’re going to be like it.

“Oh, no. I’m impervious to that.”

You’re not. We all are somewhat becoming what we’re around. God knows this. God knows that what gets our time and our attention, we’re going to be like. That’s why when you see Ahab marries Jezebel, and he starts worshiping Baal, it shouldn’t be a surprise. It shouldn’t be a surprise that where we give our heart, where we give our attention, where we give all of who we are — and we all do. See, we’re all created to be worshipers. You’re going to worship something. God knows that. God knows that where your time and your attention, and my time and my attention, and our time and our attention goes, we will become a lot like it.

So, follow me here because this is important. God knows this. The best thing for you and I is to worship Him. Because what He knows is that He is the ultimate God. There’s nothing higher than Him. Things that are beyond, things that are wonderful, we naturally say things. Like, “That’s a great player. That’s a great song.”

We’re designed to worship, and God knows that the best place for you and I to put our attention is in Him because He is the only thing that we can worship. He is the only person that we can worship, He is the only entity that we can worship, that actually gives life back to you and I. When we worship other things, they may give a temporary sense of satisfaction, but God gives pleasures forevermore. So, it’s not like God is saying, “Hey, I want you to worship me because I’m needy.”

He knows it’s the best thing for us to worship Him. So, here’s the deal. That doesn’t make Him needy. It actually makes Him loving because He’s saying, “Hey, this is the best thing for you.”

Let me put it this way: We all worship something, and the only thing that can give us true satisfaction is worshiping the Lord. Period. That’s why the Westminster Shorter Catechism — all you Presbyterians shout out, real quick. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says something that I really like.

What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. There is a sense, when we worship God, that something happens in our life. There’s an enjoyment, a satisfaction, that can only come from Him. And what we do is we try to find other things that will give us that life, but they can’t. The reason God says “worship me” is not because He’s needy, not because He’s deficient, but because He knows that the greatest thing for you and I is to worship Him. A life full of worshiping the Lord is the most enjoyable life.

Let me put it this way. C.S. Lewis said this, and I think this is profound. He said, “But the most obvious fact about praise, whether of God or anything, strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. The world rings with praise. Lovers praising their mistresses. Readers, their favorite poet. Walkers praising the countryside. Players praising their favorite game. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is its appointed consummation.”

In other words, when you and I are worshiping God, there is a sense that we’re at the best place that we can be, which leads to a wonderful sense of enjoyment in our lives. So, when God says “worship me,” what He’s saying is not “I’m needy,” but “this is what is best for you.”

“I’m not telling you this because I’m needy. I’m telling you this because I am loving. I want you to have the most satisfaction.”

That doesn’t mean you won’t have problems, that doesn’t mean there won’t be difficulties, but that is the ultimate life. That’s why we worship God.

Third: Worship reveals our heart. Look at where you spend your time, look at where you spend your talent, look at where you spend your treasure, and you will find out where your heart is. Now, I’ll readily concede that this time, talent, treasure thing doesn’t really hit every nuance of life. It’s a complicated thing, life is. But this is a great, great sort of way to just generalize some things. Where is your time spent? I’m not here to give you a hard time. I’m just saying that if you look at your time, where do you spend it? If you look at your talent, where do you spend it? If you look at your treasure, things that you love, the material things or your finances, where does it go? When you look at these things, you start to see where your heart is because worship, what we worship, really exposes our heart.

Now, what I’ve found is this. I’ve found that when it comes to church, you’ll find two different groups of people. There will be people that will be more than happy to give their time and their talent to God, but they’re not going to give up their treasure. When we convince ourselves, “Well, if I do that, then, I mean, I can hold onto everything that I want because it’s sort of my security,” — or I find people who are more than willing to give their treasure, but they don’t want to give their time and their talent.

Here’s what I want to tell you. I want to tell you that, as your pastor, when I find people who are upset, miserable, complaining, and just frustrated, usually, what I can do is I can look and find that they are usually people who are giving their time and their talent, but not their treasure, or people who are giving their treasure and not their time and talent. Because see, when we are serving God with everything that we are, that is the greatest sense of enjoyment. This is why worship, sometimes, rubs us a little wrong. Because worship can be uncomfortable because it’s not about us, and we like us. Right? We sort of like ourselves. You probably looked in the mirror before you came. You know? You probably picked out a pair of clothes. You probably didn’t just jump out of bed and wear whatever you’ve been wearing all day. You probably brushed your teeth. There’s this sense where we go, “Well, I’m sort of valuable. I matter.”

Worship is tough. What Paul says is that our tendency is to try to exchange something for God.

Here’s what he says in Romans 1:21: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God [give Him His due praise] or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking,”

In other words, when we’re not honoring God, we’re becoming futile in our thinking.

“…and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for [other things; idols].”

I just ask the question. We’re not saved by this, we’re not saved by a performance, but it’s a great question to ask. Are there any areas in our time, in our talent, or treasure that we have exchanged for a lesser glory? And then we wonder, sometimes, why we’re not enjoying God the way that we would want to enjoy God. Because it really comes down — that’s why Jesus says, “When you follow me, you follow.”

It really is important. Which is why worship helps to keep us from the lurking temptation to forget about the goodness of God. When we turn our eyes off of God, what happens is we start to question His goodness. God says, “There’s no doubt I’m a good God. I brought you into a land that you didn’t get. I gave you stuff that you didn’t build. I gave you houses of stuff that you didn’t fill. I gave you cisterns that you didn’t dig. I gave you stuff that you didn’t plant.”

This is the way it is with salvation. He gives us all of these things that we didn’t earn, that we didn’t deserve. He’s good. He says, “When all these things happen, take care lest you forget the Lord.”

Because it’s easy to forget the Lord. What happens is when we get our eyes off of God, we start looking around, questioning things, and we start doing all this stuff.

The psalmist says, in Psalm 73, “Surely the Lord is good.”

Of course He is. There’s no question that He’s good.

“Surely, He’s good to those who are of a pure heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped. I started looking around and I saw injustice, I saw things that didn’t look right, and I got upset.”

He says, “But then I went to the house of the Lord.”

You see, what happens is when we’re not giving God His due, we tend to look at things a little differently. When our eyes are on Him, things change. Which is why we’re confronted and reminded, in true worship, that we really can’t straddle the fence. Elijah says it best. He says, “How long? How long?”

I’m not trying to give anybody a hard time, but how long are you going to keep one foot in the world and one foot in the church? How long are you going to do most of the things your way, but the things that you like, that God likes, His way? He says, “How long are you going to do this? Here’s the fact: If the Lord is God, follow Him. But if Baal, then follow him.”

Choose. Don’t straddle the fence. Make a decision. You may go, “Well, why would the prophet say, ‘If you think Baal is god, go follow Baal?’”

Let me tell you why. Because straddling the fence doesn’t get you to the bottom as fast as when you go full-blown away from God. Sometimes God’s just got to get you to the bottom to understand who He is. God knows that. God wants you and I to worship Him. Not because He’s needy, but because it’s best for you and I. Christ is our life. You can’t get life in this world. You can’t get life in material things. You can’t get life from anybody other than the Lord. When we’re not honoring God, we’re not getting the life that He wants for us.

Lastly, at the end of the day, worship costs. I want you to see, here, what happens.

It says, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.”

What did the fire burn up? Burnt offering. There was a sacrifice on the altar. There’s always, in worship, the sense that something costs. There’s a cost to it. And we see here, listen, that fire doesn’t come without sacrifice. Like, we want God’s fire in our lives, but God may be saying, “Okay. You want fire? Then why don’t you give up some of that pride? You really want to see me work? Why don’t you step forward in that area that you’re not worshiping in?”

Which is why I want to say, this weekend, what I want you to do is I want you to open up the bag, I want you to be honest, and I want you to get this out and say, “God, I want You to get involved in my worship. I want my life to reflect You.”

And I’m not trying to give anybody a hard time, but it’s natural. When something happens that you like, everybody always goes, “Yes!”

That’s why the Bible says, “Let holy hands be raised.”

It’s not because you’re trying to put on a show. It’s because you’re saying, “God, I need You.”

We’re told to sing. We’re told to shout. You and I are designed that way. I’ve been over to some of your houses. I’ve seen you watch the news and shout or get mad at whatever’s going on. I’ve watched you get baseball games. Us men are going to get in here on October 2nd, we’re going to watch a football game, and some people are going to be excited, cheering, and all that stuff. I’m just saying God is worthy of everything that we are. It might just be — I’m not saying this is exactly it, but it might be that some of the reasons why we’re not where we need to be is because maybe we’re just not giving God the honor that is due Him in every area of our life.

So, I’m going to ask you, would you take a moment, would you pray, and say, “God, help me? Help me.”

They put together two songs that we’re going to finish with. We’re early. I mean, I’m getting y’all out of here early. So, you shouldn’t have to run out of here, right now. There are two songs. They’re a mashup. They were written in a way to just really have us a moment here that we could reflect upon how good and awesome our God is. I just want to encourage you, as your pastor, to really allow God to work into your life with worship.

Listen, I don’t know this. I’m being as honest as I can be. I’m just telling you what I think. It just feels to me, as a pastor, it feels to me, as someone who loves God, that I look around our world, especially around our country, and it feels like there’s judgment hitting every corner of everything. Can I tell you something? Do you want to know how a nation gets back right? It gets back right by turning its heart towards the Lord. By turning our hearts towards Him, saying, “God, we need You, we love You, we’ve got to have You in our life. We’ve sinned, as Your people. Our hearts have been idol-making factories. Lord, start here with me. Start with us.”

And maybe let God, in that cool way that He does it, just poke a little bit at you in some of those areas where, maybe, You’ve exchanged something for lesser. Would you bow your heads?

Father, I come to You, right now, humbly. Lord, my heart is to see Your people worshiping. As a pastor, if I’m not pointing people to You, if I’m not pointing people to worship You, if I’m not pointing people to serve You, if I’m not pointing people to believe in You, then I’m not doing a good job. I’ve failed my responsibility. Lord, I humbly ask that You would turn our hearts towards You. I pray that it would start right now. I pray that we would all be open to correction, that we would all be open to listening to You speak, that we would all be open to a little prodding to some areas where we’re deficiently not honoring You. And Lord, to see that the benefit of doing that is that it’s best for us. It’s not worse for us.

So, Lord, I pray that as we sing this song, as we sing these two songs together, there would be a real moment — a real moment here — for Your glory and for Your honor. Would you stand with us, right now? Let’s sing these songs together, and let’s have a moment of real, genuine worship with the Lord as we sing.

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