“I Will” Worship with Others by Rick Burdette (With special credit to Thom Rainer and his book, “I WILL”)
I WILL – “I Will” Worship with Others
Acts 2:46-47 (pg. 759) October 11, 2015
We have a rule at the Burdette household that my daughter and wife continue to break and disregard…Here’s the rule: If you’re playing “Phase 10” with me (it’s a family card game that I dominate…not really) you cannot be playing “Candy Crush” on your phone at the same time…or you cannot be constantly checking your Facebook on it at the same time.
It’s my firm belief that if you want to spend time with me and the family…then give me your undivided attention…Karissa will say, “I only do it while you’re dealing…Kari just gives me “THE LOOK.” Guys “you know the look I’m talking about, don’t you?” (DEMONSTRATE)
Family time is really important to me…whether it’s around the table for dinner, or time playing “Phase 10.” I don’t want to share you with “Candy Crush” or “Facebook” during this time.
I think our heavenly Father feels like that when it comes to our worship as His family…I don’t want to share you with “Nursery Crush” or “Sports” or a million other things that pull us away from the family table…and relegate Him from a connected Dad to a spectator who watches us do other stuff.
Let me emphasize that worship in scripture has two distinct components…a daily worship where we are aware of His presence in all activities….
Paul tells the brothers and sisters in Rome “In view of God’s mercy offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. 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.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Clearly the Apostle is saying “Our daily lives connect us with God or the world. His Spirit transforms our thinking…or the world shapes our minds…if you want to be in God’s will…to know He’s working in and through you…offer yourself to Him as you live…This is your personal lifestyle of worship.
But there is also worship that involves connecting to Him with other believers…it’s family worship…and there’s a gathering around a table involved in this worship as well.
How do we move Christians from:
I. BEGRUDGING PARTICIPATION TO JOYOUS COMMITMENT?
It seems in our busy culture we have to beg people to attend worship services.
Thom Rainer writes “But so many have inexcusable conflicts like the football game, or the kids soccer game, or the traveling softball team, or the weekend at the lake, or the fact I only slept 5 hours. For many Christians, all other activities have become mandatory while the worship service has became an optional afterthought.” (I Will p.29)
I kind of hate the term “Worship Service.” Service sounds like some kind of duty…an obligation.
(You remember the joke about the little boy who was standing in the entrance foyer of the Church looking at this enormous brass plaque with dozens of names etched on it…An older usher looked at the boy and said, “Those are names of individuals who died in the service.” And the little boy said, “Which one…the 1st or 2nd?”
If you remember we did an entire series called “The Well” where Jesus met a Samaritan woman….a divine appointment where Jesus reveals Himself as the Messiah to the woman with a painful past…she is amazed and the last words He spoke to her in John 4:23-24 are “An hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
- It’s a powerful, powerful declaration from Jesus’ own mouth about the commitment of worship and God’s desire for it.
This worship could only take place after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension. This worship is dependent upon our Spirit connecting with God, who is Spirit…Only possible for His “born again” children who are filled with His promised gift, the Holy Spirit.
Our text in Acts 2 makes it pretty clear that the early believers longed to be together in worship…it was anything but an obligation…or duty. It was joyous…sincere…and so powerful it affected their daily lives of worship so much it caused their numbers to grow daily…as God added their friends, family and neighbors in salvation
Family worship…corporate worship is not one good option among many others…it should be the consistent and faithful practice of every believer. It’s more important than Phase 10 family time!
“I Will” worship with other believers” is essential for believers in an “I Want” world.
You see we live in…
II. A CONSUMER DRIVEN SOCIETY
And this has caused a terrible shift in how many view the Church…especially here in America.
I’m not sure when this terrible shift from an attitude of self-sacrificing service focused to self-serving attitudes took place…but it’s been devastating for disciple making…some blame the secularization of our culture…others blame the pop theology of many of our churches…still others say church leaders made the Church like a “business” and turned our churches into consumer focused organizations. There’s probably some truth in all three explanations.
But one thing is sure…the focus of too many of our churches has moved from God to ourselves…our wants…our preferences…our needs.
It’s a terrible shift when a church becomes preference driven…its focus turns inward instead of outward as Jesus intended.
Please understand, I understand preferences. I have them too. There are music styles and worship I prefer…and each of us should have freedom to share them, but I’ve witnessed hateful words spoken and churches that have divided, over preferences…about styles…and this is sinful and self focused.
Here are some of the comments thomrainer.com lists concerning these preferences.
“That music is not the style I’m accustomed to hearing. If they don’t change things I’m leaving this church.”
Music wars have ripped apart many congregations from both camps…it’s OK to like something better…it’s not OK to forget grace and sacrifice in congregational meetings and who worship is all about!
“I don’t like the Pastor’s preaching.”
If your pastor is preaching a health and wealth gospel…or something contrary to the Word of God…you should be concerned…you shouldn’t like it.
But if it’s his personality or sermon topics or if you’ve compared him to your favorite preacher’s style and it’s not the same…your agenda is about yourself….and you’re not worshipping God with fellow believers.
You get the idea…when we make the corporate worship time about me, myself and I we’ve allowed the consumer mentality of the world to overshadow our awesome God.
III. IT’S TIME TO SAY “I WILL” TO FAMILY WORSHIP TIME
Remember our goal is to be part of a united band of brothers and sisters assembled for a greater good…and a greater God!
There is something powerful, even miraculous when we connect spiritually in worship together to exalt our God.
So what are the action steps we can take to truly become “I Am” worshippers…There are 4 actions of accountability and action…First:
1. I will attend Worship services. It’s that simple…I’ll make worshipping God a priority…I will make sports, entertainment, and vacations a lower priority than corporate worship…Just watch what happens when you make a firm commitment that you will faithfully attend weekly worship services. Secondly…
2. I will pray before I attend worship services. I’m not telling you when…maybe it’s the night before or the morning of but I’ll pray for my heart to be right…I’ll pray for my attitude. I’ll pray for others. I’ll pray for my family and that we won’t have conflicts and be frustrated as we attend. 3rd…
3. I will pray as I enter the sanctuary. I’ll echo the prayer I’ve prayed earlier…God prepare me…prepare my heart…prepare my attitude…I’ll pray for other believers and for unbelievers to hear the gospel clearly…and that God’s Spirit will connect and convict us all. I’ll pray for distractions to be removed for me and others so we can focus on the true worship of God…and finally
4. I will be a worshipper instead of a judge. What I mean is this…I used to be a pretty good swimmer and diver…in diving competitions the judges would hold up three signs…for executions, form and entrance. 7…8…7.5….for a final score. Perfect was 10. All too often we judge worship services like a diving competition…the preacher gets a 5…the worship music gets a 6…other worshippers get a 3 because they wouldn’t let me in my pew…We go home adding up the score. When we do that judgmental perceptions have made us attend an entertainment event instead of worshipping God….we’ve experience a lecture and a concert, not a Holy God.
We have to pray for our focus to be on Him instead of ourselves and others.
Let me end with this challenge…
[Our ladies just got back from a mission trip to Eastern, KY
SHOW PICS FROM WOMEN’S MISSION TRIP
9 ladies, some were newer member here at Gardenside, 1 was from Fern Creek, some have been friends for a long time, some have known each other for a while, but had never gotten close by sharing their lives….They served with Mission Journeys’ missionary Leonard Stone. (our 8 men also served with Leonard and had a great experience.) but I want to share with you about worship and how I believe God seeks and speaks to us corporately through the experiences that happened with this “band of women” as they worshipped. Each morning and night they shared a devotion from God’s Word…and shared their lives…all by the way in the context of having physically served others (a lady who had broken her back and was trying to paint her porch and her house a board at a time.)
One night as they shared their hearts Betty Lou Donaldson shared about the child they had lost when she was 24…understanding she doesn’t talk about this a lot, but it was a powerful, transparent moment for each of these women…as God bonded them together…it was worship…as they were finishing up…Kari started to pick up some of the drinks that were on the table…Cokes…The first one she picked up made her stop short…It had a name on it…Janet…Betty Lou and Nelson’s daughter’s name…and the powerful tears of worship, connection, and love came upon these “band of sisters” as God seeks and speaks.]