October 12, 2008
24/7 Worship
Part 2: Worship is Adoration

Worship is a 24/7 deal-we love God with all we’ve got all the time. It’s also an event, something we do here at church each weekend. How does our worship here help us become full-on lovers of God the rest of the week?
ILL: Michael Hockett and I are in a masters of theology program at Whitworth together. Last week, in an excellent presentation he gave in class, Michael said that airplanes are off course almost the entire flight-did you know that? And yet they land right on target. How does that happen? The sophisticated instruments of the plane detect course deviations and allow the pilot to make regular course corrections.
As a Christian, I’m trying to live my life full-on for God, but I get blown off course a lot-in fact, I seem to spend most of the flight off course. I need regular course corrections. That’s what happens every Sunday when I worship. I realign my life with God; I refocus on what’s important, I recalibrate and make course corrections.
Most of us need help to stay on course if we’re going to be 24/7 worshippers. That’s what we’re going to talk about today: worship is the act of adoration, the act of telling God that you love Him-and how that helps us worship all week long.

Offering and announcements:
• Events for women and men this week:
a. Women Live–Monday at 7 PM (item #1)
b. Pursuing Purpose for men-Tuesday thru Friday, 6:30 AM (item #2)
c. AIM-for mom’s of young children, Thursday at 9:30 (item #4)
• Crown Financial Seminar is Saturday-details at Info Center (item #9)
• Opportunities for giving (back of tear-off)

Introduction: “The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot!” St. Augustine.
The word “alleluia” is a Hebrew word that means “praise the Lord”. A Christian should be a living, walking, breathing “praise the Lord,” from head to foot. We are to love God with all we’ve got: heart, soul, mind and strength. We are to worship God with our whole life-24/7.
As I said earlier, one purpose of our Sunday worship gathering is to get us back on course by worshipping together. Properly done, it can recalibrate and
refocus our hearts to worship all week. So I want to talk about what we do here-the act of worship or adoration, as a way of helping us worship all week. Since my talk is about worship, I thought it would be good to give my talk first, and then we’ll worship.
ILL: I’ve got five terrific kids and I love them more than I can say. I tell them that often, and I love it when my kids tell me that they love me. “I love you, Dad.” It’s music to my ears.
I love it when my kids love me.
God is your Father, and I’ll bet He loves it when you love Him. I think God loves it when we express our love to Him. I think it is music to His ears. And that is one of the reasons we worship: to bring joy and delight to God! We sing, “I love you Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship you, oh my soul rejoice. Take joy my King in what you hear. Let me be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.” When worship, our souls rejoice; it’s good for us. But more importantly, it brings joy to God. “Take joy my King, in what you hear. Let me be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.” Take joy my King in what you hear…
That is what the act of worship is all about. Every time we meet, we make time to worship. Time to tell Him that we love Him. Time to focus our attention on Him and give Him praise He richly deserves. Time to worship. And we do it because God loves it, because it brings joy to Him. It’s music to His ears.
Let’s start by reading Psalm 150 together. The book of psalms was Israel’s song book, their hymnal, and this is the concluding song of praise. It’s a call for everyone everywhere to praise the Lord.
Psalm 150
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!
Praise the Lord! The Christian is an alleluia from head to foot! Let’s break it down.

1. What: praise the Lord! V. 1
What are we to do? Praise the Lord! What does it mean to praise the Lord? To praise is to express admiration or approval; it is to tell someone that you admire them and why. To praise is compliment, to express appreciation or respect, to pay tribute, to applaud, to honor.
There are two ways to praise someone. We can praise them directly by telling them personally that we admire them. Or we can praise them indirectly by telling others why we admire them.
ILL: Pick someone.
“Laina, your passion for God and your love for people inspires me. You consistently put others before yourself. Thanks for loving God and me like you do.” That’s direct praise.
Or I could say to all of you, “Laina really loves God and people; she inspires me!” That’s praise too, but indirect.
We do both with God. When we sing, some songs are directed straight to God, telling Him that we love Him. And other songs are directed toward each other, describing God. So for example, we just sang, “I love your Lord”-what’s that? Direct praise. We’re singing directly to the Lord-I love you! And we opened the service by singing, “Everybody praise the Lord!” What’s that? Indirect praise-that is, we were telling each other how great God is, and encouraging each other to praise Him.
This is true not only of our songs, but also our words. We speak directly to God and we speak to each other about God. Tell me some things about God that you admire. Field answers. We just praised God indirectly, telling each other how wonderful He is. Now let’s praise Him directly. Pick one thing that is especially meaningful to you, and tell God that you admire Him because of that.
Praise the Lord!
I want you to notice that the Bible commands us to praise God. “Praise the Lord!” It’s a command. Why does God command us to praise Him? Isn’t that a little immature, conceited maybe? “Praise me!”
ILL: We tried to teach our children to be grateful and to express their gratitude. Did you ever do this with your kids: you do something nice for them, and then ask, “What do you say?”
“Thank you.”
Why did we do that? Because we were insecure and self-centered? “Praise me! Praise me!” No. We did it for two reasons. First, because kindness and goodness always deserve to be recognized. Don’t you all agree? When someone does something kind and good, she deserves to be acknowledged? When someone exhibits sterling character, he deserves to be recognized? It’s right to do. We wanted them to say thanks because it’s the right thing to do.
Second, we wanted them to say thanks because they need to recognize what we did and express thanks. How would you describe a person who went through life never thanking or praising anyone? Very self-absorbed and small. We didn’t want our kids to turn out that way.
The Bible commands us to praise God for those same two reasons: because He is worthy and deserves our praise, and because we need to be grateful or we become very small. We need to praise God. Praise helps us keep our perspective.
ILL: It’s penny time! When you came in today, you were given a penny. Did you wonder why? It would have been a quarter, but the Dow is down! Take your penny and look at it. It’s pretty small, isn’t it? Your penny is a little more than half an inch across, and weighs a fraction of an ounce. It’s not very big, but if you focus on it, it can obliterate much larger things. Take your penny and hold it a couple inches from your eye. You can block me out. If this talk is real boring, or I’m real ugly, you might want to just hold it there.
This is what happens to us if we don’t praise God. My life is small, but when I focus on myself, my problems, my life, I lose perspective. I seem big and God seems small.
But when I praise God, it’s like holding my penny out at arms length and regaining my perspective. I can see that my problems are small next to God, that He is great and worthy of my praise and trust.
Keep your penny in your pocket as a reminder to praise God and keep your perspective. God commands you to praise Him not because He’s small and insecure, but so that you won’t be.
Praise the Lord! It’s a command, and since it’s a command, we are to obey, whether we feel like it or not. That’s the nature of a command: you obey because it’s right, not because you feel like it.
• You don’t stop at red lights only if you feel like it.
• When your boss gives you a job, you don’t do it only if you feel like it.
When God gives a command, you don’t do it only if you feel like it. You obey because it’s right. Imagine doing something for someone and they don’t thank you because they don’t feel like it; we’d call that bad manners. God deserves praise, whether you feel like or not! If Christians only worshiped when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship!
Have you ever not felt like praying or not felt like singing praise, but you did, and something happened-your feelings changed? Eugene Peterson wisely says, “We can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship.” Praise the Lord even when you don’t feel like it and your feelings may change! I have discovered that the times I don’t feel like worshiping are the times I most need to worship. Praise the Lord, even if you don’t feel like it!
“But,” someone protests, “if I don’t feel it, won’t it be insincere, hypocritical?” No. It’s never hypocritical to obey or do the right thing.
• For example, if you run the red light because you don’t feel like stopping, and the cop pulls you over, just tell him, “I didn’t feel like stopping, so if I stopped, it would have been hypocritical of me, don’t you think?”
It’s never hypocritical to do the right thing even though you don’t feel like it.
Praise the Lord: it’s a command, and it’s always right to obey, even if you don’t feel like it.
That’s what we’re to do; here’s where.

2. Where: in His sanctuary and in His mighty heavens (everywhere). V. 1
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise God in His sanctuary. The psalmist was thinking about the temple, the place where God’s people gathered to worship Him. So the modern equivalent of that would be church, what we’re doing right now. One of things we do every time we gather is praise and worship the Lord. When we get together as Christians, God is our focus, so we worship Him in His sanctuary.
The sanctuary could also be you. In the New Testament, the Lord’s temple is both the church gathered and also individual believers. You are a mobile sanctuary. God lives in you. So wherever you are, there’s a sanctuary, and worship can happen. We don’t just praise God in church; we do it wherever we are: in the car, on the job, at school, with friends. We’re mobile temples, portable sanctuaries. Wherever we go, praise happens. I think that’s the meaning of the second half of this verse: Praise God in His mighty heavens. Wherever you are under heaven, you can praise Him. We worship God in church, and we worship Him wherever we go.
ILL: Once I worshipping God at church and felt out of it. I just wasn’t connecting with God at all. So I stopped and prayed. “What’s wrong with me Lord? Why can’t I get into this?” And I had one of those wonderful moments of insight. It was as though the Lord said to me, “You haven’t been worshiping me all week, so it’s hard to just turn it on now. Your praise is like a faucet that you turn on when you come to church and off when you leave; I want it to be a river that flows all week long.” I imagined all of us, individual rivers of praise flowing through our week, then on Sunday, flowing together to form an ocean of worship. And then we flow back out again changed, because now I have some of your water, and yours and yours. That’s worship…in the sanctuary (church) and in the sanctuary (me).
ILL: It’s like a stew that has to simmer all day so that all the juices of the ingredients can blend together into one glorious flavor. Sunday is the culmination of people who’ve been simmering all week in the presence of God. When we worship every day and then come on Sunday and mix all of it together, God pulls off the lid and goes, “Mmm, that’s my kids at Life Center.”
That’s worship. We do it all week, 24/7 worship, and then when we do it here, it’s good!
What do we do? Praise the Lord!
Where do we do it? Here at church, and everywhere we go.

3. Why: for what He does and who He is. V. 2
2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Why do we praise the Lord? We praise God for what He does (His acts of power), and who He is (for His surpassing greatness). There is a reason to praise God.
Praise ought to be intelligent. When we praise someone, there is usually a reason. There is something about that person that is praiseworthy, either something they’ve done, or something they are.
ILL: Often, people praise the Lord by repeating a few “praise phrases” over and over, kind of like chanting a mantra. “Praise the Lord. Glory, glory. Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus.”
Would you praise a person that way? “Oh John, I praise you! Praise you John, praise you. Glory to John, glory, glory. Praise you John.” Sounds pretty weird doesn’t it. If someone did that to you, you might think, “Ok, what do you want to praise me for? What is it you admire about me?”
Praise ought to be intelligent-there’s good reason to praise God.
We praise Him for what He’s done. What has God done? Created us, loved us, redeemed us, filled us, healed us, forgiven us, changed us.
We praise Him for who He is. Describe Him to me. He is…
Why should we praise and worship God? He deserves it! He is worthy. And we praise Him because it brings Him joy. When we praise someone, it’s to make them feel good, not to make us feel good. We praise God because He is worthy and deserving, and we want to bring joy to His heart. It’s all about Him, not us. Please don’t measure worship by what you get out of it. Measure it by what you give to Him. Did you give your best? Did you give your heart? Was He pleased with what you gave? That’s the measure.
And the wonderful thing is that when we worship Him that way, He comes looking for us, and we often have wonderful experiences that heal us, refresh us and change us. But it’s not about us; it’s about Him.
What do we do? Praise the Lord!
Where do we do it? Here in church and everywhere.
Why do we do it? Because of who He is and what He’s done.

4. How: with music and dancing. V. 3-5
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
How do we do it? With music and dancing.
The psalmist lists a lot of instruments, probably most of the musical instruments he could think of, conveying the idea that we ought to do everything we can to praise God. It’s as though he is saying, “Pull out all the stops! Drag out the whole band, fire up the whole orchestra, use everything you have to praise God. Let’s make it big!”
Music and singing were an integral part of Israel’s worship: 80 times in the book of psalms we’re encouraged to “sing to the Lord”, to sing praises, to sing for joy, to sing of His love. And the early church sang a lot too.
Ephesians 5:18-20 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
James 5:13 “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.”
All through history, Christians have set words to music and used instruments to sing their praise to God. There is something about knowing the Lord that just makes you want to sing!
ILL: In his book, Psalms of the Heart, George Sweeting tells the story of John and Elaine Beekman. God called them to missionary work among the Chol Indians of southern Mexico. Sweeting reports that they rode mules and traveled by dugout canoes to reach this tribe. They labored 25 years with other missionaries to translate the New Testament into the language of the Chol Indians. Today the Chol Church is thriving. More than 12,000 Christians worship in the Chol church. What’s interesting is that when the missionaries came, the Chol Indians didn’t know how to sing. With the coming of the gospel, however, the believers in the tribe became known as “the singers”. “They love to sing now,” Sweeting commented, “because they have something to sing about.”
We’ve got something to sing about…so we sing. And our songs mingle with those of millions of other believers around the world and through the ages to form a symphony of worship to God. We’ll sing in a few minutes.
What about this dancing thing? The Jews didn’t just use their voices to worship; they got their whole body into the act! They danced, they lifted their hands, they clapped, they knelt and sometimes they lay prostrate before God. They used their body to express their praise.
One example of dancing is in Exodus 15. The Israelites had just come through the Red Sea, and as you can imagine, were ready to praise God. Moses started a song, and Miriam, banging on a tambourine, started a dance. They all danced and sang to God.
Another is in 1 Samuel 18, when King Saul and David returned victorious from battle, the people came out to meet them with singing and dancing, praising the Lord for their victory.
Or in 2 Samuel 6, when King David brought the ark of the covenant home, he danced before the Lord with all his might, while the people shouted praise and blew trumpets.
They danced for joy! There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that dancing was part of the temple worship, but it was a spontaneous expression of irrepressible joy that burst out at special times when God had intervened.
ILL: When I was in college, I went to a buddy’s bachelor party at the Oregon coast. Late that night, after everyone had gone to bed, I wandered out on the beach. I began to sing to the Lord. It was such a beautiful moonlit night, and my heart was so full of joy, that I began to dance too. I jumped and spun and twirled-I danced for joy. I’m glad you weren’t there watching…it probably wasn’t a pretty sight…except to the Lord. I think He smiled.
We don’t dance in church much. Occasionally we have a little fun and kick up our heels, and we do try to get our body into worship in other ways. Kneeling or lying prostrate is a way to show humility before God. Standing is a way to honor someone-we stand for a bride at her wedding, or we stand when dignitaries enter a room. Clapping is a way to celebrate; we rejoice and applaud the Lord. We life our hands in worship or prayer.
Psalm 63:3-4 “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”
In the Bible, people lifted their hands in praise to God for several reasons.
• It’s the universal sign of surrender.
• It’s the posture of a child who wants to be picked up by mom or dad.
• It’s the posture of offering a gift.
• It’s the posture of celebration-like at a ball game.
If you’ve never lifted your hands to God while you sing, go ahead and give it a try today…get your body in the act.
We worship with our voices and with our bodies.
What do we do? Praise the Lord!
Where do we do it? Here in church and everywhere!
Why do we do it? Because of who He is and what He’s done.
How do we do it? With singing and dance.

5. Who: everything that has breath!
Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!
Who does it? Everyone who has breath! Are you breathing? You qualify! God loves you and wants you to love Him back.
John 4:23-24 “The time has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
God is seeking true worshippers. That tells me that God really wants us to worship Him. When you seeking someone or something, you really want it. God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Instead of just worshiping in church, they worship in spirit; that is, wherever they go, they are worshipping God. And they worship in truth, honestly, genuinely. God seeks worshippers. If you are looking for God, start worshiping Him and He’ll come find you!
ILL: When my kids were little, we often played chase. They loved to chase me…and I loved to be caught! We’d roll around on the floor and wrestle and tickle and laugh and hug. Sometimes though, I could be elusive. It wasn’t that hard to evade them. They would chase me until they collapsed on the floor, giggling and saying, “Oh daddy.” And I couldn’t resist; I’d flop on top of them and tickle them and kiss them. In that moment, the pursuer became the pursued. The chaser was caught by the one he or she was chasing!
God is looking for true worshipers. When you start seeking Him, worshiping Him, He comes looking for you. And you will be caught by the very one you’re chasing.
So let’s take some time to worship. Let’s focus our attention on God and tell Him we admire Him and why. And as part of our worship today, we’re going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Worship and Communion