Dear Church, Again this is magnification month here
at Demo. I want to share with you a great article written by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback church
entitled "Worship That Pleases God" Anthropologists have noted that people in every culture instinctively
worship something. It's a universal urge, hard-wired by God into the very fiber of our being - an inbuilt
need to connect with God. Worship is as natural as eating or breathing. If we fail to worship God, we
always find a substitute; even if ends up being ourselves. "Let us be grateful and worship God in a way
that will please him, with reverence and awe." Heb. 12:28 (TEV) The reason God made us with this desire
is because he desires worshipers! Jesus said, "the Father seeks worshipers." "I want to emphasize again
that worship is more than music. Actually, worship predates music." So far we've seen that worship is
bringing pleasure to God, and there are many way to do this: by trusting, loving, obeying, praising,
surrendering, using our talents for his glory, and developing a close friendship with him. Worship is
the first purpose of your life: You are created and we're commanded to worship. It is our greatest responsibility,
our highest privilege, and it should have take priority over everything else. When asked, "What's the
most important commandment in the Bible?" Jesus answered, "Worship!" He said, "Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Anytime
you express love to God, you are worshiping. It doesn't matter whether you are by yourself, with family,
or gathered with other believers. A Samaritan woman once tried to debate Jesus on the best time, place,
and style for worship. Jesus replied that these external issues are irrelevant; what matters is your
heart. Where you worship is not as important as how and why. Jesus said, "True worshipers will worship
the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." These two statements
by Jesus (Mark 12:30 and John 4:23) explain the kind of worship that gives God pleasure. God-pleasing
worship is based on Scripture: "Worship in ...truth." We must worship God as he is truly revealed in
the Bible; anything else is idolatry. You can't just create your own image of God ("I like to think of
God as...") and worship that. Real worship is rooted the Word; it's based on truth, not our imagination.
The more you know the Bible, the better you'll understand the truth about God, especially his grace.
That will compel you to passionate worship. Whenever you feel indifferent, apathetic, or bored with worship,
it means you've forgotten how amazing God's grace really is. God-pleasing worship is from the heart:
"Worship in spirit" This is not referring to the Holy Spirit, but to your spirit. Made in God's image,
you are a spirit that resides in a body, and God designed your spirit to communicate with him. Worship
is our spirit responding to God's Spirit. Jesus said it another way when he commanded, "Love God with
all your heart and soul." Worship must be genuine and heart-felt. It's not just a matter of saying the
right words; you must mean what you say. Heartless praise is not praise at all! It is worthless, and
an insult to God. When we worship, God looks past our words to see the attitude of our hearts. The Bible
says, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Since worship is delighting
in and enjoying God, it engages your emotions. God gave you emotions so you could worship him with deep
feeling - but those emotions must be genuine, not faked. God hates hypocrisy. He doesn't want a show,
or pretense, or phoniness in worship. He wants your honest, real love. We can worship God imperfectly,
but we cannot worship him insincerely. Of course, sincerity alone is not enough; you can be sincerely
wrong. That's why both spirit and truth are required. Worship must be both authentic and accurate. God-pleasing
worship is deeply emotional and deeply doctrinal. We use both our hearts and our heads. I want to emphasize
again that worship is more than music. Actually, worship predates music. Adam worshiped in the Garden
of Eden but music isn't mentioned until Genesis 4:21 with the birth of Jubal. If worship was just music
then all who are non-musical could never worship. Real worship happens when your spirit responds to God,
not to some musical tone. Unfortunately, many equate being emotionally moved by music as being moved
by the Spirit, but these are not the same. In fact, some sentimental, introspective songs hinder worship
because they take the spotlight off God and focus on our feelings. Your biggest distraction in worship
is yourself- your interests and your worries over what others think about you. The best style of praise:
Christians often differ on the most appropriate way to express praise to God. But these arguments are
usually just personality and background differences. Many different forms of praise are mentioned in
the Bible: confessing, singing, shouting, standing in honor, kneeling, dancing, making a joyful noise,
testifying, playing musical instruments, and raising hands are just a few of them. What is the best style
of praise? The answer is: the style that most authentically represents your love for God, based on the
background and personality God chose for you. My friend Gary Thomas noticed that many Christians seem
stuck in a worship rut, an unsatisfying routine, instead of having a vibrant friendship with God. Part
of the problem, he discovered, was that many people force themselves to use devotional methods or worship
styles that don't fit the way God uniquely shaped them. This leaves them frustrated and confused: Why,
when I really love God, am I bored with worship? Gary wondered, "If God intentionally made us all different,
why should everyone be expected to love God in the same way?" That began a search to identify different
ways people develop a friendship with God. As he read Christian classics and interviewed others, he discovered
many different paths that Christians have used for 2,000 years to enjoy intimacy with God: being outdoors,
studying, singing, reading, dancing, creating art, serving others, solitude, fellowship, and dozens of
other activities. In his book, Sacred Pathways, Gary identified nine of the ways people draw near to
God: Naturalists are most inspired to love God out-of-doors, in natural settings; Sensates love God with
their senses, and appreciate beautiful worship services that involve their sight, taste, smell, and touch,
not just their ears. Traditionalists draw closer to God through rituals, liturgies, symbols, and unchanging
structure; Ascetics prefers to love God in solitude and simplicity; Activists love God through confronting
evil, battling injustice and working to make the world a better place; Caregivers love God by loving
others and meeting needs; Enthusiasts love God through celebration; Contemplatives love God through adoration;
Intellectuals love God by studying with their minds. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to worship
and friendship with God. One thing is certain: you don't bring glory to God by trying to be someone he
never intended you to be. "Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others."
"...That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves
before him in their worship." God-pleasing worship is thoughtful: Four times Jesus commanded, "Love God
with all your mind." God is not pleased with unconscious worship -- thoughtless singing of hymns, perfunctory
praying of clichés, or careless exclamations of "Praise the Lord" because we can't think of anything
else to say at that moment. Unless your mind is engaged, worship becomes meaningless motion or empty
emotion. This is the problem Jesus called "vain repetitions." Even biblical terms can become tired clichés
from overuse; we stop thinking about the meaning. It's so much easier to offer clichés in worship instead
of making the effort to honor God with fresh words and ways. That's why I encourage you to read Scripture
in different translations and paraphrases. It will expand your expressions of worship. Here's a challenge:
try praising God without using the words praise, hallelujah, thanks, or amen. Instead of saying "We just
want to praise you," make a list of synonyms and use fresh words like admire, respect, value, revere,
honor, and appreciate. Also be specific. If someone approached you and repeated "I praise you!" ten times,
you'd probably think "For what?" You'd rather receive 2 specific compliments than 20 vague generalities.
So would God. Another idea is to make a list of the different names of God and focus on them. God's names
are not arbitrary; they tell us about different aspects of his character. In the Old Testament, God gradually
revealed himself to Israel by introducing new names for himself, and God commands us to praise his name.
God wants our corporate worship gatherings to be thoughtful, too. Paul devotes an entire chapter to this
in 1 Corinthians 14 and concludes "Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." Related to
this, God insists that our worship services be understandable to unbelievers, when they are present in
our worship gatherings. For a full explanation of this, see the chapter on "Worship Can Be A Witness"
in The Purpose Driven Church. "Suppose some strangers are in your worship service, when you are praising
God with your spirit. If they don't understand you, how will they know to say, "Amen"? You may be worshiping
God in a wonderful way, but no one else will be helped." Being sensitive to unbelievers who visit your
worship gatherings is a biblical command, not a passing fad. To ignore this command would be disobedient
and unloving. God-pleasing worship is sacrificial: In the Old Testament God took pleasure in the many
sacrifices of worship because they foretold of Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross. But since Jesus
completely paid for our sin, atoning sacrifices are no longer needed. Now God is pleased with different
sacrifices of worship: our lives, our love, thanksgiving, praise, humility, repentance, offerings of
money, prayer, and even serving other and sharing with them in need. Real worship costs. David realized
this, "I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing." Praise alone is incomplete
worship. We must surrender, submit, offer, and yield ourselves to him. That is the heart of worship.
One thing worship cost us is our self-centeredness. You cannot exalt God and yourself at the same time.
You don't worship to be seen by others or to please yourself. You deliberately shift the focus off yourself.
When Jesus said, "Love God with all your strength" he pointed out that worship takes effort and energy.
It is not always convenient or comfortable, and sometimes worship is a sheer act of the will -- a willing
sacrifice. Praise takes effort. When you praise God even though you don't feel like it, when you get
out of bed to go worship when you're tired, or when you help others when you are worn out, you offer
a sacrifice of worship to God. Paul said, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your
bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." God-pleasing
worship is continual: Worship is not just for church services; we're told to "Worship him continually."
and to "Praise him from sunrise to sunset." In the Bible people praised God at work, at home, in battle,
in jail, and even in bed! Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes in the morning
and when you close them at night. David said, "I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always
praise him." Worship is not a part of your life; it is your life, and every activity can be transformed
into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure of God. The Bible says, "So
whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Martin Luther said, "A
dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God." How is it possible to do everything to the glory of God?
By doing everything as if you were doing it for Jesus and by carrying on a continual conversation with
him while you do it! The Bible says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for
the Lord, not for men." This is the secret to a lifestyle of worship; doing everything as unto the Lord.
Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God, and perform it with an awareness of his presence. The
Message paraphrase of Romans 12:1 says "Take your everyday, ordinary life -- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work,
and walking-around life -- and place it before God as an offering." When I first fell in love with my
wife, I thought of her constantly: while eating breakfast, driving to school, attending class, waiting
in line at the market, pumping gas -- I could not stop thinking about this woman! I often talked to myself
about her, and thought about all the things I loved about her. This helped me feel close to Kay even
though we lived several hundred apart from each other and attended different colleges. By constantly
thinking of her, I was abiding in her love. The lifestyle of worship is just falling in love with Jesus.
Two classic books can teach you how. The first, from the 17th century, is The Practice of the Presence
of God by Brother Lawrence, a humble cook in a French monastery. Brother Lawrence was able to turn even
the most commonplace and menial tasks, like preparing meals and washing dishes into acts of praise and
communion with God. The key to friendship with God, he said, was not changing what you do, but in changing
your attitude toward what you do. What you normally do for yourself, you begin doing for God, whether
it is eating, bathing, working, relaxing, or taking out the trash! Today we often feel we must "get away"
from our daily routine in order to worship God, but that is only because we haven't learned to practice
his presence all the time. Brother Lawrence found it so easy to worship God through the common tasks
of life, he didn't have to go away for special spiritual retreats. This is God's ideal. In Eden, worship
was not an event to attend, but a perpetual attitude; Adam and Eve were in constant communion with God.
Since God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God than the place where you are right
now. The Bible says, "He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything." Another of Brother
Lawrence's helpful ideas was to pray shorter conversational prayers continually throughout the day, rather
than trying to pray long sessions of complex prayers. To maintain focus, and counteract wandering thoughts,
he said "I do not advise you to use a great multiplicity of words in prayer, since long discourses are
often the occasions for wandering." In an age of attention deficit, this 450-year-old suggestion to keep
it simple seems to be particularly relevant. Many Christians use "Breath Prayers" throughout their day.
You choose a brief sentence, or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath: "You are
with me." "I receive your grace." "I'm depending on you." "I want to know you." "I belong to you." "Help
me trust you." You can also use a short phrase of Scripture: "For me to live is Christ." "You will never
leave me." "You are my God." Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted deeply into your heart. Just
be sure that your motive is to honor God, not control him. "O God, we give glory to you all day long
and constantly praise your name." "Pray all the time." The fastest way to reconnect with God throughout
your day is to pause and be silent for a few second. Stop what you are doing, look around you with new
awareness, and listen in silence for the voice of God. Silence honors God and allows us to hear him speak
to our hearts. If you love God, you'll listen to him. Practicing the presence of God is a skill, a habit
you can develop. Just as musicians practice scales everyday in order to play beautiful music with ease,
you must force yourself to think about God at different times in your day. You must train your mind to
remember God. At first, you'll need to create reminders to regularly bring your thoughts back to the
awareness that God is with you in that moment. Over time, it will be more natural to think about God
more often, talk with God about everything, and sense his presence everywhere. Another classic is Frank
Laubach's booklet, The Game With Minutes. Laubach, founder of the World Literacy Movement, began to play
a game with himself to see how often in a day he could remember that God was with him. He set a goal
of thinking about God's presence at least once every half hour and developed reminders to help him do
so. He then progressed to thinking about God once every 15 minutes. Eventually, his awareness of God
became so ingrained that he talked with God constantly about every person he saw and every circumstance
he experienced. If this seems impossible, remember it's a habit you develop with practice. Like all relationships,
a friendship with God takes time. You don't build it overnight. Begin by placing visual reminders around
you. You might post little notes that say "God is with me and for me right now!" Benedictine monks use
the hourly chimes of a clock to remind them to pause and pray "the hour prayer." If you have a watch
or cell phone with an alarm you could do the same. If Muslims pause to kneel and pray 5 times a day,
why can't we? Sometimes you'll sense his presence, other times you won't. Your goal is not a feeling,
but a continual awareness of the reality that God is always present. If you are seeking an experience
of his presence through all of this, you've missed the point. God cannot be controlled or manipulated
for your pleasure. You exist for his pleasure. We don't praise God to feel good but to do good. "After
all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this
is all that we were created for."
WORSHIP THAT PLEASES GOD
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness
days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up
he was hungry. The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first
test: "Since you're God's Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread."
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to really
live." For the second test he led him up and spread out
all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, "They're yours in all their splendor
to serve your pleasure. I'm in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish.
Worship me and they're yours, the whole works." Jesus
refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your
God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness."
For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He
said, "If you are God's Son, jump. It's written, isn't it, that
'he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they
will catch you; you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone'?" "Yes,"
said Jesus, "and it's also written, 'Don't you dare tempt the Lord your God.'
completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.
is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown
of life that God has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting
me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but
each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged
away and enticed. James 1:12-14 (NIV)
temptations to teens have to face today?
did Jesus do to resist temptation?
is the hardest temptation you face?
temptations to you struggle with that are not bad, but for you it is wrong and you have a hard timing
controlling yourself.? (food, tv, talking on he phone, being on the computer to long, talking back to
your parents, etc)
can God help you?
temptations have you over come that are not a problem?