1. Counting at Church
A little boy asked his father what was the highest number he had ever counted. Replying that he didn't know, the father asked his son his highest number. It was 973.
"Why did you stop there?" wondered the father.
"Because church was over."
2. It is a shame that we can make a worship service a boring exercise
3. “Worship” means “worthship” – ascribing worth to something;
a. In Hebrew it is bowing down; humbling ourselves; recognizing sovereignty; expressing reverence
b. In Greek it is the picture of a dog licking the master’s hand – love; loyalty; gratitude
4. Psalm 95
5. In worshiping and loving God we:
I. Look Up
A. It is the Direction of God -- 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4.4-6
1. Above – up to Jerusalem and the temple
2. God comes from above to below as at Sinai
3. Yeshua (Jesus) ascended back to the Father
B. It Shows the Distinctions of God
1. His Prominence – Psalm 95.1-3
a. Opportunity to give glory to God – Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. Psalm 29.2
b. Worship is not performance for people – honoring One greater than all of the gods of old
Francois Fenelon was the court clergy for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the preacher. King Louis demanded, "What does this mean?" Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the king."
2. His Plans – 95.4-5
3. His Presence – 95.2,6,7
a. Creates awe – Isaiah 6.1-5
b. Establishes Joy – Acts 2.47
c. Expressions of Joy – Singing; Dancing; Instruments; Clapping of Hands
d. These are not in conflict – A few years ago I was in Florida for my High School Reunion. Some of my classmates were members of a charismatic congregation and invited me to attend services with them. I agreed to go because it was early enough that I could then go to services at my former “home church” (a conservative, non-charismatic church) and visit with others I knew.
Here is what I observed – the Charismatic congregation was very happy. They had a lively service. Very few people brought a bible and the sermon was lite on scripture. The Conservative congregation was bible-centered. Nearly everyone had a bible, the sermon was filled with scripture BUT, the people did not appear to be very happy. My conclusion was – if we could merge the two we would have a dynamic church – bible + emotion!
e. I heard about a man who visited a conservative church and reported that a man had a heart-attack during services. The ushers carried out 5 men before they found the right one.
II. Look Out –
A. “OUR God”
1. Sh’ma – “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deuteronomy 6.4
2. Model Prayer – OUR Father, who art in heaven
3. Interesting – on the cross Yeshua (Jesus) said, “My God, my God. . . “ quoting Psalm 22 – there is a personal aspect to our relationship with God and, the God of Yeshua was not everyone else’s God at the crucifixion
B. Worship Impacts People – praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2.47
1. Actions produced disciples
2. [Shark story
Peter Michelmore in October 1987 Reader’s Digest: Normally the flight from Nassau to Miami took Walter Wyatt, Jr., only sixty-five minutes. But on December 5, 1986, he attempted it after thieves had looted the navigational equipment in his Beechcraft. With only a compass and a hand-held radio, Walter flew into skies blackened by storm clouds.
When his compass began to gyrate, Walter concluded he was headed in the wrong direction. He flew his plane below the clouds, hoping to spot something, but soon he knew he was lost. He put out a mayday call, which brought a Coast Guard Falcon search plane to lead him to an emergency landing strip only six miles away.
Suddenly Wyatt’s right engine coughed its last and died. The fuel tank had run dry. Around 8 p.m. Wyatt could do little more than glide the plane into the water. Wyatt survived the crash, but his plane disappeared quickly, leaving him bobbing on the water in a leaky life vest.
With blood on his forehead, Wyatt floated on his back. Suddenly he felt a hard bump against his body. A shark had found him. Wyatt kicked the intruder and wondered if he would survive the night. He managed to stay afloat for the next ten hours.
Then he heard the hum of a distant aircraft. When it was within a half mile, he waved his orange vest. The pilot dropped a smoke canister and radioed the cutter Cape York, which was twelve minutes away: "Get moving, cutter! There’s a shark targeting this guy!"
As the Cape York pulled alongside Wyatt, a Jacob’s ladder was dropped over the side. Wyatt climbed wearily out of the water and onto the ship, where he fell to his knees and kissed the deck.
C. Worship Helps Build Community
1. Power in song – Ephesians 5.19
2. Community comes out of communities
If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of one hundred people; here’s the way the world would look:
There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, and 8 Africans.
50 would suffer from malnutrition and one would be near death.
80 would live in substandard housing.
70 would be unable to read.
6 would possess more than half of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from North America.
We attend church without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death. We are better off than 3 billion people in that regard.
III. Look In (95.7b-11 cf. Hebrews 3.7)
A. Into the Heart of Obedience
1. Assembly times are useful – 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10.24-25
2. We need reminders to do as God says – Hebrews 3.7-19 (Mark and Read)
“We will do and we will hear” at Mt. Sinai
B. Into the Heart of Dependence
1. Why seek things above – If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3.1-4
2. A reminder to be grateful
Rudyard Kipling, author of “The Jungle Book”, at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. [about $10!] A few college students, however didn’t appreciate Kipling’s writings; they flippantly sent him a letter enclosing ten shillings. It read, "Please, send us your best word." They got back a letter from Kipling, "Thanks."
C. Into the Heart of the Day
1. TODAY Hear
2. TODAY do not harden hearts
3. TODAY is all we have – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6.34
IV. Look Back (95.8-11)
A. To times of Dependence on God – Wilderness
B. What He Did in the Past He will do Again
1. Worship and Little Things
A huge clock was built and placed in the tower of the Pottsdam Garrison Church by the Emperor Frederick the Great of Prussia. This magnificent timepiece would chime out the hymn, "Praise ye the Lord" every half hour.
One day the melody ceased. Repairmen opened the gearbox of the massive clock. To their amazement, they discovered that a brown butterfly found its way into the intricate gears and stopped the music!
How often are you praising the Lord? God has made you to reflect his glory in your words and worship. Don't let small problems steal your joy. You will always have trials. God desires to hear worship from your heart. Get the bugs out and praise the Lord!
2. In Our Worship – Look Up; Out; In; and Back as we go forward with God!