Summary: When God’s people returned to Jerusalem after nearly a century of exile, they found their city in ruins. The Temple of God–where they believed God lived–was destroyed. This is a story about how God’s people plugged in to His supernatural power.
Are You Plugged in to Celebrate God’s Goodness?
by Dr. David O. Dykes
I have a light here, but it’s not doing what it was created to do. It’s not shining. The reason it isn’t fulfilling its purpose for existence is because it isn’t plugged in to a source of power. I’ve got a power strip here–and I think I can fix the problem. I’ll plug the light into the power strip and then plug the power strip into the power strip. Hmm. I guess that’s the problem. Some people are trying to plug in to themselves, and it’s not working! But when I plug the light into this extension cord, which is plugged into a source of invisible power that is generated a long way from here an amazing thing happens. Energy surges into the light bulb and–voilà! There is light.
You may be like this light. You realize you don’t have much power in your life–power to love, power to live, power to forgive, will-power. And you may think all the resources you need are hidden somewhere deep inside you. Instead, you need to realize there is a source of power available to you that is generated far away from here and in a way you don’t understand. It’s the supernatural power of the Almighty God, and that power is available to you!
During the past month, we have been talking about the importance of getting plugged in to the very best God has for you this year. These messages are taken from the wonderful Old Testament Book of Ezra. 2,500 years ago, when God’s people returned to Jerusalem after almost a century of being exiled in Babylon, they found their city in ruins. The Temple of God–where they believed God lived–had been destroyed. This is a story of how God’s people plugged in to His supernatural power.
These messages have simply followed exactly what happened in Ezra 3. The first thing they did was to gather together to study God’s Word. You need to be plugged in to a small group Bible study. Next they gave God several offerings. Last week we talked about how you’ll never experience God’s best until you plug in to His plan of bringing the Lord’s tithe to the Lord’s house on the Lord’s day to support the Lord’s work.
When we come to verse 10, we discover there was a final important activity that allowed them to plug in to God’s best. They decided to rebuild the Temple, so they gathered for a ground-breaking worship service. In our minds, let’s go back in time and try to see, hear, and experience what happened at that worship service:
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord as prescribed by David, king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
If you want to plug in to God’s best for you in 2003, you must make a commitment to worship–to celebrate God’s goodness. I didn’t say make a commitment to attend worship–but a commitment to really worship God. Worship not only honors God, it will refresh your life and be a blessing to others.
When people around America hear the miraculous story of what God is doing in Green Acres, they often want to ask me questions about our church. One question I’m always asked is: What worship style do you use? I know what they mean. They want to add a man-made adjective in front of the word worship. They want to know if we use contemporary worship; or blended worship; or traditional worship; or casual worship; or charismatic worship; or liturgical worship.
I don’t like those adjectives, because they are all so relative–even among Baptist churches. Compared to First Baptist Church, Charleston, S.C. where I preached in a robe and the choir sang an anthem in Latin, we are wildly contemporary. But compared to some of the Baptist Gen-X churches in the metroplex, we would be stiffly traditional. I used to employ some of those adjectives myself, but God convicted me about the danger of adding a man-made word to a word that is all about God–worship. So I refuse to use any of those adjectives to describe our worship. If they keep pressing me for an adjective to describe our worship, there is only one adjective I’ll use. Biblical. We are striving for biblical worship. If you aren’t sure what biblical worship is, let me give you four quick characteristics of biblical worship we find in Ezra 3.