Summary: What is considered authentic has less to do with what our tastes and likes and dislikes. It has to do with our willingness to surrender ourselves to God almighty, creator of heaven and earth. That is what worship is all about.
Developing Your Friendship with God
(From Rick Warren's "40 Days of Purpose"
Intro: Worship Wars
Two issues that split the church
Finance/Money (or hiring/firing a pastor)
Worship (Style and Form)
What is authentic worship?
AsCo-ordinator of Contemporary service in Athens, AL
Contemporary service was started with bad blood between
New data projector equipment
Asked “why do we need a contemporary service?”
Not authentic worship!
What is considered authentic has less to do with what our tastes and likes and dislikes. It has to do with our willingness to surrender ourselves to God almighty, creator of heaven and earth. That is what worship is all about
Worship is about surrender, giving yourself over to God – offering your life as a living sacrifice to him. It is about trusting God implicitly no matter what you experience in life. It means celebrating the belief that God wants more than our just surrender ... he wants to “Become Friends with us.”
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!!??
I’ll say it again: God wants to become Friends with you ... and me.
[Romans 5:10] says, “when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled (NLT) “restored to friendship” to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
How do you become friends with God?
Meditation – thinking about God – his word
Developing Your Friendship with God
James 4:8 says, (NLT) “Draw close to God and he will draw close to you.”
This is from Building Friendships 101: the basics of Building Friendships. If you want to build a friendship with someone you have to be willing to get close to one another
Rick Warren says “If you want a deeper, more intimate connection with God you must learn to honestly share your feelings with him, trust him when he asks you do something, learn to care about what he cares about, and desire his friendship more than anything else” p. 92.
Choose to be honest with God
[Ex. 33: 1-6] God frankly speaks of his disgust with Israel’s disobedience
He would keep his promise to give them the Promised Land, but he would not go one step farther with them.
Moses as a “friend” of God, speaking with equal candour responds [vv. 12-17] – God can handle our frankness and he encourages it – this demonstrates authenticity
Choose to obey God in Faith
Don’t normally associate obedience with friendship – this is a matter of trusting God that he knows best
[John 15:14] “You are my friends if you do what I command.”
Not fear or compulsion – but because we love him
Choose to value what God values
Friends care about things that matter to the other person
[2 Cor. 11:2] Paul says, “The thing that has me so upset is that I care about you so much—this is the passion of God burning inside me!”
David felt the same way [Ps. 69:9] “Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
Desire friendship with God more than anything else
Psalms filled with examples of this desire
David passionately desired to know God above all else ... using words like longing, yearning, thirsting, hungering.
[Ps 27:4 (NLT)] “... the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.”
[Ps 63:3 (CEV)] “Your love means more than life to me, and I praise you.
Truth is – you are as close to God as you choose to be.
Do you really want it? What is it worth to you? Is it worth giving up other things? Is it worth the effort of developing the habits and skills required?
However you can lose the desire that you once had – especially when pain and suffering enters your life. C.S. Lewis said, “Pain is God’s megaphone.” Your problems are not punishment – they are a wakeup call from a loving God. As Rick Warren says, “He is not mad at you he is mad about you, and will do whatever it takes to bring you back into fellowship with him.
Worship God when he Seems Distant
Isaiah says (8:17), “The LORD has hidden himself from his people but I will trust him and place my hope in him.”
God is real, no matter how you feel or what you experience in life
Rick Warren says, “The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant” p. 107
ILLUSTRATION: Dealing with hardship – We are completely and hopelessly powerless to stop it. We must realize we are powerless in order to discover that our power comes as we surrender to God.
Surrender – Give up – give over our life to God
Hands raised we say “I surrender”
Prostrate – we demonstrate we are powerless.