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Summary: One of the spiritual disciplines that will help us to be transformed into the image of Jesus is celebration and praise.

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TRANSFORMATION #4: CELEBRATION AND PRAISE

INTRO TO SPEAKER: Give a report of the Foursquare Unit Gathering in Regina last week.

INTRO TO TOPIC: For the past three weeks, we’ve been talking about the spiritual disciplines – specifically prayer and Bible reading. These are tools to help us experience transformation.

QUOTES:

“People who want to pursue joy especially need to practice the discipline of celebration. This is a primary reason we see much emphasis placed on feast days in the Old Testament. Times of feasting were to be transforming experiences – just as times of meditating and fasting were. Celebration generally involves activities that bring pleasure – gathering with people we love, eating and drinking, singing and dancing. Spiritual celebration means doing them while reflecting on the wonderful God who has given us such wonderful gifts.” (John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted).

“Christians ought to be celebrating constantly. We ought to be preoccupied with parties, banquets, feasts and merriment. We ought to give ourselves to veritable parties of joy because we have been liberated from the fear of life and the fear of death. We ought to attract people to the church quite literally by the fun there is in being a Christian.” (Robert Hotchkins, quoted in The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning).

• God wants us to be joyful people who celebrate and enjoy life!

THE BIG IDEA: One of the spiritual disciplines that will help us to be transformed into the image of Jesus is celebration and praise.

OPENING TEXT:

“And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” (Acts 16:23-26).

• Celebration and praise isn’t something we only do when everything’s going right.

• We need to learn to praise God even in the midnight hour, and see things change!

HOW DO WE PRAISE AND WORSHIP?

1. FROM THE HEART: - John 4:23

We must worship in spirit. (from the heart, not just with externals)

2. ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE: - John 4:23

We must worship in truth. (God’s Word tells us how to worship Him acceptably)

3. IN SONG: - Psalm 149:1

Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.

4. CLAPPING OUR HANDS: - Psalm 47:1a

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! (if you’ll clap for a football team, why not God?)

5. SHOUTING: - Psalm 47:1b

Shout to God with the voice of triumph! (again, if you’ll shout for a sports team…!)

6. BOWING: - Psalm 95:6

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

7. LIFTING OUR HANDS: - Psalm 134:2

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. (an act of surrender)

8. WITH THANKSGIVING: - Psalm 100:4

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.

Take the time to thank God for all of the things He’s done in the past.

9. JOYFULLY: - Psalm 100:2

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness.

10. SACRIFICIALLY: - Hebrews 13:15

Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God.

David said, “I will not offer an offering that has cost me nothing!” (1 Chron. 21:24).

11. IN THE DANCE: - Psalm 149:3 & Psalm 150:4

Let them praise His name with the dance… Praise Him with the dance!

BIBLE STORY: (2 Sam. 6:13-16,21-23).

“And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart…

So David said to Michal, "It was before the Lord… And I will be even more undignified than this… Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.”

• Will you be like David the Dancer, or Michal the Mocker??

QUOTE: “On this occasion David laid aside his imperial purple, and put on a plain linen ephod, which was light and convenient for dancing.” (Matthew Henry).

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