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