Summary: We are confronted with choices daily. The BIG choice is what to do with God when we see his presence. This becomes a choice about Relationship; Repentance; Rulership; and Renewal.
1. Ski Lift Choice
A woman getting onto a ski lift was given instructions that the moment the lift's chair touched her backside she was to sit down and lift her feet from off the ground. Instead when the chair came against her she sat down but was nervous about the height of the lift. Her hesitation caused her to keep her feet firmly planted on the platform. (pause) She wanted to see the magnificent view from the top of the lift, but also wanted to be firmly attached to the ground. With her feet on the platform, the seat began to wind back and then like a slingshot hurled her off the platform causing severe injury to her legs and back. Indecision is a dangerous thing. Straddling between two positions can be hazardous to your health.
2. 1 Kings 18.20-26; 36-40
3. Worship was the issue at Mt. Carmel
4. Isaiah invited the power of God and the people responded with worship and service
5. This encounter teaches us four concepts that aid our worship:
I. The Encounter Revealed Relationship
A.W. Tozer said, "We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God." (God is worthy of our worship. Knowing the true God and recognizing idols that would take His rightful place are marks of a true Christian.)
A. Elijah showed his relationship to God in Prayer (vv. 36-37)
B. Elijah showed his relationship to God in Power (v. 38)
C. Elijah showed his relationship to God was Personal -- he did not come to Carmel "cold" and merely went through a ritual
II. The Encounter Revealed Repentance
Little Mary was at her first wedding and gaped at the entire ceremony. When it was over, she asked her mother, "Why did the lady change her mind?"
Her mother asked, "What do you mean?"
"Well, she went down the aisle with one man, and came back with another one."
Changing our mind is not always a bad thing. In fact, it's the essence of repentance. A definition of repentance I heard in college has stuck with me -- "a change of mind leading to a change of life." It's so true; before we can change our lives, we must first of all have a change of mind about what we have done.
A. Worship is a Time of Turning Our Hearts Back to God (vv. 37-39)
B. Worship Experiences Can Include:
1. Being "Chilled" -- Nothing happens; cold; ritual; going through the motions
2. Being "Thrilled" -- Great show of entertainment -- "I am at the center" -- Meet my entertainment needs
3. Being "Filled" -- God consumes and fills the worshipers, empowering them for service
[People have put notes in bottles, closed the lid and tossed them into the sea. The bottle is in the sea but the sea is not in the bottle. Take an open bottle and toss it into the sea. The bottle is in the sea, and because it is open, the sea is in the bottle. So it is with God and us.
III. The Encounter Revealed Rulership
A. We Serve Whomever Rules Us -- Baal or the LORD
Hideyoshi, a Japanese warlord who ruled over Japan in the late 1500s, commissioned a colossal statue of Buddha for a shrine in Kyoto. It took 50,000 men five years to build, but the work had scarcely been completed when the earthquake of 1596 brought the roof of the shrine crashing down and wrecked the statue. In a rage Hideyoshi shot an arrow at the fallen colossus. "I put you here at great expense," he shouted, "and you can't even look after your own temple."