Summary: Heartfelt worship is a key ingredient to the transcendent presence and glory of God in our midst.
1. Have you been watching and listening for God's direction this week?
2. WORSHIP FROM THE HEART
A little boy asked his father what was the highest number he had ever counted. Replying that he didn't know, the father asked his son his highest number. It was 973.
"Why did you stop there?" wondered the father.
"Because church was over."
We all have probably sat through worship services where our minds were focused on something just as trivial rather than on God. It's easy to let the mind wander. "I can't wait to see the ball game this afternoon." "I wonder what we're having for lunch." "I've never noticed before that the carpet down there is starting to unravel a bit." Is it any wonder that we so often leave the worship assembly with the feeling that it wasn't very meaningful?
Worship should be a time when we are confronted with the majesty and glory of God. As we reflect on God's power, we realize how much we need Him in our times of weakness. As we reflect on God's wisdom, we realize how much we need Him in our times of indecision. As we reflect on God's holiness, we are made aware of our own sinfulness and the need for forgiveness. As we reflect on God's love, we realize the effort God has gone to make that forgiveness available.
It's not a ritual we go through every week. It is an opportunity to express our praise to the One who means more to us than all the earth. As we truly worship and praise God from the heart, we become more aware of how much we want to live close to Him. We leave with the challenge to "be holy as He is holy."
3. Why did you come to worship services today? Most to experience the presence of God and worship Him; to experience His Power and glory
4. What brings His presence and glory to us? Whole-hearted worship. [Emptiness of Ecclesiastes 3.11
5. John 4.22-24
a. Samaritan Woman -- a surprise conversation
b. Issue was not interracial marriage (Moses and Cushite; Boaz and Ruth, the Moabite)
c. Inter-Faith Issue -- (days of Ezra and Nehemiah)
d. Focus on worship -- among all nations of people
I. The Place of Worship
A. Definitions and Descriptions
1. Pulling affections from our idols and putting onto God -- ascribing worth (worth-ship)
2. To bow or prostrate before someone -- John with Jesus and the 24 elders before the throne in Revelation
3. Kiss toward; adoration
4. Psalm 29.2 -- Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
B. Detours from Worship [Family Feud
Top Five Answers for: What can Christians worship above God?
#5 -- Family/Children
* My family is my most important thing
* I come to church to have a better family
o It is true that doing what God says improves us, but He needs to be in the midst
o We need HIS presence to sustain us
#4 -- My Possessions
* Having wealth and things is not sinful [FYI -- $44-45K = top 1% of the world
* The problem is not having things, it is when things have us -- what things can you live without for 1 day? 1 week?
Psalm 62.2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
What happens when the tornado/earthquake comes and all we have is in a pile of rubble?
#3 -- A Famous Person
What happens when we put celebrities before God?
#2 -- My Career
* It is a privilege to work -- Ecclesiastes 9.10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,
* As important as it is, it is not our god
[Test -- Suppose Jesus made a personal appearance at this place tonight at 10 PM and determined to stay 24 hours; would you come? What would you do about your job?
* Even our Ministry Opportunities -- GOD is first in our lives, then Ministry
#1 -- ME
* God wants me to be happy, so I will do what I want to be happy
* Church can become a Christianized means of selfishness:
* I come to church because I want to be happy and pleased; if it doesn't please me, I am leaving; I will complain
[O Brother, Where Art Thou story -- One Sunday our worship leader led a song from O Brother (Down to the River to Pray); the next day a woman in the congregation told him she objected to that song and he was not to ever lead it again; a few weeks later the song fit the service so he led it; the next day she was in his office saying, "I told you to never lead that song again. . . ."