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Summary: Worship: it’s that thing we do. It’s what we were created to do. There are five things we learn about this thing we do called worship.

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Worship: That Thing We Do

Acts 17:16-28; John 4:19-26

The crowd jumps to its feet. Many clench tissues and wipe tears on from their reddened cheeks. The applause is thunderous, intermingled with cheers and praises to God as Christopher Kline from Madison, AL leads worship. It marked a great achievement. For God, it was just another step in this teen’s walk with him. But for Christopher, it was nothing short of a miracle. Christopher was born with Downs Syndrome and his parents were told that he would never do anything normal kids do. Christopher would be content to just sit and do nothing. So his parents turned him over to the Lord to allow Him to do His work in Christopher’s life. Christopher overcame many of the obstacles he faced as he grew up. He takes mainstream school classes, became the football team manager, plays baseball and has an outstandingly accurate basketball shot. But if you ask him what his favorite thing to do it, he will enthusiastically tell you, “Worshiping God!” Leading worship is one way Christopher can show how much he loves to worship God and that day as Christopher ministered to over 8000 people, they raised their hands in worship and were led into the presence of God, for they could tell it was his favorite thing. It’s what he was created to do.

Worship: it’s that thing we do. It’s what we were created to do. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at worship, something that we often take for granted because it’s so much a part of the routine our lives. We’re going to look at what the Bible says about worship, teach you how to deepen your intimacy with God through worship and empower your worship that we might obey God in greater ways.

There are five things we learn about this thing we do called worship. First, worship is the activity of the soul. It’s not what Christians do, it’s what everybody does. Every person worships, through their words, thoughts, and actions. In our Scripture today, Paul lays out the observation that every person on planet earth worships. That means you are a worshiper and I am a worshiper. It’s not only what we do, it’s who we are. We’ve been doing since the beginning of time. This point was driven home to me on my Holy Land Tour in 1996. Megiddo is known as the place where Armegeddon, the battle between Jesus and Satan takes place at the end of times. Here you see a scale model of the city in the time of King Solomon. Megiddo is situated over a narrow mountain pass overlooking and protecting the main trade route called the Via Maris. On the eastern side of the city is the place of worship and sacrifice. It overlooks the valley and is one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen. It inspires worship. But when archaeologists began to excavate the sight, the found a huge round sacrifice platform where the worship of the pagan god Ba’al occurred. Further excavation found that people had been worshiping in this sight for more than 5000 years. When the Jews conquered this area, they destroyed the temple but maintained the location as a place of worship for Yahweh, the one true God of Israel. The history of this sight reveals we are created to worship.

When we talk about worship, we usually think of what we do here at church and not far behind that is what you prefer in worship. Some people prefer organ music and hymns while others prefer a worship band and praise music. Some want an orderly, respectful style of worship while others want a spirit-filled worship. Some want quiet reflective worship while others want a high energy praise service. But the reality is that worship is so much bigger than that. Worship is more than music, liturgy, prayer and a sermon. Worship is not coming to church on Sunday morning and doing your thing. Because true worship is whatever you determine is of greatest importance to you and then giving yourself to that. When something has great value in our lives, we say it not just with our words but with our lives for all to hear: “I worship that! This is what I value the most.” And that is what worship is: giving yourself to what you value the most. If you take all of the other stuff of life away, what you discover is the activity of the human soul is to find something or someone of value and worship it.

Second, we are created to worship our Creator. The Greeks knew their need to worship too, perhaps even more than we do today. Paul discovered this in Athens. Athens was a very educated, culturally rich and spiritually aware city. Everywhere Paul went, he saw statues to the gods they worshipped. And just to make sure no god was missed or left out, they had a statue to an “unknown god.” The people of Athens recognized that they were created to worship and all around them were the objects of their worship. The problem is that they were worshipping the wrong gods. What Paul saw all around him in Athens is a people who were reaching out and searching for the object of their worship. The Greek word used for searching means “groping for something.” It’s the image of a person in the dark feeling their way around a room looking for something. So Paul seeks to introduce and re-direct the people of Athens to the one true God and their Savior Jesus Christ. We see the same thing today. People are searching spiritually and they seem to be groping in some pretty amazing and far out ways. My first worship leader came to me one day and said he had been reading a lot about Native American worship of plants and animals and was really drawn to certain beliefs of it. As he talked, he was blending the beliefs of Native Americans with Christianity. And I was amazed as he came to worship the one true God that Sunday and yet he was still searching. Searching is normal. God wired within us the hunger and desire to connect with Him. There is an imprint of the Creator on us and only He exactly matches that imprint on our heart and soul. And so we continue to search until we find the one and only true match and recipient of our worship. There is a longing and hunger within us and it is to know Him, embrace Him, connect with Him, honor Him and worship Him. There are a lot of people saying deep within their souls, “I know it’s out there. I just haven’t found it yet.”

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