Summary: Worship needs to be our lives. Our lives need to be worship. And in the church today, I believe that we need to see a worship renewal. . I believe that God has given us the keys to begin right now.
I’ve observed an interesting phenomenon that has taken the world by storm over the last several years. In 2004, a college student named Mark Zuckerberg created an online social networking tool for Harvard students to connect. He called it The Facebook. It was only available to students of Harvard, but as the popularity of The Facebook grew, he expanded it to Boston area college students, then to all college students, then to all students, and finally to everybody older than 13.
Since 2004, Facebook has become a monstrosity. Not only can you network with people from all over the world, you can take learn important things like, "Which Pokemon character are you?", "What 80’s song are you?", and "Which Golden Girl are you?" through various quizes available. You can also waste countless hours playing games that vary from simple car-racing to complex Nascar-inspired racing careers.
Facebook has defied traditional logic by appealing to people regardless of age, nationality, and religion. It is estimated that Facebook currently has 250 million active individual users. It has been banned in several countries. It has been blocked by countless companies citing the fact that employees, instead of doing work, were "surfing" on Facebook.
This little website allows people to connect. And it reflects a desire that has been a part of humanity from the beginning. It seeks to fulfill our need to be connected. Right from the get-go, humans needed to be connected. Adam, the first man ever, sat around the newly created world, full of every animal imaginable and said, "You know…this is all well and good, but I need somebody I can connect with". Throughout the ages, the desire for connection has driven people to great lengths.
And today, the internet and Facebook are doing their part try to fill that void. I currently have 490 "friends" on Facebook. And those of you who are members of the Facebook community understand what that means. While many of these people I don’t necessarily connect with on a regular basis, here are some of the people I can network with on facebook: which include my wife, my 13 year old brother, my 16 year old sister, my 20 year old brother, my 22 year old brother, my friends from high school, my friends from college, most of my professors from college, my youth group, parishioners from the church, Pastor Reg and Janice, my parents, pastors from around the district, the District Superintendant, and Marie Wallace. And by the way, Marie, I LOVE that And by the way, Marie, I LOVE that you use Facebook!
Facebook has given us the ability to connect in a way that even five years ago, we never would have thought possible. Because we are people who crave connection. We crave intimacy.
And it’s not just connection with each other. We also have within us the desire to connect with God.
A.W. Tozer, the prolific Christian author, once said that God has "put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit [of God]".
In John 12, Jesus is speaking with His disciples and He says to them, "I will draw all men unto me ". Pastor Reg talked about the idea of prevenient grace, the grace God gives us that allows us to be drawn to Him. It is the principle that is reflected in John 4:19 which says "We love him because he first loved us."
We have the innate need to connect with the living God. If you’ve noticed on the overhead behind me, you’ll see the title screen of our sermon series is Faith: Connecting with the Living God. And that is our goal as Christians is to connect with God, to not just know him as an idea or a thought, but to know him in a way that is personal, to know him intimately, to have a true and vibrant connection with him.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be looking at ways we can connect with God, how we can create that vibrant connection with Him.
This morning, we will turn our focus to worship. Pastor Reg unknowingly acted as a tremendous springboard for our discussion this week when he touched on worship in last Sunday’s message.
Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah!
"The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?