Summary: Worship costs us, changes us and equips us. It is resting in God's presence, reflecting God's glory and being ready to move in power.
THE WAY OF WORSHIP
A missionary was working in Paraguay with the Maka Indians. One day a native named Rafael came to sit on the porch. The missionary was eating and went out to see what he wanted. He responded, "Ham, henek met." Again he asked what he could do for him, but the answer was the same. The words were clear but not the significance: "I don't want anything; I have just come near." Later he shared the incident with another veteran missionary. He laughed and explained that it was Rafael's way of honoring him. He really didn't want anything; he just wanted to sit on the porch. He found satisfaction and pleasure just being near. "What brings you here, my child?" the Lord asks. "Ham, henek met." Doesn't that reveal the heart of true worship?
Matt. 17:1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
1. Resting in God’s presence – worship costs us
On many occasions in the New Testament Jesus took time away from the crowds to spend time alone with His Father. In this story Jesus takes Peter James and John with him to climb a mountain in order to get away from the crowds and spend time together with God the Father. Climbing mountains is not an easy thing. It took time and it took a lot of effort to get to that place. I am sure that they were very tired when they arrived – but I am also sure they left exhilarated and refreshed. It was worth the effort!
Years ago I took a group of youth camping in Killarny Provincial Park. We took one day and climbed Silver Peak, a very high hill. It was a very long and hard climb to the top but the view from the summit was absolutely breathtaking (see picture). In other words, the perspective gained was worth the perspiration spent. Likewise worship requires effort. It does not always come easily. What did coming to worship today cost you?
Coming to this worship service today involved a sacrifice PRACTICALLY. You could have stayed in bed but you didn’t. You got up perhaps earlier than you would have liked to. You got yourself and your family ready. You drove to the church. It cost you practically.
Most of you did not have to come from a very far distance since you live close to the church. What if you lived hours away and there were no other churches that were closer. Would you have still come? There were many times when I was a pastor in Kuwait that people would show up for church after having driven for over a hour just to attend a worship service. Many times I would meet people who had come all the way from Saudi Arabia just to attend worship. They were so hungry for Christian worship and fellowship that they were willing to drive that distance. We often take so much for granted here in Canada and forget how lucky we really are.
Having this service today certainly cost the worship and sound team. They were willing to give of their time and talents to come to rehearsal during the week and again early this morning so that they could be ready to help lead us in worship. Besides practically, worship also costs us in other ways.
In order for us to worship, our mind, will, and emotions have to be moved. -- Tim Keller
Worship costs us MENTALLY. We have to focus our attention on God and off the many things around us that are trying to distract us. I know that is hard to do in a room full of other people. I know this is hard for parents who are trying to deal with children.
How do you get your mind off the things around you and unto God? I personally like to close my eyes when I worship. I do this so that I can give God my attention and not be distracted by all the things happening around me. This means that you have to know the songs you are singing by heart – which is why we ask the worship teams not to introduce more than one song a week and to do so during the offering.