Summary: God centered worship is all God will accept.
Not Long ago there was a study performed by The Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., regarding religion in America. That survey found that those who identify themselves as Christians have decreased from 86% of Americans in 1990 to only 76% in 2008. During that same period, those who say that they have no religion have risen from 8.2% to 15% of the population.
In February 27 2009 article from the website “Slate” titled, “Why American churchgoers like to shop around” also caught my attention. That article cited statistics from a Barna Group survey that revealed that one in seven adults changes churches each year, and another one in six attends a handful of churches on a rotating basis. Another survey by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life a few years ago indicated that 44 percent of American adults have left their first religious affiliation for another. But what was most disturbing to me is that the article actually viewed this as a good thing, this is a direct quote from the article: Quote “ Even if the American mania for shopping extends to our spiritual lives, church shopping still doesn’t get much respect. But while it may be frequently derided as an example of rampant spiritual consumerism, shopping around can be one of the good things about the way religion is practiced in America.” End Quote. This article attempts to equate the fundamental idea of worshipping our God to the pursuit of finding the right pair of shoes or finding the store with the right price on a certain style of dress. What I am trying to tell you is that worship to God has become, in our society, no longer a matter of serving God on his terms but it has become a matter of God serving us on our terms. This spiritual consumerism, as referred to in the article quote, has caused many to look for a bargain basement Christianity with a half priced service to satisfy an extravagant top self kind of God. I recall some years ago when I was coming up there was a commercial for a certain cereal. The commercial consisted of a little boy and his older sibling and they were given a new cereal to try and they older sibling was skeptical about the cereal so he got his little brother to try it first. He said hey give it to Mikey, Mikey will eat anything. And Mikey ate it and liked it so they begin to eat it. Then I remember another commercial. There was a hungry cat and his owner opened a off brand kind of cat food and put it in front of the cat and the cat turned away. So the owner went and got another can of food that looked much different from the first can. It looked like the owner had cooked it himself and it was called Fancy Feast. See we want to treat God like mikey, he will take anything, but we want God to treat us like the fancy feast cat. I want the best. We don’t want the used car, we want the new car, we don’t want a man, we want THEE man, we don’t want him to ease the pain, we want him to take the sickness away, we don’t want a little money in the bank, we want to own the bank, we don’t just want a job, we want a career. In turn God tells us bring me the first fruits of your labor but instead we bring the fruits that are left after we celebrate our labor, he says Love me with all your heart and we love him with a few shattered pieces that somebody left behind, He tells us walk by faith and not by sight but we walk by sight and hope we can run in to our faith one day, He tells us seek ye first the kingdom of God and all of his righteousness and all these things will be added unto to you but instead we seek these things first and hope somewhere down the line his righteousness will be added to our efforts. In ecclesiastes The Preacher begins this wisdom literature by proclaiming all of human effort not focused on God is vanity. In chapter 5 the preacher seems to give attention to the fact that vanities can in influence the very precious worship of our God. If there is anything that is to be held as sacred, holy and God centered it ought to be our worship and service to God. Tommy Walker -