The Plight of Israel.
Screwing Up Worship. Part 4 of 4.

Can we worship incorrectly? Yes, we absolutely can. This is a blog series discussing for examples of how our worship can be screwed up. The final example is called . . .

The Plight of Israel.

Amos 5:20-27

Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.

“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

“Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?
You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god which you made for yourselves.

“Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty.

***

Let me recap what just happened. Israel worshiped. God basically told the worshipers, “Get out of my face.”

Why?

The worshipers were going through actions, doing their “thing.” They were basically going through the motions of being a worshiper, but they were not worshiping with their life. Their acts of worship were nothing more than acts – there was not genuine worship in their heart – just the acts of worship. There was no basis for their worship. We can do this same thing today.

True worship is internal, at least at the start. Here are some steps to help grow your heart of worship:

1) Be certain your heart is right. There needs to be worship inside of your heart first. Understand that God is seeking true worshipers. When you understand his unmatched worth – worship will occur in your heart.

2) In your heart, collect the worship you have for God.

3) Express your worship to Him. Through music. Through dancing. By lifting your hands to Him. By shouting out. By standing quietly. Whatever. JUST EXPRESS IT TO GOD!

You see, the “motions” of worship aren’t wrong. Its when you jump to the motions without checking your heart that your worship gets screwed up. We must check our heart first – then do the motions (the EXPRESSIONS) of worship.

The Lucifer Syndrome.
Screwing Up Worship. Part 3 of 4.

God wants our worship so much that he’ll take whatever we give him, right? Not quite. Our worship to God can become defiled. Inspired by a teaching I heard from Jack Hayford, “Screwing Up Worship” is a four part series of blogs explaining four instances where our worship can become defiled. Part three is called . . .

The Lucifer Syndrome

Lucifer was a glorious angel in heaven who had the job of directing all of the worship from the angels and all of creation towards God. Imagine that. All of the worship the angels offer to God. Plus all the worship that mankind offers to God. Plus all the glory in all of creation (planet Earth being only a small portion) offered to God. All added together, that’s A LOT of worship. Lucifer was a magnificent worship leader.

As Lucifer directed all of God’s glory towards Him, pride entered his heart. Lucifer told God that he would rise up and become like God — sort of as His equal.

God didn’t like that. God kicked Lucifer out of heaven. We know Lucifer today as Satan. The only person to ever get kicked out of heaven was a worship leader.

I don’t think that God waited until Lucifer actually walked up to God and said, “Yo God-dawg! I’m dissing you – I’m gonna hold the same position that you hold! And my peeps be backin’ me up, too!” I don’t think it was quite like that. I think it was more of an internal moment. Lucifer had pride in his heart – just pride. He didn’t actually do anything wrong yet. It was in his heart. The pride was an intention of rebellion within him.

But God saw it – even through the worship.
And God sees our hearts today as well.

True worship occurs when the sought (that’s us) realizes the unmatched worth of the seeker (that’s Him). At that moment — our worship occurs. Anything less than that isn’t really worship. Worship is all about Him. That phrase gets overused and its easy to read it quickly without realizing the significance of that. Pause for a moment and think about it this paragraph. Read it again if you need to.

If you’re someone who leads worship services – be extra careful of pride. Pride can slip in – little by little. So slowly you hardly notice it. If you think you’re a worship leader – yet there is the slightest bit of pride in your heart – you are no worship leader. You are leading songs, not worship. Leading worship means you’re directing worship towards God – and you can’t do that with pride in your heart.

Our worship is screwed up when our hearts are not focused on the unmatched worth of the Creator. That’s the Lucifer Syndrome.

Dry Heaves

If you are not a private worshiper, you will not likely be a public worshiper. You may go to church, and go through all the motions. But you will not likely really worship. Trying to worship publicly, not having worshiped privately is like the dry heaves: you are trying to bring up something you don’t have in you. -Paul Faulkner

The David Blindspot.
Screwing Up Worship. Part 2 of 4.

Is it possible to worship incorrectly? Can we screw up our Worship to God? Yes, I believe we can. This is a series of blogs inspired by Jack Hayford discussing 4 examples of how our worship to God can be defiled. This week – its . . .

The David Blindspot.

So here’s what went down. God gave the Israelites specific instructions on making the Ark of the Covenant, and that when it was to be transported it was to be carried on shoulders (Numbers 4). God was clear that anyone who touched the Ark of the Covenant would die. In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was equivalent with the presence of God.

(This story is in 2 Sam. 6) Many years later, David became King of the Israelites, and he didn’t want to be king without having God involved. So he made arrangements to have the Ark of the Covenant brought into Jerusalem, the City of David. This was a great act of worship! All of the people were celebrating their hearts out. But King David screwed up in the midst of his trying to worship.

Instead of transporting the Ark on the shoulders of priests as God commanded, he had the Ark put on a cart to be wheeled into the City of David. In the transport, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled, and one of the priests reached up to steady the Ark on the cart because it was about ready to fall off. Immediately God struck that priest dead because of his irreverent act.

So David got angry at God. He was scared to even have the Ark come into Jerusalem at that point, and he decided to have it stored at another guy’s house for awhile. (This story does have a very happy ending – but you can read it on your own in 2 Samuel 6. Seriously go read it – its really good). This was a well intentioned act of worship – but David disrespected the presence of God. The worship ceased. This is the David Blindspot; he was excited about worship – but he was irreverent of the presence of God.

The David Blindspot is about irreverence of the presence of God (the Ark was the presence of God in the Old Testament).

What are ways we can be irreverent of the presence of God today?

How can we be reverent in God’s presence today?

The Cain Obstruction.
Screwing Up Worship. Part 1 of 4.

Is it possible to screw up our worship? Can we do it wrong? Umm… yea. I think we can. I know we can. Here are four things that defile our worship to God (you’re getting them one post at a time).

The Cain Obstruction

In Genesis 4 we can read the story of Cain and Abel. Both Cain and Abel brought an offering to God. Abel brought the best of the best of what he had. Cain brought “some;” the leftovers. God wanted the best of the best; so God was not pleased with Cain’s offering.

When we worship, we’re offering what we have to God. The Cain Obstruction is an example of screwing up worship. It’s when you give God what you want to give Him without consideration to what He wants.

God wants the best of our best as worship to Him. He wants our best life as worship to Him. God wants a sacrifice of praise as worship to Him. Yes – that’s right – a sacrifice. That means you suffer something.

“Oh, Adam,” I hear you say, “God doesn’t want me to suffer and sacrifice something. God’s a nice guy.”

lol.

The Old Testament’s model of worship was through sacrifices. The New Testament’s model of worship is through . . . you guessed it, a sacrifice. It’s worshiping when we don’t feel like it. It’s continually choosing God’s will every day even when its not the easy way. It’s a sacrifice.

True worship is concerned about giving God what He wants. Screwed-up worship is more concerned about what we want to give God than what God wants us to give Him. That screwed up worship is what we’re gonna call, “The Cain Obstruction.” You may be worshiping, but if you’re worshiping in a selfish manner (and only you can know if you’re giving God what he wants or not), your worship is defiled; your worship is screwed up.

*This example of screwed up worship is not my original idea. The model is from a lecture I heard from Jack Hayford; the ideas and applications are my own.*

The Why of Worship.

“Worship is something the Holy Spirit is seeking to bring into the church in a deepening sense – but it only occurs when the leader sees worship as God sees it.” -Jack Hayford

Why Should We Worship? Three reasons from Exodus 25.

1) God wants to dwell among us (not atmospherically).
2) God wants to meet us.
3) God wants to speak to us.

Surely God can do these things individually with each of us on our own (“sans church”). There is nothing wrong with private worship, but it cannot take the place of worshiping together with the church. In Exodus 25 and surrounding chapters, God laid out His plan for how he wants to be worshiped. God doesn’t talk about private individual worship there. He talks about group worship.

God wants to dwell among THE CHURCH (not just you individually).
God wants to meet with THE CHURCH (not just you individually).
God wants to speak to THE CHURCH (not just you individually).

Let’s come to our churches this weekend expecting an encounter from God.