Wired for Worship

When it comes to sports, this is one of my favorite times of the year. Baseball is starting up, hockey is rolling towards the playoffs and the NCAA Tournament is right around the corner, March Madness indeed! We are about to witness millions of people go crazy over their favorite college hoops team (GO SPARTANS!). I could literally sit for days and watch every drama filled, buzzer beating, cinderella-slipper wearing moment of the tournament.

Everyone of us has some interest or activity that we are excited about, something that energizes and encourages us in everyday life. Something that you do regularly or something you may do just every now and then. Take a minute and think about some of the passions you have that get you fired up and excited.

Over the next month I want to focus on a topic that is one of the most important and one that carries the most opinions and stirs up emotions more than almost any other in our lives: WORSHIP. Worship is huge, because it has a great deal of importance both in this life and in eternity.

Worship can be defined as having an intense passion or respect for a person, place or a thing. Some people worship style, cars, money and just about any other thing you can think of. Worship is unavoidable in this life. But for today, I want to focus on what worship is not. In one statement it is simply this, worship is not created. We cannot generate worship or manufacture it. Worship is a natural extension of who we were created to be. It isn’t reserved just for super religious people, because worship can be given to an object just as easily as it can be given to God. In fact we are all worshippers, because God wired us to worship. It’s not a certain environment, not a certain style of music (new or old). In fact if you need the bright lights and loud guitars for you to think your worshipping, than you are simply worshipping worship. And the same goes if you think that worship can only be quiet or sung in King James English.

When you look at the world around you, you can’t help but see people worshipping. People cannot be separated from worship , because created us with worship as part of our DNA. God created us to be passionate about things, a natural need to give our worship to something. But if we are not worshipping God, we will begin to give our worship to something else. We cannot help but do this.

The saddest part about this is that so many of us in the church are doing this. We are wasting our worship. We give so much of what belongs to God to programs, philosophies, authors, musicians and the latest Christian trends. You might say, “I worship God. I worship Jesus. I worship at church.” But talk is cheap. The worship that is naturally part of us covers our entires lives.

The apostle Paul said that God commands us to repent of sharing our worship with anything or anyone other than God himself. Everywhere we go and everywhere we turn there are other gods competing to grab our attention and worship from the one true God. Satan’s motivation above everything else is to try to turn our eyes off of God, and onto other things and passions. He wants us to burn our energy up, to waste our worship. Because he knows that when we focus on God, make Him the object of all our passion and bow our knees in worship, then we will begin to see the life changing power of God at work in our lives and become even more passionate about our Father.

This is a call to examine your life. A call to declare war over our worship. It’s time that we remove all the idols, altars and shrines that we have set up in our lives and given priority to over God. It’s time to pray a high-risk prayer and say, “God, I want to serve You and worship You only.” Only than can we stop wasting our worship, and  than we will be truly wired for worship towards God.

Unwrapping Your Gifts – God’s Gift for Your Life

lego-bricks

Legos have long been one of my favorite toys, to this day if you put Legos in front of me, I will play with them for hours. There really is no other toy like them, the creative possibilities are only limited by our imaginations. So many pieces of different colors and shapes. It sometimes felt overwhelming trying to figure out what I was going to build.

Often we feel the same way about our spiritual gifts as well.  We have been given so much, we know it can be used to accomplish great things for God’s Kingdom, but it can seem so huge and very overwhelming.

We need to realize a few things about these spiritual gifts, and Paul’s letter to the church in Rome sheds a little insight on them.

Romans 12:3 NIV

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

One of the biggest problems we face in the church when it comes to our gifts, talents and abilities is that we too often let them go to our heads. We start thinking that WE are doing amazing things, that WE are achieving so much, that WE are advancing God’s Kingdom. In other words, we start believing the hype about ourselves. Paul was constantly reminding the early church of these dangers, by telling them that all he had done was only possible because of the gifts that God had given him. In Luke chapter 10 even Jesus reminds us that the gifts are not what we should be rejoicing in, but that we should be rejoicing in our salvation, something that we can never earn no matter how gifted or talented we are.

But that doesn’t mean we sit idle. Remember the Parable of the 3 Talents. Our gifts have been given to us so that we may do something with them, and that we can be trusted with even more gifts. We have to value our spiritual gifts because they come from God, and have to put them to their intended uses.

Any gift we receive is useless if we don’t open it and use it. The same is true for our spiritual giftings, they must be put into practice if they are to have any value. And the reason they are so varied is because we are all intended to do different things for God. Just like the Lego pieces are all different so are we. The gifts God has given you are custom fitted to your personality and purpose that God has set out for your life.

Think about the Legos, apart they can do nothing, but when we start taking each individual and unique brick, we can begin to build something. A creative force takes over and each brick finds its place and is put to use. That is our gifts in the church, apart our gifts are great, together we make up an effective and passionate church that shines the love of God, but only if we put our gifts into action. After all, you can’t build anything out of one brick. So get plugged in!