Attitude Adjustment: Worship 1 Chronicles 13 This morning we are beginning a brand new that we are entitling Attitude Adjustment. I want to take a few moments, lay out the plan for the next few weeks, talk about where we are going and what is in store in the near future. So, as I said, we are beginning this series today, this will take us 5 weeks and we will be discussing some familiar but important topics that I hope will shape us for what is coming. After this series we will have a three-part series on called “This Child” that will cover the Sunday before Christmas Eve and then two parts on Christmas Eve our normal Sunday morning service and then our Christmas Eve Service. After that we will have a vision casting message dealing with the new year and where we are going and then we will be beginning our New Year with a series of messages on Prayer. The reason I am giving you this layout is so that you can begin, earnestly praying now, for the hearts of not only those currently within our faith family, but also those God will be placing within our midst and in our path as we are obedient. I want to address the reason for this series. As I began to look at planning the sermon planning calendar for this year there was a direction in which I felt and feel that God is leading Cornerstone. I will warn you now, this will not be an easy direction, it will not be a simple path and it will require more effort and intentionality. Over the past week I have had several conversations that deal directly with this new direction and the one thing that kept coming up in those conversations was the fact that for the last 8 years we have been in a healing process and while healing is not completely done it is time to rise from that and move in a new direction. This will require change and although change is not comfortable, not easy, not liked, it is necessary, it is also messy. My challenge to you over the next five weeks of this series is to truly evaluate yourself, remove any preconceived notions that you may have about yourself, your attitude towards these 5 topics and let the Holy Spirit guide and direct our hearts and minds. John 12:24 (HCSB) 24 “I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. Over the next five weeks, I invite us to die, die to our self, die to our ideals, die to our past, die to anything and everything that keeps us from moving in the direction that God has for us to move in. This morning we turn our focus to worship. As people we are built to worship, and we will worship something. Matt Chandler puts it this way, “Here's what I can say is universally true regardless of socioeconomic status, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of cultural nuance. Everywhere human beings exist in the world, here's what you'll see: humankind loves, celebrates, and shares. That is a universal human experience. We can't help but do that, because we have been wired, designed to do it…You can't help but do this, because you have been designed by God to, what we call as Christians, worship. When we say we love, celebrate, and share, we're really just describing worship. All human beings worship. What they worship varies but that they worship does not, cannot vary. Even if you just consider how we operate as human beings at a base level, this is everywhere.” Simply put, you are WIRED to, love, celebrate and share. According to 2 Samuel 6:14-15 (HCSB) 14 David was dancing with all his might before the LORD wearing a linen ephod. 15 He and the whole house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of the ram’s horn. The story continues with David being approached by the daughter of Saul who tells David “How the king of Israel honored himself today! He exposed himself today in the sight of the slave girls of his subjects like a vulgar person would expose himself.” David’s “I was dancing before the LORD who chose me over your father and his whole family to appoint me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel. I will celebrate before the LORD, and I will humble myself even more and humiliate myself. I will be honored by the slave girls you spoke about.” For David, his desire to worship God outstripped everything else in his life. This morning we are going to look at the events that led up to this moment in time and what it has to say about worship. This story appears a couple times in scripture and this morning we are going to look at the events in 1 Chronicles 13. Follow along with me in your copy of God’s word or on the screen. Read 1 Chronicles 13 Worship Rightly As we begin our walk-through scripture this morning we see that King David has determined to hold a tent revival. To support his decision, we see him consult the leaders and commanders of his army to determine if they think it is a good idea then he pulls together the larger congregation, makes a motion, gets a second and then they vote. Once the motion passes the preparation begins. David sends out all the invitations then grabs a crew and heads down to retrieve the ark of the covenant. There they place the ark on a brand-new cart (which was directly against God’s command) and they begin to head to the show. Along the way however the ox stumbles and because they were disobedient in the handling of the ark it begins to fall (the poles God commanded them to use would have been so much more stable). In order to protect the ark Uzzah places his hand on it to steady it and receives the wrath of God for his actions. To be fair, David’s intentions seem noble, he has a desire to return the Ark to the people and consult God where they have failed to do so in the days of King Saul. The issue here is that while he consulted his leaders and commanders and his people, he forgot to consult His God and the Levities that were placed in charge of the care of the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle. The problem, as 1 Chronicles 15:13 David recognizes that God’s anger was “because you Levites were not with us the first time, for we did not inquire of Him about the proper procedures.” Although David was determined to have a big tent meeting he failed to ensure that what he did was according to his plan, not God’s. Right worship is according to God’s plan and obeys His purpose. In our worship practices, both private and corporate we must use caution to ensure that we are obedient to God’s call of worship, not our own, what He deems is true and right worship, not what we deem is true and right worship. Removing God from the equation of worship takes the worship from being about God to being about us. As Jesus sat on a well in Samaria, talking to a woman no self-respecting Jew would dare speak to He told her that true followers must worship the Father in spirit and truth. Meaning two things about their worship. First, it must be true. It must really be about him, not a show, not a put on, not something to make us feel better about ourselves but honest worship that seeks to find the father, to be in the presence of the father and to be in communion with the father. And second, since the father is in spirit the worship must be in spirit, it must go to the inner core of who we are. Outwardly lifting our hands in worship while our heart is in our shoe is not worshipping in spirit and truth. Before we left our hands in praise, our hearts should already be lifted to the king of kings and lord of lords. Our worship must include God’s plan and design for worship. It must also be focused. Focused Worship Our worship must be focused on Christ. When our focus slips our worship falters and danger ensues. In our story, Uzzah pays the ultimate price for the mishandling of his worship and the blessings of God. While it seems minor and insignificant and even noble that Uzzah placed a protective hand on the ark of the covenant there were MAJOR implications. First, as previously mentioned, the ark was being transported in a manner that was directly opposed to the will of God. In Exodus and Deuteronomy, we find the instructions to build the ark, the building of the ark according to the plan designs and then the decision of God to place the care of the ark directly into the hands of the Levitical priesthood. Here however, we see that instead of the poles of acacia wood that were to be used to transport the ark, they have placed it on a cart for the ox to pull. Now, many have tried to calculate the weight of the ark and there are guesses ranging from 200lbs to 4000lbs which means four men carrying the ark would be responsible from 50-1000lbs each (most conservatively agree around 400 lbs. which puts each man carrying 100lbs) but it would not be light and a cart, pulled by an ox was so much easier. The issue is a wrong handling of God’s blessings and a removal of the focus from God. In our lives, how often do we mishandle blessings. How many times do we remove our focus from Christ. So often we are worried about damaging the symbol that we drop Christ. We are worried about our outward appearance and how we look and how we sound and what music we are playing and how many people are attending, and we get so focused on everything else, then trouble comes, and we begin to look for Christ and to be angry with Christ like David was angry with God. And we question, and we walk away, and we leave Christ because we think he left us…and as we walk away, there, on the floor behind us in the dust is where we have dropped Christ because our focus was on ourselves and the symbol and not on the living God. We pull away from him and we begin to falter. Our Worship must be focused and follow God’s plan and design it must also be in communion with God. Communing Worship One of the hardest things to truly comprehend about worship is that is initiated by God for His glory. We have the impression that worship is driven by us when apart from communion with God there can be no worship of God. If we go back to what we started with, this built in created drive to worship we understand that our lives are spent worshipping something. It could be a sport, an activity, it could even be another person. The fact is we will worship because we were built that way but if we are not in communion with God we will not worship him. In this passage we see that David has the desire to worship, he has the plan to worship and none of the things that he wants to do are in and of themselves bad, however he there is no communion with God. Earlier we talked about kind of the end of this story. We see that after his initial failed attempt, David regroups and makes another effort, however, in this attempt he approaches it differently. Instead of going first to his leaders and commanders he brings Israel together and then calls for the descendants of Aaron and the Levites and gives them this instruction “You are the heads of the Levite families. You and your relatives must consecrate yourselves so that you may bring the ark of the Lord God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it.” David still has the desire to bring the ark, he still wants the house of Israel to commune with God, but this time, he ensures that he is in communion with God prior to moving ahead in his actions. We MUST approach our worship in the same way. Too often when we come together for corporate worship there has been no worship ALL WEEK LONG and we seek to, in the space of 15 minutes muster the strength to have true worship and communion with God. Let me ask you something, if you were preparing for a race would you simply show up the day of the race and expect to step out on the track and have what you need to not just run the race, but to WIN the race. Listen, we are not called to be Sunday morning practitioners of this race, but to DAILY run. When we learn to be in communion with God with daily, we seek to glorify Him every day our Sunday corporate worship becomes so much sweeter, so much more filled with joy, so much easier because we have practiced all week long and now we are ready to run the race. We begin to feed off each other and we begin to experience what God always intended through worship…to give us what we need because he draws us close to him, sills us up and then sets us off ready and prepared to be his light in this world. Our worship must be focused, follow His plan and design and in communion with him, and it must also generate within us this action of sharing. David, when confronted about the fool he was making of himself, made it clear that the joy he held within made it impossible not to dance and shout for God. The simple fact was that his love for God drove his desire to live his life as a proclamation of God…and in Hebrews he is recorded as being a man after God’s own heart. Our lives, should be so lived that everyone would view us as a man or woman after God’s own heart. It should be clear that regardless of what happens in our lives, that even we stumble and fall, that the world will see us as a people after the heart of God. That we so are so filled with the holy spirit of god that we cannot help but to share. That as we look around us and see the lostness that is in society that we cannot help but to want to share with them the light of truth…. After all, human nature is to love, celebrate and share…the question is this, how is your attitude of worship? Are you willing to follow God’s design and plan or yours, are you willing to be focused on him? Are you willing to commune with him DAILY, seeking to grow in wisdom and truth and closeness with God so that you are not just a Sunday Sprinter but a Week-Long Marathoner? Are you so full of the joy that he brings that you cannot help but to share? Is your attitude about worship inwardly focused or outwardly focused…?