A Community of Worship
BIG IDEA: Worship is recognizing the worth-ship of God. God reveals Himself to us in many ways and a life commited to worship takes time to stop (shabbat), recognize, and give God the weight (value) He deserves and yet worship often gets relegated to something that happens as we sing on Sunday mornings. The idea is that we would develop intentional rhythms of stopping and turning our attention back to God, who He is, how He has worked/is working and give our adoration, devotion, and lives to Him. Seeing the worth-ship of God is not hard if you are looking for it…it is all around…the challenge for us is in the action of actually STOPPING to observe, reflect, and worship in light of that.
Begin by apologizing for mixing up the Commitment Sunday events. But…we are going to attempt to do our commitment Sunday down at the building. We are going to try early this week and get some things done that would allow us to be down there next Sunday. It will still be very much an active work site and so we are not putting a big thing out to the community but just to the people who have been attending our groups. Talk about masks and why they will be a big deal down there…case loads are huge right now and we are not going to start our story that way. We will let you all know by Wednesday of this week whether or not we can pull it off and get to a place to actually host a few people down at the facility. If we can, we will send out an RSVP that we absolutely NEED you to fill out...
Enough of that...
There is this sort of running joke with a lot of people and as soon as I bring it up, all of the people already on the inside of that joke are going to totally roll their eyes…just look around the room…well, I’m just about to make it a whole lot worse.
The joke is about the ‘most dad-thing I do.’ Do bit about my yard (I’ll be walking by the blinds in the house…). I love to do this especially when we are in an extreme time crunch and trying to get out the door in a real hurry…I will do this big elaborate setup to the “dang my yard looks good” punchline.
I love mowing. I love smelling the grass clippings and waging war against the evil empire of the dandelion. My yard is my happy place and gives me a lot of joy.
I actually brought picture because I’m the one up here preaching and I can get you to marvel at it for just a second. Show picture...
Now…here’s the deal...If you are in my house in our expedition group then you walked through my front yard and you know it doesn’t look anything like that right now does it?
Now…when we finally realized what this whole COVID thing was going to look like long-term…I quickly developed this whole set of aspirations…anyone else (do funny bodybuilder, premium lawn…like disney world premium).
How are you guys doing in those aspirations? I’m ten pounds heavier in a bad way, I’ve ran exactly zero times and my yard looks like I’m going for the Adams family look.
Here is the deal though…the topic we are headed towards today isn’t actually rest though. We are actually going to be talking about worship this week but what I realized as I really started to study this week is that you can’t talk about one without the other. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive but instead are inextricably linked together.
So…who’s ready to get uncomfortable?
I know I have been…give disclaimer. Do conflict bit...
We have been in our Gospel community series for a few weeks now and this is actually our last week in the series…next week is a wrap up and will be our commitment Sunday. Explain what Gospel community is. This week we are going to be looking at the topic of worship.
Tell how big of a topic it is (The Bible, Our Lives, Our Mission, Our Jobs…everything is about worship)…and that we can’t cover all of it.
At its roots, worship is actually a fairly simple topic but not a small or easy topic.
Worship is the awed response to the saving acts and praiseworthy character of God.
Explain the above statement.
Our God is the creator of all things: from entire universe and everything in it and our sun to the magnificent painted sunsets that we experience regularly here in the PNW to the little lizard in some far-away desert that is climbing to the top of a sand dune to soak up the last of the sun’s warmth before a cold night.
Our God is always present and sustains all things: He is just as present and aware of the sub-atomic exchange of energy in the heart of some star 100 billion light-years away across our universe as He is in thoughts racing through your mind at this very minute and He is constantly sustaining both of them.
Our God is the perfect embodiment of love…so much so that one biblical writer tells us that God is love. Our God took off His Godly form to put on the broken and weak form of His created humans to enter into our mess, be tempted in all ways that we are, to experience our pain, our rejection, and our punishment just to reconcile a relationship…and there are times I won’t even say sorry when I know I’m at fault.
Our God is worthy. Our God sits on a throne of unapproachable light surrounded by creatures specifically created to survive in His presence and yet they still have to cover themselves in protection from His radiance.
“Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?” -Francis Chan
Our God deserves all glory and honor and reverence and our worship is a recognition of that. Our worship is a done in response to who He is and what He has done. And...
To worship our God requires the full spectrum of our emotions and intellect, the complete devotion of our lives and the fullest expression of love we can give.
And yet…we often relegate worship of this God to the space of three songs before a sermon once a week. I don’t have to explain why that is less than acceptable...And so this week I want us to answer the question:
How does the Gospel shape us into: A Community of Worship?
Interestingly enough, I think the answer to that question is found in bread and birds as well.
Read Exodus 16:13-30
So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. “This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’ ” The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt. Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.” It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? “See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day.
Birds and bread everyone…do you get it?
What in the world right…
Tell exodus story…
Tell what happened in Exodus 14 & 15 - First Corporate worship
Instantly after getting into the wilderness they forgot what God had done for them and it led their hearts back into idolatry.
Miriam answered them, “Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.” Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
The sons of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Did you notice…
How quickly the Israelites were to go back and worship to god of their bellies and their comfort. Did you notice they were willing to sacrifice their freedom, comfort, and even their own lives to have a steady source of food.
There is no such thing as a failure to worship.
Man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols, such that, as the mind begets an idol, the hands give birth to it and the heart worships it. - John Calvin
There is only worship of the wrong god.
So that brings us back to the bread and the birds...
Explain how God took the thing they were willing to die in worship of and He uses it to point back to Him. He makes a pattern of this (explain pattern again…don’t gather too much or it will rot).
Draw out Shabbat
Do circles of seven days
Do circle of seven feasts
Day of atonement
Do circle of Seven years
Do circle of Seven times seven years
“It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.
This cycle of sevens and of work and rest finds its roots in the creation narrative…explain.
God is the only one who rests from His work.
We rest for our work.
Rest is meant to make us long for the eternal rest that is only found in the Father.
Rest is meant to turn our hearts in worship back to the God who creates, redeems, blesses, loves and offers true rest.
Here is the scary thing...
Israel lived in the land for nearly 800 years and for around 490 years they completely disregarded God’s command to observe the Sabbath rests. God sent them into exile for 70 years (the exact amount of rest that they had not given the land) to exact rest from them and to turn their hearts back to Him. During that time that they failed to rest, they sank into wild idolatry and even sacrificed their own children (a shocking commentary on the depths our hearts will sink if not engaged in rest and therefore true worship of God).
Now… you are probably thinking that’s pretty terrible and that you are not at any risk of sacrificing your own children on the alter of worship to another god…and you are probably right. What often happens, though, is just about as sinister in the eyes of God...
Explain what happens in Mark 2 (disciples and heads of grain and Jesus’ healing of a man on the sabbath)
Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Jesus tells them that “You’ve missed the point of the sabbath.”
If you were truly following the Sabbath and understood what it was about and were engaged in true worship of the Father then you would recognize me…you would understand what I am doing.
So this is the point in the sermon where I say…so whats the answer…How does the Gospel move us to truly worship?
Paul is on his first missionary Journey and he comes to:
But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.” Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:
And in a speech that seems a little out of context unless you take into account that Paul is there teaching on the Sabbath, Paul then goes on to point to all that God had done for Israel and how all that God was doing (that they should have been reflecting on every sabbath was actually pointing to Jesus).
Tell how Paul gave the gospel…and how Jesus (his life, death, and resurrection) were all to be looked forward to during their times of rest. Here is how Paul finishes his teaching.
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.
Talk about my own struggles…Do the thorns and thistles apart from God (do the bowl of rotted manna in my hands at the end of the day bit)
God has proven that He can do more in six days than i can do in a lifetime.
Talk about our vision statement.
Will you commit to a pattern of rest for the sake of true worship.
Expedition Group Time:
Leader: One of the hardest things to watch is a group of Christians who has just been asked the question: “What has God been up to in your life this week?” How has He blessed you? What has He been teaching you? What has He shown you that has made you follow Jesus closer this week? Often times when that question is asked, all I see are blank and awkward stares as people grasp for the churchiest thing they can think of to take the pressure out of the question. Why is this the case? Knowing that…let’s ask the question.
What has God been doing in your life this week that has caused you to shabbat and worship?
Follow up this question: Why is that sometimes a hard question to answer? Let people work that out for a while.
Say: “I want to lead us in a time of worship. I want to begin working through what God has done, what He has delivered you from, what He has been showing you, what He is leading you into, what He has revealed in you that we just need to stop and thank Him for.”
Take time and go around the room stopping with each person and taking time to worship quietly and aloud. Have different people pray.
Knowing that rest and worship are inextricably linked…how are you doing on rest? What is precluding true Shabbat rest in your life?
Let people talk this one out and prompt them for the things that draw them away from rest. How are these things a failure to trust God and instead an attempt to work under your own strength. What does the curse promise this results for us? (Thorns and thistles) Has anyone in your group experienced this before? Have them share.
What is a step you can take this week to lead your family in a moment of Sabbath rest where you look back at God and what He has done/is doing and worship Him in light of it?
Encourage people to get creative with this. Could they maybe host a Shabbat dinner (early thanksgiving lol)? I have found that some of the best sabbath rest has been out on a trail looking at the nature that God has created that points directly back to him. Read Psalm…fill in later...
How can we begin to engage in true worship at the Outpost Church that goes beyond the three songs in front of the sermon?
Wherever we land in the sermon, I want us to spend some time worshipping together during our expedition group time. Put together a formalized approach that Adam can follow so that people can look back at how God has been working in their life this week and stop, recognize Him for it and worship Him.