Creative Worship Experience, 21 October 2012

Big Idea: This brief message was presented in the midst of Scio Community Church’s Creative Worship Experience that featured a number of artistic creations and presentations offered to God as worship. God is an artist, and you are His greatest masterpiece,

God is an artist. This is a phrase that we commonly declare at the greenroom on Monday nights. It’s appropriate to mention God’s creativity in the midst of a celebration of human creativity as we have experienced worship through dance, writing, visual arts, music, and drama—not merely presentations, but also creations.

Genesis 1-2 tell us about God’s work as an artist, creating the universe and beyond, but He saved His greatest work for day six, the formation of man and woman. Many today speak of humans as mere animals on par with monkeys, dolphins, and even frogs. Unlike other creatures, we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). That image was affected by the Fall and we are unsure exactly how we resemble our Creator, but the fact remains that we were given a special place among living beings.

You are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10 tells that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are to resemble the Creator. We are to be His representatives on planet earth. Psalm 139 is filled with vivid images of how we were known in our mother’s womb and created unique and special.

Artists often sign their name to their work. It identified the creator with the creation. God has left His mark on you. What can people learn about the Artist by looking at your life?

You can listen to the podcast here.

Contagious Worship, 14 October 2012

Big Idea: Authentic worship is contagious. Is yours?

We began our series several weeks ago talking about Who we worship, an awesome Creator who is worthy of our worship. We then had a worship “service” and put our faith into action, glorifying God with our hands as we served tornado victims in Dexter. We looked at why we worship and then how we worship on Sundays when we gather, saying it’s not about you and your preferences, but about God. Last Sunday we examined how to worship throughout the week, glorifying God with our work, rest, school work, diet, and everything we do.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word

What do you think of when you hear the word contagious?

We are moving into the time of year when diseases are spread. Fortunately, germs and illness are not the only things that can be contagious! Worship can be contagious, to both those that follow Jesus and those that are not yet disciples of Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I’m often inspired by the worship of others. Whether it’s the artistry of a painter, the eloquence of a great sermon, a passionate musical performance, or even the demonstrative engagement with songs of praise, I am often drawn into worship by others.

It is one of my hopes that our worship would be so passionate that the presence of God would be so powerful that everyone in attendance, regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey, would know that God is real.

Worship—not merely songs, but a lifestyle of honoring and glorifying God—is contagious to the world, too. Historically, we’ve often approached unbelievers with judgment and condemnation. Instead of messages like “turn or burn” or even, “Do you know Jesus?” I am becoming increasingly aware of our need to practice what we preach and live a life that others want to imitate.

As we seek to make—and become—disciples of Jesus, one essential question must be considered...

Am I living a life that people want to follow?

We want to point people to Jesus, the ultimate example of what it means to be human. None of us is perfect, but our lives should increasingly look like His. Otherwise, our witness is not authentic. People can smell fake a mile away!

We are dishonest if we tell people how wonderful it is to know Jesus and yet live miserable lives ourselves.

What difference has Jesus made in your life? Really?

Do you just talk the talk, or do you walk the walk? Can people really see Jesus through you? Do you look more like Him each day? As you spend time with Christ in prayer and in His Word are you becoming transformed?

As we seek to glorify Jesus by loving Him and our neighbor, if we are filled with the Spirit and looking more like Jesus every day, if we are "Jesus with skin on" serving others, and if our worship is authentic and passionate, it will be contagious. 

Look at what Peter, one of Jesus’ best friends, wrote

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:8-16)

What needs to happen in order for someone to ask the reason for the hope that you have? You have to have hope, and it has to be visible.

The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we will look like Jesus, and Jesus is attractive to the world. Ironically, He’s often unattractive to religious people, some of whom crucified Him!

Consider these words from Paul...

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  (Colossians 3:5-6)

People are watching you. They want to know if Jesus is real in your life. It has been said that you are the only Bible many people will ever read. What will they discover?

How do you treat your neighbor? Your co-worker? That odd family member? The guy that drives you crazy?

Jesus said...

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Do you see the result of shining the light? People will praise God. They will glorify God. Worship will be contagious!

You can listen to the podcast here.

How We Worship Monday through Saturday, 7 October 2012

Big Idea: Worship is not meant to be an hour on Sunday, but a lifestyle.


What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word

Last week we talked about how to worship God on Sundays. We previously said that our mission as a church—and as humans following Jesus—is ultimately to

glorify God.

We worship and glorify God because He deserves it. He is God. He is worthy.

As consumers, we easily make Sunday mornings—and the rest of the week—about us rather than Him.

Today our subject is how to worship God on Monday morning...and throughout the week.



Several years ago I was speaking with a friend who attended our church. She was a medical professional who helped countless people with physical needs. During our conversation, she made mention of the fact that she admired me for choosing a ministry vocation while her work was so much less significant. I immediately corrected her and said, “God has called you to the marketplace. He has called me to professional church work. Neither is more spiritual or significant, so long as we are being faithful and obedient to our calling.”

How many of you are students?

How many of you are employed in the marketplace?

How many of you are stay-at-home men or women?

How many of you are full-time job seekers?

How many of you are retired?

How many of you are vocational ministers?

How many of you are still awake?!

Our text for this morning is a popular one written by Paul to a church in the city of Colossi.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

This passage tells us how to live. It provides guidance on daily living. The most striking verse to me is the final one:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Whatever you do. The original Greek word, tis, translated “whatever” means anything. The word “word” means word (!), spoken or written with a desire to communicate. Not surprisingly, the word that is translated “deed” (ergon in the Greek) means work, activity, task, or job.

Do you get the idea? The reason the first of the Ten Commandments speak of making God God and not ourselves is that He is God. He is the great, awesome, Artist. He deserves our best...everywhere...always. He is to be worshiped not only with songs on Sunday but devotion daily...every moment!

What did you eat for breakfast today? Did you know breakfast can be worship? Paul said in his first letter to the church in Corinth...

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

What does this say about our diet? Our bodies? Our time? Our lives?

Much of our time is spent working, so back in Colossians, the third chapter talks about workers—both free and slaves—and continues

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus.
Whatever you do, giving thanks to God.
Whatever you do, worship...glorify God.

This means make your work worship.
This means make your homework and study time worship.
This means make your recreational life worship.
This means make every part of your life worship.

Martin Luther understood this when he wrote, "The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays -- not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship."
Students, your work is school. Study glorify God. Do your honor your father and mother...but also to glorify God.
Some people see life as pieces of a pie. One piece is work, another education, finances, recreation, friends, etc. God is not intended to be a slice of your life. He is the crust upon which everything rests!
Worship is a lifestyle. Everything we do should bring glory to God.

Does it? Of course not! But we can choose to glorify Him with our time, talents, treasures, ...with everything!

Years ago a friend sent me a recording of a sermon he preached on worship. He said that whatever we do to glorify God is worship, including intimacy with his wife! Marriage is actually a beautiful portrait of the Trinity as a man and woman join with God to create a family. When a husband and wife are one with Christ at the center, it's three in one. My friend was known to say to his wife, “Hey, wanna worship tonight?”

Does that thought offend you? It shouldn’t. Everything that God made is good, and when we enjoy God’s gifts—be they a spouse, a sunset, freedom, music, friends—we glorify Him.

Let’s not forget that while work can be worship, so can rest. We have work and Sabbath. They are both to glorify God.

Do you remember what the Westminster Catechism said?

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

There is a dangerous tendency in the church to compartmentalize aspects of our faith. For instance, we often “come into God’s presence” in church, which implies we leave it when we leave church. We “enter into a time of worship” when the band stands up, which suggests when they sit down our worship ceases. We attend a worship “service” and hope to be served.
What if glorifying God was not something we do on Sundays, but a lifestyle?
Friends, for some of you I have great news, and for others not-so-great news:
God is watching!
Like Santa Clause, He sees you when you’re sleeping and He knows when you’re awake! More than your actions, He actually knows your heart, your motivations, your thoughts. He knows what you see on your computer, how you feel about your boss, when you are bitter, and when you are afraid.
Worship is about dying to yourself and living all of life for the glory of God.
Let’s worship!

You can listen to the podcast here.

How We Worship on Sundays, 30 September 2012

Big Idea: We gather on Sundays to worship God, not ourselves.

I want to begin by stating the obvious...
it’s not about you!

  • Scio Community Church exists to fulfill the Great Commission and follow the Great Commandment by 

  • - serving our communities
  • - sharing our story
  • - sending disciples to bless the nations

  • so that God is glorified.

  • that God is glorified. It’s about Him. Period. We gather to glorify Him. Scio Community Church is not a distributor of religious goods and services. Our primary purpose does not involve meeting your needs, taking care of your kids, or making you feel good. That may happen, but that’s not ultimately why we are here.

    David Platt, in his book
    Radical which has been our theme for 2012, wrote

    when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead we may be worshiping ourselves.


    It’s hard to check our consumeristic impulses at the door on Sunday mornings. After all, we spend six days a week bombarded by messages that say it’s all about us.

    As we noted three weeks ago, the first of the ten commandments tell us to have no other gods and no idols. It’s natural to do those things that make us comfortable and safe. But it’s dangerous.

    Consumerism tells us to worship ourselves. Self-worship, according to
    The Satanic Bible, is the essence of Satanism, not the worship of Satan. When you worship, are you a consumer, or are you consumed by Jesus?

    Without realizing it, we are all tempted to worship when and how and where we find convenient and comfortable. It is those preferences that bring about controversy and division.

    Contemporary or traditional.
    Hymns or praise songs.
    Loud or soft.
    Formal or casual.
    Long or short gatherings.
    King James or NIV.
    Organs or guitars.
    Good music or country!!!

    Brothers and sisters, should it matter? If it’s truly about God, we should be able to worship Him wherever, however, whenever, with whomever! It’s about making Jesus smile, not us!

    We have over 300 churches in Washtenaw County. They are separated by geography and theology, but much of the differences are methodology.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I have preferences. Experiences in my past have shaped the type of music I prefer, the translation of the Bible I use, and the attire I wear. I must be careful to never let those cultural biases shift my focus away from the One I seek to worship. It’s not about me. It’s not about you.
    It’s about God being glorified.

    The Power of Music

    Worship is more than just singing songs, but music is a powerful way in which we express our worship to God. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, you know it can bring thousands of people together like nothing else. A lullaby can calm a restless child. A dissonant song can scare a movie audience. A rousing anthem can fire up an athlete. A thumping dance beat can energize a crowd of dancers.

    God created music. Contrary to what many said in the 1980’s, there is no such thing as music of the devil because satan cannot create anything. He can only copy, distort, and destroy. He takes beautiful things created by God and ruins them.

    God created music, and the Bible is full of it! Over 100 verses mention singing in the Bible.

    David would play the harp for King Saul and it would sooth his soul.

    Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. (1 Samuel 16:23)

    Music has a spiritual power.

    There are numerous accounts of people singing in the Scriptures. Maybe you’ve heard some of these:

    Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. (Exodus 15:1)

    About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)

    Music is often prayer. Look at this fascinating verse:

    So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. (1 Corinthians 14:15)

    We can sing with our spirit and mind!

    We are also commanded to worship.

    We read earlier in Psalm 100...

    Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

    Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, ...
    (Ephesians 5:19)

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

    Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. (James 5:13)

    Hebrews 13:15 tells us to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his Name.”

    God Sings!

    We were created in the image of God, so it should be no surprise that He also sings. In fact, He sings over us.

    Has anyone ever sung over you? God has.

    The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

    That verse alone should make us want to respond with worship and song.

    We will sing in the future

    And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:3)


    In Hebrew, the word used for worship in the Old Testament—shachah—means more to bow down than anything else. When the Israelites spoke of worshiping God, they understood it as bowing down before Him. Similarly, in the New Testament, the commonly used Greek word for worship—proskuneo—suggests the act of getting down on one’s knees and adoring.

    We can stand, kneel, dance, sing, lift up our hands, shout, and clap as we worship God. Doing or not doing does not make you more or less spiritual, but we have been given freedom to worship God, provided we respect those around us.

    Other Things On Sunday

    Can we worship on Sundays without music? Of course! Two weeks ago we worshiped by serving tornado victims. You can worship by serving others, whether it be teaching children, playing an instrument, running sound, or cleaning.

    We worship God with our finances. When we give back to God a portion of what He has given to us, it can be an act of worship. Unlike the IRS, it is not forced, but all that we have belongs to Him, and when we offer up our money, time, talents, dreams, and relationships to Him in an effort to glorify Him, He is blessed.

    Worship is an attitude of the heart. When you gather on Sundays, are you seeking to glorify God? Is it about Him?

    Acceptable and unacceptable worship

    It’s not enough to go through the motions. We see the outside, but God knows our heart.

    One of the first offerings of worship was accompanied by the first homicide. How’s that for an association?

    The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

    Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
    (Genesis 4:4b-7)

    Cain and Abel each provided offerings to God. For reasons we do not know for sure, Abel’s offering was acceptable and Cain’s was rejected. This may have been why Cain murdered his brother.

    We do know that true worship is more than just outwardly singing songs or even putting money in the offering. Those are merely tangible ways we express our love and worship to the Almighty.

    R.C. Sproul has said that

    the giving of adoration and praise to God, the honoring and blessing and esteeming and reverence of God, an outward expression of an inward awe and reverence to God is worship. True faith that holds God in the highest possible esteem—the fear of the LORD—is required...Our most foundation of obligation as creatures is giving honor to God.

    Praise is an attempt to express honor. However, God is never honored by flattery or insincere praise.

    They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8)

    Every sacrifice I have offered has been tainted with sin.

    Amazingly, God loves the sincere worship of His children. We don’t have to worship, but that’s what makes it so special to God. He could have made robots, but we can choose when, how, and even what we worship.

    All of life should be about worship, reflecting the glory of God back to Him. It all begins with remembering the God we worship and His great love for us. We love because He first loves us.

    You can listen to the podcast

    Why We Worship, 23 September 2012

    Big Idea: We worship God as we do life with God and realize He is worthy.

    Two weeks ago we looked at our mission statement and said that we ultimately exist to glorify God. It’s about Him. It’s why we gather. It’s why we scatter. He created us to love Him and our neighbor and to make disciples. Every dollar we spend and every moment on the church calendar is about

    • serving our communities
    • sharing our story
    • sending disciples to bless the nations

    so that God is glorified.

    I want to focus on a simple question regarding glorifying God.


    Sure, you could say it is because the elders put it in the mission statement, but seriously, why worship? Why glorify God?

    Author Skye Jethani in his recent book
    With illustrates four ways we can approach God:

    Life over God. This is life lived apart from God. We ignore Him and keep Him away. Science has control over the world and we don’t need God. Atheism is the most extreme view, but this could even be having a relationship with the Bible and its teachings but not a relationship with God.

    Life under God. This is legalism. If we are good to God, He will be good to us. If we screw up, we’re in trouble. It’s all about what we do. Rituals and morality will result in God’s blessings. Go to church, be good, and God will bless you. You can control God by doing the right thing. It’s about controlling God predicated by fear.

    Life from God. This is when we pursue God for what He can do for us. As consumers, we want God to be a cosmic genie, giving us everything we want, whether it is money or a spouse or even spiritual gifts. If we don’t get what we want, we assume He is dead or doesn’t love us and we try harder to appease Him. This is moralistic, therapeutic deism. Most USAmerican teenagers have this view of God, according to recent research. This view sees God as one-dimensional. God exists to serve me. This is the health-and-wealth gospel. God is a divine butler or a cosmic therapist. When He doesn’t serve their desires, they walk away. The Prodigal Son in Luke 15 doesn’t want a relationship with his father, but rather his father’s stuff. This is the epitome of consumer Christianity.

    Life for God. This is where we reverse it. God doesn’t exist to serve you, you exist to serve God. You must live for the mission and purpose of God, which can be a good motive, but believe that God is disappointed with us when we struggle with sin. The way to avoid the fear of insignificance is to do more for God. The activist generation is good, but serving must be out of compassion, not searching for significance. Your value is not in what you accomplish.

    The problem with all four approaches is that each includes fear and control.

    The truth is, In the midst of your sin, God still loves you!

    The other son in the Prodigal Son story is upset. He says, “I’ve served you all of these years but you never gave me a party, yet my playboy brother messes up his life and you celebrate.”

    The father says that the most important thing was not the son’s obedience or his brother’s disobedience but his children’s presence.

    Life for God, is a life lived for the mission, the life-purpose, rather than for the One who created your life. It is a life lived for the purpose and authentication provided by accomplishing the mission or goal, rather than remaining in relationship with God and letting Him provide our value.

    There is a fifth way to view God.

    Life with God. This is the essence of the Christian life.

    Every other posture uses God. He is the how. Jesus taught that He is not just the Way but the Life. He is not just how to get the treasure. Jesus is the treasure.

    John Piper has said that the gospel is not how people get to heaven; the gospel is how people get to God.

    Do you want God?

    The primary purpose of the Church before mission and teaching and music and community is to give a ravishing vision of who Jesus Christ is and let Him draw people to Himself.

    We can surrender to the perfect God who loves us and will never let us go.

    Before we are called to something or somewhere we are called to someone.

    Why do we worship? Why do we serve, share, send? Why do we sing? It should not be out of guilt or obligation or to win God’s favor, but rather it should be a natural response to knowing and loving Him.

    John said so simply that

    We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

    He made the first move. Actually He made the first moves.

    First, He created this amazing planet—and universe—for us to enjoy.

    Then He created us, male and female.

    After we corrupted ourselves and the world with sin, He was not satisfied with our condition. At one point He wiped out nearly every person on earth with a flood, but spared all living creatures on the ark built by Noah.

    After hundreds of years of waiting, the Father sent Jesus Christ to live, teach, and ultimately die for us to demonstrate His love for us. It was on the cross that our sins were cast upon Jesus.

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

    We worship as a response to who God is. He is God. He is Creator. He is King. He is the ultimate Artist. He is the definition of love. He is the Beginning and the End. He is the all-powerful One. He is the ever-present One. He is the all-knowing One.

    We worship because He is worthy. He deserves it.

    The tragedy is that so many people are clueless. They don’t give a thought about God. Maybe it is that they’re too busy to notice the beauty around them. Perhaps it is because they bought the lie that we’re all just an accident, the result of random chance. We know from Scripture that the enemy has blinded them.

    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

    Last month I took my son to Chicago for an overnight getaway. My to-do list included a baseball game and Giordano’s pizza. On the second day, we found ourselves downtown with a couple of hours to spare before the Megabus departed for Ann Arbor. Much to my surprise and delight, he asked me if we could go to the Art Institute.

    They say that art is in the eye of the beholder, and there are certainly some odd things in most any art museum, but there are other works that evoke awe and wonder.

    When we walked by Grant Wood’s American Gothic, a guide was explaining patterns, colors, alignment, and other details that I never noticed. Sure, it is a picture of a farmer and his daughter, but there is far more if you take the time to look and study.

    I have been told that the greatest scientific discoveries today are done at the micro and macro level. We are learning more each day about tiny things invisible to the naked eye such as DNA and sub-atomic particles. We are also discovering planets and stars and galaxies that we never knew existed, that the universe is greater than anyone imagined a generation ago.

    Most of the artists that created the works we saw in Chicago have died, but if they were living and stood beside their painting, I could not possibly ignore them. I would praise them for their artistry. I might ask questions about their inspiration and process. When we experience beauty, it is difficult to not respond.

    Why do we worship? It is a natural response to who He is. If you don’t know who He is, it’s hard to worship Him! This is why we study His Word. This is why we use photos and videos to display His art. This is why many of us are so captivated by a walk at Gallup Park, a trip to the beach, or even a visit to the zoo.

    Earlier this year our family traveled to southern California and as we shared our favorite places, I don’t think anyone mentioned Hollywood or an amusement park. Instead, everyone talked about the beach, the zoo, and especially the wild seals at La Jolla. We were in awe of God’s creation.

    It has been said that we offer praise and thanksgiving for the things that God has done, but we worship just because of who He is. God is God, regardless of your health, your wealth, your marital status, or your grade point average. He is worthy of worship on sunny days and in the midst of storms. He is deserving of glory when you feel like it and when you don’t.

    Worship is reflecting the glory of God back to Him. The more you know Him, the more you do life
    with Him, the more you will respond in worship.

    Worship is offering your world back to God.

    The real question this morning is do you want God?

    The primary purpose of the Church before mission and healing and transforming the culture is to give a ravishing vision of who Jesus Christ is and let Him draw people to Himself. - Skye Jethani

    The Heart of Worship

    Perhaps your view and understanding of God and worship has shifted this morning. I know I have misunderstood worship. I’ve often made it about me. I’ve spent so much time worshiping myself—doing what I want, thinking about me—rather than pausing to get perspective on how great our God is and how weak and small and inadequate I am, yet also in awe of how much He loves a broken, sinful person like me. He invites us into His presence. He wants to be with us. He wants to live with us. He wants to know us. He wants to love us.

    It’s all about Him.

    You can listen to the podcast

    Worship Service, 16 September 2012

    There was no message this Sunday as we had a worship “service,” leaving our church facility to serve local tornado victims, putting our faith into action and being “Jesus with skin on.”

    Awesome God: Who We Worship, 9 September 2012

    Big Idea: We worship and seek to glorify an awesome God.

    What does glorified mean?

    It means to make glorious!
    To make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration
    To light up brilliantly
    To give glory to, as in worship

    That’s the bottom line of why Scio exists...and why you were created.

    It has been often said that we live in a consumeristic culture. Thousands of messages bombard us every day telling that it’s all about us. Have it your way. You deserve a break today. Obey your thirst. Part of human nature is to glorify or worship ourselves rather than God.

    Have you ever heard of the Ten Commandments? What are they?

    We usually think first of don’t steal, kill, or lie. Those are important, but the first ones are most important.

    “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:3-11)

    1. No other Gods
    2. No idols
    3. Do not misuse the name of the LORD
    4. Take a Sabbath to the LORD your God

    These are not suggestions, but commands. These are more important than no adultery or coveting. The Ten Commandments begin with God. He wants to be LORD, King, Master.

    Why? Because He is insecure? He has an ego problem? He is arrogant? No, because He is God! He deserves it! As we sang earlier, He is the Creator of all things. He Created the game, He can set the rules! Even better, He initiated this thing we call life and humanity and the universe and He loves it! He wants it to thrive! He saved His best for last when it all began.

    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

    In 1647, a gathering of English and Scottish theological writers set out to summarize the Bible in order to train people in the faith. For hundreds of years it has been used in countless churches. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with a question:

    What is the chief end of man?

    Why am I here? What is my purpose? What meaning is there in life? The answer follows...

    Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

    I love this statement because it provides two responses. The first is that we were created to glorify God. That is the purpose of this series. That is why Scio exists. That is why you exist! It is to glorify, honor, bless, love, serve, obey, recognize, follow God.

    There is a real danger, though, in being told, “glorify God.”

    Kids, have you ever asked your parents “why?” only to be told, “Because I said so!”?

    The fifth commandment is to obey mom and dad, but sometimes we naturally want more incentive than “just do it.”

    In two weeks, we’re going to focus on the why of worship. Today I want to show you one simple thing about meaning and purpose in life: it’s about God.

    Not long ago I mentioned John Piper’s definition of a Christian hedonist:

    God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

    How can we be satisfied in God? It begins with meditating on who He is.

    I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. (Psalm 145:1-12)

    Going back to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we were created to glorify God...and to enjoy Him forever.

    The more we know Jesus Christ, the more we not only learn of the command to love Him, the more we want to love Him. The more we understand His love, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, His hope, His joy, the more we naturally want to love Him, know Him, obey Him, and enjoy Him...forever!

    Piper adds

    We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure—pleasure in him. By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy you cannot love man or please God.

    We serve a truly awesome God. He spoke or possibly sang into existence the galaxies, the fish, the platypus, and humanity. The more we see how great God is, the more it puts into perspective our lives, our hopes, and our challenges.

    This week I was reminded of this yet again. We received one of those dreaded late-night phone calls that said that one of our children was being taken to the ER. Panic set in. Fear gripped. Our first tangible action was prayer, not simply because we wanted to fire off an SOS to God—though we did—but also to be reminded that God is good, He is faithful, He is trustworthy, He is all-powerful, He is the definition of love, He is sovereign and in control, He is all-knowing and wise, He is an ever-present help in times of trouble, He is great and mighty, ...and somehow what seems so difficult and overwhelming to us seems downright manageable to Him!

    A few days later I was meeting with a group of college students and one walked in, visibly stressed, and on the verge of despair. He said unless a miracle took place within a few hours, he would be unable to continue his education. His was a big deal! People were kindly giving advice, but it was obvious that no action on his part would solve the issue. We prayed, and a few hours later I received a phone call that a miracle had, indeed, occurred and that he would be able to stay in school.

    Sometimes God answers prayer in the manner in which we want, but not always. In the case of our child, we’re still uncertain as to the ultimate outcome. To be honest, I worry and fear, and then I am reminded that though those are natural temptations, it is in. Worry says I don’t trust that God is able. It often means I have forgotten Him or who He truly is, an awesome God who is worthy of praise and worship and glory—not because of what He does, but because of who He is. Circumstances don’t change God, nor do they change His worth.


    Our God is awesome. People use that word flippantly—that car is awesome, the Detroit Lions are awesome, that hamburger is awesome. I rarely use the word for anything but God. He awes me. He amazes me. His character and love and power and understanding and presence have no end. He is worth my time and talents and treasures. He deserves my devotion and love and obedience, just because of Who He is. The more I keep my eyes and ears and heart focused on Him, the more peace and joy and hope and purpose I inevitably experience as my attitude, priorities, and heart shift to the One who initiated it the beginning. He is my pleasure. He is my treasure.

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