THAT THING WE DO
March 11, 2012
Everyone worships. We may not realize it, but it’s true. The trouble is that our definition of worship is often out of whack.
In the message, Ed Young breaks down the biblical definition of worship. He helps us realize that everything we do and say is an act of worship. And we see that when God becomes our primary passion, life takes on a completely new meaning.
Welcome! How’re you guys doing? Let’s give a crazy round of applause right now. If one claps, everybody claps! I want to welcome you all right here at our different environments, down in South Florida, down in Miami, M-I-A, what’s up? Downtown Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, and right here in gorgeous, gorgeous Grapevine. Please be seated.
My name’s Ed and I’m pastor of Fellowship Church. I’ve been doing this thing for a while now and it’s such a privilege to pastor this church.
How many guys in this place have never been to a weekend service at Fellowship Church? You’ve never been. It’s OK, go ahead. All right, man! Welcome! Is this a cool place or what? Yeah! One claps, everybody claps. One claps, everybody claps. One claps, everybody claps. You know, you guys look incredible tonight. I mean, you guys look great. I’m just looking around at everybody. Everybody looks really, really, really cool. I’m talking about very cool. Look at this guy on the front row. Mike Moon, come on up here. He’s got to be the best-dressed guy in the house. Come up here, Mike. Look at this. Look at this ensemble! Guys, give him a crazy, crazy round of applause. Mike, that’s a gorgeous suit.
Mike: My wife is terrified right now. Don’t let me get hold of that microphone.
Ed: I love you having a microphone. Mike, now you’ve been out of high school a couple of years. But you look, I’m telling you. Look at these shoes. Guys, I’m telling you, that’s on the next level of fashion.
Mike: What he said.
Ed: That’s right, Mike Moon. Let’s give it up. Give him a crazy round of applause. Mike Moon. What’s your name, my brother? Come up real quick, real quick. On this guy’s looking cool, too. Got the hat. Look, look! What’s your name, man?
Ed: What’s up Ryan? That outfit, what were you thinking when you got dressed today? I love that.
Ryan: My mom told me what to put on.
Ed: That’s even better! Let’s given him a round of applause! Oh come on up. My turn! I like it! Look at this man. Wow! Check him out. Check. Him. OUT! Wooo!! Now, the shoes, the socks, I mean. They’re Polo socks. Somebody help. I love your hairstyle, too. Your hair looks great. You look great. Now, did you dress yourself?
Brandon: My mom dressed me.
Ed: All right mom! What’s your name?
Ed: All right, Brandon. Where do you go to school?
Ed: CHS!!!! OK, OK. I just wondered.
Man, we got some fashionistas here. No fashion victims here. No fashion victims here. I don’t know why, I just had a fashion moment. Anyway. Well, today I want to talk to you about a subject that I’ve been talking about recently. It’s a subject that’s very, very important. And when I say this subject a lot of you are gonna think, wait a minute. Surely what you’re talking about is not that important. But what I’m talking about is extremely important. You know, growing up, have you ever met people that will say one thing and do another? You know what I’m saying to you? That girl, that guy. They’re into trash talking or they say this but they don’t really back up what they say. Are you understanding what I’m saying to you? A lot of people do that. I grew up playing sports. I know many of you play sports or maybe you’re into academics or into some other extracurricular activities, you always meet that guy, that girl, who talks a good game but then when you watch them on the field or in the classroom or whatever, you’re like, what? They’re just talking smack! They can’t do jack. Talkin’ smack, can’t do jack. The Bible says, and this is kind of a sobering statement, the Bible says that we’re all made to give ourselves fully to things. A lot of people have given themselves fully to fashion. They think about it. We’re into fashion, yeah. Other people give themselves fully into shopping, fully into decorating, fully into snow-boarding, fully into surfing. You give yourselves fully into things. And we’re made that way. We have passion in life.
But I’ve got to ask you a question. Is your main passion God? Now just stay with me for a second. Is your main passion God? Because we’re made to have God as our primary passion. I will say it again. We’re made to have God as our primary passion. So if we’re not careful we can waste our passion, we can pervert our passion, chasing after this, chasing after that, chasing after that, chasing after this, and we can miss the primary passion. God wants us to be passionate about stuff. He wants us to have a good time in life. He wants us to have adventure and excitement in life. What am I saying? I’m talking about a one-word subject called worship. What? Worship is passion. Passion is worship. I’m talking about worship.
Worship is that thing we … do. That thing we… do. That thing we… do. As I’ve been saying for a long, long time, you go to a concert, what are people doing? They’re worshiping. Whoever the band is, man, they’re worshipping. You go to a game people are worshipping. We don’t’ call it that but that’s what we’re doing. People are into the scene or cars or motorcycle, worshipping, racing, worshipping. We worship all sorts of things. We’re into worship.
To worship something means to be passionate about a person, place, or thing. That’s what it means. Well, the Bible comes along and the Bible even gives us a deeper definition of worship. Did everybody get your message map with you? Everybody have the message map? Somebody, everybody wave it. Wave these maps, wave these maps. We’re gonna talk about these maps in just a couple of minutes. If you got a pen or pencil just fill them out. If not, you can type along on your iPhone or other smart phone or whatever.
That thing we do. That thing we what? Do. What is that thing we do? Worship! No one taught me how to worship, I just know how to do it. LeBron goes coast to coast and throws one down… Wow LeBron! Whooo! I just know how to worship. Something happens in school, something happens in the boardroom, we just know how to Yay! Yay! Clap! Go, girl! We just know how to celebrate. Worship. That thing we do. We’re passionate about a person, place, or thing.
Well, the Bible comes along and the Bible talks about that thing we do. Worship (and get this definition down ‘cos I’m gonna force you to get it down), worship is our response to God’s identity. That’s the first blank. Worship is your response and my response to God’s identity. Some here have responded to God’s identity, others haven’t. So worship is your response, my response, to God’s identity and, the next blank, his activity. So I respond to God’s identity.
Now you’ll see some verses there on the message map. Everybody sees them at all the different environments? Psalm 100. Say it with me. Psalm 100. We got 100 hours to worship God. You’re saying, wait a minute. I though worship happened when we’re here in this church house? I thought worship happened when I take communion at this church or that church. I thought worship happened when I lifted my hands and maybe jumped around in those skinny jeans? Yeah, that is worship, technically speaking, but worship is what we do. It’s that thing we do.
Worship transcends everything in our lives. Psalm 100. We’ve got about 100 hours a week to worship. How can you say that? There are 168 hours a week. Most of us hopefully sleep eight hours a night. Then you talk about getting ready, hygiene, blah-blah-blah, stuff that doesn’t matter. That leaves us about 100 hours to do what? Worship. To do what? Worship. And worship is that thing we … do!
If I worship I’m responding to God. I’m responding to God’s identity. Who is God? Who is God? I’m responding to what God has done, what he’s doing, what he’s going to do. The Bible says that God is omnipotent. He’s strong. All-powerful. Omnipotent. The Bible says God is omniscient. He knows everything. Isn’t that amazing? God knows your junk and funk, my skeletons in my closet, and he’s still crazy about us.
Oh we can clap better than that! That’s ridiculous! Also, God is omnipresent. He’s everywhere. You cannot shake him or fake him out. He’s on you. God wants all of us to worship him.
Love has to have an object. When I first saw Lisa, my wife of 30 years, I saw her at church and I was like, wow. This girl is hot! As I got to know her, one day she became the object of my love. Love must have an object. Am I going too fast for anybody here? Love must have an object. Lisa was and is the object of my love. Male, female. I’m committed to her in marriage. We are the objects of God’s love. Love has to have an object. God loves you and me unconditionally, selflessly, sacrificially.
When we think about his identity, what he did for us 2,000 years ago, something we don’t deserve, sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and rise again. When we think about the ultimate act of love. God didn’t just trash talk. He did not just say one thing, “Oh yeah, I love you with an everlasting love. You’re my girl. You’re my boy. He didn’t just say it and do nothing, he boldly backed it up, and is backing it up, and will back it up.
God says that he’s jealous. Isn’t that kind of weird for God to be jealous? Why is God jealous? Why is God a jealous God? He doesn’t want me, nor does he want you, to waste our worship. And he says, “If you pursue me as the primary thing in your life, you’re gonna hit on all cylinders. If you don’t, it’s gonna be tough.” So think about it. My response as a person, a worshipper, because everybody worships, to God’s identity is what it’s all about. Psalm 100:3, “Know that the Lord Himself is God.” Every time I come to church, every time I assemble together with others, I am rebooting my life and realizing, whoa! I’m not God. Because see, if I’m not doing that regularly with a bunch of people, I think I’m God. And the biggest competition that God has is you and me. It’s ourselves. We want to worship ourselves. “I love me some me.” It’s just a natural thing. But God says they’ll bow the knee to me and you’ll discover who you’re supposed to be. So know the Lord, himself, is God. It is he who has made us.
People say, “Oh, yeah, I made it. I’m the man. I’m the girl. I’m a self-made woman. I’m a self-made man.” You have got to be kidding me. Who made you? God. God is the designer. So, “It’s he who made us and not we, ourselves. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” He’s the shepherd, we’re the sheep. Do you know his voice? Do you know the voice of God? God’s speaking to you.
I’ve been to the Middle East several times. And what’s so funky about it is you’ll be in an area and you’ll see these sheep, squillions of sheep <baaa-baaa-baaa-baaa!> and the shepherds are all jumbled up. But they have a certain whistle, a certain little voice <bird call sound effects> and the sheep, their sheep, know their voice and they can negotiate through all those other sheep and follow the shepherd.
God is calling you. He’s calling me. We are the sheep. And the Bible says in John 10, man, say John 10 with me. John 10 says that Jesus has an abundant life for everybody here. We sang about that. We worshipped God as we expressed our love to him. An abundant life means a life that is on a whole ‘notha level! Say it with me. A whole ‘notha level! And abundant life, a life full of excitement and adventure. A life not just better than most, but a life like we’re supposed to live! Relationally, emotionally, psychologically, educationally, whatever you want to say, on a whole ‘notha level! That’d be a good place to clap.
You know, do we have that music that we had to play, ‘cause my nose is running. I’ve got a sinus infection. I’m gonna go blow my nose for a second and I don’t want to gross you out. Just wait a second.
Thank you very much. Man, I’ve had this thing for like three weeks and I cannot kick it! I’m on my second week of antibiotics. What’s wrong? But everybody blows their nose. You know, I just thought about this… I’ve not thought about this in, I know, 20 years. You know you call that green stuff, let’s just be honest, snot, boogers, terrible words like that. Some doctors “mucous membranes, sinusitis.” You know what word I made up for that back in the day? I was like in the second grade and I remember it. Blowyer. It’s a cool name, blowyer. Like you know, the green stuff. Instead of calling it, like, snot or boogers, that’s gross. Just say, “You got some blowyer on your left nostril, bro.” You know, you know ya got a great friend when they help you out. You know, the other day I was going somewhere, I was here at church and someone said, “Ed, you got something on your nose.” Who was that who told me that? Somebody here, maybe? Staff member? Yeah! It was my friend, Pedro, from Miami! He said,
“Man, you got something on your nose.” I was like,
“Oh, thanks, man.” Anyway, I’m just trying to help you guys out.
Worship! Our response to God’s what? Identity. Do you know him. He knows you, do you know him? How do you know him? You bow the knee to him. He’s gotta be THE ONE you bow to. You are the object of God’s love. Wow. Have you responded to it? I mean, it was Lisa’s choice to respond to my love. I sought her out, I romanced her. She either received the love or not. And that’s the great thing about God. You have the choice, so do I.
So what’s worship? Worship is our response to God’s identity, also to his activity. God is working. I said God is working. He is moving! Amazing things are happening. Verse 5, “For the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting and his faithfulness to all generations.” God is active, he’s moving. He’s not passive. And it’s to all generations. So we, as we reboot our lives regularly in individual worship and also corporate worship. That’s why, make sure, once every week you’re up here at the church. It’s commanded by God, showing corporate worship to him. Make sure.
Also make sure that regularly you’re meeting that appointment with the Lord, because the Bible is basically a bunch of love letters to you and me. And you want to read the love letters. Like Lisa, when she’s written me love letters I read them over and over. Wow.. and over again. That’s the Bible. How will you know how to live, how can I know how to live, if I’m not reading the owner’s manual? We’re designed by the ultimate designer, we need to talk to him and know him, about how to do life, how to do relationships in our career and school and so on and so forth. Worship is our response to God’s activity. He’s moving. Have you responded to it? He’s courting you. Have you responded? He loves you. Have you responded? Have you bowed the knee to him? The first aspect of establishing a relationship with God is an act of… is an act of…. And worship is that thing we… do! All right, so we’re tracking now.
Worship, our response, our response to God’s identity and activity. Now it’s gonna get great. I mean it’s great already but this is gonna really get great cos Psalm 100, man, is really gonna do some crazy stuff. Worship is expressed by what we say. So it’s my response to God’s identity and activity, and it’s expressed by what we, what? Say. I mean, I talk a good game. A lot of people I know in my travels talk a good Christian game. And you’ve seen that.
Well, the Bible says in Psalm 100 again, because we have 100 hours or worship. As a believer we don’t come to church to worship, we come worshiping. Everything we do, say, touch, and feel should be an act of what? Worship. Because worship is that thing we… do. So what I see in front of me on my computer screen should be an act of… worship. What I say about others should be an act of… worship. How I handle my finances should be an act of… worship. What I think about should be an act of … worship. Man! This has got to be blowing the hinges off some people’s doors that worship! Because I know some of you thought, wow, I thought worship was just what we do, maybe once a week or once every other week when I come here or go there. No, no, no, no, no, no! Everything we do, say, touch, or feel is an act of worship. It’s our response to God’s what? Identity, activity, by what we say. Psalm 100:1, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.” This phrase ‘all the earth,’ you see it there in the message map? Wave your maps again. I think you guys are starting to lose it a little bit. OK, come on, come on. You know what that means, ‘in all the earth?’ It means a place of assembly. It means the church. The only thing that Jesus ever built was what? The church.
So, “shout joyfully to the Lord all the earth.” That’s cool. The word shout means a sound so loud it pierces the ear. Like I pierced yours. Look at verse 4. “Enter his gates (again we’re talking about church, we’re talking about the presence of God), enter his gates with thanksgiving.”
Let me stop for a second. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Africa many times. There is a berry in Africa in West Africa, specifically, called the West African Taste berry. And these berries are a trip because if you eat one, for the next two hours everything you taste is sugar. It’s so sweet! You can pop one in your mouth, chomp it up, swallow it, and even eat a lemon and the lemon tastes like, wow, this is like sugary lemonade! It’s ridiculous. The West African taste berry.
Now what did I just read to you? I read the West African taste berry. Because enter his gates with thanksgiving. When I understand the importance of thanksgiving to God, thanking God for who he is, for what he’s done, when I’m praising his name (and the word praise simply means to brag on God), when I enter his gates, his presence with a thankful heart, that’s like God’s West African taste berry. Everything is sweet. Everything is sweet! I’m talkin’ sweet like grandmama’s Kool-Aid. Say it with me. SwEEEET! Like grandmama’s Kool-aid! That’s the Tweet of the day.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. The word praise, bragging on God, the word praise, after soldiers would win a battle they would shout with victory. YEAAAHH!!!! Someone makes a tackle… YEAAAAHHH! You know, someone scores a touchdown… YEAAAAH! That’s praise, man. Praise. We just know how to praise. Are you praising the Lord? I don’t know. Are you bragging on him? “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.”
Now a lot of you I know are great with technology. And if you’re into technology you gotta understand and know your passwords. Am I going too rapidly for anybody? You ever heard of a password before? Yeah. Thanksgiving is the password into the presence of God, into that Holy ‘notha level! where God wants us to go. Thanksgiving. How thankful are you? Are you spending time regularly talking to God?
I would challenge you, students, and I would challenge you, adults. I would challenge everybody single, married, grandmas, grandpas, to journal your prayers, to write what you’re thankful for. When I’ve traveled in certain parts of the world I’ve had the opportunity to go on safaris. And I was outside of Bloemfontein, South Africa, just a couple of months ago. I went on safari. I had my polarized glasses on and this guy goes, “Take those off. Let’s turn the car off and just look.” And we looked and looked and looked. And this dude was like, “Oh, yeah, see that? Oh whoa! There’s a gemsbok. See him? See him right there, right there!” I’m like, “Yeah! Wow!” I would have missed him!
“Whoa, whoa. Stop, look. See that’s a pride of cats there, lions. Look, look, look! See, see! The tail!”
“Yeah! I see them!” That’s the way we should do life! As believers we should go on a thanksgiving safari every day. “Lord, I thank you for that.” We’ve got to stop and look, stop and listen. Stop and see stuff. And thank God for all of the incredible things that he’s doing, that he’s made. The Bible says the islands should worship God. The Bible says the mountains worship God. The Bible says even flocks of wildlife worship God. Everything is made to do what? Worship!
Are you wasting your worship? You say it, we say it. Hold our hands in the air, dance around with our skinny jeans. Whoo! With lights, that’s worship? Yeah. Just a little bit of it, though. A little bit. The password is thanksgiving.
So worship is expressed by what we say. It is also expressed by what we do. The last thing, by what we do. By what we do. Those people I talked about earlier, you can talk smack, but so often people who talk smack can’t do jack. They talk like they can play basketball. They can’t play. They talk like they can fish. They can’t fish. They talk like they can drive. They can’t drive. They talk like they can dress. They can’t dress. You understand what I’m saying to ya. People talk a good game. We talk smack, especially social media, man. Social media, on man we talk so much smack with social media it’s ridiculous!
Worship is expressed by what we do. Look at verse 2, by what we do. Verse 2, “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful singing.” Now I hope you’re tracking with me because here’s what I’m talking about. I’m saying from Psalm 100 we got 100 hours of worship. I’m saying that if we worship, worship will segue into work. Let me say that again. <rewinding sound effect> If we worship, real worship segues into what? Into what? Work. Because worship is that thing we… do.
Wow. “Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before him with joyful singing.” Now, if we’re not careful we can worship worship.
I gotta blow my nose again. Music.
All right. If I don’t blow my nose the blowyer comes down and it reflects off the lights and when it’s shown online and television and everywhere else people are like, “Man, that dude’s nose is running.” So I don’t want to do that. Whew!
Serve the Lord with gladness, right? Come before him with joyful singing. So if I’m really a worshipper it’s gonna translate into what? Into what? Work, work. So if I talk a good game I gotta live a good game. So we can have our hands up, we can get into the rhythm of the music, we can perspire, we can cry, we can have a quiver in our liver, a spring in our step, and we’re like, “Wow!! I worshipped God! I got into the presence of God! Man, I worshipped, worshipped.” And then we leave this place and live like Hell.
Worship can be that thing that just eases our guilt. “Oh, I worship God.” And that’s good, that is worship. Don’t get me wrong. Lifting your hands as a sign of “God, I surrender my all to you.” Bowing our heads, that’s a physical act of worship. Shouting, we should do all that. But I’m saying for some in our culture today, it’s about this emotional trip. Emotion must segue into devotion. And this whole worship vibe that’s out there today is of God, but if we’re not careful we can get involved in plastic praise and again, it eases our guilt and we get into this frenzy at church. Then we leave church and live life like we want to live it.
There’s a guy in the Bible, 1 Samuel 15. His name was Saul. Saul was the man. Handsome, articulate, ripped, had the whole thing going on. But here’s what Saul did. Saul, the king, did not fully obey God. God said,
“Hey, Saul, take the Amalekites and wipe them out.”
“OK, Lord!” Saul went and he didn’t quite wipe them out. He kept a few morsels, a few things for himself. I want to read this to you. This is incredible stuff. 1 Samuel 15. “So Saul had partially obeyed the Lord.” He talked smack,
“Yeah, I’m the man! I’m the king! I’m a man of worship. I did what you told me to do, God. I wiped them out!”
“Oh really?” God’s man comes on the scene. I’m talking about Samuel. Here’s what Samuel said to Saul. Samuel said, 1 Samuel 15:14, “What, then, is this bleating of sheep in my ears?” <bleating sound effect> “And these cows?” <mooing sound effect> You know what Saul said?
“Oh, Samuel! I’m just keeping those things to dedicate them to the Lord. I’m gonna give those things to the Lord, man. They’re God’s!” Samuel’s like,
“Wait a minute, Saul. You know God said to wipe them out. You did not fully obey the Lord. You talked smack, you didn’t do jack.”
Now let’s pick up 1 Samuel 15:22, here’s Samuel up in his grill. “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of God?”
So we can like dance around in our skinny jeans.. “Oh, I love you, Lord!” crying, everything. That’s great. That’s what Saul did, but he didn’t obey the Lord.
Jesus said, from cover to cover in the New Testament, “If you love me, you’ll obey me.” What is the greatest worship? Doing that? Or living a life of purity? Doing that, praising the name of Jesus here, or telling your friends who are away from God about the good news of Christ.
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” What is this text saying? It’s saying that we’re wired for worship. We’re made to fully give ourselves to God. We’re to worship him because of his identity and activity expressed by what we say and what we… do. When we do that we’ll discover what it means to live the kind of life that God has for all of us to live. That life of vitality, of excitement, of purpose, of devotion like we’ve never seen before. And God will take us places we’ve never dreamed of. I need to hear that myself!
[Ed closes in prayer.]