Sunday, January 26, 2014

Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry#4

Hi Friends!

I want to encourage you to take a moment and read Matthew 2: 1-12 which is the passage we'll be leaning on and learning from this week at Connections Christian Church.

This passage is often examined in the Christmas season and rightfully so as it speaks to both the natural and supernatural events surrounding the birth of our great Savior Jesus Christ. But let me ask  you this: do you think we might miss something that God would have for us when we limit a particular Scripture to a particular season? If so, read the passage above and I believe you will be blessed with some wonderful truth from a glimpse of Christmas in one of the coldest January's on record.

I was impressed through prayer, Bible study, life experiences, the Holy Spirit (pretty much every pass that I took at this text) with a single word: worship. The word shows itself multiple times throughout this short passage and as a Christ-follower I believe it is a word (an experience) that is to show itself with my every thought, attitude, action, and even my every breath.

Compare and contrast the differences between the way the Magi and Herod use the word. Ask yourself whose example we should follow? Then ask yourself if we are following it? My thought is that we should see the Magi pouring out praise to Jesus expecting nothing in return as a model we should ask the Holy Spirit to reproduce in our lives. And what of Herod?

Well, I'm convicted there's more of Herod in us than we might care to admit. Our worship seems to be something along the lines of what we can get from Jesus as opposed to what we can give to Jesus. In effect I think that's why many people in American culture tend to see the reality of church as a day at the mall. If I can't find what I want at store A then I just go to store B. We tend to be consumers of worship rather than givers of worship.

How will you worship today? tomorrow? Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? Friday? Saturday? and next Sunday and everyday thereafter? Will praising God for who He is vs. what we can get from Him be the heart of our worship? Will our worship be more like the Magi and less like Herod or will we come to Jesus in an attempt to have our way with Him vs. letting Him have His way with us?

Don't get me wrong: because of God's inherent nature we will always receive much in worshipping Him. But the reason we worship (the motive if you will) should be something other than looking to swipe our card with the supernatural cashier, trusting we got what we paid for and will be happy with it. And if not, well then, we'll just return it or pitch it as it is no longer useful to us.

Where's your heart when it comes to worshipping God? Are you looking to make a transaction or are you looking to offer your life as a gift of gratitude for the inherent nature of God our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, and Friend?

I remember my childhood preacher and I've heard many other preachers say "wise men still seek Him." I'm thinking wise men (women and children) still worship Him as Magi. My prayer is that we might be found worshipping Him in Spirit and Truth in every season of our lives just because He is who He is.

God's Peace,


  1. God is not subject to our cost-benefit analysis. A new car, yes. A house, a refrigerator, or a washing machine, sure. But doing a cost-benefit thing assumes that you know what all the costs are (Luke 14:28 does talk about counting the cost) and what the benefits are. Surely we cannot know all the costs, and I'm positive that we cannot know all the benefits of a relationship with God before-hand. Isaiah 55:8 tells us that our thoughts are not God's thoughts.

    A transaction of worshiping God in order to get X implies that we are equal to God. I read Job 41 and 42 and I am reminded of how powerful, mighty, and worthy of worship (for His own sake) God is.

    I sometimes use the ACTS method of praying. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Adoration is close to worship, and that comes first. Adoring God for who He is is a form of worship. Working through the "omnis" - omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent - and really considering them and their implications - gives you a good start on a worship session.

    Then you start thinking about God's attributes - love, mercy, grace, kindness, truth, justice, jealous - and I start realizing how far I am from ideal, and how much more worthy of worship He is. Then if you work into some of the names of God: I AM. Adonai. El Shaddai. The Prince of peace. The Lamb. The Lion of Judah.

    God is worthy of our worship, corporately and individually, in spirit and in truth.

  2. A very thought-provoking essay. I especially liked the next-to-last paragraph, where you wrote in reference to worship: "Are you looking to make a transaction or are you looking to offer your life as a gift of gratitude...? I hope that we all offer ourselves (time and talents) "as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." (Rom 12:1) Just as the little drummer boy did, I hope my offering is the offering of Abel, and not Cain. May God's mercy overcome my inadequacies. Thanks Jeff.