We are in week three of our teaching series “INVITED."
This is a BIG series… I hope you realize this.
If this is your first time hanging out with us… welcome to our community of misfits.
We’re all just a bunch of beautifully broken men, women, and students that God has shown radical grace and mercy to.
Not a single person sitting in your row, standing on this platform, or watching online has it all together.
We’re all misfits trying to figure out how to take one step closer to becoming the people God created us to be, one day at a time.
And this series is our way of inviting you into that journey together.
Throughout this series, we’re extending to each of you an invitation into relationship… into community… and into mission.
Whether you’ve been hanging out with us for five minutes or 50 years… YOU’RE INVITED.
As we head into this new year, a year like no other, quite frankly, we want to know who is with us, so we can encourage your hearts as you grow as disciples... so we can empower you to BE and ACHIEVE all that God has for you… and so we can equip you with all you need to share HOPE in your communities, schools, neighborhoods, and networks of influence.
Over the next few weeks, we will share WHO we are, WHAT we believe, WHY exist, and at the end of the series… we’ll share a moment together where each of us will answer the question, “Are you in?”
So, a little bit about us…
We exist to HELP people find HOPE and a HOME in Jesus.
Our core values as a church, that is at the foundation of our mission is to:
Obey the Bible
Last week, David taught us why we obey the Bible. If you missed it, please go back and check it out online.
The Bible is our guiding truth for all we do as we grow as disciples who are called to make disciples. And that includes the next value we’re going to talk about today…
What does the Bible have to say about WHY we should glorify God. WHY do we worship and praise? Man… I hope you’re ready.
Psalm 47:1-2, 6-7 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
I’m going to share something with you today that I believe has the power to radically change your approach and mindset to how we praise and worship God.
Today, I’m offering you a theology of praise.
Alright… so over the last 43 years, I have had the privilege of being exposed to a lot of different types of churches and a lot of different styles of worship.
I’ve been to super conservative churches where no one said a word... through the entire gathering no one attending said a word. I’ve been to churches where people chanted… so much chanting. I’ve been to churches where people spoke and sang in different languages... churches where you got a full work out in… kneel down… stand up… sit down… kneel down… it was like doing burpees for an hour. I’ve been to services that would last 30 minutues and services that lasted 4 hours. I’ve been a part of gatherings that were no bigger than 10 people and gatherings bigger than 10,000. I’ve been a part of a church where everybody was white and I’ve been a part of a church where our family was the ONLY white family.
I’ve been to services where people clapped and raised their hands and danced, and I’ve been to services that if you dared mutter an “Amen” or “raised your hand to worship” people would look at you like you were demon-possessed. Do you know those people? Like there may have been an explosion of JOY and celebration happening on the inside of them… but on the outside… death.
And I noticed something throughout all these experiences…
Just because they clapped their hands and danced in the aisles didn’t mean the spirit of God was at work and lives were being transformed.
And, I’ve noticed that…
Just because people didn’t clap, dance, or raise their hands didn’t mean the spirit of God wasn’t at work and lives weren’t being transformed.
BUT… what I have found is when the spirit of God was on the move and working in and through a community…
the people were desperate and hungry for God
the people were responding to his teachings and the promptings of the spirit
and there were signs of growth and wonder
and stories of life transformation and miracles
and stories of chains being broken and lives being restored.
And because of that… they couldn’t help but praise God.
What I’ve learned is that… our praise can’t be predicated by our preferences.
Instead of asking the question, “How was worship today?” where it’s all about your preferences… asking "how church went," "did we like it", "was our favorite speaker or worship leader up"...
Right?! Don’t act like you don’t have these conversations. I’ve got spies at Nick’s Café, Kreimer’s, Taste of Belgium, and Cracker Barrel. They tell me all about your conversations.
Instead of “How was worship today?” maybe we should be asking the question… “How was YOUR worship today?”
“How did you abandon yourself in worship and praise to our God?”
No one else can give God YOUR worship… only YOU can.
I actually think God the Father is probably the only one who will evaluate our worship. After we gather together, I wonder if HE is asking the question "do they really mean what they just sang and talked about? Was it real? Was it their best? Was it from the heart?"
In Psalm 103, we find this instruction about our praise and worship… Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me and Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise the Lord.
The depth of our worship is dictated by our devotion to our King.
Some of you may be really comfortable with expressing yourself in worship and others of you may be really uncomfortable with expressing yourself in worship. And I just want to say… ALL types of worshippers are welcome here.
Whether you dig for change while you worship… or you take on the posture of the principal while your praise… you’re welcome here.
Whether you like to carry the big screen while you worship (very subtle) or you go full tilt “touchdown” when you worship… you’re all welcome here. Even the seasoned worshippers that attempt the worship posture of “Mufasa”...
So, whether you are a MUFASA or a PRINCIPAL… I want to challenge everyone today to take a step of growth today, to lean a little more into how the spirit leads us to praise.
1 Thessalonians 5:19, Quench not the spirit.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit.
Martin Lloyd Jones, who served for 30 years as the minister at Westminster Chapel in London during the early 1900s, said, "A dislike of enthusiasm can be one of the greatest hindrances to revival."
Today, I want us to take a look at what God’s word says about our praise.
In the Old Testament, specifically in Psalms, we find seven Hebrew words for “praise."
And, they all mean something slightly different and give us a fuller picture of what it means to praise God.
Darren Whitehead and Chris Tomlin’s book called HOLY ROAR has a ton of great info on all of this if you’d like to dig in even further.
Alright, the first Hebrew word for Praise…
1). YADAH (yaw-daw): Hands of Praise. To revere or worship with outstretched hands. To hold out the hands. To lift your hands in praise.
Psalm 67:3, May the nations praise (yadah) you, O God; Yes, may all the nations praise (yadah) You.
Psalm 44:8, O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise (yadah) your name.
All you touchdown callers this one’s for you. There’s something instinctive in all of us with this one. Whether it's after a goal, a touchdown, or a homerun… what do we do? We instinctively shoot our hands into the air… right?
I wonder then… why do we resist doing the same thing to praise the God who knit us together and gives us breath in our lungs? We go NUTS for our sports teams, but why not for our King?
When our pride and preferences are surpassed by our love and desperation for Jesus, watch what happens to our hands the next time we’re led to worship.
My hope is that more of us will join the millions of believers who have been raising their hands to our King for over 3000 years.
Second Hebrew word…
2). HALAL (haw’lal): Celebration of Praise. To boast. To rave. To shine. To celebrate. To be foolish.
Halal is where we get the word Hallelujah.
Psalm 150:6, Let everything that has breath praise (halal) the Lord.
Psalm 149:3, Praise (halal) his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp.
Did he just say dancing?… “Round these parts we do biblical things, we follow the word of God…”
Praise his name with dancing…
When King David was caught dancing before the Lord, listen to his response…
2 Samuel 6: 21-22, I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.
Jeremiah 31:13, The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join them.
If the spirit moves you to move… then move.
My heart was broken as I listened to my friend, Betsy as she told me about the time leaders in her old church told her to tone it down and not to dance because it was distracting. I wish I would have been there. May that man’s eyes be fixed more on our King and on His word and less on the actions of those devoted to Him.
Third Hebrew word for Praise…
3). TEHILLA (the-hil-law): Song of Praise. A new song. A spontaneous song. A psalm.
Psalm 40:3, He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise (tehilla) to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.
Psalm 100:4, Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise (tehilla).
Some of you have been created and inspired to sing a new song, to create new songs of praise that will be the voice of a new generation of believers.
Don’t listen to the naysayers when they tell you not to waste time writing in your journal. You are not weird. You’re not just a dreamer, you’re a vessel and creation of God that HE wants to use to ignite a movement of believers. He wants to stir a revival in our hearts and in our communities.
Give us your new songs of praise… sing loud your songs of TEHILLA.
Fourth Hebrew word for Praise…
4). TOWDAH (to-daw): Expectation of Praise. An extension of the hand. Thanksgiving. A sacrifice of praise. Thanksgiving for things not yet received.
Towdah is the coming together with God’s people, lifting your hands in praise and thanking him for what he has done. AND, thanking him for what he has NOT yet done. It is the praise of Faith.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a problem… keep it up. Raise your hand if you’re sitting next to a person with a problem… keep it up. Raise your other hand if you have ever needed help to get through a problem… now keep both hands up. This is the posture of TOWDAH.
Towdah is the praise of those going through the storm. Towdah is when we give praise when it hurts, when it’s uncertain, when we’re walking through the darkest valley.
Towdah is the even though I can’t see it or feel it, I know you’re working… and I will give you praise. I will lift my hands in Towdah.
Psalm 56:11-12, I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of praise (towdah) for your help.
To those wrestling with a diagnosis… for those waiting for test results… for those in the depths of anxiety and depression… I just want to invite you to join me in a praise of TOWDAH.
We are trusting you, Father… you are bigger than our storm, you are the one who helps us and strengthens us and pulls us up with your victorious right hand… whom then shall we fear?
The fifth Hebrew word for Praise is…
5). ZAMAR (zaw-mar): Music of Praise. To make music. To celebrate with song and music. To touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument.
Psalm 144:9, I will sing a new song to you O God; on a harp of ten strings, I will sing praises (zamar) to you.
The essence of ZAMAR is God reminding us that he created music and melody so they could be used for the encouraging and empowering of God’s people.
Have you ever had a "go to" song that just gets you through the night or your jam comes on and it changes your entire mood… or a playlist that just gets you through that last mile?
That’s God working through music and melody to draw us into his goodness and presence.
The sixth Hebrew word for Praise is…
6). BARAK (baw-rak): Posture of Praise. To kneel down in praise. To bless. To salute. To thank.
Psalm 103: 1-2, 20-22, Let all that I am praise (barak) the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise (barak) his holy name. Let all that I am praise (barak) the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
Praise (barak) the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise (barak) the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! Praise (barak) the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom. Let all that I am praise (barak) the Lord.
The essence of Barak is to have a posture of humility before the Lord.
Listen, I love to sing and praise God. I’m one of the wild ones, praise God, but there are sometimes in the middle of worship, I feel led in the spirit to just kneel down. To humble myself.
It could be here at church or out in nature and I’ll just be captivated by a moment and be so caught up in the bigness and awesome wonder of who God is that I just want to kneel before him in humility.
And I want to confess before you that there have been times when I have felt led by the spirit to kneel before God in the middle of worship… and I don’t because my fear of what you may think was greater than my fear of the Lord… and that is messed up, right?!
I promise to lead you better in those moments.
The seventh Hebrew word for Praise is…
7). SHABACH (shaw-bakh): Shout of Praise. To address in a loud tone. To shout. To commend. To give glory and triumph.
Psalm 117:1, Praise (shabach) the Lord, all you nations. Praise (shabach) him, all you people of the earth.
The essence of SHABACH is when something wells up from deep inside you, when the only response to what you are experiencing or going through isn’t a word… or a song… or even something intelligible… it’s a SHABACH… a mighty yelp… a shout of praise… of glory… of triumph.
At 7:52pm last night, throughout the entire TRI-STATE area, there was a collective mighty shout of SHABACH… did you hear it? After 31 years, the Bengals have won a playoff game! And there was a triumphant shout of SHABACH…
What if we allowed that same passion and energy to be focused on our King?
Right now, we’re going to move into a time of praise and I just want to encourage you to take a step closer to the Father in how you worship today. Move out of your comfort zone and try something new in a safe space.
I’m not sure what your step is today, but I’m inviting each of you into a deeper level of praise to our Father in Heaven today. Like a child reaching up to their father with outstretched arms.
Our Father in Heaven is inviting us close to Him today. He’s inviting us into his presence with holy hands lifted up to God.
So right now I invite you to stand. I invite you to lay down your baggage and burdens.
In the midst of our challenges… in the midst of all we have going on… in the midst of fear and discouragement… in the midst of not knowing what the future holds, we’re crying out to you, LORD… we’re shouting out to you with a SHABACH of praise.
We are trusting you. We are giving you praise. You alone are worthy. Only you can sustain us. You are our provider and protector and we give you praise!