Praise and Gratitude Prayer

Psalm 145 Reminds Us Of Why We Should Give Praise To God

Ross Sawyers
Jan 30, 2022    1hr 3m
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In Psalm 145, David reminds us that our relationship with God is personal and that it should move us to give praise to God. Our relationship with God is also to be shared with the generations to come so that they too can experience the joy that comes from giving praise and worship to God. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:11] Many of you are familiar with C.S. Lewis, and C.S. Lewis, in the 1900s, it's kind of weird even saying that that was such a long time ago the 1900s, but one of the great minds of the faith. And sometimes we just think, over the years, over the centuries, there have been those that are just really great thinkers in our faith, Augustine would be one of those, Martin Luther would be one of those, Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be one of those, C.S. Lewis, there's a number out there that are just really great thinkers. And sometimes I think we see their writings, and those get passed down to us, and we're thinking about those, and it's hard to imagine that they went through struggles themselves, or that they had a lot of growth to get to the place where they wrote the kind of things that they wrote.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:05] And one of the struggles that C.S. Lewis had, was around the idea of praise, and of gratitude towards God. In his reflection on the Psalms in 1958, he writes about that struggle. And this article that I found in The Gospel Coalition, I think lays out well, the challenge that Lewis had in thinking about the command to praise God. And that command to praise God was a stumbling block for him, and it created problems for him. The way he thought about it was that if someone were to routinely seek our praise, routinely seek our congratulations, routinely seek our gratitude, that we would reject a person like that. We would see a person like that as arrogant, all they want us to do is praise them or thank them. And Lewis actually found it hideous that God was honored by thanks and praise. He said, "Who is it that says, what I most want to be told is that I'm good and great?" And that was a struggle for him. But what escaped him in his journey, in wrestling with that idea, is that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:30] All enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. I think we can easily picture that right? We just need to think about a stadium full of people watching a game, and some big play happens and everybody spontaneously goes nuts over that play that just happened, it was just an overflow of the joy of seeing what had just occurred. And as he processed it, he said, the whole world rings with praise. That happens at our kid's sports, that happens that our kid's cheer. It was just over at one of the guys in our life group this week, he was a dad at the cheer weekend for his daughter, and you could just see in the picture that there was going to be all kinds of expressions of praise watching his daughter cheer this weekend. And then Louis noted that when we see something that's a joy, we spontaneously overflow with praise, and then our instinct is to urge other people to be a part of it with us. So it's not just I want to burst out in praise over what I'm seeing, it's I want you to join me in it, and I want you to see what's going on and celebrate it. And so that's the picture that Louis was wrestling with it, ok, that's what we see routinely.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:49] But then he recognized that we not only spontaneously praise, and not only instinctively urge others to join us, but praise does more than express what is occurring in the enjoyment, but it completes the enjoyment. Praise both expresses and complete the enjoyment. And then he gave the picture of two lovers who just see each other as beautiful and they express it, and that both is an expression, and it completes the praise when it comes out in the expression. In the same way, he said, we find our enjoyment in God, and it's incomplete until it's expressed in praise. So in commanding us to glorify God, God is actually inviting us to enjoy him. And that's how Lewis worked through that quandary, and I think he's spot on. God is the only one that could command us to praise him, and it not be arrogant, because our greatest joy and pleasure is found in him, and if we don't both express and complete the praise, then we miss out on the joy that's in him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:17] If you'd turn to your Bibles to Psalm 145. I want us to think about this as we finish up our January in thinking about, why do we pray, and so we'll be in Psalm 145:1-7. Actually, the whole Psalm was a psalm that the Jewish people would pray three times a day. It was so filled with praise of who God is, they would read this twice in the morning and then once at night, just as a praise to God himself. And so we're going to think about that praise and gratitude kind of prayer, and then we're going to come back to the end of our service and the bulk of our worship today is going to be on the backside. Which I hope, as you see how God speaks of it in Psalm 145, that it would motivate our hearts in ways maybe differently than weeks before.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:08] And so we're talking about the overall question, as you turn to someone 145, of why do we pray? And we pray, in part, just because we have a Father-child relationship with God. And it's unimaginable to think that we would not, as sons and daughters, enjoy hanging out with our Father who's in heaven. So, part of why we pray is just the enjoyment of being with our Father in heaven.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:34] We also recognize, in Ephesians 6, that there is a battle going on, and we pray because there's a spiritual warfare that is happening. The battle is not between people, it is against the schemes of the devil, it's in the heavenly places, so we go to prayer to battle in the heavenly places when there are problems and issues in the world, in our families, wherever it might be.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:59] We pray in Colossians 4, for those who are far from God, and we pray for those who are going to actually share faith with those who are far from him. We pray that we'll make the most of opportunities, that our speech will be with grace, and then we'll know how we should respond to each person, each person is different in the way that we respond.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:20] And then last week, we talked about asking, that kind of prayer. And in John 15, we see that that flows out of us abiding in Christ, remaining in him. And as we remain in him, then his words remain in us, they overtake us. And as his words overtake us, then we ask whatever we wish because we're right in line with our Father. And so our prayer is, that we would be so overtaken by God's word, that it's just natural that when we pray that Jesus's words come out of us and that his word is what is shaping us. We saw that in Psalm 1, as well, that we delight in his word and then we pray his word. So, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." So, we hang out in God's word.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:10] There's an acrostic that we've used over time, that we've been teaching to think about prayer. So for if you are newer at this, and you are wondering, OK, I'm not sure how to pray. And so this is a way to think about it, and we've been reinforcing it these weeks, and it's the acrostic, P.R.A.Y., if you're taking notes at all. You know, we may not have it, just think about acrostic or an acronym. I never remember it, and I always say that, and I forget by the next time I talk about it. But you know, when you do letters down, and then the word comes out to the side of it. So imagine pray, P is praise, R is repent, A is ask, Y is yield. So I come before God in praise for who he is, when I see who he is, that will usually undo me and show me who I am, then I repent, and then from there, I can flow into asking because I'm in line with who he is. And then finally, I yield to whatever his desires are, and I express that to him. That's a way to be a help.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:12] We've been talking about how to pray Scripture. I've been trying to model that, I'll do that again today, and I'm just loving how that's grabbing hold in people's homes and life groups and so forth. I've been pressing on our men, that God has called us, he's called us to be the spiritual protectors in our home, not just providers, not just physical protectors, but spiritual protectors in our home. And part of how we can do that is by praying scripture over our families and what God is doing there.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:42] Now that I've pressed on men quite a bit over these weeks, I want to go the other side here and say to the ladies in the room, as wives, it's absolutely OK for you to initiate and pray scripture over your husbands. I can't imagine a better way, whenever you're parting ways for the day, if you do, or you might be all be working at in the same home. But if you're not, I can't imagine a better thing and a better strengthening for a husband to leave with his wife praying scripture over him. So, wives, you can step in and you can do the same, we do that for our children, and we do that for others as well.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:23] I would cheer you on as adult children to pray scripture over your parents. My wife's mom has had COVID the last couple of weeks, it's been a pretty rugged run for her, very disoriented and some challenges there. But on Thursday, one of the things Lisa did is she read scripture to her mom over the phone. And her mom just said, after she read scripture, her head was clear. And later that day, a nurse called Lisa and said, I think your mom has turned today for the good. There is power in God's word, we want to put people in God's word, in our prayers, and reading over them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:09] We've been talking over these days about how to be outside of our comfort zone, and candidly, for a good portion of us, this is outside of our comfort zone, and it's OK, because we actually have to lean on God, we can't lean on ourselves. We've been praying as a staff, ways that we can be outside our comfort zone.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:26] And when we talk about abiding in him, the other day, a week ago Thursday, I woke up and started reading some things about the crises going on in our schools with substitute teachers and not enough people. And I thought, well, why couldn't we, as our staff, step in a day or two a week and substitute teach around us and just try and step in and be a help in the community? So 15 of us are in the process, I'm not sure we're going to pass the fingerprinting background check phase, but we're giving it a shot, and hopefully this week we'll be out there in the midst. And so, just pray for us, that we can just serve our community. And all of us will pray, that's outside of a lot of our comfort zones, is to step into these roles.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:10] We're also talking about 121 Outdoors, and ways that we can get outdoors in small groups of people and just see what God does, see if we can just be encountered by him and the awe and praise of him. This week we finally have our first trip going out, I'm taking a group of guys skiing. And then the following week, we have a group going out, fly fishing. And then, we just have all kinds of ways, about 75 people expressed interest in leading, leading out in these. And so I'm really excited about what God has for us moving ahead. Just some random things people are doing, if you're a swimmer, we're trying to draw out our swimmers. We've got a big swimming thing that's going to happen in June, in 121 Outdoors. So if you're a swimmer, let me know, and I'll pass your name on and you might have an interest in being a part of that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:54] But we're just looking at ways we can get out, and that God would stir us in his creation to praise and honor him. And that's what I want us to think about in Psalm 145. Let's look at verses 1 through 3, when we see verses 1 through 3, what we see first is personal praise, this would just be from us to God. And the Psalmist breaks out, and he says in verse 1, "I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever.". I will extol you. And I love that in this Psalm, and I was reading this week, and somebody said, when we think about who God is, we should use every bit of vocabulary we can possibly muster for him. His greatness, his splendor, is so beyond us, that our vocabulary should just expand as we think about ways to praise him. In this Psalm alone, he uses the words extol, bless, praise, declare, meditate, tell, make known, speak, shout, call upon, those are just some of the verbs he uses to talk about who God is and to bring praise to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:09] And then notice what he does in the first part of this verse, he says, "I will extol you." We were at a restaurant the other night and got in a conversation with a waiter, and a really, really neat guy, but we started talking about faith, and he grew up in some different religious kind of things, and consequently, he's rejected it, he's rejected the faith, as I would understand it. Instead, it's about the universe, and what it has to offer, and paying it forward, just ideas like that that are kind of his worldview now.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:42] But look what this psalmist is doing, he's not saying I will extol the universe, he said, "I will extol You, my God." He's talking directly to God, and sometimes I think we love the idea of believing that God's out there, we love the idea of God, but maybe we don't love God, but just the idea of God. But David was well past that who wrote this Psalm, he was extolling God. So when we praise, when we sing on a Sunday morning, when we read scripture, when we pray, we're speaking directly to God with his praise. God has a name, the name he revealed himself as is Yahweh. He has a name, and his name is the name, he said, I am who I am, He's the self-existent one. And so when we are coming to him, we're coming directly to him in praise directly to his name.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:39] Now, before we move on with the Psalm, I want us to think about it for a moment, who's writing it. Because oftentimes what I hear men say is that sometimes they won't come to faith, or they're not all into praising God, because Christian men are weak. Well, I don't know if it's OK to say anymore in our culture, but David, really by the definition of a man's man, probably was a man's man. This is a guy that early on in his life when he was young, he came after the most vicious enemy you could and Goliath, and he won. David was the leader of armies and won battles. He was the one who also showed restraint when he could have killed King Saul, out of respect for God, he held back. Saul was after him, and instead of retaliating, he held back, he was loyal to who God had placed as the king. David was a musician, he would not only have a restraint towards Saul, but he would soothe him by playing the harp and by singing praises to God over him. There's something soothing about the praises of God, it soothes a person. This is David, both the king, who would become the king, and the warrior, the fighter, the protector, and then he's the musician, he has an incredible friendship with Jonathan that we see unfold, and so he has just a really cool friendship. And yet, he's a lover in the right way, and he's a lover in a sinful way. He's a broken man, and yet, somehow, God restores that, and he's described as a man who's after God's own heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:28] See, if you ever think that the reason I would not burst out in praise, David danced before the Lord publicly. So if you ever think, I'm kind of maybe too good for shouting, lifting my hand, singing, praising, if you ever think that's not like a man thing to do, just think about David for a few minutes because he'll whip most anybody in this room. That's for our men, thank you, I know that doesn't play well to everybody.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:00] He says, "I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever." It's personal to him, I will extol You, My God. It's not, I will extol You this God who I believe in out there somewhere. I will extol You, my God, You're my God. In Psalm 23, he does the same thing, he says, "The Lord is my shepherd." Not the Lord is a shepherd, not it's the shepherd, he's my shepherd, it's become personal to him. That's what happens, God becomes personal to people, rather than a nebulous idea, or someone out here that somewhere along the way, I'm OK with the idea, but I'm not OK with him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:41] Now, how would unbelievers respond to the message? Because the way it becomes personal is through Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross in bearing our sin, and then God raising Him from the dead, and he conquered all of that. Someone that's an unbeliever today is going to seek the praise of the culture as a whole, they're going to look and see, what is the culture currently saying, and I'm going to do a Tik Tok video that will get me praise from all those out there who have bought into the cultural line. Or, we look and say, what contribution can I make? How can I be good? How can I just contribute in that way? We get praise that way. The person who recognizes who God is, and then recognizes who they are.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:34] Alastair Begg wrote in his devotional this week, "God's hatred is toward our sinful existence.". God has a hatred for our sin. We've gotten so top-heavy in thinking about the love of God, we've forgotten about the holiness of God. And the love of God is a holy love, it's a perfectly pure and distinct love. And when we recognize the perfect purity of God, we can't help but be undone when we think about our selfish thinking, our envious thoughts, our lustful ways. How can we at all think we're somehow good before God? Once we're undone by that, we realize that Jesus is the one that actually lived a life that merits praise, he's the only one that's lived a life that's worthy of praise. Any bore my sins, and then by receiving him, he comes into my life and my heart, and now I'm not judged anymore on my own merits, I'm judged on the merits of what God's done on my behalf, and therefore, we're OK.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:40] How could we not burst out in praise when we just think about the one idea that we've been rescued out of darkness and brought into the light? We sang earlier, in that House of the Lord song, that we're no longer beggars, we're royalty, that's what happens. He says, "My King." When we receive Jesus, then he's our King, he's the one that is our King, so we're a citizen of his kingdom, we're also his child, we're forgiven, and were a friend. Can you imagine being both a child and a friend of the King? That's who we are. Our hearts just should sit back stunned by that, that we're invited to the king's table not just as guests, but as sons and daughters and friends. Oh, it's a beautiful picture, and then we can break into praise when we realize that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:34] I was with someone the other day, and they received Christ. And I was talking to their daughter, and she said this morning, my dad woke up and he was king of his own life, and he ended the day with Jesus being his King. He's now my King. That's what God does.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:53] I know many of you are following what's going on with Russia and in Ukraine. And I was reading the other day, and a pastor in the area, they're trying to evacuate people, and he said, I'm not going. He said I'm seeing God open more doors right now than I've ever seen before.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:08] Let's pray for our Ukrainian friends that are brothers and sisters in Christ, they're staying right there because they're seeing people exhausted by another way of life and saying yes to Jesus. It's a lady who said, I'm not leaving the orphanage of 20 children that I have, I'm not leaving them, I'm staying with them. Let's pray for our brothers and sisters who are loving the orphan and the widow. And you can just read in their tone, there's just a praise and a gratitude to God to even be in that position, and to see what he's doing in the midst of something that is a crisis.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:51] "My Lord and my God, my King, I will bless your name forever and ever.". He says this is just the beginning of what will be forever and ever praise. I know that's actually disheartening to some people, that forever and ever we'll be praising God. That we don't anticipate heaven because we get to thinking, I don't even really like to sing right now, I don't want to do that for all eternity. What that actually says, it's a failure to understand and own hearts, the magnitude, and majesty of who God is, and the joy that will come.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:21] Two people who love each other, never tire of saying I love you and calling out things about them, who they are, and what they're about, they never tire of that, we never get tired. This guy who was my pastor years ago, he said about his wife, he said, I told you that I love you when we got married, if I change my mind, I'll let you know. He was kidding, I think. But we never tire of, I love you to someone we love, why would we tire of singing of the holiness and purity and love and mercy and compassion and goodness of God? We won't, we won't.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:01] And King David looked forward to it, he said, I'm just getting going, "O Lord, I'm going to bless your name forever and ever." And then in verse 2, he says, "Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever." He reiterates it, I'm going to do it forever and ever, I'm reiterating that. And I'm not going to just bless you when I gather on a Sunday morning for a few minutes and praise you, every day I'm going to do this. I'm going to speak it, I'm going to sing it, I'm going to shout it, I'm going to declare it, every day. Every day, whether the deal goes through or not, I'm going to declare His praise today. Whether the family situation resolves or not, I'm going to declare His praise today. Whether my team excels or doesn't, I'm going to praise Him today. Whether the pandemic ends or doesn't end, I'm going to praise Him today. Whether my political party is in power or not in power, I'm going to praise Him today, forever and ever, regardless, in my home, in my life group, with my friends, all across the board every day, God's praise is going to flow from my lips because my heart is full, because my joy is in him, and my pleasure is in him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:09] It's why Hannah would weep bitterly before the Lord because she couldn't bear a child, and then when she did, she just exalts in the Lord. It's why Mary, I'm sure stunned that she is just conceived by the Holy Spirit of God, as a virgin, the Messiah, broke out in Luke 1:46 in her Magnificat of praise to God. She just couldn't even believe that God would choose her to bear the one who would be the Messiah of the world. It's why Solomon, when he finally finished the building of the temple where God's holiness would dwell, that he broke into a prayer of praise to God. It's why, Hezekiah, in Isaiah 38, when he was about to die and then God extended his life by 15 years, it's why he burst into praise and exalting his God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:03] "God is unsearchable in his greatness, and he is a God to be praised, and highly praised.", in verse 3. Paul says the same thing in Romans 11, if you read Romans and you get to Romans 11, the end of it, Paul, he just can't even contain himself anymore. He had talked about the sin of humanity, and if you want to just a live shot of our culture today, read Romans 1, and you will read contemporary society today. Probably that would be any time, but I think at least in our day, certainly in our day, and so he describes that. But then he comes back and talks about Jesus and said, hey, look, there's a way to overcome that, and that's through Christ, there's a freedom in him. And by the time he gets writing, and he gets to the end of Romans 11, he can't even contain himself anymore. He said, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? 36For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." He just couldn't even stand it his heart was so full of the grace and mercy of God on a sinful people.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:27] Someone said to me a few months ago, now, and I brought it up and I want to keep bringing it up. When we talk about the attributes of God, and the praise of God and who he is, that also is probably the root problem for any problem we have, is in unbelief in one of those parts of who God is. I might not be merciful because I don't believe God is merciful. Timothy Keller talks about the sin underneath the sin, and that a sin underneath, is unbelief. There are things I act out on, that's sin, and there's something underneath it that's driving it. And what is it? It's an unbelief in the character of God. Which part of that character? If I can't forgive you, what that means is, right now, I'm at least having an unbelief in God's forgiveness of me. So when we see his character, it's praise of who God is, it just encapsulates everything that we're about.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:27] But I want us to be careful to think that praise is not just personal. So in 1 through 3, you just see David personally in his praise to God. But he shifts gears in 4 through 7, and I want us to primarily look in verse 4, "One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.". "One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts." God's praise is not to end and terminate on us in him, it's to be passed down to the generations, it goes down. And we speak of God in our homes, we speak of God wherever we are, to the next generations, they'll hear of God. Generationally, we're passing it on.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:13] In Acts 13:36, David, who wrote this Psalm, it was said that he served the purpose of God in his own generation. So in David's generation, he served the purposes of God. We all have our own generation where God has placed us, it's not accidental that he has us in this generation, in this time. Sometimes we think, I think I would have fared better in another Era, I think I was a better fit here. No, God thought you were the best fit in this generation, that's why he placed you in this time, because he has purposes for you now. And it's not just for now, it's for now, and so that you'll pass it on to the next generation. It keeps going, it doesn't stop with you, it keeps moving.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:57] So from, "One generation shall praise Your works to another.", he passed it on. How does that happen? We pass it on through God's word. We pass it on in Bible translation that we do, where people groups have no translation of the Bible. We pass on the great works of God through books that are written. We're still benefiting from people who wrote books hundreds of years ago, and it's passing on the great works of God in that generation. It inspires us in our own generation. We do it in film. We do it in Bible studies. We do it in sermons. We're passing on what it is that God has given us, his greatness, his goodness.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:39] This week in Breakpoint, an article that I read every day, I mention it often. The title of it this week, one of them on January 25th, was, Passing On the Faith: Good News and Bad News. And really, what he reiterated in the article that we're seeing statistically, the good news is when parents who really believe what they believe about the faith believe it when it gets, as they described, when we're actually talking about God frequently in the home. Now I want you to get the distinction here, when I'm talking about when we pass on the works of God, we're not passing on that we attended church every week. What most kids are going to pick up on with that, that what is important is that we went to church for an hour or an hour and twenty minutes every week, they may not pick up on, that God actually matters. They're talking about, talking about God in our homes, talking about what we see God doing with our children. That just is in our natural conversation, God's the subject of what happened, and we talk about that in our homes.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:55] We're not just paying our private Christian schools to do this for us. It's a tremendous support when your school system is sitting there saying the same things you are, but it's not their job, it's the parent's job to pass on to the next. This is the easiest place to generationally pass it on, is in our homes, it's the easiest spot for it to happen because we're there all the time with our kids. And as we generationally are passing on to them, and what this article said, is that those who talk about God more frequently, those who pray with their children, those who frequently engage church community, that you have a better shot at your kids embracing the faith. And they go on to say, you cannot be light on this. And yes, it's hard because most voices out there are counter to your voice, if you're not clear and consistent as a parent, then kids conclude, it's not important. If in your homes, you're not tackling the hard issues that are going on with our kids, our kids will get their answers from somewhere else, probably social media, and they'll conclude, it's not important to you. Out of our comfort zone means talking about things we never dreamed we would be talking about with our eight-year-old, but if you want a shot at it, you have to talk about it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:44] And one of the things I love about our church, is so many families clearly and consistently talking about God in your homes. You're being shaped by Christ, you're sharing your failures with their kids so they can see you're not perfect, you're bringing them to scripture, you're praying you're doing your best shot at it, I love that. I love the single moms and single dads, they don't have someone to bounce off how you do this with, yet so many single moms and dads who are excelling in raising their kids this way. I'm grateful that where it's not happening in the home, that there are grandparents that are stepping in and passing on the great works of God to their grandchildren.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:44] And it might be that you're more like me, I didn't have this in my home, I didn't have this model, I don't have a picture of what any of this looks like in my home. But I had outside mentor people that taught me, and then I sought people out when we had kids because I didn't know how I was supposed to be a Christian dad. So I started reading voraciously and looking at dads, that it looked like to me they were doing this well, and I just started asking a lot of questions. And we fumbled and stumbled along, but God's gracious when we do that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:23] I would just say today as a parent, a grandparent, a mentor, we do not lack resources to offer you. We don't lack classes that you can take for parenting, for raising teenagers. We don't lack people who are doing it well that we could put you with. I just want to cheer you on, if this is something you're trying to figure out, we can walk with you, we can resource you, and we can be a help on that front.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:51] And then we also don't have to beat ourselves up if we haven't gotten it right until today. Uh, I I think we can start. Today. I think God is like that. He overcomes things in us, he's bigger even than our generational passing on of what goes on. This is his design, but there are ways he steps in. Sometimes it goes the other way. God saved me, then it went back up the other way in my family.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:24] Sometimes God takes the kid and rescues the family, it flips, God's not bound to it just has to go down this one way, it does seem like the clearest path. But why would someone not pass on who God is, who Christ is, ongoing talk about scripture, why would we not do that? I think one reason it doesn't get passed on is, is maybe we don't really believe it. Or maybe to Lewis's point, at the beginning, maybe we don't really enjoy him so much, so we don't talk about it because that's not what we enjoy. We actually enjoy other things more than God, and so that's what we talk about more. So I think it's always good to search our hearts and say, do I actually believe this, is this what is stifling me from talking about it in my own?

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:23] I think another problem is we get distracted, and there's just so many things coming at us, that as parents, we become victims to our schedule. I hear people say it all the time, it's like I have no time. But you chose everything you're doing, you’re not a victim, you've chosen to do it so at least own it. I've chosen to do this, we've chosen to be nonstop and have no time to talk about spiritual things, I think that's a good thing to just own. Or we've figured out how to be engaged, involved, and do what Deuteronomy 6 says, and when we wake up, and when we walk through the day, and when we sit down, and when we go to bed, we're just talking about this all the time no matter what thing we're in, it's just weaving every part of our life.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:16] But this is the one that just pains my heart, when I hear parents say, I'm just going to let my kid figure it out. It was forced on me when I was a kid, so I'm not forcing it on my kid. Well, I'm sorry, religion was probably forced on you, that's why it wasn't enjoyable, so I wouldn't want you to force that on your kid either, I would hate forcing religion on my kid. But I wouldn't hate forcing a relationship with Jesus, with the God of the universe, where the greatest joy and pleasure comes from, I wouldn't hate pressing that in on anybody.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:56] And then it baffles me because I think, well, who just threw a bat out, and a baseball, and said, you figure it out. No, you paid 50 bucks an hour to somebody, or half an hour, to teach your kid that was seven, how to hit a ball of a tee so they'll get their swing right before it gets all out of whack when they're a little bit older, and you did that routinely because you want your kid to excel in sport. You didn't just say, you figure it out. Most of us aren't doing that with our kids on education, some of you are paying tens of thousands of dollars a year because you have a direct plan for your kid's education in a private school.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:45] Why in the world would we look at the most important relationship we could possibly have, and just say, let them figure it out. In a world, by the way, that will gladly shape their minds totally against God. I think the best thing some of us could do today is repent to our children, and I think we can do that with older children as well, I don't think that's ever too late. I think we can go to our children and say, you know what, I didn't believe this then, or I wasn't following it then, or whatever the thing is for you, or I didn't know how, I didn't go look for resources, I didn't know what to do, and I'm just sorry that I didn't give you that, and I'm asking you today for your forgiveness. I just wonder if there would be an explosion of gratitude and praise towards God, and I wonder what God would want to do in the later years, it's never too late with him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:03] Well, the Psalm goes on with just talking about His glorious splendor, His wonderful works, speaking of the power of His awesome acts, telling of his greatness, eagerly uttering the memory of his abundant goodness, shouting joyfully of his righteousness. And that's that last part I want us to think about for a minute, that when we recognize that God is personal, we praise him, we also pass it on. Part of how we pass it on, is the way we sing and remember eagerly the memory of his goodness in it. And so we just want to, as a church, when we gather up, and that this can be a model for what you do in your home and in other places, we just want to be able to praise God with freedom as we remember his abundant goodness towards us, his forgiveness, and everything else after that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:57] And there are some things when we think about are challenging, like when we gather up to praise and worship God here, sometimes we restrain ourselves for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we're just not in the right spot with God. And what we always want to be when we gather, when we shout and praise and sing to God, we recognize everybody's at a different place, and there needs to be a freedom in our walk with the Lord and not a judgment on other people. I'm just going to go into the cultural realm for a minute, don't judge. Some people really just want to lift their hands, and the Psalms talk about lifting our hands to God. And you may not always understand why we would do that, why would we sing and praise and lift our hands like this? Well, why would seven fat men paint blue and white on their chest in their face and write the letters c o w b o y s, and stand at the rail at the stadium, and go absolutely ballistic over a team? I want to join those guys, and I want to do it, though, in praise to God. And I'm not knocking cheering for a team that's fun to do, but why would we look at that and say that's funny, or you may think it's gross, I don't know? But we just think those guys, man, they're into it, they are because they enjoy it, that's what they're doing. How do we not do the same?

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:24] And then sometimes, it's just surrender, when I was on my sabbatical a few years ago, I just came back broken and free, and I've never lifted my hands like I did since then. Because I've realized how long I was just holding tight, I could do this, I'm really telling God I'm not wide open to you. But I tell you what when my heart's wide open, my arms can go wide open with it. I don't have to, that's a natural posture. I totally surrender, yes, I do, I do. Have you ever noticed when David or any of them try to lead us and we clap, I can't keep it going right, but you know if you get on tune, or whatever that looks like, well, eventually, he has to get back on his guitar and sing, and then we quit? What happens? What, if our hearts were just so full, we didn't stop because somebody up here stopped, we couldn't help it. What would happen if the whole place was just filled with people bursting with praise? But what if men cut loose and said, you know what, I don't have to draw back and mumble, I can actually. King David was a warrior, now I know that I can actually cut loose today. Men do that. Sometimes we're self-conscious and we think, you know what, I want to but I'm holding back. And you know what? Just be free, this is between you and God, let it be. And can we just all agree that it's OK if some people just need to look at the words and try to figure it out? I do that a lot, I'm reading this and I'm thinking, wait, what did I just sing? And I just want to ponder it, and then sometimes I just want to shout it out because, yes. You just need to drink your coffee and kind of figure it out and do it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:26] But we purposely are ending our time today in praise, and I'm just going to say this out loud, I know sometimes when we end in songs, people think the service is over and so they go before we sing. I would just say today, you might have missed the message if you leave today. Now you're thinking, great, I've got to be somewhere, and I've got to slip, and he thinks I'm leaving because I don't love God. I'm not going to be looking at you, I'm going to ask David to tell me who it was later, and I'll know. Don't feel guilty, whatever you need to do. I'm just saying, we just, together, want to offer our praise to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:08] Before we do that, though, I want to pray this psalm over someone, just to model again, because we've talked about praying and doing these things. So, I just want to give you a way you can do this at home, and that you can try it, you can get out of your comfort zone. Because we all have the scriptures, and we can do this. And so I'm going to pray over a family right here, Ethan and Jamie, and then her mom and dad, Laurie and Ray. And it's been so cool just to watch God do a saving work in this family over the last few years, and this is who they are today, and so I want to pray this over them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:56] So Father, today, I thank you for the strength of your word, the freedom that it brings. And God, I pray for Ethan and Jamie, and for Ray and for Lori, and then for Raylynn and E.J., I pray God that as a family, that three generations, that they would extol you. And God, I thank you that they can say, personally, that you are their God and that you are their King. And God, I pray they just enjoy today being children of the King, being sons and daughters of the King, being a part of the household of faith. And God, I pray they would join in with all others and continue to bless your name forever and ever. That this would just be a tune-up for what's to come, that every day, no matter what the circumstances are, that this family would bless you, and Father, that they would praise your name forever and ever. I pray, God, that they would declare both with their lives and with their voices, that great is the Lord and highly to be praised, and that your greatness is unsearchable God, that they just enjoy the inexhaustible search of your greatness. And Father, I thank you that in the generations now, they have three generations that are praising your works together, and God, I pray that it'll just continue to pass on from their kids to their grandkids as they just speak of who you are and what you've done. I pray, God, they'd just be bright lights in a really dark world. That they would declare your mighty acts on the glorious splendor of Your majesty. And on your wonderful works, God, I pray they would meditate, I pray they'd meditate often on the most wonderful work of all, the work you did on the cross on their behalf, and then the empty tomb from which you arose. God, I pray they would speak of the power of your awesome acts, and that they would tell of your greatness. God, would you help them to eagerly utter the memory of your abundant goodness, and then to shout joyfully of your righteousness, God? I pray all of this today, wherever our hearts are, that if we're at a place of just enjoyment with you, that our songs would be loud in these moments to you. And Father, that we'd just enjoy being a part of your praise, and this would be an expression, as well as a completion inside of us, of the joy that we find in you. So together, with this family, I pray that this would be our song to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051
817.488.1213