An Undivided Heart

Having An Undivided Heart For God: How To Center Your Life On Christ

Ross Sawyers
Jan 7, 2024    50m
favorite_border
FAVORITE
Do you feel distant from God or struggle to keep Him at the center of your life? It's easy for our hearts to become divided between God and other priorities. Join Pastor Ross as he unpacks what it means to have an undivided heart for God. Learn how elevating tradition over God's truth and insincere worship can separate us from intimate communion with Christ. Discover practical ways to make God your sole focus through engaged worship and delighting yourself in Him. Let this message ignite your heart to pursue Christ above all else. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] I am grateful for the new year, and I am looking forward to what God has in store for us for 121 and for his church as a whole. And, so thank you for being with us, to worship today. And, again, we're going to, for the next three weeks, we're going to focus and think about, what worship is. My prayer and my hope is, that we'd be able to build on things that God has already done and taught us and the ways we respond to him, that we might be stretched in ways that we haven't thought about before, and the things that aren't to be a part of worshiping God, that those things would be removed from our thinking and in the ways that we worship God. And I love that we can be part of a church to be challenged, encouraged, and stretched. So we look forward to the days ahead.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:51] In 1997, I attended a worship gathering that really changed the trajectory of the way I understood worship. And maybe you've had those moments, I suspect that you have, at different times in your walk with Christ, if you're a believer in Christ, there are those moments that things just accelerate and you're thinking and the changing the way that you understand something about a God, about his Word, and it just continues to build on things that had already been placed within each of us. But in the mid-90s, I was the student pastor in Pensacola, Florida, at First Baptist Church. And, I absolutely loved those days, and I loved working with students. In 1996, I was given the opportunity to add, to the student roll, not just middle and high school, but the college students. And I was just asking God, how do we galvanize our students, our college students? How do we start to build something here that's centered on Christ?

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:01] Well, that fall of 1996, a mentor of mine, Jerome Smith, he had mentored me all in my years the first few years I did youth ministry. Most of what I learned in the way I did youth ministry, I learned from him, and I'd invited him out to lead a training for our youth workers. And when he came, I said, hey, Jerome, I said, I'm praying and trying to figure out a way to galvanize our college students. Do you have any thoughts for me? I was familiar with Louie Giglio from being at a ministry called Choice at Baylor University at the time, and Jerome was on Louie Giglio's board, and he said, hey, Louie is starting this thing called Passion, it'll be in Austin at the beginning of the year, 1997, and you ought to take some students to it. I said that's a great idea, I trust Jerome, and I love Louie's teaching. And 18 of us, drove from Pensacola, Florida, to Austin, Texas, in the early part of 1997 for a three-day gathering, that was a worship gathering, and that is what changed the trajectory for me of my understanding of worshiping God. There were a number of things that happened, but there were 2000 of us that gathered, and we were 18 of those 2000, and Louie cast a vision for 18 to 25-year-olds to be the 268 generation. And he anchored that 268 generation, Isaiah chapter 26, verse 8, and what God says in his word in Isaiah is that it's your name and your renown that's the desire of my soul. And Louie's challenge, and it has gone on for years now, for this generation, for every generation and subsequent 18 to 25-year-olds, that the generational challenge is will God's name, and God's renown, and God's fame be the desire of your soul? And it's a question that's not just for a generation of 18 to 25-year-olds from God's Word, the question is today, would you and I say that the desire of our souls is for God's name and God's renown for his fame to be known? Is that the desire of our soul? Because that's where our worship, everything begins with where our desires are. If that's not our desire, we won't be very exuberant in worship. But if his name and his renown, if that's our desire, then the worship is going to happen.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:44] Well, fast forward 27 years. We took 22 students from here to Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and we gathered with representatives of students from 1600 colleges, over 50,000, 18 to 25-year-olds, and leaders of those 18 to 25-year-olds for a Wednesday night, all day Thursday, Thursday night, and Friday morning of focusing and centering on one name, on the name of Jesus. Now, we don't have to travel to Atlanta to do that, we're going to do that today. But I just want you to know that there were some moments in this space the other day that were really holy moments. The word holy means to set apart, and there were just some moments that were weighty moments of God's presence. And I hope that it's a long time before I leave being in those moments.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:48] There have been times in my life when there have been moments like that, and it comes in a variety of ways. I never know how God will move, but these were some weighty moments. One of those came on Thursday afternoon, there were multiple bands that led through the three days, and I can't recall who was leading that afternoon. I'm glad I can't recall it because the point is not how great a band is or how great a worship leader is, the point is how great and how awesome God is. And we were led in the song that Cody Carnes wrote called Nothing Else, Nothing Else Will Do, But You. And we were led in that song, it's Him, I just want you. I'm a terrible singer, so I'm not going to do that for you, I wish I could. But he led us, and then we lingered in it, just like Jack let us just sit in the end of that song a minute ago, we just didn't rush out of the song. You never know what God will do when we just linger in a moment. And we just sat in that, and they played a little bit og the instruments, but the band just kind of backed off, and in the back of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you start to hear the 18 to 25-year-olds singing, Nothing else, I just want you. Nothing else, I just want you. And you know those moments in time when somebody tries to yell out something or start something and you realize they really missed the moment? Nobody picks up on it, nobody else rolls with them, but they thought this was their time to jump in and lead, and this was not one of those moments. And the song just started to pick up and it wasn't anybody from a stage leading, it was out there, and it was coming forward, and just kept rolling over, nothing else, I just want you. Nothing else, I just want you. Nothing else, I just want you. When we have worship in its right spot, that's all we want, we just want Him, we just want God. Is that the desire of your soul?

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:17] Turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 15, we'll be in verses 1 through 9. I can encourage you to hang out in this passage this week and stay there a little bit longer beyond verse 9 and read through at least verse 20 and get a broader context. As you're settling in, in your scriptures and turning to the Word, there are a couple of things that I'd like to say. And that is, I want to say welcome to those who are in prison, that are worshiping with us today. We love that we have the means and the technology to be able to worship together, so thank you for joining us and we welcome you. And then anybody that's new that you have any interest in knowing what's going on at 121, our desire is God himself, we can give you specifics of that today at a lunch that would be catered for you. So if you'd like to stay, we'd love to have you be a part of it. And then two weeks from now, we're having a lunch called Go Now Mission that will focus on our global efforts for this year and the things God is inviting us into ways you can be a part of it, there's multiple ways to be a part of it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:24] And the reality is, when we understand God and we worship God, this was one of those light bulb moments for me in 1997, that the mission that we're about of leading people to live for Jesus Christ, not just in our local realm, but all over the world, that that flows from our worship. That if we don't have a heart for the nations and a heart for what God has, it's a worship problem, it's not a mission problem, it's a worship problem. And when I realized that, I was, oh wow, because if we really are in tune and worshiping who God is, then our heart will start to align with his heart and we'll be about what he's about, and he's about the nations coming to know him. And Louie reminded us the other day, I was at that first passion with those 2000 students, and I'd forgotten this moment till he reminded me the other night at Passion 2024. And what he said is that at that first Passion, when they got to the end of it, there was a call that they made to the 18 to 25-year-olds to say, hey, who out here is God working in their hearts to be a part of going across the globe and taking the name of Jesus to the nations? There were 2000 people there, 300 stood up. And he said, do you know what? I stepped back and thought, I don't think they understood the question. And so he asked everybody to sit back down, but he said, let me make sure I'm clear in what I'm saying, and he reframed it, and 300 stood up. And the other day we met a young lady that was there in 1997 that's been serving, taking the name of Jesus to Japan in all these years. You don't have to go to Atlanta, Georgia with a bunch of 18 to 25-year-olds to figure out what God might have for you and for the nations, just show up two weeks from now at a lunch and hear what God's doing, and ask them, how do you want me to be a part of what your heart is for the nations?

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:43] Well, I want to look at Matthew 15, and it's a challenging part of the scriptures, in thinking about worship. And I want to just go around one idea today, in the next couple of weeks, we'll spend some more time. What I'd like you to do is send me questions this week, you can shoot me an email on the website, just go to the website and you can get my email address, but thoughts you have, insight questions you'd like us to answer. But today what I want to focus on is really just the desires of our heart, and that we would be able to answer the question, what is the desire of our heart? And that we might have undivided hearts for God Himself. That we would be able to sing, we don't have to manufacture, we're not trying to duplicate anything from Passion. I'm just going to pass on to you some things that God did, in the hopes that God will do things in totally different ways with us, but that he'll grab our hearts for himself, and they'll be undivided and fixed on him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:45] And the first thing we need to consider about an undivided heart is tradition or truth. Tradition or truth. Sometimes what can happen is tradition can end up being more important to us than truth. Jesus has that kind of encounter, I want us to think about how he did it here and then, how God might have something to say to us. Chapter 15 of Matthew, verse 1, "Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, and they said..." Now context here, they are in Galilee, Jesus is in one of the towns around the Sea of Galilee, it's a small little area. The Pharisees and scribes, they're the religious system, they're the song I'll Make Room For You, when we shatter the walls of religion and tradition. These guys were all about tradition, all about religion, they're the system of the day. And the heavy hitters are in Jerusalem, they don't usually come to Galilee, but Jesus was a threat to them, Jesus was challenging the things that they were saying, and finally they had enough. We've got to go down from Jerusalem, send our top guys, and we got to squelch this. That's what's happening.

Ross Sawyers: [00:14:01] In verse two, they come to him with a question, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” So these heavyweight religious guys, they come with a question and an example “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders?" This is the problem, and then here's the example, they're not washing their hands when they eat bread. All right, In the last few years, we've learned how to wash our hands. You can't go very many places without a sign that tells you in the bathroom for 20s warm water soap, keep rubbing them, get both sides, dry them off, grab a paper towel, grab the door, go out, make sure you don't get them dirty again. That's not what this is, when you read this, that's not what this is. This is about a ceremonial purity, a ritual kind of purity. And what had happened over time is the religious leaders had started writing things and adding things in addition to God's Word. And one of the things they wrote is that to be pure before you do your rituals, there has to be this washing of the hands, this cleansing of the hands. An example would be in their day if they touched a Gentile, a Gentile person is a non-Jew, then they would be unclean and they couldn't carry out their duties in their religious system, so they needed to do the washing of the hands to be able to do that. And they're saying, hey, your disciples aren't doing this. Why is that?

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:53] Now in verse 3, Jesus answered, and he said to them, Jesus doesn't answer their question directly, he answers with another question and an example. Religious leaders, a question, and an example. Jesus, fine, I'm going to ask you a question and I'm going to give you an example, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" Why is it that you've made your tradition more important than the commandment of God? What is it about that that you would do that? It's really a question Jesus is asking about authority. Where is the authority? Is the authority in the tradition of your religion, or is the authority in the Word of God? And he's saying to them, you've transgressed the commandment of God. So he's letting them know they've crossed a boundary, they've elevated tradition above the Word of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:55] Now we're asking the question here, with Jesus, are we doing any of that where we're elevating tradition over truth? I was reading the Psalms a few months ago, and I read, most of the fall I was hanging out in the Psalms, and I came across Psalm 119. I forget the reference, but it says, "Your word is very pure, therefore I'll love it." I loved the simplicity of that, that your word, God, is truth, it's very pure, and I love it. The religious people didn't love it, they needed to try to fix some things and add some things to it, and Jesus is challenging what they've done. Then he gives them an example, “For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.’" So he gives them the fifth commandment, “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” 6he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition."

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:08] I want to talk about the example Jesus gives, he's countering them, and religious people, by the way, like to control and it's really about themselves. Sometimes people who are controlling will come to faith in Christ, but all it is another way to control through their faith. The religious people were controlling, they were self-interested, and they actually loved themselves, that's the essence of what's happening here. What's the example Jesus gives? There's a word, corban, it's what the scripture is here, it's a formal vow that someone would make that they are committing their finances and their property to the temple. Once they've made that commitment, that vow, they can't break the vow and they can't use that money or that property, for example, to help aging parents and to care for parents. Interestingly, though, they could use the money for themselves until they died, then it would go to the temple. All it was a way to keep it for themselves. And Jesus is saying, gosh, this commandment says, honor your father and your mother, you're violating that command for your own human law that you made, you've elevated it. You invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:01] Can I encourage you this week to think through, are there any traditions that I have that don't align with the truth of God and His Word in Jesus? Something that might have been built in when you were a child growing up, built in when you were a part of a particular denomination, built in when you were a part of a particular branch of a church. Are there traditions, are there, for example, is it built into us that here's the way to worship? This is the way it should flow. This is the way it goes. Do we have built into us that here's the way this is to happen? Does that actually line up with what God says about truth? One that we face often is, that someone might have an experience with God like I'm describing to you what happened at Passion the last few days, but what I'm not trying to do is impose that on you or on us. But what I could say is that's the only way to gather up and worship, and that would be elevating an experience above the Word of God, God works in a number of ways.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:23] I was at a church this summer that was very liturgical, very formal in its worship, and it was powerful. Probably not the way I'd like to do it every week, but I tell you what, there was a joy and a life with people worshiping God. So can we going to search our hearts, because we don't want tradition to rule, we want truth to rule our hearts when we think about worship. And when we know the truth, the truth sets us free. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the truth. We want to make sure that our desires, by the way, so oftentimes we talk about feelings and desires and emotions and so forth, they're not bad, they're just tainted by sin like the rest of us and it's not a good leader. We lead with truth, and that stirs the affections, and the emotions, and the desires of our heart.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:19] In Colossians 2:8, I think is a good word for us to think about, it says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." It's not tradition, it's not elementary principles of the world, it's Christ. The word captive means to take captive and kidnap truth from someone, we don't want truth kidnapped from our hearts. We lean into the truth for our hearts to be undivided on Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:56] John Piper, in his book, Desiring God, in his chapter on worship, talks about how when we gather for worship, there ought to be two channels for us to operate in true worship. One, we need to be doing things that allow our minds to apprehend truth, that's what we're doing when we're in God's Word, that's what we're doing in the content of our songs, we're apprehending truth. And then we need to provide ways for people to respond to that truth because when our hearts are ignited by the beauty of Christ, the beauty of the truth, how do we respond to that? You've already been given opportunities today, to sing back to God the beauty of who he is. To, in silence, ask him to make room in your heart today. Those are ways to respond to the truth of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:47] Tradition and truth. There's a second thing here that we'll consider, is our worship vain or sincere? Is it vain or sincere? In verses 7 through 9, Jesus says, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you." Now, I think it's a good pattern to look at Jesus's life and say when he encountered really broken people, he was more gentle and gracious with them, but when he encountered people in the religious system that came at him like these guys were. He came right back at him, you hypocrites! You're fake. You're focused on the externals. You're not about the heart. You've got a mask on. You want everybody to think one thing about you when something else is actually what's true.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:46] There have been few moments in life where I've responded to somebody like this, but I did respond on Thursday to someone this way. There were people outside the stadium that were against what was going on inside the stadium, and it was incredibly judgmental and condemning, and I ended up in a dialog with a group of them. He told me I was a heretic, a false prophet, I left my wife unprotected, this was all in the first five minutes. I said, how did you just make that assessment of me in five minutes? It's because I tied myself up with Passion. So I said, are you assuming that everybody in there is not a Christian? There might be a remnant, they said. I said, well, what would the remnant be doing in there? They said, well, they don't know better, they'll learn. Okay, so I told him he was self-righteous, judgmental, and condemning. I was just studying this, and I thought, this looks like the moment you're supposed to do this. This is what he said, these people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me, but in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. So, you hypocrites, you're honoring me with your lips, it looks like it's all good out here, this is what you're doing, but your hearts are far away from me. This is the core issue for him, that the heart is far away. God is after our heart, He's after the core of who we are.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:32] In Amos, a prophet in the Old Testament, God has something to say about the way they were worshiping. Amos and Isaiah are a similar time frame. Verse 21 to 24, God says, this is what he thinks about their external worship, “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. 22“Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings." They were doing everything externally that they were supposed to do as the people of God, they were doing the festivals that they were to do, and they were bringing the sacrifices they were to bring. And then he says in verse 23, “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. 24“But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." See God's not grateful that we just show up and externally worship him, like that doesn't cause his heart to well up with gratitude towards us, thank you for showing up. God is after hearts that are for him. We can worship God, and it can be insincere. Verse 9 says, "But in vain do they worship Me."

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:12] In the Ten Commandments, the third command is to not take the Lord your God in vain. I suspect most of us, when we think about not taking God's name in vain, the way we think about that is attaching a cuss word to God's name, that's taking God's name in vain. But I want us to expand on what that is, the word vain means empty and thoughtless. So whenever I worship God thoughtlessly, mechanically, or in an empty way, I am taking his name in vain. In Matthew 6, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says to quit coming to God with your meaningless repetition in prayer. You say, well, that's kind of odd because later on Jesus says tells a story and he says, be persistent in your prayer, keep coming back, and ask the same thing, that is because it's a matter of the heart. Keep asking the same thing with a heart that's directed to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:43] If you're reading a storybook Bible to your kids at night and you're praying the same prayer every time, and you've checked out in your mind when you're praying the prayer, that's meaningless. Pray the same prayer, there is nothing wrong with praying the same thing, but is your heart and mind engaged in what you're praying? See, sincere and true worship is with our minds engaged. So what would be some ways that we worship in vain? And this is a challenge, right, and we don't know the heart of every person, we'll talk about these things more in the coming weeks as well. But for example, we could gather in worship and some of us will raise our hands to God. There will be a song that's about surrender, or there'll be something, and they just say, that it's a natural way to respond to God. Somebody else can be raising their hands and it's meaningless and nothing, it was just mindlessly done. So I don't know if you lift your hand, does that mean we had great worship today? I don't know, because I don't know your heart at the end of the day, so it's a hard question. Again, we'll speak more of this as we move through the next couple of weeks.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:17] Do we check out depending on who the worship leader is, and the way they lead? Is it about the content of the song, the praise and worship of God, or is it about the person on stage that's doing it? We can become thoughtless and unengaged, or we can be engaged and it's meaningful. Do we come in as a consumer asking what I get, and then move on, or do we come in for God? I think we might all know what this is like to have somebody in our lives, either family or friends, that we realize it's not really us they enjoy, but we have something to offer them they can get from us; and after a while, we don't really love that. So are we just going to God not because we really enjoy him, but because this is what he can get me?

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:34] Are our cell phones a means to use the scripture when we're in worship, or is it a means for me to thoughtlessly check out and see who just texted me or to check my emails? Am I worshiping online because you can't see me checking my emails or my texts, and I can be in the other room doing something while I have the big screen over my fireplace, and I say I worshipped that morning? Or I can be fully engaged, for whatever reason that I'm online, and I'm right there and I'm engaged in the word, and I'm singing the songs, and my mind is in the prayers, and I'm in there. Heart, an undivided heart, that God gets our heart, our mind undivided, and our heart undivided, and that he gets us as we are after him. The more we're in God's Word and the truth is ignited, it ignites the affection in our hearts for him, and it stirs us to worship and enjoy him. And the reality is here, what we see in verse 9, "But in vain do they worship me."

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:01] We all are worshipers today, every person is a worshiper, God made us to be worshipers. The word worship comes from a Latin word that means worship, and it's to ascribe worth to. And all of us ascribe worth to something, we make it a center for us, we value it, and we center our lives around it, everybody does that. And we may have different things in our hearts. In Jeremiah 17 nine, we're told, are desperately sick, more than all else. And because our hearts are desperately sick, we get distorted in our object of worship. And so we start chasing after other things that we believe are more worthy than God is. So we're asking, is our worship vain or is it sincere? John Piper, in Desiring God defines worship as gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of his worth. I shrunk it down just a little bit for us. What is worship? If we're in truth and sincerity, we are gladly responding to the worth of God. We're looking at the character of God. We're looking at who God is. We're looking at the Word of God and say, this is who you are, God, you're worth it, and I'm going to gladly respond to that. I can gladly respond with brokenness because he's worth it to be broken in sin before and knowing there's hope in that. And gladly respond to the goodness and awesomeness of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:33] Why would we worship God? Some people say he's an arrogant God that would ask for our worship. Anybody else could ask for our worship and it would be arrogant, only God can ask for our worship, and it's not arrogant. See, in John 4:23 it says God is seeking worshipers, that's what he's seeking. And God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. But God is seeking worshipers. In Luke 19 it says, "The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." So when we talk about sharing our faith with people, what we're doing is inviting people to know Jesus. And then when they know Jesus, that they become a worshiper of God. That's the end, God is the end, everything is about him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:30] Psalm 16:11 says, "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." The only place to find the fullness of pleasure and joy we really are seeking is in God Himself. So he's actually by seeking us as worshipers, he's given us the very thing we want, we're all pleasure seekers, and that pleasure is found in God himself. That's why the command in Psalm 37:4 is to "Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Find delight in him and pleasure in him. It's not just I believe in God, but do you find pleasure in him? Do you find delight in him? Do you find enjoyment in him? And as you do, then your desires, the desire of your soul, start to line up with him, and he'll give you that desire.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:28] One of the really holy moments at Passion was actually on the very first night. And they brought out on stage a man named Leo from Peru. Leo had gone to Passion years before on a scholarship, and at that particular Passion, Leo became a follower of Jesus, and now he's a Bible translator, helping those billions of people across the world who have no translation of the scriptures in their heart language. And so the challenge for the students, there's always something for us to actively do to engage the globe, and this time it was, can we raise $1 million in those three days for a full translation of the Bible for the Aymara people group in Peru, 250,000 people, they have no access to the scriptures in their language a million dollars, these are college students 18 to 25. So we talked about that. Well, then Leo had his translating equipment, I don't know how else to talk about it, I couldn't figure it out, it was quite the conglomeration of stuff. We were challenged to a 12-verse challenge, to pay $35 a month for one verse for a year, which would get us to the million to be able to do a full translation for the Aymara people. But what Leo did right in front of us, and it probably about took about ten minutes easy, and think about that in front of 50 or 60,000 people, just a guy typing, it was just click, click, click. I was just so overwhelmed listening to every click of God's Word, starting in John 3:16, the first 12 verses that the Amhara people would ever have been translated right in front of us. And then he finished, and then Louis came out and he said, what if we sent Leo tonight down to the Aymara people, and in 14 hours he can deliver the first 12 verses in their heart language of scripture to the pastor and the church that only function orally because they don't have the written word of God. Leo walks out of the room; we're praying over him as he goes out. As you can guess, that was Wednesday night, and on Friday morning we watched on video as a pastor, and person after person in the church had 12 verses of the Bible for the first time ever in their language. And to see the joy on their faces, in the Aymara language to read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." True worship comes from being lined up with the truth of God's Word in Jesus Christ himself.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:12] Then during a break on Thursday, we had about a 2 to 3-hour break for dinner, and when we came back, there was this 80-foot cross that was in the front part of Mercedes Benz Stadium. I love the cross we have here is just the magnitude and the bigness of the cross. But 80 foot, here it is, here's what it looked like. Louis just talked about the gospel standing right here at the foot of the cross, and he said, I just want you to see from the shadow of the cross and the bigness of the cross, that it dwarfs everything, it dwarfs every religious system, it dwarfs your guilt and condemnation, it dwarfs me and mine. The cross is big and on the cross, Jesus died for you. I've been crucified with Christ, Paul says, I no longer live but it is Christ who lives in me by faith through his son that delivered me. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died, and he died for all so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose again on their behalf. This is the center of it all, what Jesus did for us, the way, the truth, and the life. So we want to allow truth to sink down into our hearts, not tradition, not emptiness and meaninglessness, but sincerity and truth. What makes moments like those gatherings, or moments like camps, or moments like men's retreats or women's retreats, but there are just moments with God like that, and it's from a flow of what's going on in your life. Worship is a way of life, we're always acknowledging the worth of God, and there are pauses, time alone with God, a small group community, and then we gather.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:49] Let me give a football example. Tomorrow night the University of Washington and the University of Michigan will play for the national championship. Most everybody doesn't care here, but there are people here from Washington and the northwest, and they're fired up about it. We have people from Michigan that are here, and they're fired up about it. And you know what the die-hards have been doing? Every day they're reading things about their team, they're reading about the players, they're reading about why they have a chance to win. And when they can get with people who are willing to talk about it, they're talking about it. And there are some people that shelled the money out, a fortune, and they'll be in Houston tomorrow to be a part of it. And there are others that will be on TV that will watch it, and we'll see every emotion extreme on both sides. People will live and die on every play. I think that's fun, actually, but where it's meaningful is when we understand God that way. That every day, like Jesus, who in the early morning got up, left his house, went to a solitary place, and was praying there every morning with his Father.

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:23] And then we gather up in our life groups, our small groups, and we talk about God, and we enjoy him and delight in him and who he is and what he's doing. And then we come eagerly anticipating God when we gather in worship, we come looking for God when we come here. And then when we spent time with him, and when we are in small groups with him, it magnifies moments like this. And then sometimes God will surprise us with really holy moments, and the moment I hope that God does not let me forget for a long time was Friday morning. On Friday morning, we sang a song about the holiness of God, the worthiness of God. It was you are, holy, holy lord God almighty, worthy is the Lamb. They were leading us from the stage, and then again, they gave us a chance to linger in it. He got quiet, and then again in the back of the room, they started singing, you are holy, holy, Lord God almighty, worthy is the Lamb. And then it would start to move around the stadium and get louder, the same as the Nothing Else song. And they just kept saying it over and over, you're holy, holy, worthy is the Lamb; you're holy, holy, worthy is the Lamb, you're holy, holy, worthy is the Lamb, you're holy, holy, worthy is the Lamb. And they just kept singing it, and kept singing it, and kept singing it. And I know for so many people you think if heaven is just about repeating the same phrase over and over again, there is nothing appealing about that, but I want you to know, in the purity of that moment, it went on for a long time and it was just the same thing. And when we're in the new heavens and the new earth, and we have no more flesh to battle, no more Satan's schemes to battle, no more shaping of the world to battle, when all of that has been removed and it is just in the purity and the presence of God, we will not tire of saying, worthy, worthy is the Lamb. You are holy, holy, we'll join the angels, we'll love being around the throne, and we won't want to leave that moment. We didn't want to leave that moment, that was student after student that said that, that you didn't want to leave it. If you ever had moments you didn't want to leave it, that's what a glimpse of eternity is, it'll be an eternal moment that we never want to leave. Nothing else, God, I just want you, and we can have that now.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:32] Father, I pray that we would be a people that long for you, that yearn for you, that desire you, God, help us to lay aside distractions, emptiness, and meaninglessness. God, with our minds, that we would apprehend truth and that would fuel and ignite our hearts, God, our affections, our emotions, our desires. And God that we would know the weight of your glory like we felt the other day. God, I'm so grateful that in those moments, I thought about even when we sing Holy, Holy, Holy, it's just always so powerful because we're sitting under the praise and weight of who you are. And I love, God, that in those moments you just cause our sin to fall away, thank you for covering us at the cross. And I pray, God that all of us would know what it is to rest at the foot of the cross, to walk and the power of the resurrection and in your Spirit. God, search our hearts that there'll be no vanity there, and no tradition there, that is above your word. Let's be lovers of truth and worshipers of you, God.



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