An Invitation to Worship Together with Praise and Gratitude

Finding Joy: Worship God With Praise And Gratitude Daily

Ross Sawyers
Jan 14, 2024    49m
Do you find it difficult to worship God with praise and gratitude amidst life's challenges and distractions? In this profound message, you'll discover the importance of having an undivided heart for God, gladly responding to His worth through genuine worship. Explore practical ways to pass on your faith to the next generation, keeping God at the center. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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: [00:00:01] What an awesome time of worship this morning to get our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and to be able to sing with just robustness this morning to him. He is pleased when we come that way.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:17] In the last couple of months, I've been a part of a few weddings the last few months. The last two were ones who are on our staff or are residents on our staff right now. And there's another one coming up this coming week, and then one in April. So Lauren Erbay is marrying Quincy in April. Cam is marrying Maddie next week. Jhejuda and Katie were married, and they ushered in the new year on December 31st. And then Preston and Kenzie a couple of months ago. It's been pretty awesome just to watch that, among our staff. And while there are a number of things that are common to those weddings, one thing that's common is that each of them chose a particular venue where they were married, or where they're going to be married, there's X number of seats available in that particular venue, and only a certain number of invitations went out in order to honor the number of seats that were actually available at the venue. A number of people received these invitations, and then you have a choice when you receive it, and multiple people say it in different ways. and at a minimum, you either accept or decline the invitation, one of the two. And mostly because you received an invitation to a really small kind of venue gathering, you want to honor that if you can, and you know that you're a part of someone near them, and so usually everyone's excited if they can do it, to be able to respond and accept that invitation. Except maybe a few husbands that feel like they get dragged along and they're just trying to be supportive. But for the most part, everyone enjoys the opportunity to accept that invitation. And when we say yes to that invitation to a wedding, what we're actually going to is a worship service that is honoring God at the very center of it. And in a Christian wedding, it's bringing two people together, husband and wife, who are walking with the Lord, they are growing in that relationship with the Lord, they're one with him, and now they're about to become one with one another. And as they increase in their oneness with God, then their oneness in their relationship will increase over time. But it's a worship gathering because we're looking at a bride and a groom that God says in his Word are a beautiful picture of Christ in the church. That's worth worshiping God over.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:56] Every wedding has a little bit of unique kind of things that the bride and the groom want in that wedding that would honor God. At Katie and Jhejuda's wedding, we had a time of worship in song at the end of their ceremony. I said you may kiss the bride, and he kissed her, and then we all went back and found seats, and we joined everyone else. And Arturo, who leads our Spanish worship, he and his daughter led us in three songs that were just beautiful praises to God as just kind of a punctuation mark of praise on that worship gathering of a wedding ceremony. It was beautiful, it was bilingual, we sang some in Spanish, we sang some in English, and it was just melodic listening to that kind of praise to God in that environment. I tell you that because God has invited all of us to be able to worship him together.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:06] If you'll turn in your Bibles to Psalm 95, and we'll hang out, in this Psalm, at one point we're going to divert and move to Psalm 145 and hang out there for a little bit and then make our way back to Psalm 95. While you're turning in your Bibles, and if you don't have a Bible, it'll be on the screen, the Scripture will, we want to tether ourselves to it, so we understand the truth of what God is calling us into. But I would like to welcome those who are online today that are gathered with us, I am grateful for those who are in prison today, our brothers and sisters in Christ that are worshiping with us. And then I also wanted to remind you that we have an 8 a.m. opportunity of worship upstairs on Sunday mornings, and it's been a really powerful, contemplative time, of worship, so just an awareness that that happens. And then at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoons, we have a Spanish service. And whether you, I was with them last week, and whether you speak Spanish or not, I would say at some point it's worth going just to worship God in another language, and you will sense the presence and power of God, whether you know the language or don't know the language. God is a global God, and we can sense his heart when we're in the midst of people who speak a different language than we do. So beautiful opportunities for us to be able to gather and worship God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:31] As was mentioned earlier, we're spending three weeks we started last week, we're in the middle of a fast as we start this, we'll be through it, but we're building on what's been happening already, and we'll continue to build on it when we leave this series on worship. But we titled it Undivided: Pursuing God in Worship, and last week we talked about having undivided hearts for him. The absolute core to understanding worship is to one, understand who the object of it is which will speak of, but to understand that worship comes from our heart and whatever our heart desires that's what we will worship. And we're asking God if it's not already that our souls desire, our heart's desire would be for him, and that it would be undivided on him, that we would have eyes for him and eyes for him only. And as we have eyes for him, then we'll have a love that flows to those around us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:38] I can't change your heart, your heart, or your heart. I can't fix you where you're broken, and you can't change my heart, and you can't fix my brokenness from the inside, only God can do that. But what can we do? When I sit here and say this is what our hearts desire ought to be, but if it's not, what do I do? I think the best thing we can do is own it and beg God to change it. And for those who have a desire for God and to worship him, then we can ask on behalf of others that God would take their hearts and change their heart, we can plead with God to do that work inside out, so we might have that undivided heart for God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:35] The psalmist had a sense of that in Psalm 86 verse 11, he says, "Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name." I've been intrigued by that verse for a long time now because the heart, by definition, is the way we think, it's our motivations, it's our emotions and feelings, and it's our actions. In the Hebrew, that's what the heart includes. So what's he saying? "Unite my heart to fear Your name." God, will you unite my heart? Will you unite the way I think with the way I feel with what my motivations are, and then what my actions are that flow from it. That's a united heart. And sometimes we can think things, but it doesn't go with the way we feel, or we can feel things, but it doesn't match what we're thinking. We're asking God to unite our hearts around him because he's the one that's worthy. Last week, I gave a definition, I shortened John Piper's definition of worship to this, gladly responding to the worth of God. The word worship means to give worth to, and all of us are worshipers, every single person is a worshiper. It's just a matter of what we consider worthy or weighty enough to get our attention, the way we think with our minds, hearts, and all of who we are so worship then, would be gladly responding to the worth of God. We believe God is worth it, that he's worthy, and we respond gladly to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:15] The 95th Psalm in the 145th Psalm, where we'll hang out today, they give, as someone said, an absolute counter to all the self stuff that goes on in our hearts. We tend to move towards self-sufficiency, we tend to move towards self-seeking, and God tends to be the one pushed aside where we're the center rather than God himself is the center, and these Psalms come directly at that selfish kind of thinking or heart. What I'd like us to think about today, it's a long thought, and each word matters, that's why I chose it, is an invitation to worship together with praise and gratitude. Each word matters, just like there are invites to weddings, god has invited us to worship him, it's an invitation, and it's an invitation to gladly respond to the worth of who he is, and it's an invitation to do that together. It's an invitation to worship God together, and today we'll focus on praise and gratitude.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:28] A number of the Psalms are laments, they're more about confession, and they're over the brokenness of our world. Next week, we'll linger in that a little bit more. Today, we'll focus on the praise and on the gratitude. I'm not sure if Jack, who's leading our worship today, said it in this service. He said it, earlier, and it was a thought that I just haven't really stopped and pondered on much, but the thing that we can do together in worship that we all do together is sing. That's the one thing we're all of us are doing that together in worship at one time. It's a cool thought, and that's a powerful picture. You see, God hasn't invited us to have three songs, to warm us up for the teaching, that's not what the invitation is. The invitation is to come and to worship and to praise and give gratitude to a God who's worthy.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:31] And I want us to think about it this way in verses 1 through 7, that if this is the invitation God has given us, then we are to spur each other on in this invitation. So this is for all of us to spur each other on, cheer each other on, and encourage each other as worshipers of God. Let's tether ourselves to God's Word so that we can see from what he says why it is that we do what we do. Verse 1 of chapter 95, "O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation." O come, that's an invitation. it's come. The psalmist is saying, hey, let's come, and let us, it's plural, let us, come let us sing. Come let us, it's an invitation for us to come and to sing for joy to the Lord. It's a gathering together, it's a cheering on, to do so. And we come with a song, we come with a song to sing to the Lord, and it's a song of joy. We come with a glad heart before the Lord. That's what the psalmist tells us about worship.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:49] It's an invitation for us all to come, and we're invited in to do so. Now, why would we invite somebody to church? I think about this question often, and I think often of what someone's hearing when someone invites them to church. What do they actually believe they're coming to if it's someone that's not as familiar with the church, maybe someone's not a Christian, or maybe they've been hurt in the past and they have ideas of the church? Do you ever think about if I invite somebody to say, hey, will you come to church with me? What do they actually think they're coming to? And there are a number of responses to that question, and it might not be what you think, or it might be, but our culture is certainly given an idea of what we're like, so if someone's not a part of it, it would be easy to have different understandings. But this is what I would say to us today. We want to be...I'm not sure what I'm looking for. We want to be a people who are always and constantly inviting people to church. And here's why, this is the only reason we need, we don't need any other reason, we don't need a set of social science research facts to let you know why this could be good for you to tell you why you should come. There's one reason and one reason only that is the best reason, there's a number of reasons, but there's one just great reason, God is worth it. God is worth it. I'm coming for God, he's worth it, he's absolutely worth it, and I think that would be refreshing for someone to hear that they're being invited to church because we believe God is worth it. But we believe if you come, that it's absolutely worth it because we're doing the greatest thing we could possibly do in worshiping God. Now we have to believe that to give that invite, but anything after that is icing on the cake. And we can do a number of things, and God may promise different ways, but our motivation is simply that people would have an encounter with a God who's worth being encountered.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:35] And then when we come, how do we come? He said, "Sing for joy to the LORD, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation." We come with a song and we come ready to shout, and we come with joy and a glad heart, we come with emotion, that's part of our heart. Now I know, and I do it a lot, so I want you to hear, that emotions are tainted with sin like everything else, so they can kind of get out of whack. Emotions are not a good leader, but our emotions follow the truth of who God is, and somewhere our emotions get ignited by the truth and beauty of who God is. He's worth it. So how do we sing? We sing joyfully is what we're told here. And we sing to the object, the rock of our salvation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:32] When I was 16 years old when the invitation that I received to know God through Jesus Christ and that he'd been crucified for me, he lived a perfect life, he was resurrected from the dead, and I was invited in to respond and believe in Jesus. And at 16 years old, I stood up at a gathering, it was a free pizza gathering, everybody would show up for those. But that night was a game-changing invite, because it wasn't just the invite to the pizza. it was an invite to know Jesus Christ. And on that night, I met Jesus Christ, and everything changed, the whole trajectory of my life changed. I changed churches, I went to a different church after that. And I came home and I told my mom, and at some point she reminded me of this a while back, I didn't remember it, and I told her, I said, I can sing the songs now at church. Well, as any good, mom, she took that as somebody who told me that I couldn't sing the songs at church, so she got mad at the people at church, I don't know who she's mad at, somebody at the church, somebody's always mad at somebody at the church. And when she said that back to me, I said, no, I said, I know Jesus now, and now I have a song to sing. I didn't have a song to sing before I knew Jesus. So there wasn't any joy in my heart to sing to him, there wasn't something to shout joyfully about, I didn't know the rock of my salvation. And once I was encountered by God and knew Jesus, then there was a song in my heart, and there's a joy in my heart, and a gladness in my heart, and I want to be able to sing the songs of praise to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:20] The writer of Hebrews, he came across this same thing, I guess because he writes in Hebrews chapter 10, verses 23 through 25, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds" And then verse 25, "Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." Now I realize it's a cheap shot on a cold day when it's 20-something degrees, but it was already playing and I'm taking the shot. In the scripture, we're told to gather together to worship God who's worthy. And I love that we have an online option, i think it's fantastic for people who are trying to figure out if they even want to show up here. I think it's great if someone's sick, or if you're on vacation, or on a business trip, or there's some physical limitation. it's a phenomenal way for us to gather together. But I would say if you're physically able, that God is telling us he wants us together and worship. It's just different online than it is in person. So I'm just asking if you've just kind of settled into some kind of comfort zone online and you could be here, you're missed being present. Who knows how God wants to work in and through you? And what would it look like? And I don't know what your conversations are like, but what would it look like if we came and we were so excited to get here to encourage and stimulate one another, to love and good deeds, that I'm coming and I'm saying I'm ready to help and encourage people. Not just us up here, but all of us, and we're just figuring out, I'm coming today and I can't wait to be gathered together, and I wonder how God wants to work through me today to encourage and stimulate somebody else, so that they might be encouraged on mission, they might be encouraged to get in a life group this week, and their whole life will change because they meet a community of people that are centered on Jesus and can help them learn how to study God's Word. What if I came and said, man, last week I was a life group and we talked about this, and my love for God just increased because now I understand this about God. Or I have no idea what we just talked about in live group this week, do you have any idea what this passage of Scripture means? Can you help me with this? Or what if somebody just needs a smile from somebody? It's not that people have assigned roles on a Sunday, we all come to encourage one another, and then if we know people that are not here, we invite them to join us. Why? Because God is worth it. He's worthy.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:34] Who is he? And I know if you're online, I know you'll let me challenge you, so I hope you'll take it in the right way, and that the scriptures will be what you're challenged by today. But who's welcome to come to Jesus? Well in Matthew chapter 11, we see his invitation and it says, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." The invitation is not for a small number of people in a venue, the invitation is to every person that is weary and heavy-laden. And part of the weariness and heavy-laden Jesus is talking about, if you're weary from having to do the law and perform because of the religious system that you're in, I'm coming, and I'm offering you rest and grace and mercy at the cross of Jesus Christ. Come all who are weary and heavy laden and be a worshiper today of a God who's worthy.

Ross Sawyers: [00:22:39] Well I learn something at that wedding, at Jhejuda and Katie's wedding, and I realized that the flower girl and the ring bearer don't get to actually practice at the rehearsal. They walk an aisle, but they don't have the flowers, and they don't have the experience of 100 or 200 people around them, that's different to a little one, it's different for a big one. Jhejuda's nephew, Gabriel, the ring bearer is a little over two years old, and then their niece, Liliana was the flower girl. So I'm standing here, they come down the aisle, and stop. And Gabriel, you can tell his wheels are turning, and he's looking down at all those flower petals and he just said, it's a mess. And then he was kind of overcome by it and he just said it again, it's a mess.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:52] Our lives are a mess, we don't need a little boy to tell us, we know in our own hearts all the pride, selfishness, and all the junk that's in there, that we're a mess. That is why we need Jesus, we need somebody to clean up the mess of our hearts, and that's what Jesus did on the cross, he took on your mess and mind on himself so we could be relieved of it and we could find rest. When you find that, there's all of a sudden, a song in your heart. If there's not a song in the heart, it's worth asking, do I know Jesus or not? There are some other reasons that I could know Jesus and not have a song, but it's worth asking if there's really never been a song, has there ever really been Jesus, the one who cleans up the mess because that in of itself is enough for a shout to come flying out to be freed, he's the rock of our salvation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:03] In verse 2 he says, "Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving." So it's a second invite to come, to come and sing for joy and come in his presence with thanksgiving, with gratitude. And then again, "Let's shout joyfully to him." And how do we do it? We do it with Psalms. One way we can learn how to praise God is to linger and hang out in the Psalms. And that's what he says here, come, and come hang out in the Psalms and these will help us in our praise of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:31] And then why do we actually do this? Why do we come with a song? Why do we come with gratitude to God? Verse 3, "For the LORD is a great God and a great King above all gods." He's worthy, he's above all, he is a worthy God and for no other reason, as I said just a moment ago, he is worth coming to praise and to sing to him. "In whose hand are the depths of the earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also. 5The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land." Everything is his, and he holds it and he sustains it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:10] One of the opportunities we had at the ranch at Jhejuda's wedding, a group of us went for a walk on the night before, and it was a cool night. and it was the moon was out, it was bright, the sky was black. We're out on a ranch. the stars were just stunning, two people actually saw a shooting star. I don't know if we believe them or not, the rest of us didn't see it, but kidding, they saw it. And so God has all his glory in the heavens, and we're walking, but the difference on this night is we had a skilled guitarist, and I asked him if he would bring his guitar; and then one of the ranchers, a fiddle player. We're walking under the stars and these two guys just played off of each other so well, just hearing the fiddle and the guitar while being in the majesty and bigness of God. He's a great God. A great God, worthy of our praise and worthy of all glory.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:15] Well, David, who wrote a lot of the Psalms, the last Psalm we have of King David is Psalm 145, and he goes on to talk more about the greatness of God, who's the king. And I want to just choose some selected verses out of Psalm 145 for us to consider about the greatness of God. Verse 1, "I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever." I want to hold on that for a second and say, look what happens here. In Psalm 95. Oh, come let us, come let us sing for joy to the Lord. Psalm 145, "I will extoll You, my God, O King."

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:55] This is personal and private; this is between David and God. I am personally going to extoll you, I'm going to praise you, O God, my King, it's personal. So when we talk about spending time with God, we call it the table for two, time alone with God, and we just want to hang out with him. And in that time, we're praising him so that when we come together, we're actually spurring each other on to come together, because it's coming out of already my relationship with God. And I've already been doing this, I'm just inviting us all to do it together, and there is something about together that's powerful in God's bringing together of his people for his praise in your own time with God. Are you saying I, I praise you, God, that you're the King, I praise you?

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:54] How long are we to do this, a couple of minutes, five, ten, fifteen? Forever and ever, eternity is today, eternity is not when we die, that's not when it starts. We're already in eternity, there's going to be a division that happens when we pass from this life, we're either headed to being present with God. and later it'll end in the new heavens and the new earth, or we're headed to be separated from God, in hell, tormented and separated from him forever. So that's where we're headed, and we're eternal beings at this moment, and so we're always praising him. Verse two, for those who know him, "Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. So every day, every day, I'll bless you and praise you, this is what the psalmist is inviting us into. And there's something about when we fill our hearts and minds with the praise of God, that those problems and things that are such a big deal in our lives, they start to shrink under the praise and magnitude of God, they start to diminish. I'm not saying it's not hard. It's not difficult. It's not challenging. I'm just saying it's different when we're sitting in the praise of the God who's the way maker, the miracle worker, the promise keeper who's working when we don't feel it and he's working when we don't know it. There's something about that that brings an eruption of praise within us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:26] "Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised." In verse 3, And His greatness is unsearchable. 4One generation shall praise Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts." Let's pause on that word generation. So God has invited us in to be worshipers of him, and then to pass on to the generations what it is that he's doing and who he is. I read an article from Breakpoint on Thursday, January 11th, just to note it if you want to go look at it, and in there he made the comment that the research tells us today that 2% of millennials, millennials are late 20s, well into their 30s, probably pushing 40, that's kind of the age range, 2% have a biblical worldview. Let that sit in a minute. We're talking about the praise of God being passed from one generation to the next generation. Well, the generation that is the 30-somethings right now, only 2% of them actually believe what this book says, which means 98% of parents that are millennial age are not passing on the truths of who God is, 98%, it's astounding how it's not moving to the next generation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:03] But I ran across a couple of articles this week in a podcast that I'll share. In the 1930s, Hitler had figured out that if he could indoctrinate the children, that over a period of years, they would rise up this whole mass generation that would be loyal to him and to his causes. But someone was watching him from North Korea, and the Kim family figured out, if we do this, then we can totally change the country. So that today, several generations later, the Kim family is the center of everything for North Korea. They are thought of as divine to be worshiped above all, and to do anything to counter the state, is to find yourself imprisoned or killed. In every living room, classroom, and office in North Korea, there are pictures of the Kim family, and they are to be ritually and meticulously cared for every day. They've made themselves the weight and object and center of worship. I'm really proud of all our brothers and sisters in Christ in North Korea who suffered deeply for following Jesus and not allowing a generation above them to indoctrinate them in things that are anti-God and completely against God's design.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:06] Hamas, they do summer camps. You may think, oh, that's neat. No, it's not how to improve your sport, your art, or your faith, it's how to shoot AK 47s, learn how to hate Jews, and to follow in your father's footsteps that one day you might be the one that's the martyr and the hero that eliminates them. You see, everyone's figured out that if you get the mind of the child, you win.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:45] Then there's Josh Hawley, a Senator from Missouri in a podcast I was sent this week, talking about legacy dads, and the importance of dads in sons' lives is just what this podcast was. I know moms are influential, and girls, I'm just telling you what I heard in the podcast. But he said something that's a challenge to all of us as dads. He said what our kids need to know today is that Jesus is worthy of our love. They need to see, modeled from us, joy and exuberance about God. They need to know that God's worth it. And this is my own translation, our kids need to know that church, and Creation Land, and 121 kids, and hanging out with Jermaine and Courtney, that any of those things, they're not just one more thing on the list of all of our activities that we have to knock out in a week, but that somehow Jesus is above all. And that there's no doubt by the priorities in our home, by the gladness of our hearts for God, by our love for the Word of God, our desire to do whatever it takes to be gathered up to worship God, they need to know. And dads, it's more important than anything is not their batting average, their football stats, or if they got their first deer, they need to know the thing that excites their dad the most is Jesus, crucified and risen, a son worth living for, I'll give my all for that. I've learned how to treat your mother the way I do because Jesus is worth it. I'm doing what I'm doing with you because Jesus is worth it. I do what I do because Jesus is worthy. But the hearts and minds of our kids, while we can't make them do something later, they'll at least know, they'll at least know it was worth it to my dad. From generation to generation we pass on the praises and the glory and the honor of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:24] In verse 5 he tells us to "Meditate on His wonderful works." You say, you know what, I hear you, but I don't know how to do those things, here's a way to do it. This would be, if we do know, we could take Psalm 145, and what if every day, for however long it takes, you just take one phrase at a time on something about who God is, and just hang out on it all day long and ask people what they think about it and talk about it? So if verse 3 is "Great is the Lord." that's all I'm going to do today is hang out on "Great is the Lord." I can say, what does that mean that God is great? And I'm just going to hover in that idea all day, and I'm going to talk to my friends about it, I'm going to bring it up in my life group, I'm going to bring it up at school, I'm going to bring it up at work for those who be willing to listen, and they may think you're crazy town, but is God worth it? Great is the Lord.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:20] Another way you could do it is to go to Spotify and get a playlist. Now I have one out there, it's called Ross Favorites, nobody ever goes and gets my stuff. So today I'm trying to make a pitch, I've already gotten like 2 or 3 likes out of it. My self-esteem has been so bolstered this morning, that I can't even begin to tell you what this is like. and I may start trying to figure out other ways to get that thumbs up. But I'm really just telling you if you have no idea where to go for music that is music of praise, Ross Favorites. You’ve got to be careful, I just got sent one that was not mine, so I can't take credit, or for bad stuff, or whatever, Ross Favorites if you have an interest. And if you don't, you won't hurt my feelings either. Those are just ideas of ways that we can, meditate on God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:14] And a couple of other places in this psalm to think about in verse 12, "To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom." These are things we're to make known. It's not just that, we come and do this, but we make God known wherever we are. Next week, we have the men of Nehemiah joining us, there's 50 to 60 of these guys, they're going to lead us in worship, and we're going to hear their stories. These are men that have had addictions and all kinds of brokenness that God is redeeming and bringing them towards himself. And, it's just really cool opportunity, to have them, they are making known what God is doing in them. And we get to join them in that, and I encourage you, whoever you can invite to be a part of that with us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:02] And then he tells us in verse 14, "God sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down." Look, I keep talking about a glad heart, and you're just thinking, well, why don't have a glad heart? What if I'm not excited about any of this? Do you know what? God is a sustainer. And I know just from stories this morning of talking to people, for so many of you, it is all you could do to get here based on things going on in your life. And do you know what? Sometimes that's all you need to do, and then everybody else around can stand in the gap and pray and praise and let that praise just wash over. God is a sustainer; he takes us right where we are.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:46] He's a God of truth, in verse 18, so we line these things up with truth. And then in verse 21, "My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever." Do you ever wonder why when we sing the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy, it just seems like everybody gets in on that. You may say, well, it's because it's one of those old hymns, and I just wish we did those hymns all the time. I'm going to argue it differently, there is something about that part of who God is, he is a holy God, that overwhelms our souls. As a Christian, we can't help but sing it. God is holy forever, that part of God runs through every bit of who he is.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:43] A couple of other things here in Psalm 95, verse 6, "Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker." We're talking about spurring each other on. Postures matter to God, the humility that's required for us to have different postures before God. And it's easy for us to cop out on this, by the way, and say, well, he's just looking for a humble heart and the posture of my heart is humble. That's true, but there are postures that flow out of what it is that God's doing inside of a person. Yesterday, Lisa and I went to a musical, I get to have a little variation here from a sports story. It was a youth edition of The Sound of Music at the Artisan Theater in Hurst, it was fantastic, all 18 and under were the ones who did it, and it was just it was phenomenal. But do you know what? Nobody had to tell us, and I'm an art idiot, and nobody had to tell me when to clap. They were just moments you knew, and we knew when to stand up and applaud for them at the end. We just knew, there was something within that I can't just sit here while everybody else is doing it, they just did an amazing job, and we should honor that. But there wasn't a jumbotron telling me to do it, we just knew in the moment. And it's the same with God that if he's really stirring our hearts, we just know that there are times when we're alone with God, maybe sometimes it's in public with God and you're just so messed up that there is no other place to be but face down in the ground. Have you ever been there? And just crying before the Lord, I don't know how to get out of this, I can't believe I just did that. That's an appropriate posture when we are pleading with a God who is a great King. And he says, come, let us kneel. Why do we kneel? It forces me into a place of humility before God. I can't make it without him. Do you ever kneel and your time alone with God? And then there are times when our hands are lifted up in surrender, full surrender to him, this is kind of appropriate to what's going on. There's something that moves and there's a posture that goes with it. We're asking God to give us freedom in postures that follow the heart that is appropriate to the moment.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:47] Why do we not do that? It's the warning that we're given in the last part of this psalm. Verses 7 through 11. So one thing we do is we spur each other on, and the second thing is we are careful to not have a hardened heart. And what will generally hold us back from worshiping God will be hearts that are hardened by pride, by selfishness, by a fear of man, and by unbelief. The psalmist says, hey, today is the day to let the hardness go. And the Hebrew writer quotes the psalmist and says, be careful to take care of that today, encourage each other today so that your heart doesn't grow hard because of the deceitfulness of sin. And the longer we allow our hearts to be deceived and grow hard, with each passing day, it will grow harder and harder and harder. So today's the day, and God is the one that can break up the hard heart and soften it for himself. He is worthy of that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:21] Today might be a good day, instead of rushing home, cooking, and getting ready for the game, to rush to a quiet place and get face first before God and come clean on any sin that's allowed your heart to grow hard. We're warned again and again to be careful, don't be like the Israelites who are always quarreling and testing God. Instead, with praise and gratitude, come to him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:56] A lady sent me the story of her mom, and her mom was 91 years old, she's dying about six hours from here, and she would go and make trips. And when she thought it was near the death of her mom a friend of hers told her that when you see your mom, look in her eyes as much as you can. You never know when the last time is that you'll be able to look at her. The lady who sent me the story, said, you know, that's really what it's like with God, isn't it? To do what we're talking about in worship, I want to look in his eyes as often as I can. I want to look in his eyes through his creation, through Jesus, and through his word and fix our eyes on him, then we can praise and worship him every day.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:04] Father. I pray this morning that any hard hearts, God, would you just shatter that today and break it free. Father, if any mediocre kind of things going in us, would you shatter that? And Father, I pray that where people are just worshipers of you that only increase in their love and praise of you today, would you just meet each of us right where we are to help us to know how to spur each other on? Come to sing, to sing for joy, to shout joyfully, to come in your presence with gratitude for who you are and for what you've done. Father, I pray that we would rest in your greatness and your goodness, your mercy, your grace, your wisdom and your knowledge, your presence and your power, your righteousness and your justice, your holiness and your purity, your radiance, God, and it would just cause our hearts to continually, day after day, to erupt with praise. We just ask you, God, to keep turning the desires of our hearts for you. And we want to do that now, and just gladly respond to you, God, you're worth it and you're valuable. I pray in Jesus' name.

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