Why Bother Worship? – Gateway Church

Yesterday we concluded our series called “Why Bother?” at Gateway Church in Austin. Rick Shurtz spoke at the McNeil campus, and I spoke at the South Campus. We shared the following points:

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘worship’? For some the word ‘worship’ equals the Sunday morning service, and it conjures up words like ‘boring’ or ‘waste of time.’ Some of our negative images of worship are based on misconceptions. Worship does not equal a service on Sunday or even singing in a service. Worship means much more!

In fact, true worship is dangerous because what we worship changes the trajectory of our lives. A dangerous encounter with God changes everything!

Here are five passages that help us understand what worship truly is.

‘Taste and see that the LORD is good’ (Psalm 34:8

When we’re talking about worship, true worship, we’re not talking about singing songs. We’re talking about the life that has tasted God, and desires God, and wants more of God. It’s the life that rearranges everything, because that life had an encounter.

‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me’ (Isaiah 29:13).

We know people, we’ve experienced them, we’ve been one of them, who will honor God with their lips, but it’s clear from their lives that God is not truly their God.
My god is that which I revolve my life around.
My god is that which I desire most.
My god is that which I trust with my wellbeing.

In Jesus’ day, Jews believed true worship happened in Jerusalem, whereas Samaritans believed true worship happened on Mount Gerizim. (John 4:19). When asked where true worship takes place, Jesus responded with the following:

‘… a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth’ (John 4:21-24).

Jesus says that God is interested in true worship, authentic worship, those who worship him in spirit and in truth, not those who give him lip service, not those who bicker about whether worship should happen on this mountain or that mountain. It’s not about location, and it’s not about style. It’s about those whose hearts are tuned to sing God’s praise, not just with their songs, but with their lives.

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship’ (Romans 12:1).

It’s as if he’s saying, ‘as you’re physical hearts keep beating, as you live, give everything to God! Give your ENTIRE LIFE to God.’

Whatever you put at the center of your life, you do anything for it. You sacrifice your all for it. You live for it. You die for it. You give everything for it which is why worship, true worship, is so wonderfully dangerous.

‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts’ (Colossians 3:16).

When we gather together on Sundays, at Church Unplugged, and Crowded House, we are inspired us to keep God at the center of our lives.

God is looking for living sacrifices, people who will love His presence and live by His presence every moment of every day.”

To watch or listen to the entire message, go to www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.


Showing 2 comments
  • Rich Kirkpatrick

    I dig this!

    We focus too often on what worship does, instead of what worship is. So, this is great..

    If worship is everything, than it is nothing. So, what is worship? When talking about our gatherings there is something happening there, too. One main idea is our personal devotion. The partner to it is both personal and communal. I think we miss the communal definition of our worship sometimes. So, the “why bother” does include committing to practice that together. It just is not the entire story, which is why so many leave empty.

  • Eric Bryant

    Good stuff, Rich! Thanks!

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