Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Yes, Jesus is my Savior, but. . .": Why worshipping ‘God’ makes all the difference - Part II (Continued from Monday)

Living our lives as followers of Christ can have its challenges. Yet, could there be something that most of us are missing that makes living totally surrendered lives for God less appealing? I think it’s a value thing. Living for God, and sharing Christ within the context of relationships that we have fostered should be natural when God fills our hearts. That is why John Piper in his book Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions writes the following: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. . . .Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal in missions” (11). What is Piper saying? Loving God and worshipping him (recognizing his ultimate value) as the centerpiece of my life is the beginning of any kind of service I can offer, including sharing my faith or being involved in living missionally.

Think of it like this. Most couples who are planning their wedding become enamored with the process itself and forget that it’s really about the woman or man with whom they will share the rest of their lives. The ceremony will come and the honey moon will soon pass. What will fuel the well being of the marriage will not be the activities done before or after the marriage, as important as many of these might be. What will produce a solid marriage and strong relationship is not just the fact of being married. Nor is it to simply play the role of married individuals. What will distinguish one marriage relationship from another are the value that is placed on and the honor that is given to each spouse in the relationship. In the same way, there is no doubt that God values each of us. The question is, how much do we value and love and treasure God? This is what Piper unfolds in his book. Living our lives fully dedicated to God, in awe of God, and thankful for his mercies, only comes when we understand who God really is and how deeply he loves us. Worship precedes and is the fuel for missions.

So I believe that if the churches in my city of Marco Island, or any of the churches in Florida or anywhere else in the United States, are going to have an impact on our culture then a renewed vision of God and passion for God needs to flood our hearts. Piper expresses this belief like this: “Where passion for God is weak, zeal for missions will be weak. Churches that are not centered on the exaltation of the majesty and beauty of God will scarcely kindle a fervent desire to ‘declare his glory among the nations’ (Psalm 96:3)” (12). Declaring the praises of God – living lives worthy of being God’s children, spreading his truth, his goodness and his fame to others – won’t happen unless our hearts recognize who God is and the honor he alone deserves from each of us is genuinely given. That is why Piper is quick to challenge the Church to understand that “The most crucial issue in missions is the centrality of God in the life of the church. Where people are not stunned by the greatness of God, how can they be sent with the ringing message ‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods!’” (Psalm 96:4)” (14).

On Wednesday we will understand why God seeks his own glory, and why being in awe of God is significant in producing in believers a life of joy and service. To say that God seeks his own glory might be confusing to many because it sounds egotistical. Not so. We will see that it is in God’s desire to seek his own glory that we find one of the keys to motivating true worship and a heart for missions in believers.
Por Su Gracia y Poder

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