Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
PLANNED FOR GOD’S PLEASURE
The Purpose Driven Life – Part 2
Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif.
October 5-6, 2002
"You (God) created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created." Rev. 4:11b (NLT)
“Love the Lord your God... This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matt. 22:37-38 (NIV)
MY 1st purpose IN LIFE is to WORSHIP GOD.
“Because of God’s great mercy to us... Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him. This is the true worship that you should offer.” Rom. 12:1 (TEV)
1. WORSHIP is MY RESPONSE to God’s love.
2. WORSHIP is GIVING BACK to God.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12: 30 (NCV)
GOD WANTS ME TO LOVE HIM...
THOUGHTFULLY “with my mind”
PASSIONATELY “with my heart and soul”
PRACTICALLY “with my strength”
1. WORSHIP IS FOCUSING MY ATTENTION ON GOD.
“You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and you know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working...You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.” Ps. 139:1-3 (CEV)
“Focusing on yourself is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, and ends up thinking more about self than God.” Rom. 8:7 (Msg)
“Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.” Rom. 12:2a (Msg)
“Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.” Matt 6:6 (Msg)
“Worship Him continually.” Ps. 105:4 (TEV)
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Isa. 26:3 (NLT)
2. WORSHIP IS EXPRESSING MY AFFECTION TO GOD.
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (KJV)
“I don't want your sacrifices -- I want your love! I don't want your offerings --I want you to know Me!” Hosea 6:6 (LB)
“He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you.” Ex. 34:14b (NLT)
“Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.” Rom. 6:13 (NLT)
3. WORSHIP IS USING MY ABILITIES FOR GOD.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” Col. 3:23 (TEV)
“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” Rom. 12:1a (Msg)
“So we make it our goal to please Him...” 2 Cor. 5:9 (NIV)
Dr Alex Tang preached
Mike Royco reported this true
story in the Chicago Tribune. A man named Bill Mallory traveled to India to
discover the purpose of life. But he didn’t find the answer there. So after
returning, he noticed a sign at Chevron gas station that simply said, “As you
travel, ask us.” So every time he pulled into a Chevron station, he would look
to the sign and say, “I’m a traveler. I’d like to ask you a question. What is
the purpose life?” These were the real answers he got. I’m not making this
up. The first guy said, “Sorry. I’m new here.” The second guy said, “I don’t
remember anything in the manual about that.” Another guy said, “I’m not much
for church myself, sir.” One guy gave him a leering look and a wink, whatever
that meant. However, most people just gave him a blank stare, cleaned his
windshield; but he kept asking at all the Chevron stations. One day Mallory got
a phone call from Chevron Customer Relations. He said, “We understand you’ve
been asking our dealer questions and getting unsatisfactory answers.” The man
suggested that he write out his question and send it to Chevron Corporate with a
self-addressed stamped envelope. So Bill Mallory wrote, “What is the purpose of
life?” and sent it to Chevron Gas Company. A couple of weeks later, the
envelope was returned. The only thing in it was an application for a credit
Now, last week we talked about how you were created to be loved by God. This week we’re looking at the flip side, the first purpose of your life, which is God wants you to love Him back. He wants you to bring enjoyment back to Him. As much as He has created you, He wants you to love Him back. One day Jesus was walking down the street and a guy came up and said, “Lord, what’s the most important command in the entire Bible?” Jesus goes, “okay, I’m going to give it to you. This is the most important thing. If you don’t get anything else, you get this. This will summarize the whole Bible. Okay? Just get this. It’s the most important.” Let’s read it together there in Matthew 22. It’s there in your outline. He said, “Love the Lord your God. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Circle “first” and “greatest.” God says if you don’t get anything else, here’s what you’re supposed to do in life: you’re supposed to learn to love Me back, because I made you to love you and I know you. And I want you to know and love me back.
Now, there’s a word for this. It’s a word we misunderstand so a lot of people don’t use it. It is the word “worship.” Worship is knowing and loving God back. Now, the problem is, that worship is misunderstood today. And when I say the word “worship,” what do you think of? Well, you may think of prayer. You may think of singing. You may think of ritual or communion or going to church, something you do in church. But worship is far, far more than all those things. You might write this down. My first purpose in life is to worship God. It’s your primary objective. It’s your highest priority. It is your number one purpose in life. We’re going to talk about what that means today because, unfortunately, as I said, worship is misunderstood.
What does a person look like when
they worship? Have you ever thought about that? What do they look like? If you
read the newspaper, they always have the exact same picture of somebody
worshipping. It is this – [Pastor demonstrates comically holding hands up
and mouth wide open] Okay? Now, that may be one legitimate form in millions
of different ways. But worship is far more than – [Pastor demonstrates
again]. There’s a lot of ways to worship God. We’re going to look at them
today. We’re going to look at what does it really mean to worship. Now,
probably the best verse that defines worship, your very first purpose is
this-Romans 12, verse 1. Let’s read it aloud together. Would you read it with
me? “Because of God’s great mercy to us… offer yourselves as a living
sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.” There’s
the pleasure part. “This is the true worship that you should offer.”
Now, I want you to circle three words in this verse -- the word “because,”
the word “offer,” and the word “offer.” Because this is what
worship is all about.
Second thing is giving back to God. Worship is giving back to God. He gives to us, and we give back to Him. And whenever you give back to God, whenever you offer anything to God, that’s called worship. And that brings pleasure to God. It brings enjoyment to God. When your kids are grateful to you, as a parent, that brings pleasure to you. When we’re grateful to our Heavenly Father, that brings pleasure to Him. Now, the question is, when it says, “offer” – offer? What am I supposed to offer? I mean, what do you give a God who has everything? I mean, you think finding Christmas gifts is hard for some people? You say, what am I going to buy? What do you give a God who’s got everything? I mean, He made the world. He made you. He made the universe. What do you give Him? I’ll tell you what you give Him…you give Him your love. You give Him your love. And He’s very specific about how to give it. And we’re going to look at this today. In Mark chapter 12, would you read this verse with me? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Now, in this verse – which, by the way, this is the memory verse for this week in 40 days. That’s the verse you might want to work on this week, the memory verse.
I want to point out that God wants me to love Him three ways: First, God wants me to love Him thoughtfully. It says, “love Him with your mind.” Thoughtfully. In other words, He wants you to think through, to not just do it without thinking. He wants you to worship Him thoughtfully, know and love Him thoughtfully. Second, God wants me to love him passionately. He says, “with all your heart and all your soul.” I want you to love Me passionately, because I passionately love you. And Third, He says, I want you to love me practically. Practically. “love Me with all your strength”, with your abilities. You see, the truth is that even though God created the entire world and the universe and He created you, there are three things God does not have unless you give them to Him. He doesn’t have your attention unless you give it to Him. That’s loving God with your mind. He doesn’t have your affection, unless you give it to Him. That’s loving God with your heart and your soul. And God doesn’t have your ability, unless you give it to Him. That’s loving God with your strength. And whenever we take what God has given us -- of course, all those things He gave you first. You have attention, the ability to have attention. You have affections. You have strengths and abilities because God gave them to you. Whenever you take the things God has given to you and you give them back to God, that, friends, is the heart of worship.
Number one, worship is focusing my attention on God. It is focusing my mind, my thoughts, my attention on God. You know, in a lot of religions, the idea of worship is to put your mind into neutral, sort of lose your mind to the universe. But the truth is, God wants us to worship Him thoughtfully. It takes energy. It takes getting our mind focused on God. Not just going through the motions, but really, really thinking about it. Which isn’t always easy to do. Have you ever prayed on autopilot? You know what I mean? You pray before a meal, you pray— blah, blah, blah -- Amen? And if somebody asked you what you just prayed, you’d have no idea. You just prayed on autopilot. Do you ever zone out in church, not when I’m speaking, but sometimes, do you ever zone out in church? That reminds us that it takes energy and attention to focus on God.
You know why God wants your focus? God wants your focus because He is focused on you. Look at what the Bible has to say to us in Psalm 139 verses 1 through 3. “You have looked deep into my heart, Lord, and You know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working” -- Would you read this last part with me -- “You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.” God has focused his attention on you. Did you know that? That God pays constant attention to you, that He never takes His eyes off of you. He never stops thinking about you. The reason is He made you is to love you. He made you to give you this attention. And the greatest expression of love is often that attention. Sometimes guys will ask me, you know, “my wife, my kids, they say I don’t love them. But I do things for them. I work every day for them, why don’t they feel loved by me?” Because they want your attention. Attention is an incredible expression of love. And God puts His attention constantly on us.
Remember the first time you fell in love? You just couldn’t get that person off your mind? You thought about them when you woke up in the morning. You thought about them all through recess. You thought about them all day long? You just thought about them all day long? That’s an infatuation sometimes for us and it wears off. But God -- the Bible tells us His love for us is eternal. He is always focused on us, and He wants to teach us to focus our heart and our attention on Him. And that’s difficult sometimes. It is difficult to focus on God. Honestly, the easiest thing to do in life for us as human beings is to lose our focus. We’re not like one of those auto-focus cameras that you might have, you point it at something and it focuses. We have to decide to focus. We have to choose to focus on things.
Now, how do you do that? Well, you have to realize, first of all, that we are very easily distracted. And there are two things that distract us from focusing our attention on God. First, just the truth, we are self-centered by nature. These aren’t in your outline. You can jot them in a corner if you want to. We’re self-centered by nature. And the second thing is, we live in a self-centered culture. A couple verses on your outline about that. Romans 8:7says, “Focusing on yourself is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, and ends up thinking more about self than God.” So we have to decide to focus on Him. And then on the back of your outline, our culture -- would you read this verse with me, Romans 12:2, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.” We must choose --choose to stop thinking about some things and start thinking about God.
Now, how do you do that? Well, first of all, you can start doing that by just establishing a daily time with God. Just a few minutes during the day. I don’t care when you do it -- beginning of the day, middle, end of the day, where you decide I’m going to stop everything else and just be with God. Talk to Him, read His Word. The Bible talks about that in Matthew chapter 6, verse 6, when it says this, “Find a quiet secluded place, so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.” Would you circle a couple of words in this practical verse with me? Circle the word “place.” You’ve got to find a place to do this. Now, in the Old Testament, there was only one place where you could worship God. It was called the Temple. You had to make a journey there to worship God and focus on God. That is not true anymore. You can worship God anywhere. You just find a place -- your car on the way to work, someplace in your backyard, a corner of your living room where you can focus on God. Circle the word also in that verse, “simply.” Just be with God simply. No ceremony, no fancy words. You’re just there with Him, talking to Him. And then circle also the word “honestly.” Just be yourself. I want to relieve some of you of some pressure. Don’t try to be spiritual. It doesn’t work anyway. You end up not looking consecrated, but constipated when you try to look spiritual. Can I say “constipated” in church? Well, it is how you look. Because the truth is, you don’t have to try to look spiritual, you just have to try to get to know God better. And He’ll take care of the ”making you look spiritual” side of things. So you just be there with Him honestly, establish a time with God.
There’s a second thing that you can do to focus on God, and that is develop a constant conversation with God. Look at the next verse in your outline. The Bible tells us in Psalm 105, verse 4, “Worship him continually.” Just think about Him throughout the day. You have to decide to do that. I know people do that in a lot of different ways. I know a guy who sets his watch to go off every 30 minutes so when it beeps, it reminds him to think about God, maybe to pray for the person he’s talking to. I know someone else who every time they get into their car, they pray the first couple of minutes they are in their car as they are going somewhere. It just reminds them to focus on God throughout the day. Whatever you do, you develop this constant conversation throughout the day.
And as you do this, as we do this, focusing on God has incredible benefits in our lives. Look at the next verse in our outline, the Bible tells us in Isaiah 26, verse 3, “you will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on You!” When you focus on yourself, the inevitable result are thoughts of worry, insecurity, anxiety, guilt, fear, discouragement. But when that focus shifts from me to God, from you to God, all of a sudden, you begin to sense gratitude and hope and confidence and love. Let’s focus on God right now. Just take a few minutes to focus on Him as we sing this next song.
Now, not only is worship focusing my attention on God, it’s also expressing my affection to God. Expressing my affection. This is loving God with your heart and soul. And for some of you, this is kind of difficult because you grew up in families that weren’t real affectionate, weren’t real expressive, didn’t say I love you a lot. Maybe you’re kind of the silent type. It’s not real easy for you to express affection to God without feeling weird or kind of kooky about it. You’re going to have to learn how to grow, how to develop, how to say “I love you God”. Do you remember the first time you ever said I love you to somebody? Probably scared to you death. You had sweaty palms, stomach was in a knot. You were all nervous…are they going to accept it or are they going to reject it; because you were worried about – are they going to say it back to me? Do you remember in junior high when they played this game called “Who’s going to say it first”? And before you kind of get together with a boy or girl, you kind of sent emissaries out and say, “Do you know so-and-so likes so-and-so?” And you kind of check it out before -- I mean, you’re not going to just walk out there and lay it on the line and say, “You are cool,” you know? No, you’re going to wait and find out if they think you’re cool first. And so it’s risky to say, “I love you.” But the neat thing about God is He’s taken away the risk. He said it first. God said it first to you. God said, “I love you.” God has said it in a thousand ways. He created you. He’s taken care of you. Even when you didn’t know it, He was showing love to you. And God has said over and over and over to you, “I love you.” So you don’t have to worry about who is going to say it first.
Notice this verse, the Bible says, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” You know, in many religions, God is this angry tyrant, and you have to appease God and you have to avoid God and have you to kind of run from God, and you have to be afraid of God. But that’s not the real God. The Bible says God wants to be loved. He wants to be loved. Have you ever said, “I love you” to God? God wants that from you. Notice this next verse. God is talking here in the Bible, Hosea 6, God says, “I don’t want your sacrifices -- I want your love! I don’t want your offerings -- I want you to know me!”
Now, I want to you circle the word “love” and the word “know,” because that, friends, is the first purpose of your life -- to know and love God. If you get that done, you have accomplished the most important thing in life. God wants you to know Him and love Him because you were made to be known and loved by God. You see, the most important thing you can know in life is that God loves you. And the most important thing you can do in life is to love Him back. So when you get up every morning before you get out of bed, sit on the edge of your bed and say something like this, a little prayer. “God, if I don’t get anything else done today, at the end of this day, I want to know You a little bit better and I want to love You a little bit more.” Because if you do that, at the end of your day, no matter how bad the day has gone, and no matter how many plans fell apart – if at the end of the day, you know God a little bit better and you love Him a little bit more, that day was a success. That’s why your heart is still beating. The purpose of your life is to know and love God, first, before anything else.
On the other hand, I don’t care what you get done in a day, and if you knock off 24 things off your to-do list and you accomplish great accomplishments and you achieve amazing goals in your life; if at the end of the day you don’t know God a little bit better and you don’t love Him a little bit more, that day, my friend, was wasted. It’s a failure because you weren’t put here on earth to check things off your to-do list. The first reason God put you on earth is to get to know Him and to love Him back. So that is the first primary goal of your life. And you do it by focusing your attention and by expressing your affection to God. You see, the fact is God has very, very deep feelings for you. Did you know that? Some of you think God is too busy. He didn’t care about me. God doesn’t even know my name. Oh, yes He does! He’s never taken his eyes off you, as Pastor Tom just said. God is intimately acquainted with every area of your life. And He loves you so much and He wants you to love Him back. He’s never too busy for you. In fact, the Bible says He has extremely deep feelings for you.
Read this next verse out of the
Bible with me. Exodus 34, it says there, “He is the God who is passionate
about his relationship with you.” Circle that word “passionate.”
God is passionate about you. He longs to know you. He longs for you to know
Him. He longs passionately for you to have a relationship. You go -- come on,
man. I made you to know and love me. Why are you ignoring me like this? He is
passionately in love with you. You know, I’ve been married a long time. How
about if I walked up to my wife one day and I say, “Honey, here are some flowers
for you. And I am giving you these flowers for three strategic reasons: Point
No. 1, I am your husband. Point No. 2, it is our anniversary. Point No. 3,
husbands are supposed to give their wives flowers on their anniversary. So
here.” Wouldn’t she be thrilled? I don’t think so. Why? She wants me to love
her passionately. She doesn’t want duty. She wants desire. God doesn’t want
your duty. He wants your desire. God doesn’t want – “Oh, okay. I better go
worship.” “Oh, I love you, God” [said in a monotone voice]. God doesn’t
want duty. He doesn’t want ritual and religion and rules and regulation. He
wants a relationship. And He’s passionate about it! And He says, “I want you
to love Me as much as I love you, because I made you and I created you.” Now,
again, this is hard for some of you because you’re not naturally expressive
Because some of you think the
only way you can worship God is singing. Singing is a wonderful way to worship
God. If you’re not a particularly musical person, there are a lot of other ways
to worship God, too, than just singing. So you need to learn to express your
affection in many different ways. Of course, the greatest way to express
affection to God is by giving your life to Him, by yielding yourself to Him.
When you do a wedding and you see two people stand up in front of each other and
they do these things called vows -- remember that? And it says, “I do.” And you
say, “yeah.” “You do?” “Yeah, I do.” What were they doing? They were saying
I give you my life. I surrender myself to you. I’m committing myself to you.
Why? Because that’s the essence of love. You can give without loving, but you
cannot love without giving. You have to give. So when you say, “God, I want to
express my love to You,” you say, “I give You my heart. I give You my soul. My
soul is in Your hand. I want You to take my life.” That’s the greatest way to
express your love to God.
I know what some of you are thinking, you’re saying, “Rick, this thing about loving God. You know, I just don’t love God enough.” That’s not your problem. You say, “I don’t love God enough.” That is not your problem! Your problem is you don’t realize how much God loves you. That’s your problem. If you really knew how much God loves and cares about every detail of your life, you’d throw yourself at Him, and go “Oh, how could I not love a God like that?” You just don’t know how much He loves you. Worship is always a response. It’s we love God because He first loved us. When you understand how much He loves you, loved you enough to even come to earth and die on a cross for you, then you say “Okay, God, I surrender myself to You, my soul is in Your hands.”
Now, worship is focusing my
attention on God. It is expressing my affection to God, and it is using my
abilities for God. Using my abilities for God. This is loving God with
all your strength. You see, God wants us to see Him with our minds. He wants us
to sense Him with our heart and soul. And he wants us to serve Him with our
strength. I have been married long enough to know that it takes more than just
words and kisses to express affection. Yes, my wife likes me to tell her, “I
love you, Kay.” And I try to tell her that every day. And she likes me to kiss
her and express affection physically. But there’s another kind of love that you
need, too, to back it up. That’s practical expressions of love. Sometimes
there are chores to be done. Sometimes there are things that need to be fixed.
Sometimes there are errands to be run. Sometimes there are responsibilities to
be shared. And that’s the practical thing where I use my abilities to show,
this is not just words, I really do love you and I show it by my action in
practical ways – fixing, helping, serving, sharing, those kinds of things. And
that’s part of worship, too.
"treat, heal, and comfort always"
"spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"
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