2011-09-09 - Passion
Originally Preached to a Youth Group on 2008-01-09
What are you passionate about?
Other than the obvious God, family, and youth group stuff, there are two things I get real excited about: food and music.
What kind of food do you like?
I love Italian, Mexican, American, Japanese, Chinese - there's not many styles I've tried that I don't like.
What kind of music do you like?
I like a lot of different styles. Metal, Classic Rock, Hair band 80's rock, some emo, pop, country; there's only a handful of types I don't like at all.
Music comes in a great variety. That's the way God created it. In a list of things the Ephesian Christians should do Paul includes "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord". (Ephesians 5:19) This to me is an all inclusive list of music types that we should sing to one another and to the Lord. And I'm glad Paul says "in your heart" rather than "with your voices" because my singing is bad but it still honors God when my heart is in the right place.
Keeping your heart in the right place is hard. Satan hates to hear Christians praising God so he comes along side me as I'm singing and whispers, "Wow! That's bad." And then "Whoa! Don't get too loud or you'll embarrass yourself"
Then I remember the words to Undignified, a great song by David Crowder:
"I will dance, I will sing, to be mad, for my King
That's what singing really has to be about letting your heart express itself. That requires some vulnerability and openness though. Some songs are for those around you. Other songs are for God. For example, a song that tells truths about God's love or mercy is for those around you but would be to him if it was praising him for his love and mercy.
Even though I don't agree with all he says about music, I do like one thing an old preacher named Tolbert Moore has said about it.
"The church has never been able to do its work effectively without songs of the faith. Great preachers have had great singing to complement their messages. Great churches have had great singing and good music programs for young and old. Music is a potent force and should only be used of God to further His great cause."
Music stirs the heart. It can stir it for good or evil but it definitely stirs it. No wonder the Bible's largest book is a book of songs. Let's look at one of those songs.
Sing to God. He has done. He has gained. He made known. He saves ... He, he, he. Do you notice we're not really in this much except in two places?
We're to sing to him and shout to him.
Most people I think understand the singing part but do we get the shouting part? Shouting takes us back to our passions, doesn't it? What do we shout about?
We shout at football games when our team does something good.
We shout at a concert when a band we like plays a good song?
I'm passionate about food and music. It would seem strange to shout at a restaurant for getting a good plate of cannelloni or a great burger but we ought to let the world around us see our excitement about God if they see our excitement about other things.
Wonder if your friends think, "Wow that God of his is no big deal. He gets excited about basketball but shows no emotion when he talks about worshipping his God."
Let's get excited about it. Some of you looked forward to the bowl games for weeks. Others looked forward to YEC or some other events and told friends about it. But we should be that excited about God.
I'm guilty too. I'll stay up until almost midnight to watch a movie I really want to watch or to see Monday Night Football but I find it difficult to get up early to spend quiet time with God. My passions get reversed. I have to be deliberate about it
We shouldn't be able to get enough of it.
Jesus in beatitudes tells us
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6)
Hungry, thirsty people haven't had all they want of God. They want as much as they can get. And they get excited about it. Have you ever seen a bunch of hungry homeless people scrambling for food. They're shouting waving arms and excited about getting filled with earthly food. We should be at least that excited about spiritual food.
This year let's get excited about God and shout to him.
Now without further ado here's our new praise band, "I Holler". Let's risk being undignified and help them sing and shout to the Lord.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted