We talk a lot here at NoLimits about getting closer to God. But I’ve realized that there are some roadblocks along the way.
As you draw closer to God, you are going to run into places where you get stuck because you don’t understand something about God. And actually, most of us run into the same roadblocks.
In this series, we’re going to break through those areas and get closer to God as a result.
Our theme verse for this series actually comes from a place where the church as we know it today was brand new and people were making fun of it and making fun of God because they didn’t understand what God was doing.
This is when the Holy Spirit was poured out shortly after Jesus had ascended into heaven. Take a look at the response:
Acts 2:12-15 NIV – Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Maybe you’ve been here yourself. Something out of the norm happened at church and you just sat there thinking, “What in the heck is going on?!”
I wanted to show this to you so you know you are not alone in your thoughts. The truth is, you will always criticize things you don’t understand.
It’s not that you don’t believe God can do it, it’s just you don’t understand. And it is easier to make fun of it than to dig in and try to understand it.
But through this series, I’m going to help you just like Peter did in the early church:
Acts 2:12-15 NIV – Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.
This wasn’t what they thought it was. They thought these people were drunk. But no, this is not what you think. This is that. You know, the truth you find in the Bible.
Today, we are going to talk about something in church that’s both controversial and misunderstood. I’d say a big chunk of all the different denominations formed because of this subject. People leave the church because they can’t agree on it. We’re talking about music in church.
Some think it’s too loud. Others don’t like the style. Some think you should only have voices. Others think you need a full band every Sunday. And the list goes on. So here’s the question we want to answer today:
Why do we worship the way we do?
This is actually a hot topic of discussion with people that don’t go to our church. Many will ask, “Are you one of those churches that plays the music so loud you can’t think straight?” or “Are you one of those churches that raises their hands during worship?”
It reminds me of a story about two dogs that lived in a house right next to a pentecostal church. They laid out on the porch every Sunday and while service was going on, one dog looked at the other and said, “If we acted like that, they would deworm us, I can guarantee it.”
What we want to do today is help you understand the why. Why does singing in church matter? Why do we not keep worship quiet and subdued? Why do we raise our hands and use expressions during worship?
We’re going to give you five reasons why we worship the way we do. Here’s the first one:
Because God asked for it.
Guess what y’all, we ain’t God. I hate to break it to you, but it’s not you, it’s not me, it’s not even Pastor Kade or pastor PawPaw. God is God alone. And one of the things you get to do when you’re God, is you get to call the shots.
Too many people are saying, I like this part of God and the Bible, but I don’t like this part. So I’m going to follow this part that I like, and not that other part. But then He’s no longer God. He’s just some religion that you follow when it’s convenient.
God gets to choose how He likes to be loved. If He wanted us to stand on one foot and put one hand in front of our face, then so be it. He’s God, so He decides. So we can’t opt out because it’s “not my personality”.
I’m so thankful that He’s told us how to love Him. We spend so much time trying to find out how to love our spouse. You know, like the five love languages. But I sure wish there was a book in Kade chapter 4 verse 2 that tells me exactly how Kade likes to be loved.
But with God, we don’t have to try and guess what pleases Him. We don’t have to try to figure it out. In fact, the longest book in the Bible, Psalms, translates to “songs”. We’re talking about praise and worship songs.
So I’d say this is a pretty important topic to Him, wouldn’t you? And He didn’t say it like “only worship me when you feel like it, or when it’s your style”, no, he said…
Psalms 150:1-6 NLT – Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
The original Hebrew word translated to praise in this verse is literally a command. Praise. Do it.
(And notice it didn’t say to praise Him quietly in your heart. No, it says to praise Him in the sanctuary. That means right here at church.)
Psalms 150:1-6 NLT – Praise him with a blast of the trumpet; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
One more step deeper. There are seven words translated to praise in the Old Testament. The one we see here is Halal: where we get our word hallelujah. Let me show you what it means:
Halal: to shine, hence; to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; to celebrate.
Kinda sounds like a Jonas Brothers concert, doesn’t it?
We get the excitement in loud stadiums, and we let loose at concerts and sports games, why? Because it’s fun.
Well guess what, God likes it too! God likes it when you praise Him the way He asked for it. Aren’t you thankful for specific instructions?
Because praise is my purpose.
God is not here to serve us. We are here to serve Him, to bring Him pleasure.
Somewhere in our American culture we’ve bought into the belief that life is all about me. I’m on a quest to get what I need out of everyone around me. I go to church to get what I need from God. I go to work to get the money I need.
It’s funny. We all do it, but once you put it into words, you realize how disgusting it really is. I’m not here for me. I’m here to bring glory to God. I’m here to serve those around me for the glory of God. I’m here to make a difference!
1 Peter 2:9 NLT – But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.
Man, that is some good news. But the very next part of this verse explains what happens as a result of being God’s very own:
1 Peter 2:9 NLT – As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
We’re not supposed to walk around like the perfectly poised Christian. No, we are to show others the goodness of God. We’re supposed to be excited, smiling, walking around with a little skip in our step.
Some of you are thinking, “Oh, Kade. We can’t do that. It’s going to offend some people.” No it’s not! It’s going to give people hope. It’s going to lead people to God. Our purpose is to glorify God in everything we do.
That’s why the music here at NoLimits is not poised and proper. No. We are going to get loud, let loose, and let God know how excited we are to be His and how thankful we are for everything He does for us.
You are not going to offend people by being excited about your God. But you will get made fun of. Just like we talked about earlier, people make fun of things they don’t understand.
But trust me, when they are by themselves thinking about it later, they are going to be wishing they had what you have. And one day you are going to be able to show them how to get it.
Because of who God is.
I think sometimes we forget how GREAT our God is. Psalms puts it this way:
Psalms 145:3 NLT – Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.
I don’t have to wait until I feel it. No, great is the Lord!
You may be thinking, well I don’t quite get it. You’re saying God this, and God that, but I’m just not getting it, who’s this God you’re talking about? I’m so glad you asked…
Name reveals identity, correct? If I were to ask three people to define the word “oreo” they would probably all have pretty much the same answer, right? That’s because we all know what the word “oreo” means, because names reveal identity.
There are lots of names in the Bible that reveal who God is. I encourage you to go research these names out – it’s awesome. Each name represents a character trait of God. I want to share just a few with you today.
First is “El Shaddai” which means “God Almighty”. El Shaddai reminds us that He is all-powerful, He is the Mighty One.
“Jehovah Nissi” is another and it means “The Lord is my Banner of Victory”. This is the name of God that proclaims His protection, leadership and deliverance for His people.
Sometimes we spin our wheels trying to battle through our hard days in our own strength. We get weary, upset, we get angry, and we end up losing it? (just me?)
But this name Jehovah Nissi reminds us that he is our Banner of Victory, he’s the one that is able to lead us and give us supernatural victory against forces and obstacles that come against us. Wow, what a time for us to study that name.
Last one I want to share is this: “Jehovah Rapha” which means “The Lord who heals you”. This name is very personal for me because as most of you know, the doctor said I couldn’t have children.
Well, Jehovah Rapha, I have three beautiful, healthy kids today” So excuse me when I get a little excited when I worship my God for who He is!
He’s great because He’s God. He’s worthy to be praised because of who He is. Don’t praise based on how you feel, but because of who He is. And because of who he is, it goes so good with this next one.
Because of what God has done.
You know the ones who are loudest in church? The ones who have been set free. God delivered them from an addiction. God delivered them from depression. God set them free and they just can’t help but praise Him!
You know why I praise God without reserve? Because when I was 17 He delivered me from the grip of homosexuality. He gave me a wife I didn’t deserve.
He’s filled this shy guy with gifts and passions that impact lives all over the world through what I do here at church and on my blog. Only God could do that! This isn’t me. This is God’s power working through me.
And I know many of you could come up here and give the same testimony about how God has set you free. Don’t ever forget it. Don’t ever stay silent about it. We serve a loving and mighty God. And this should be our response:
Luke 19:37-40 MSG – The whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed…
This next part cracks me up because you still see it going on today:
Luke 19:37-40 MSG – Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”
Come on now, that’s funny. There are still Pharisees around today complaining about the people who have been set free and burst into enthusiastic praise. We’ll here is how Jesus responded to their request:
Luke 19:37-40 MSG – But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”
I don’t know about you, but I am not going to let a stone take my place.
There’s a military base in North Carolina that sits really close to the highway. So when the F16s are coming in and going out, it freaks people out. They are just driving along and here comes this big noise that just shakes them up.
So they put a sign on the highway to help people stay calm:
Pardon our noise. It’s the sound of freedom.
From now on when someone comments about how loud it is here at NoLimits, this is going to be my new response, “Oh, pardon our noise. It’s the sound of freedom. You want in?”
I know, none of you complain about how loud it is here. But at least now you know why we do it. We’re really preparing you for heaven. Because praise and worship is going to be a whole lot louder there. You just wait.
So these first four reasons why we worship the way that we do are all about God. But there is actually one more, and this one has to do with you.
Because worship changes everything.
You need to experience this. This may be the best advice we can give you. In the middle of your darkest days, like when you’re 8 months pregnant and your dad is dying in another state and you can’t go see him.
Like when you’ve lost your job and you have no idea where or when your next paycheck is going to come. In the middle of your darkest days, begin to worship him. How do you do that?
Get your worship playlist out, and begin to worship him. Why? Something happens when you worship. You start out with a big problem, and God appears small. But as you worship Him, the problem gets small and God gets big.
It flips, I’m telling the truth, go try it. It will change everything. One psalm says:
Psalms 149:6 AMP – Let the high praises of God be in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands.
It’s a powerful weapon, when you worship even the enemy is backing up.
Psalms 18:3 NLT – I called on the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.
Worship does something in the supernatural. Worship works. You have the opportunity with everything you face for that glorious exchange.
Every week we pray that everyone who enters through those doors doesn’t leave the same. You might come in hurting, broken, and confused but leave healed and set free and changed.
Scripture shows us how this is possible. Take a look:
Ezekiel 46:9 NLT – But when the people come in through the north gateway to worship the Lord during the religious festivals, they must leave by the south gateway. And those who entered through the south gateway must leave by the north gateway. They must never leave by the same gateway they came in, but must always use the opposite gateway.
God was teaching a pattern that would become a reality. You come in one way, worship worship worship, then you leave another way. That’s your opportunity every time you worship God.
That’s why you need to grasp this. You can’t always control what happens around you, but you can control what happens in you.
We’ve given you five reasons why we worship the way we do. But now it’s time to get practical. How can you apply this to your life?
How to Truly Worship
I want to start by explaining the difference between praise and worship.
Maybe you’ve always wondered, “Why do we always start with a fast song and then get into some slow songs?” And maybe you’ve heard the term “praise and worship” and wondered what the difference is.
In Psalms 100:4, it says to start with thanksgiving and praise. In other words, when we kick this thing off called church, it’s Biblical to start by thanking God and enthusiastically praising Him for all He’s done.
That’s what the fast songs are all about. And really, this is the horizontal part of worship. We sing these songs with each other, to get ourselves in the right state of mind for what’s to come.
We sing things like, “Who is like the Lord, strong and mighty?” and “We will not be moved when the earth gives way, for the risen One has overcome.”
Praise is all about singing songs about God and reminding ourselves and each other of who He is and what He’s done. All this time you might have thought you have to look forward and not distract your neighbor during praise, but I hope you have been set free from that.
Praise is when we’re singing, smiling at each other and nudging each other saying, “Remember what God did? Remember who He is? He’s with us. He loves us.” Now you know, it’s okay to engage with your neighbors during praise.
Worship is when things go vertical. You start singing directly to God. “Jesus, Jesus, oh how I need you.” “All to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
This is a good time to close your eyes, forget what’s going on around you, and just have a moment with you and God. That’s what worship is all about, connecting with God one-on-one.
We should always start with praise and move in to worship. We’ve structured it this way all along not because we thought it was a good idea, but because it’s the Biblical order, praise then worship.
We want to end today by giving you three practical ways you can truly worship. This isn’t pretend. This isn’t a show. This is real. We worship in spirit and in truth. And here’s what that means:
1. I worship based on choice, not feeling.
I don’t wait for my favorite song. I don’t wait for a certain mood. I don’t wait until I had perfect behavior for a week straight. No, I worship God by choice.
Some of y’all come in here and think you can’t worship because of everything you did last night. But worship is what is going to set you free! No wonder the enemy tries so hard to get you to sit there and be quiet.
God knows what you did and He still loves you. He loves you so much that when you open your mouth and sing, “Jesus, Jesus, oh how I need you”, He heals you, right there, during worship. So, open your mouth and sang!
Let me show you what I mean in scripture:
Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT – Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
In other words, this is a bad day. You’re so broke you can’t pay attention. You messed up at work. Your car broke down on the way home. Your wife is mad at you for what you said last night. Yet…
Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT – yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
You know what? When life is falling apart, it’s hard to praise God. Everything in you doesn’t want to do it. And I think that’s why the Bible sometimes calls praise a sacrifice. Take a look:
Hebrews 13:15 NLT – Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
Here at NoLimits, we are mature christians. We don’t praise just when we feel like it. We praise every chance we get because it’s a choice. No one has to convince us. The environment doesn’t have to be just right. We just do it because God deserves it.
2. I worship with everything I have.
I’m asking you to go to another level. It’s time to go all in y’all. If I’m going to clap, I’m not golf clapping. Put them bad boys together and give Him some praise, give Him what He deserves. Go all in.
We expect this from people playing sports right, we say “give us all you got, leave it all out on the field”. When you come to church, when you worship God, give it all you’ve got.
We should all leave thinking, “Wow, I gave God my all today. I have nothing else to offer.” God blesses those who leave it all out on the field as they are worshipping through music, or in the kids areas, or greeting people, or cleaning, or serving on the tech team.
Quick little story in the Old Testament. King David was traveling and needed to build an alter and sacrifice animals and such. So he found a guy that had a righteous home and said “Hey, I need to buy a place in your house to do my worshipping here” and the guy was like “Dude, you’re the king, you don’t have to buy it, I’ll just give it to you.” But here’s what David said..
2 Samuel 24:24 NLT – “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.”
Don’t do it at the level of your personal comfort. “Well that’s just not my personal style”. Well don’t make it based on you. Make it based on God. I’m just going to give God more than.
We all need to give God everything we have. Don’t make it based on us. How about we give Jesus the great praise He deserves. Let it cost you something. You can do it.
Jesus said it this way..
Mark 12:30 NLT – And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
3. I worship expecting God to respond.
When you worship God the way we talked about today, it doesn’t just bless God. It leads you into an experience with God. You feel His presence. You know He’s there. His love overwhelms you. James says it this way:
James 4:7-8 NLT – So humble yourselves before God… Come close to God, and God will come close to you.
Can I get real with you for a minute? And please know that I am not getting on to anyone. I just need to lay this out there plain and clear so you can hear it.
We all worship something. We all give ourselves to something. Everyone gives their adoration, their energy, their time, their money to something. And if it’s not God, you already know what it is. I don’t have to tell you.
But here’s the deal. Whatever you worship, you imitate. You become just like the thing that you worship. If you worship football, you become just like every other football fan. If you worship achievement, you become just like every other workaholic.
If you don’t like who you’re becoming, it’s time to take inventory of what you are worshiping. What are you giving the bulk of your time to? Your energy? Your money? What takes priority in your life over everything else?
If it’s anything other than God, you’ll end up somewhere you never intended to go. But if you worship God, if He is your number one priority, you’ll end up in a place of peace and purpose. You’ll be blown away by the life He’s given you.
Go ahead and close your eyes right now. I want to give you just a few moments here to take inventory and figure out if your worship is in the right place.
And listen, I’m not saying you can’t be passionate about stuff. It’s awesome to be passionate about your work, or your family, or some kind of hobby. But we just can’t let them become our number one passion. God is the only one who can have that place.
So take a moment to do inventory and let the Holy Spirit rearrange things in your life if needed. I’m going to give you a few moments to have that conversation with God right now.
Maybe you feel so far from God right now you don’t even know where to start. You feel like He is a million miles away. I have good news for you. He’s actually really close. There’s just a wall between you and Him because you haven’t yet stepped out in faith, believing that Jesus did what it took to restore your relationship with God.
That’s all it takes to break that wall down between you and God once and for all – simply believe in Jesus. And I would love to lead you in a prayer to put your faith into words. Go ahead and say this prayer out loud:
“Jesus, thank you for paying for my sin. I’ve tried to do this on my own. And I can’t. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for new life. I ask you to lead me, change me, and make me yours. I give my life to you.”
If you just prayed that prayer, we want to support you along the journey that’s ahead. But we can’t support you if we don’t know. So we set up an easy way for you to tell us. Simply text the word Jesus to 918-373-9883.
We’re not going to bug you. We’re not going to spam you. We are just going to help guide you through your next step. We’re here for you. So please, go ahead and send that text.