Hear the sermon here or read through the somewhat random notes below: http://www.crosswindschurch.net/sermons/worshipjesusapplication
Real life. Real people. Real faith. Three short phrases that spell out the mission and vision for CrossWinds. I hope you have seen or heard those words around here before. But these words are not just a cool tag line. They are the pillars of our church family. This week we begin new series that will unpack these values and help us move towards being more Authentic in our love for God and for others. It all starts with our values.
The definition of a value is what one judges is important in life. Some of our values can change over time. I once valued being physically fit and always in shape. Then I fell in love with BBQ and pecan pie. Now I value my right to order the large plate and have dessert. Don’t judge me. Just pray for me!
But values that are worthy of being named as important parts of our lives are standards that shape us, not slightly decisions that we abuse. The values that guide CrossWinds are those non-negotiable characteristics that we as a family feel God is calling us to. It’s what makes up our DNA and sets us apart from the world. And when we choose to live by these values, we will find the life that God has created for us. Jesus talks about it in John 10:10. I have come that you might have life, real life. Other versions of this passage translate that as abundant life or even victorious life. I need that kind of life-don’t you? A real, genuine, abundant life.
These are the values that help lead us towards authentic life. Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at all of these in detail. Today we will start with worship, Jesus, and application.
One of the most unique and special characteristics of CrossWinds is found in the way we worship. I mentioned this a few weeks back, but in all my travels in ministry, I have never been surrounded by such an amazing group of worshippers. Most churches will find people who simply come to watch and hear the worship leaders do their thing. And we have great people that lead us here. But what stands out about worship at CrossWinds is the response to God that comes from the floor of this worship arena each week. And as capable and gifted as our worship leaders are, and they are amazing, they can’t force that to happen. Worship like what we experience here can only come from one place-the heart.
The truest test of authentic worship comes when worship leaves the sanctuary and moves to the mission field. But worship in the sanctuary is always built by worship on the mission field. It can be slightly easier to follow along with everyone and pour your heart out in worship here on a Sunday morning, but what happens when we are removed from the comfortable spaces? Worship is such a strong core of who we are here that it is only enhanced when we move beyond our walls.
Take our monthly worship service at the Downtown Rescue Mission. We don’t have the top rate electronics we have here. The sound system might not be as nice as we enjoy here. The lights can’t even be dimmed. But when I first attended the worship service there, I was blown away. The same spirit, the same passion, the same level of worshipful response poured out-maybe even a little more. I fear that since it is the norm for this church to pursue Christ with passionate worship that you may not understand what a tremendous thing happens when we worship passionately no matter the surroundings.
The BIble tells us in John 4 about an encounter Jesus had with a woman at the well. This wasn’t just any woman-she was a Samaritan. These people were outcast by all. They were part Jew and part Gentile, which made them part chosen people and part worldly outcast. In fact, it was considered sinful for a Jew to speak to a Samaritan. Yet here Jesus encounters her and engages her in conversation. Isn’t that just like us? We are part sinner, part saint. Part adoring child and part rebellious kid. Part pure beauty and part broken mess. And yet, Jesus seeks us out to spend time with us. I love the way he loves us.
Jesus tells her that she worships a God she does not know but that He worships a God he does know. Then he tells her this-the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
God is seeking authentic worshippers. People who will worship him passionately and openly. Corporately joining with one voice and proclaiming how great God is. All while privately declaring from our hearts that we can’t live another moment without His love. Worshipping in spirit and truth is infectious. It moves us and moves others to dare to let down their guard and move closer to their Lord. Every week in this place we come in hurting and afraid. But authentic worship breaks down those walls and allows us to let God heal us and make us whole once more. Worshipping in spirit and truth gives us Authentic life.
But our worship can’t be passionate and real unless we have someone worthy of our worship. Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship. But maybe not the Christ that so many have come to create today that serves their purpose. There may be in this world today two understandings of who Christ is. On one hand, we meet a created Christ that is judgmental, that is harsh, that is far removed from the everyday life of mankind. He is the holy smiter, just waiting to punish us when we get out of line. He is religious and pious and well beyond the reach of mere mortals. And then there is the Authentic Jesus. The Jesus of Scripture that loves us all just as we are. The Jesus that seeks to know us and to make himself know to us. The Jesus that chooses to heal the broken and free the captive and loose those who are bound up. The Jesus that called you here today and offers his life in exchange for your love, without hesitation or regret. That is the Jesus that we worship and praise.
What happens to us when we encounter the authentic Christ? Peter went from a liar to the pillar of the church. Saul went from murderer to church planter. I was self centered and self serving, a liar without hope until I met the authentic Jesus. He gave me grace and showed me love and changed my life forever. How about you? What’s your story of encountering the real Jesus?
CrossWinds is not a place for the created Christ to reign. We seek to serve only the true, authentic son of God. We seek to engage his love, grace, and mercy and then to carry that to those around us still stumbling in the darkness. Knowing the real Jesus brings us into Authentic life.
In the OT we read the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was old when he finally had a son. Then God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.So Abraham told Isaac that they were to go to the mountain to sacrifice before God. Along the way, the young man looked around, wised up, and asked his dad-where’s the sacrifice?
What we do with our values illuminates our character. Knowing the real Jesus and loving him may lead us to passionate worship. And passionate worship on Sunday mornings may bring us closer to God. But where’s the sacrifice?
Romans 12:1 says Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
I heard a story this week about how a Baptist minister was speaking with someone from our church. Not knowing this person was a part of CrossWinds, the pastor began to tell all he knew of the missions and outreach CrossWinds does in the community. When I introduce myself to teachers and faculty at Harvest Elementary where my girls go to school, they all know of the work CrossWinds does in the community. You see, being a church is not a once a week appointment at CrossWinds. It’s a lifestyle of application. here at CrossWinds we don’t greet God with “here I am, meet my needs.” We cry out “here I am-send me.” We are called to carry God’s love out of these walls, not hold it in here for our amusement. Real people who have encountered the real God can’t allow their faith to remain unused. It has to be shared. Real faith must be lived out and active, or it is just smoke and mirrors. And so, our DNA here demands that we serve those around us, offering grace and love as well as hands and feet wherever needed, whenever we can. Offering ourselves in service to others brings us into Authentic life.
I have come that you might have life, real, authentic life. The values that guide our church family at CrossWinds takes our real lives, takes us just as we are as real people, and develops a real faith that changes our lives. And as we live out our lives as authentic followers of Christ, others are drawn to the One that offers them hope, healing, and wholeness. Seek the authentic life.