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Watch 2022 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - And They Stay There

Levi Lusko - And They Stay There

Levi Lusko - And They Stay There

Let me first just say that we're in a series of messages that we began last week called Words for Worship. And what we're doing is we're considering the seven different Hebrew words that are all translated the same in our English Bibles. They all get translated as praise, because that is what they all mean, but they're fine-tuned. They're unique expressions of praise. And so in looking at these actual words in the Hebrew for praise and what they carry, what the idea of them actually is, we can get a better understanding as to how to do the thing that we were born to do, which is to honor God, to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

We began last week for review with a word called "halal," the idea of which is a clamorous praise, a foolish praise, like a TikTok praise, where you do something stupid and you don't care because it's for a point, the way that you would respond at a wedding, clamorous, foolish praise. Getting caught up in the moment. It's joy head to toe. After preaching that, I ended up on a ministry trip in another city and another state that I hadn't actually ever been to before, and I was planning on the plane what message I was going to give, trying to hear from God. And I asked my wife, and I don't always do this. I said, what do you think I should preach on? And she just goes, halal, y'all. You give that halal, y'all talk. And I was like, that's kind of an intense hello to a new state, church I've never been to before. I don't know the church culture.

Halal, y'all, if you weren't here last week, was how we began with just, it was kind of a poke you in the eye if you grow up in the church of the frozen chosen, you know what I'm saying, where you might be saved but you haven't told your face yet. But I know better than to argue with my wife. She's got a better connection to heaven than I do. And so I said, OK, I'll do it. And so I'm just going to do it. And I just went for it, man. I got up there and I preached. I said at the end, I said, we're going to make this a praise pit, like a mosh pit at a concert of praise. But I want you up here dancing. You've got to dance. And I was talking to the pastor and I looked at the set list, and I said, is this a church service or a funeral?

We've got to get a song up in the set list with a pulse to it, something at the end that's got a beat, that you can almost get carried away into dancing a little bit if you're not careful. And so we went back and forth. We ended up with the song that we actually opened with today, "I Thank God" by Maverick City, which if you don't feel a little fire in your heart when you're singing that song, your wood's wet, OK? And so the plan was we're going to do this message and we're going to end here. And man, the church as I began, it was definitely, we're going to sit back scholastically and listen to you give a lecture, professor. And they were all chill until I brought up like the Denver Broncos or Amazon, or whatever. All of a sudden, they started responding.

So I started calling them out. Like you guys are more excited about Nordstrom than you are Jesus. And so they were getting a little feisty and it got feisty. So I preach this thing and I end and something just broke out. And people just started screaming down the aisles. People are dancing at the front. People were getting prayed for and saved. It was unbelievable. It was crazy. The pastor gets up, while "I Thank God" is happening. He starts dancing on the stage right behind the worship team. It was unbelievable. So then we go to dinner afterwards. Nothing was open, so we ended up at some Irish pub and we're eating food we shouldn't be eating at this hour. And he says, that was a lot. That was a lot for us.

And he begins to explain to me they were a part of, well, they still are, a part of a denomination that frowned on dancing. Like it was a no-no. And I was like, oh, yeah, I get it. They didn't like it. He goes, no, no. In our church, you could be disfellowshipped and have your membership in our church revoked. This was as early, he said, as the early 2000s, if you were caught dancing in town. So they had spies, I guess, at the wedding receptions and the honky tonks, you know? You go line dancing, it's like, no Jesus for you. You know what I'm saying? And I almost spit out my water. I was like, you're joking. Then I was like how crazy it was for me to preach on dancing without checking in to the church culture a little bit, you know? But it's in the Bible. What are you going to do, you know what I'm saying?

And the most powerful part, though, was after the service was wrapping up, the pastor got up in front of his church and he said, I want to make a confession. Just a couple of months ago, I got our worship teams together and I told them, this is to the church. When he said, I want to make a confession, I was like, oh, geez, what is he going to say? He goes, I got our worship teams together just a couple months ago and told them to quit doing upbeat praise songs in this church. He said, because I thought you guys don't like it, because you never would respond to it. But he said, after hearing this message and the biblical admonition to worship God through dancing, he says we're going to do praise songs every Sunday. So he said, I'm down to halal, y'all, if y'all will come with me on this ride.

So I just wanted to bring back a report that God's doing stuff through this idea of joy that expresses itself through head to toe, just one of the seven words for worship. Now don't get confused. There's, of course, not always a time to dance. In fact, the Bible says there is a time to dance and a time to refrain from dancing. And we're going to see a robust theological response. We're going to understand we have all these different tools. And so yes, when there's an upbeat song and you're feeling it, there's nothing wrong with worshipping God through dancing. And of course there are also times for contemplation and reflection, but we need to understand all of them in order to use them correctly. This, we find, week two is the Hebrew word "yadah". Yadah.

This would be Jerry Seinfeld's favorite word. Yada, yada, yada. What does it mean? Well, here's the definition. It's to revere or worship with extended hands. Everyone show me what yadah is, is to revere or worship with extended hands as if you were throwing a stone or, I love this, shooting an arrow. This word, by the way, does have a connection to next week's word. They're derivative of each other. And so we will continue on, this is sort of a part one of this, and part two will continue next week. So don't miss church, and really, while you're at it, collect all seven weeks to win a prize. We're going to see this word play out and the concept of it many different places in Scripture, but let's start with Psalm 44, if you have a copy of the Scriptures.

And as I read our primary text today, let's stand up out of honor for the Scripture. You'll notice this was written by the sons of Korah, and, it's in the footnotes, a song written during a time of present dishonor, or trouble, is what they were facing. They were up in it, OK? "We have heard with our ears, O God. Our fathers have told us the deeds you did in their days, in days of old. You drove out the nations with your hand, but then you planted. You afflicted the peoples and cast them out, for they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them. But it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance, because you favored them. You are my, King, O God. Command victories for Jacob. Through you we will push down our enemies. Through your name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But you have saved us from our enemies. You have put to shame those who hated us". And now don't miss this. "In God we boast all day long, and praise your name forever". Does anybody today feel a sense of gratitude for God's word and the chance to read it, praise him in the midst of it, and believe it?

Father, we do ask that you would do something special as we consider what it means to praise you in this unique way. And we ask that in this gathering of believers who have come together to revere and honor Jesus, that if anybody has come at the invitation of a friend or because life has been really hard lately, or quite frankly, they don't even know how they ended up. They clicked something they saw on Facebook and here they are. I pray they would hear from you and your Holy Spirit would do something that can't really be explained, humanly speaking, in their heart. And what we're asking for is salvation, that as we praise you, that a byproduct of that will be an environment of faith that's rich. And some will have the fog cleared away just long enough to see the light and to see that the door is open to salvation through the name of Jesus. We ask this full of faith because we've seen it happen before. And we ask, Lord, would you please do it again? In Jesus' name, amen.

You may be seated. The great late Dr. Martin Jones, famed British preacher, once said that a dislike of enthusiasm is one of the greatest hindrances to revival. A dislike of enthusiasm is one of the greatest hindrances to revival. What is a dislike of a revival or a dislike of enthusiasm more than Michal up in the window piously judging her husband David for dancing? Or the older brother angrily staying outside of the feast, resenting the fact that his younger brother was getting to experience a party that he didn't deserve, and the implied idea is I deserve it more than he does. A dislike of enthusiasm that causes us to look back, us to stay refined, us to look proper, instead of being the foolish, little kids who have a great Father in heaven who did everything for us.

I hope that God breaks down our dislike of enthusiasm as we can break loose in the kind of radical, unashamed, undignified praise that will welcome heaven's power into our situation, because it humbles us and honors him. What a tragedy to think that we could inadvertently be doing the very thing that would keep God from coming to our table, coming to our side, swooping in to help us, as this sons of Korah pray here in this psalm. I remember when my wife Jennie and I were on our honeymoon. I remember a lot of things about that. But I specifically, swipe right, remember, here's the secret to sex. You save it for marriage and then make up for lost time.

All right, so on the trip, not my sermon, but it's good preaching. On the honeymoon, we ended up looking for a place to eat one night, and we didn't know what we were doing. We had one night we ate a hard Rock Cafe and then this other night we ended up at Bubba Gump's, OK? If it's named after a movie or a song, it's bad. This is like restaurant 101, all right? Cheeseburger in paradise, hard pass. So we're sitting there at Bubba Gump's and we cannot get the server to come over to save our lives. I mean, we are doing everything we know how. I almost like lit a fire on the table with the napkin to just try and summon them with an SOS signal. I'm going to start doing smoke signals to get the server over. And finally, I asked the host, who I see walking by, could you please get our server? And he explains to us, oh, you've got the sign flipped the wrong way. It's like excuse me? Yeah, there's a little sign on the table.

And if you flip it one way, it says, Run Forrest Run. If you flip it the other way, it says, Stop Forrest Stop. And the servers don't come over unless you put Stop Forrest Stop down. They just keep running unless they think you're telling them to stop. And I was like, "I'm not a smart man, Jenny, but that makes no sense. So we flip it over to Stop Forrest Stop"... "Hello, I'm Billy. What do you need"? I'm like... What a thought, though, of what a life looks like devoid of enthusiastic worship, that we're sending a message that we don't want God's favor when it is the weakness of humility and the posture of praise that invites God to come into our lives, as David says, with his strong right hand, or as the sons of Korah say.

Yadah is to revere or worship with the hands raised, to revere or worship with your hands raised as though you were throwing a stone or as though you were about to shoot an arrow. It's to revere with extended hands. And depending upon your church tradition or the culture in which you grew up in, this might be something that's very outside of your comfort level. And I would just encourage you, as you listen to this message, baby steps. Like Bill Murray said, maybe the end of this message isn't you're going to just full-blown, like full flag at full mast. Maybe it's the T-rex today, or maybe it's just throwing the Frisbee today a little bit. But just that idea of toeing the waters towards this idea of worship. Yadah. Because it is something we find over and over and over again in Scripture. How many times? 111 times the word yadah is used in the Bible, 70 times alone in the Book of Psalms, where it pops up behind the English word "praise" all over the place.

Here's a few of them. Psalm 63, my personal favorite Psalm, by the way, for whatever that's worth. It has helped me through a lot of hard times. We read, "Because you're loving kindness is better than life". That's really high praise. Better than, I don't know, all of life, your loving kindness. If that's true, then what should you do? My lips shall praise you. I will bless you while I live. I will yadah. I will lift up my hands to you in your name. Psalm 141, "Let my prayer be set before you as incense". That, by the way, the Book of Revelation says is how God sees prayer. He sees smoke wafting up to heaven over your situation like incense. The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. So this isn't charismatic or wild. This is biblical. This is just following God, doing what David says God is looking for as he looks on the earth. Look, God, at my hands. Look, God, at my prayers.

Psalm 28:2, "Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to you when I lift up my hands towards your Holy sanctuary". Imagine if you were given a blank check and you could have anything you want. Well, Paul, was asked that question and he answered it this way. Here's what I want. I want that men everywhere, that men would pray everywhere, used as, of course, mankind, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. And I would say if you want to live a life without wrath and doubting, learn to lift up your hands. There's a cause and effect relationship to these things. Now why would we want to go there? Why, for some of us, would we want to dabble in something that makes us, quite frankly, so uncomfortable? Here's how I see it. I refuse to only give God 7% of my praise. And that's how much they say of communication is the words themselves.

93% of communication is nonverbal, with 38% coming down to tone and 55% coming down to what? Body language. I could say thank you in such a way as to be technically proper, and yet you would know for sure I didn't mean it. Oh, thanks a lot. Or thanks a lot. Only 7% is the words themselves. Over 55% comes down to nonverbal body language, and of course, the tone that we use. And so when it comes to giving God proper praise, giving God proper honor, I can sit there and praise God for the resurrection, one name, one name holds every victory, silences the enemy. And the words technically are correct, but I'm telling you something. If you hear what you're singing and think about it, how can you not one name, one name holds every victory, silences the enemy.

I'm telling you, It's a different thing. It's a different thing to have the correct words coming, theologically speaking, out of your mouth and letting the rest of the 93% of your praise be expressed through your body. It is a universal response to celebration, to celebration. Just ask Serena Williams. How does she celebrate? She knows you raise your hands up. That's what it looks like to celebrate. It looks like lifting up of the hands. You don't have to even be a veteran of the professional tennis circuit, first professional whenever for Carlos Alcaraz. And immediately, he knows. You get your hand up. What does it look like to celebrate? It's hands lifted high. It's hands raised high. This is not just uniquely a sporting thing, either. Go to a Justin Bieber concert, if it gets rescheduled again. What are you going to do? You're going to intuitively raise your hands in the air to celebrate.

This is what it looks like to want to establish this moment as a great moment. Tonight's going to be a good, good night. Right? There's a raising up of the hands implied. I'm going to get my hands up in the air. OK, time for my title. Are you ready for my title? And They Stay There. And they stay there. Why? Because he's in the building. And when he's in the building, everyone's hands go... Up. And they stay there. And they stay there. Come on, if this is God's house and He's in the building, there should be some hands in the air. Up, down, up, down, up. Some of you don't even know that you're supposed to be offended at that. And They Stayed There. It's a good title. I like that title. And They Stayed There. What are we, if not a people who have been called out of something into something, and every time we gather there should be a celebration of something? The early church got that. The early church figured that out.

And so it was reflected in how they buried their dead. If you go to the ancient city of Rome, there are tours you can take of the catacombs, I'm told. I've never been there. But from what I understand, as you go and descend through the city, you will see and know where a Christian is buried because of the symbols that they chose to put on the graves to mark them. You will find a shepherd's crook, a symbol of a shepherd, the idea of this person in death was carried into eternity by the Good Shepherd who put them around their shoulders. Again, a cause for rejoicing. You will find a peacock. Peacock feathers are a common symbol to the first century church of the truth of the gospel. And what a picture of the resurrection, a peacock, because you see a peacock with his feathers walking in the dirt, in the dust. But then whenever the peacock chooses, it raises its tail to life.

Come on, what a picture of baptism, buried with Christ in death, raised to walk in the fanfare of resplendent glory. That's defiance looking at our last enemy, the grave. I shall be raised with Christ like a peacock's tail feathers, like the plumage of this beautiful bird. You will also find a fish marking many graves, adorning many graves. We know of it as an ichthys. That's an acrostic that preaches the gospel. One time in our church I preached a whole gospel based on the acrostic that forms ichthys. Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Savior. He's the Lord. This is what the ichthys spelled out. But one of the other symbols that you will find in the catacombs is something called the orante. The orante looks like this. It's a stick figure rendering of a person who has their hands raised, a person whose palms are outward, a person whose hands have gone up in the air.

Why is this? It's a symbol of peace and rest, saying this person is not in this grave. They are at rest before the throne with palm branches and praise and honor, giving God the glory. You can weep at my grave, but don't weep for me because I am with Jesus. What a wonderful thought, that the gatherings of the church over the years have always been marked by this sense of hope that we have that shines from the gospel, that should lead to, the natural response should be celebration. But that taken to the next level becomes exultation. Exultation is lively triumphant joy, elation. It's where something you experience becomes even more powerful when you celebrate it, when you give in to it a little bit. Best example, I've spent a lot of time this week thinking about it, the best example I can come to, from our natural lives that we live, is that of going on a roller coaster.

If you're on a roller coaster, the experience is made better when you choose to give into it, enhance it. Because you're already out of your control, and now to even take it to the next level and raise your hands up? Because what's the alternative? The alternative is, well, it's this right here. You're locked in. You'll be fine. Bless his heart. Bless his heart. We can't watch any more of that. It goes on for like 90 more seconds of that. I guarantee that guy got off that coaster with no voice. But how much better to just give into it. He's already out of his control. Let me tell you, you holding on, if that thing's going down, it's going down with you holding on to it. It's holding you for dear life, all right? But I love, I saw this, someone on our team sent it to me from TikTok, how unnatural it is to try and hold back the joy that you're feeling in such a moment.

Look at this video. This girl tried to not smile the entire roller coaster ride. It takes so much work to hold back the thing that makes the experience richer, that makes the experience better. You just see it welling up like a volcano inside. She just wants to laugh and smile and throw her hands up and laugh with the people that she's riding with. And so do you. And that's why, when we lift our hands up to praise His name, when we give in to how we're feeling and express it non-verbally, the triumph and joy and victory just takes on another tone, and it's unnatural to hold it back. And that's why, when Solomon was dedicating the temple, when the portable church era finally ended and they were able to build a building, like we're going to do in Whitefish.

We're praying for God's grace as we prepare to break ground in this next year. And this sojourning that has taken us to KZ's and taken us to Muldown and taken us to the Whitefish Lodge and Grouse Mountain and Crush Wine Bar, we've been everywhere, man. We've been all over the place, and to finally have a place of permanence, as we, of course, have it in our heart to do at every single one of our portable locations. Solomon at this historic moment, the Tabernacle era was done, what did he choose to do? 1 Kings, Chapter 8, "Standing before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, He spread out his hands toward heaven". He was just wanting to show the magnitude of the moment. So what did he do? He raised his hands.

Same thing happened when the wall was completed in the book of Nehemiah, and all of the people of God were gathered there in front of the stage that they had built. And Nehemiah gets his friend Ezra, the priest, to stand up on top of the stage. Ezra opens up the Bible, and when he does, all of the people stand up to show honor to the reading of God's Word. And what happens next? Ezra blesses the Lord, the great God. And notice, "all the people answered amen, amen, while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground". It's this picture of exulting, of triumph. It's lively. It's elation. Thirdly, it's a portrait of submission. It's, to me, ironic, and of course fitting, that if someone wants to rob a place and they want everyone to surrender, what do they do? They say, stick them up. What? Hands in the air.

You need to defer to me as the aggressor in the situation, that I'm in control of this bank or I'm in control of the situation. I want you to respond by putting your hands up in there. And hopefully when the cops come to arrest the robbers, they're going to say, hands where we can see them. Show me your palms. Show me your hands. Show me that you're not a threat. Show me you have no hostile intentions, that you now are responding to my authority. In a UFC fight, what are we looking for? Submission. How do we show we're submitting? We're tapping with our hands. We're saying, I give up control. I'm acknowledging that you've won. So as we worship through our hands being raised, our palms to the heavens, what are we saying? We're saying, of course, we're celebrating the facts of the gospel, but we're also choosing to see our part in the story as the ones who are humbled, as the ones who are under his control. We're choosing to say, Your will be done. You are God in heaven. I am here on earth. I'm going to let my words be few. I'm going to acknowledge Your authority. I'm going to say, I'm a living sacrifice, my life offered up.

Every time you raise your hands up to God, what are you doing? You're lifting up your soul to your Creator. Psalm 25:1, "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul". So it's a reminder of what's what and who's who, and that He's in charge of you when you choose to humbly raise your hands up. Number four, it's also something that we resort to in times of confusion, in times of confusion. What do you do in school when you have a question and the teacher needs to come help you solve it? You raise up a hand. You're saying, I have a situation that needs you to come to my desk and deal with it. And so in times of confusion, we should raise our hands up. God, I have a question. What a cool thought to think, before you even pray, God, I have a question. I have a question that needs your help in my life.

Psalm 143, David said, "I remember the days of old. I meditate on all your works. I muse on the work of your hands. I spread out my hands to you. My soul longs for you like a thirsty land". Now, many of the Psalms have tags that tell us what was going on when it was written. And this specific Psalm, Psalm 143, says an earnest appeal for guidance and deliverance. So raising up the hands when we're confused is how we tap into God's guidance. It's how we boost reception, like those old-school bunny ears on top of our TV that we had to move around. Some of you kids don't know what I'm talking about. Oh, the signal's gone bad. We need to move it around. And I don't know if you ever remember this, but I remember watching like half a show holding the thing because for whatever reason, the weather or whatnot, I couldn't get the right antenna position on my Radio Shack. Antenna bunny ears they called them. But what a picture of your hands being raised up, I need to boost receptivity. I'm confused here. I need your help here. I need your guidance here.

My daughter Olivia and I were on a walk once and it started snowing. And at first it was like in a charming It's a Wonderful Life kind of way. Like, oh, look at the snow. And then as we kept going, like it was mean snow. And then it was like sideways snow, like pelting your eyes. It was something like, you know. Like there's angry snow. Oh, it's a bad snow. And eventually, she just grabbed her hoodie and pulled it over her eyes and kept walking. I was like, honey, you're going to bump into a light post or something. She just put out her hands and said, lead me in passive righteousness. And I did. And so it is when we pray to God for help, we're putting out our hands, saying, take me by the hand, Father. Take me by the hand and lead me. I don't know what to do. Some of you are up against it. You don't quite know what to do about the situation.

Well, I would encourage you to stop and muse on the work of God's hands. Some of you are dealing with the anger and the hurt of someone else's hands, who are raising their hands up against you. Do what Psalm 44 says. Remind yourself of how good God has been. Sometimes you need to borrow other people's faith, because it's hard in the moment to believe anything. So you jug your faith a little bit. You snap it into focus by borrowing Ruth's faith, borrowing David's faith. God, you've been good. You've been good throughout the generations. You've been good in history. And so now I'm asking you to lead me. I'm raising my hands to you, asking for you to guide me, asking for you to shepherd me, to do the very thing that you long to do. It also brings God's attention to you. Write that word down. Number five, attention. Hands raised to get attention.

I already told you about how we get a server over. Unless you're at Bubba Gump's, you raise your hand normally. You kind of, hey. What's the check please one? Check please. Check. I'm ready. We signal with our hands that we need someone's help. If you were in a survival situation and you wanted to get the attention of the helicopter overhead, you would figure out real quick that hands waving gets someone's attention. You ever see someone that you're pretty sure is them and you're trying to get their attention. Hey. Hey. That's worship. God, I need you. Why are you so far from me? God, I need your help. God, I'm waving my hands. God, SOS. I need you to save me. I need you to help me as a parent, God. This is hard. I'm up against them so I'm raising my hands to you.

There was a man in Luke 18 who was blind and wanted Jesus to give him sight. And he was saying, Son of David. As Jesus was walking by, Son of David, have mercy on me. Have mercy on me. And people around him saying, he's a busy priest. He's a busy pastor. He's a busy leader. He doesn't have time for you. And so he got even louder. And if you don't picture him waving his arms, you're reading the Bible wrong. Because blind Bartimaeus said, Son of David. Even more urgently he began to cry out. Have mercy on me. Why are some of you not receiving the answers to prayers? It's because you give up or you're praying too lightly. I'm telling you, we've got to bring heaven's power down. That's what God is looking to see. His eyes are going to and fro on the earth, looking for those whose hearts are upright. So what can He see in our lives that shows that we want His power? I'm telling you, it's hands raised.

I was at a Nuggets game in Denver a while back and Russell Wilson was there. He gets brought in a very different door than I came in, all right? And he gets seated in the front row. It was a big deal because it was his first public appearance since coming to the Mile High City. And halfway through the game, they brought him a bunch of footballs for him to sign. And then he started throwing them out. But what did he do before he threw them? He's like, where am I going to throw this? And the people who had the craziest response is exactly where he threw the ball. They were getting his attention. What impresses God? Jesus told us. We don't have to wonder. The Father is seeking those who worship him in spirit and in truth. Heaven help us to worship God, not just giving him lip service, but with truth, with sincerity, head to toe. God, I'm not afraid to look stupid for you. God, I'm giving my life to you, a living sacrifice to you. You gave everything to me. Here am I. Speak to me. Here am I. Send me.

Attention. But it's not just for God's attention. I believe our hand raising, that's what I'm trying to give you today, a theology of hand raising, I believe it's for your own attention. Your attention, to put your attention on the right place and in the right way. That is to remind you. Every time you raise your hands and you sing, not just with your tongue, verbally, but you do so with your body, bodily, because this is bodily worship. Of course we're singing. That's body, too. But moving our hands, I think, in a different way is tangible. Because we work with our hands. We write with our hands. We touch people with our hands. We're either kind or rough with our hands.

And so when I take my hands and I raise them, I'm sort of bringing all of what I'm going to do all this next week into this worship moment. And when we sing just with our voices but our hands are shoved in our pockets, I think it's easier for that worship to just be lip service, as opposed to, what I'm trying to say is when your worship is not just with your mouth on Sunday, but with your hands, maybe it makes it a little easier to remind yourself to continue to worship with your hands on the Tuesday and on the Wednesday and on the Thursday and on the Friday. God, I want this worship to infect my hands and my feet, where I go, what I watch, what I laugh at, who I talk to you, and the spirit in which I talk to those people. So it's for your own attention. It's to get you back to living spirit, soul, body, and not body, soul, spirit.

As the Bible says, may God sanctify you Himself completely, spirit, soul, body. That's the right order. Bodies interact with the world. Souls we interact with ourselves. Spirit interacts with God. Now here's the trippy thing. It's easy in this world to live body forward, flesh forward, responding to only what we see, only what we can snort, only what we can drink, only what we can eat. That's living in this world, living like an animal, essentially. Right? But when we live spirit first, we're choosing to put God and our relationship with Him above everything else and let that infect how we talk to ourselves and how we talk and how we deal with the world with our bodies. So involving our bodies in praise allows us to live with our relationship with God driving everything in this world. And believe it or not, it's the most powerful when you feel like it the least. It's changed for me how I do dishes to have done dishes when I didn't want to do them.

I was thinking this week about how I never would have, at any point in my life, thought, I love doing dishes. But actually will say there's a lot that I like about it. I'm going to be really careful how I say that so as not to create unrealistic expectations around that with members of my family in the room. I enjoy doing dishes because it gives me a quiet excuse to listen to a podcast for 20 or 30 minutes. I enjoy it because even if I don't put anything on, it allows me just to think, and also allows me the sense of completion and satisfaction of something that was dirty is clean, and something that needed to be done and it was intimidating in the sink has now been dealt with.

And there's a sense of poetry in the midst of all that. And when I did dishes and didn't like doing it was when I realized I needed that moment. I needed to do that. And it's like worship in that way. There are times when we come in and we don't feel caught up in the moment. We don't feel a great sense of exhilaration. We don't feel like we're on that roller coaster ride, and that the day Jesus came out of the grave feels a long way away. And that's the time that you need to raise the hands. And that's the moment that you need to choose to dance anyway. And that's when you give God your yadah when you don't feel like it. That's when you put your hands up. And even secular science helps us to understand what about that makes it so meaningful. Like you'll walk literally away from a worship experience where you didn't feel like honoring God, but you chose to do it and now you're blessed because of it.

One of the most watched Ted Talks of all time is Amy Cuddy, "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are". I referenced this extensively in my book I Declare War because of talking about the way that what we choose to do when we don't feel like doing it can actually help us to override our worship response. She says that there is something that's released into our biology when we assume a powerful posture. And she even points to the animal kingdom to show that this is not simply exclusively a human thing. I mean, there's plenty of examples. I picked one off the internet to show what I'm talking about here. Nonhuman choice to respond. I mean, there's something powerful about that, and it's something that humans do, of course. But not just animals. We also see humans doing very similar things to feel powerful.

Look at this shot of Usain Bolt. What is he doing? He's shooting an arrow. He's yadah, literally yadah, to shoot an arrow. These are both powerful poses. Both this, I think you'll agree. Try it. Both this and there are pretty powerful poses. What Amy Cuddy says is that there are also non-powerful poses. For example, to ball yourself up is non-powerful. To put your hands up here or to do this is not powerful, is not powerful. And here's what's interesting to me. Everything about a phone is not powerful. Everything about a phone, unless you look at your phone like this, which is, in truth, how I look at it every time my eyes get dilated at the optometrist. Still in the game. All right.

So when we choose to assume a powerful posture, it literally impacts our body chemistry. She talks about how if you spit into a tube before and after two minutes of one of those two postures, they will find a verifiable impact on your stress hormone, cortisol, and testosterone in your bloodstream. Just two minutes. Two minutes of this will make you feel more fearful, make you feel less confident, less like taking a risk. And two minutes like this, taking up space, two minutes like this, two minutes like this, and all of a sudden you're ready to take the hill. And they will bring people in and have them assume one of those two positions for a couple of minutes, and then bring them into another room where a job interview is conducted. And a blind group, or a group of spectators who didn't know what room they were in previously, will say whether or not they think that person is going to get the job, simply based on watching that tiny little glimmer of their interview. And overwhelmingly they will say this person's likely to get the job, and it was the people who assumed the powerful poses.

Now I just find it so compelling that when you read the Bible, not once will you ever read, curl up into a ball and hug yourself and worship God. Put your hands around yourself and give God a shout of praise. I'm telling you, there's something about lifting up the hands. God wants you to feel powerful. You raise your hands up and sing for a couple of minutes, I'm telling you, you're going to walk away differently, not even just because of the spiritual ramifications, but because of how God made us, that he caused us to be wired in such a way to respond to a posture of power, to a posture of praise. So the way she ends that Ted Talk is she says, so don't fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it. And that's what God wants you to do, to obey until you become. When I choose to obey, regardless of how I feel, oftentimes God gives me the feelings that I want on the back end. But those unlucky ones, who only ever, when they truly feel it, obey it and do it, well, you're never going to have a strong relationship with God if you base it on feelings, because we walk by faith and not by sight. Amen.

So it's for your own attention and for your own ability to walk in power. All right, team's going to come on up. We're almost done, the last two. Desperation. Desperation, number six. As I said, reading the Psalms and then reading the verses, context is helpful. In the case of Psalm 44, where we began, a Psalm written by the sons of Korah, the context is 2 Kings 19. Jot it down and read it. It is dire, to say the least. The Assyrian army is coming into the city of Jerusalem and about to take it. A battle is about to take place that surely is going to be lost by Jerusalem, lost by Judah, because 186,000 soldiers have come against them. King Hezekiah is, no doubt, burning through his stomach lining as he realizes, from all of his generals, there is no way. We cannot win this battle. We can keep the gates barred and keep away for a little while, but we're going to run out of food. They're coming in. They're going to take us out. It's over.

Israel, to the north, had already fallen. And it looks like about the Assyrians are going to take out Jerusalem now, too. And in the midst of all of that, instead of fretting, instead of stressing, Hezekiah chose to worship. And one of the songs that came out of this great day is Psalm 44, the Psalm that we read, that ends with "I choose to praise your name all day and praise your name forever". Or as it occurs in the actual Hebrew, if you look at verse 8 again now, you'll see things maybe you didn't see before or realize were there before, "In God we halal all day long and yadah name forever".

Can you picture Hezekiah and God's people facing extinction tomorrow morning? Everyone you ever have met or know or loved is either dead or in chains, and the response is to dance. The response is to lift up hands of faith and expectation and praise and celebration and desperation. "We need your help, God. We need your help, God. Our trust is not in what our arm can do. We see the enemy's arm. We see our own arms. But we see your arm and how powerful it is. Your right arm is mighty to save, so we're going to raise our arms to you. We're not trusting in our bow and our sword, but yours. So we will praise you like one shooting a bow. We will throw hands like we're throwing a stone."

And what happens? How does the story end? Well, spoiler alert, because you really should read 2 Kings 19 this week, God sends one angel, just one. Not even two of them. Not a six pack of angels. God literally is like, Jose, go help them out. And one angel takes out a 185,000 soldiers in one night. As it turns out, angels are very powerful. Some of you are like, I need your angels. The guy's like, you probably don't even need like a varsity angel. Just a freshman, JV angel will be just fine. 185,000, one angel. Jose takes them all out in one night. The point is it is the right response in desperation. Desperate people do desperate things. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The most desperate measure you can pick? I'm going to praise you even when it doesn't make sense. I'm going to yadah you forever. I make my boast in you. Desperation.

David said, "You have laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the depths. My eye wastes away because of affliction. Lord, I have called daily upon you. I have stretched out my hands to you". It doesn't seem like it's working. Doesn't seem like it's making any difference. So what am I going to do? I'm going to keep raising my hands. I'm going to keep raising my hands. Jeremiah the prophet preached his entire life until his death at the hands of those he preached to. Don't you get any ideas. They stoned him to death because they didn't like his sermons. They threw him in a pit. And in that pit he chose to pray. He chose to sing. He chose to worship. He wrote Lamentations 3:41, "Let us lift our hearts and our hands to God in heaven". So don't you dare wait to celebrate. Bring your desperate praise out from the midst of the pit that you're in. Raise up your hands.

There's no way to get out of a pit except raising your hands up, by the way. If you're drowning, how are you going to get help when they throw that life raft to you, the ring to you? You raise your hands up. That's the posture of worship. I'm drowning here, God. So I'm raising my hands to you. And if that's not enough, I know I've given you a lot to praise for Him. I can even sense you just cannot wait to get up and sing and try some of this out, right? It's like you got a new tennis racket. You want to go hit some balls The last word I want you to write down is the word absolution. I love the word absolution. What does it mean? It means a formal release from guilt. I could have said formal release from guilt. I wanted you to get a new word. Absolution is just so strong. It's got absolute in it. When you get to say absolutely, you absolutely do, right? Absolutely. Absolution. Release from guilt. Absolutely, formally released from guilt.

Do you want to know why I love to praise God with my hands raised? Because he forgave my sin, and I got a lot of sin. He formally released me from guilt. He slammed his gavel down on my case and said, paid in full. It is finished. And God looks at me different from how I look at me. I'm ashamed of me, but He isn't. He looks at me lovingly, longingly, and He looks at you the same way. So when we raise our hands up, it's because we know we've been released from guilt. How great it is to be a part of the church age. The Old Testament saints didn't have this. They were looking forward to the cross, but they didn't get to experience it. Do you know how pissed that they will be in heaven, looking on at you, if you're casual and tame about it? You're going to get to heaven and get some dirty looks from some Old Testament saints. They're like, bro, we had to bring animal sacrifices every year. You just, once for all, get saved. Right?

That's what Hebrews says. I'm just trying to give us context for what we've been given. If I can make it through this without crying, "We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all". Once for all. The Old Testament, they had to bring in, especially on the Day of Atonement, this animal. And the high priest, representing all the people, who are all standing there like, oh, I hope it works, hope it works, hope it works, would put his hand, extend his hand to the head of the beast. And with hand raised on the animal, he would transfer all of the people's sins for that year onto the beast. And then it would be taken out. It would be killed. In fact, part of this is how we get our word scapegoat from, because one goat would run free while one goat would die. A scapegoat, someone dying for someone else.

When the animal died, it wasn't because the animal did wrong. It was because the people did wrong. But they, as good as that was, no, that only got them a year. They were out of... And they knew the new year sins would have to be put on the new animal. And so Hebrews continues. "But every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which could never fully take away sins. But Jesus, this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, for by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified". Do you see what I'm saying? I don't know if you see it. I'm saying I raise my hands, because unlike the Old Testament saints who had to, next year, get a new animal, next year get a new animal, next year get a new animal, when your sin and my sin went on the head of Jesus Christ, they stayed there. And they stayed there. And they stayed there. And they're paid for, once and for all. And they're paid for forever. Our sins have been covered. We are, in Christ, new creations.

And so Jesus, we thank you that you are the sacrifice for our sins once for all, forever, that when you laid the sins on Jesus, they stayed. They were fully paid for, past, present, future. So we have hope and we will rejoice, and we have much to glory in because of the cross. I thank you for the hope that's rising in our hearts, and the walls that that truth of that gospel is tearing down and eyes that are opening, that we have a hope and a future.

And if you're here today and you've never surrendered your life to Jesus, today can be that day. Now can be that time. Not through you doing some religious thing, some duty, some obligation, that somehow God's going to go, oh, you did enough there, but because the sinless, spotless son of God was slaughtered for you. He never did wrong. He never deserved any punishment, and yet he voluntarily subjected himself to that. He could have called for 12 legions of angels.

Think of that. A legion is 6,000. He could have called for so many angels, 72,000. What could they have done? But he chose to hang there on the cross for you. And if you would like to receive that grace, it would be my honor to pray with you as you invite him into your heart, into your life. So I'm just going to say a simple prayer, like wedding vows, for you to say to God. I'm expressing my faith in you. It's not the actual prayer that saves you. There's no magical power. This isn't Harry Potter. It's you putting your faith into God's hands. So say this with me. Church family, pray with us.

Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner and I can't fix myself any more than a dead person could choose to come back to life. But I believe you see me and you love me, and you're saying right now, live. Come to life. So I put my faith in your hands. I believe you are the resurrection and the life. And so I give my soul to you, in Jesus' name.

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