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God looks at each one of us and says, I so love you, and I have such deep desires for your life. God wants each of us to discover what I call our Inspirational Intersection. Its a intersection between what & who God wants us to do and be and what we want to do and be. This intersection is like the sweet spot on our golf clubs. When we discover that sweet spot things just move. And they move in a very exciting way. Unfortunately on this journey we get stalled, really we get snagged. This snag holds us back from discovering our sweet spot. When a person shares with me that theyre going through a challenging time, Ill often ask, whats holding you back. Whats the snag? Often an important step in becoming who God wants us to be is to recognize our snags. So today Im starting a two week sermon series called Snag. During this series Im going to share two snags that I believe trip us up on our journey. Each of these snags are thoughts. They are thoughts that we all have. These thoughts have gone through every one of our brains. Having these thoughts means were human like everyone else. The point of this series is not to berate ourselves for having these thoughts. However when we recognize the snag, and how it holds us back we can (with Gods help) untangle ourselves so that we move closer to our sweet spot. Todays snag is I dont need to worship God with other people; next week on Super Bowl Sunday the snag is God is not really super. The AIM of this series is to help us avoid these snags. With that introduction let me encourage you to get out this brochure that is in the bulletin. In getting ready for the sermon today, I read every verse in the Bible that has the word worship. There are about 150. I shared six Scriptures and devotional readings that I encourage you to use

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this week. On the back is a place for prayer requests. In the middle is a place to take notes. I believe God might say something to you that youll want to write down. Im a pastor, so I believe in worship from the core of my being. Im almost embarrassed to say that even I get snagged. Last month my wife, Amy, and our daughter Hannah and I went to visit my sisters family in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. We were celebrating Christmas with them and my parents. That week had been very busy for us. Tuesday was Christmas Eve. That is one of the most important worship services of the year. We had a terrific Christmas Eve service, one of the best of the year. After Christmas Eve at Chain of Lakes I went to St. Joes where Amy works and we all worshipped at their 10 service. The next day was Christmas. We hosted Amys family at our home. We had 20 people at our house. On Thursday, I had a surgical procedure at the hospital. I had a lipoma removed from my leg. Then Saturday we drove two and a half hours to Redwood Falls. It was a big weekChristmas Eve, hosting Christmas, having a minor surgery, and then driving to Redwood Falls. Theres ten of us, and we cant all fit in my sisters home. Amy & I stayed at a bed and breakfast. On Saturday we celebrated Christmas, played some games, and then went over to the Bed and Breakfast on Saturday night. This place has just opened in the last year. When we got there we started talking to the woman who runs it. She grew up in northwest Minnesota and had been a public school teacher. Her parents bought this B&B and asked her to run it. We had a beautiful room with a large bed. We slept great on that Saturday night.

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When we go to Redwood Falls we usually worship at my sisters churchher husband is the pastor. But he had taken that Sunday off. Amy & I hadnt talked about where we would go to worship. We got up on Sunday morning and the woman who ran the B & B made us a beautiful breakfast. We sat around the table and enjoyed it. Then Amy pulled out a video of White Christmas. We sat down and watched it. All of a sudden it was 11:00 and time to go to my sisters house. Oh my gosh we didnt go to worship. I got snagged. Tell me if this thought process has gone through your mind. Ive had a stressful week, Im tired, Sunday morning is the first time in a while Ive had some space, and oh by the way its really cold outside. Do I really need to go to worship with others? Its a very tempting snag Let me try to help us untangle from this snag by doing some teaching. I want to address a most basic question. why worship? We dont often address this why question. More often we talk about the how question. How do we worship. Do we show videos in worship or not? Do we sing Praise Music or traditional hymns? How much liturgy will be part of worship. How do we worship? I want to get at the why question. Im going to do that by looking at the very first story in the Bible, which is the Creation story. The first creation storythere are two creation stories in Genesis. The first one goes from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2:4. The second one goes from Genesis 2:4 through Genesis 2:25 Whether you believe in the history of the story or not, the story is foundational. 1st day, light; 2nd day, sky; 3rd day, earth, 4th day, day & night; 5th day, sea and land animals, 6th day, humans. ___. Then there was the 7th day. You remember what God did on the 7th day. God rested.

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The writer of Genesis was like a reporter in describing the story. This is what the newspaper reporter wrote about the 7th day. Read this with me. SLIDE And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it god rested from all the work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:2-3 Why did God rest? Was God tired? Did God need a break? Did God have a stressful week? Did God want to sleep in on the 7th day? I think what God was showing is a natural rhythm to life between work/rest. I think God was modeling for us this natural rhythm for us. Over time this day of rest became known as the Sabbath. When the Israelites were in the wilderness they collected manna at the beginning of each day. They would then cook the manna and eat it. On the 6th day they would collect twice as much manna. Because the 7th day was a day of rest. It was the Sabbath. Let me fast forward to the 4th commandment. This is in Exodus 20. SLIDE Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Exodus 20:8-9 This leads us to the question, what are we supposed to remember. I think were called to remember a lot. One piece of memory is that God on the 7th day. There is a natural rhythm between work and rest. Ever since the 4th commandment humans have debated about what it means to work and rest on the Sabbath. One of the reasons Jesus got in trouble with the religious authorities was he healed on the Sabbath. He was doing what some folks thought was work. Even if healing meant life to people he couldnt do that according to the religious authorities because it was work.

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Some of us might remember Sabbath laws where businesses were forced to be close on Sunday. It is so classically human to take a beautiful idea like Sabbath and then try to regulate it. What does it mean to rest? I think it means we gather with a group of people and share with God our worship. The best way to enjoy Sabbath is to the one who created Sabbath to worship. At the most fundamental level when we come to worship we remember that we were created by God. All that we have comes from Godits back to the creation story. When we come to worship we respond by saying thank you God for creating the world and creating us. Theres a cost to us for not worshipping. Follow this logic. When we come to worship we remember. But if we dont, we forget. What are we forgetting? All that we have is a gift from God. When we worship we remember that life is not ultimately about us; its about whats been given to us about God. The cost of not worshipping is the possibility that we travel through life thinking its all about me. Let me put it another way. Coming to worship with others is like exercise. Just like our bodies start to decay when we dont exercise our spirits start to decay when we dont gather with others to worship. Im a runner. About once a year I pull a calf muscle. Its always aggravating because the only remedy for pulling a calf muscle for me is rest. No running. I ran outside in December and pulled it. I ran a couple of times afterwards thinking I would be okay. I pulled it again. I didnt run for two weeks at the end of December. Our family joined the Y over Christmas. I went to the treadmill on New Years Day. Last year I would run for 30 minutes on the Treadmill at a consistent pace. After not running for two weeks I tried to run. Guess what happened. I about died. All those Christmas sweets didnt

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help either. After 15 minutes I had to stop. I had lost ground. When I didnt run I was physically out of shape. When we dont worship we become spiritually out of shape. Were snagged. Were stopped from being the person God desires for us to be. I came across this video this week that illustrates this point. Its called broken plates. Its about two minutes. Check it out ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To stay connected to God we come to worship. This is what God was sharing with the people in the reading from Deuteronomy that Mary Ann shared. The people were about to go into the Promised Land and God shared a message with them through the book of Deuteronomy. SLIDE The Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17-18 Stop. Remember in this sermon Im responding to the question, why worship? We come to worship with other people because of God and our relationship to God. We come because God is so awesome and wonderful and beautiful and cares for us so deeply that we cant imagine going for more than seven days without saying thank you. SLIDE You shall fear the Lord your God; God alone you shall worship; to God you shall hold fast, and by Gods name you shall swear. Deuteronomy 10:20 God was saying to the people, when you go into the new land. Hold me first, worship me first, dont be snagged by something else.

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When I read those 150 verses about worship this week I noticed that its important to God that we dont put something in front of God. The most serious sin in the stories of the Bible is when people place an allegiance ahead of God. This is called idolatry. Were all susceptible. Over and over in the Scriptures God is encouraging the people not to put something in place of God. Remember the very first commandmentyou shall have no other Gods before me. Ultimately we want to get to the place where we come to worship because of God. Ive been a pastor for over 20 years. In that time Ive observed three basic motivations for coming to worship. It wouldnt surprise me if we find ourselves in each of these places. I do think God wants us to be motivated in the last one. One reason that people come to worship is they know its the right thing to do. Our motivation is duty. When I was growing up and I complained about going to worship (and believe me no one has every complained more about going to worship than I did as a kid). When I complained my Dad told me that there were 168 hours in a week, and I could give up one to God. The language of this place of motivation is duty. The expectation is that worship will not last more than a hour. Do your duty, leave, get on with your life. Theres something important about duty. Its hard to be motivated by duty for an extended period of time. Another reason that people come to worship is to see people. We might have many friends in the community and we want to see them. People use the language of church. Folks say they come to church, and church represents a group of people who they love. The quality of worship is not that important because the people are really there to see others. The experience is

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a success if we see our friends. What did you do today? I went to church. What happened? I saw some friends. This is a good place to be. But the challenge is that at this place church can become more important than God. Another reason that people come to worship because of God. At this place a person realizes that God has created us and blessed us and given us many different gifts. God is so wonderful and awesome that we cant help but come to a gathering of people to worship. At this place people dont come to church they come to worship. The quality of worship depends on how that person was able to express their own love for God and their own love for the world. Seeing friends is important, but its not most important. Whats most important is sharing our love for god and being empowered to love the world. At this place people dont know how long a worship service lasts. They are in a special place. Wherever we are God loves us and accepts us. The vision for each of us is this last place. When we come to worship we share our own sacrifice of praise for God. My final word of encouragement is make worship a habit. Barriers to the habitwork, we get sick, were traveling, our kids have sports. Put in your calendar 10:30 on Sunday morning. I need to go to worship. The way to be unsnagged is to know why we worship. Why do I worship? I worship because God created me and I want to say thank you at least once a week with a group of others. Why do I worship? I worship because I want to stay connected to the source of our life. I know that I have a lot of voids in my life and I want those voids to be filled. Why do I worship? I worship because God is mighty and awesome, executing justice for the orphan and the widow and who loves the stranger.