Thursday, September 17, 2015
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Some of the most exciting moments heard in the history of the U.S. space program were these: "3...2...1...Liftoff!" In the beginning, the Gemini and Apollo rockets, then later the space shuttles. You could see the blazing fire lifting that rocket and its' precious cargo off the pad and into the sky. A very impressive sight! But that wasn't all. You don't just say, "Great launch. Let's go home." No, no. All that fire and smoke isn't just to have a powerful experience. The purpose of it is to launch a mission, to make some things happen that would never otherwise happen without that launch.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I'd like to have A Word With You today about "More Than A Launch."
One exciting trend among God's people today is a growth of praise and worship. Church services and conferences begin with extended times of praise and worship. These have often brought about deeper and more meaningful worship where we can feel the majesty, the presence of our God in a very real way. I've experienced that many times. They are powerful times-like the fire and smoke of that space launch. But also like a launch, it's not the end; it's not all there is. Worship is supposed to launch us into some things that would never otherwise happen.
In our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 6, this prophet experiences an incredible launching of his life's work. And in his experience, I believe God shows us three transactions that He wants us to have with Him each new day. It all begins with worship, but it doesn't end there.
Isaiah says, "I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple." And he describes these mighty angelic beings who were "calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.' At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke."
The first transaction in a powerful life is to see the awesomeness of your God. You spend time with Him early in each new day until you are overwhelmed by this holy God of yours who is totally in control of a hundred billion galaxies and everything in your life. This is worship where you get lost in your Lord until you can say with all your heart, "Lord, You are awesome!"
But praise and worship are incomplete unless they lead to the next transaction-to see the awfulness of your sin. Isaiah was possibly the most godly man in his nation, but here's what happens after He experiences the greatness of his God. He says, "Woe to me! I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King." With this confession, an angel comes with cleansing fire and says, "See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for."
True worship results in repentance. So you say, "Lord, you're awesome, but I'm a mess." When He points out the dark spot, you melt into repentance. And because He shed His blood to pay for that sin, Jesus comes, cleans you up for this new day and says, "Your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for."
But Isaiah's vision leads us to one last transaction with God. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" See, God takes His man or woman from worship, to repentance, to rescuing the dying. You see the awesomeness of your God, then the awfulness of your sin, and then the lostness of the people around you. "I have seen the King, but I'm surrounded by people who haven't. And I've got to tell them about Him." And looking at the people in your world, you say, "Lord, they are dying and I'm going to them."
That's the complete worship experience. You leave your comfort zone to reach those who have never seen your Lord as you have, because that's the mission the launch is sending you on.