By far, the most exciting moment at Cape Canaveral is the launch of a space mission. You hear the man in Mission Control counting down, "3...2...1...Liftoff!" Then there's that huge cloud of smoke at the base of the rocket. Then you can see the blazing fire lifting that rocket and its' precious cargo off the pad and into the sky. It's a very impressive sight. But that's not the end of it. 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 - it's to launch a mission, to make some things happen that would never otherwise happen.
Well, 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 the growth of praise and worship. This generation has spawned some powerful new praise music; many church services and Christian meetings begin with extended seasons of praise and worship. Many of us have been in some times like these when we felt the majesty, the presence of our God in a very real way. Those are powerful times - like the power of a space launch. But also like a launch, they are not supposed to be 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." 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 totally holy God of yours, who is totally in control of a hundred billion galaxies and everything in your life. This is worship - 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, "'Woe to me!' I cried. '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, and your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for."
True worship results in repentance. So you say, "Lord, I'm a mess." Like Isaiah, you see the ugliness of specific sin - in his case, it had something to do with his mouth - but you melt into repentance. And then, because He shed His blood to pay for that sin, Jesus comes and cleans you up for this new day.
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!'" 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, 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."
Now that's the complete worship experience. You leave your comfort zone to reach those who have never seen the Lord. Worship is the fire and the energy that lifts us from where we are - repenting of our sin - and reaching the lost is where the launch is supposed to send us.