1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!Psalm 100 (NLT)
2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.
In the state of Alabama there are 3 topics that must
be avoided at all costs when in a group of more than one. Religion, politics, and football; especially
college football. College football is
more than a sport or pastime in our state.
It’s on the level of time travel and quantum physics. The entire future of the universe hinges on
whether their team wins or loses. But
there is something else I’ve noticed about College Football. There is a sacred ritual that is deeply
connected with it. And that ritual is
this: Tailgating! Now, for you unfortunate souls who may not be
acquainted with this sacred ritual, I am going to give you a quick digest of
it. I would not have enough time this
morning to go into the depths of all that this ritual involves.
For the serious fan, you just don’t show up as the
gates open up. You come early that
morning and some even days before. It
truly falls into the realm of religious experiences. You have the altar of fire, otherwise known
as a grill. On that altar of fire, great
sacrifices are offered up; things like hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken, pork
loins, briskets, steaks, seafood, chicken; you name it. You will even find some folks celebrating
something similar to communion, with the bread and some liquid in a red solo
Your spot has your team’s liturgical colors along with
many signs and symbols of your team.
Everyone is in a great mood.
Excitement abounds and celebrations are everywhere. And the game hasn’t even started yet. Now most of you know I think a bit different
from most folks. But I have to ask this
question: I Wonder How Our World
Would View The Message Of The Church, If On Sunday Morning People Drove By And
Saw Christians Having Tailgate Parties?
Well, minus certain forms of liquid refreshments. I mean we could have coffee and tea, orange
juice, Pepsi, Mt. Dew, and Coca Colas.
You could have flags with the cross on it; banners with doves on them;
music going; people talking, laughing, and full of excitement. I mean, can you imagine what non-church
goers, non-Christians would think? I can
just imagine one of them pulling into our parking lot with looks of
bewilderment. They come up to your
tailgating spot and ask, “Uh, what’s going on?”
So you grab a plate, take some of whatever is on the grill;
get them a glass of tea and say, “Jesus is going on! He loves us so much that He left His throne
in heaven to be born just like us. He
grew up to be a common man and as a man, He died on the Cross. He didn’t have any sins of His own, so He
took on everybody’s sins. Told the
Father, ‘I’ll pay the price for them.’
Then Jesus rose from the dead, went back up to heaven and sent back down
the Holy Spirit to let us know how much He loves us. And in just a little while, see those doors
over there, they are going to open up and I get to WORSHIP this God who loves
me so much. Man, I can’t wait!” And then some cheerleaders come up shouting,
“Gimme a J; Gimme a E; Gimme a S; Gimme a U; Gimme a S. What’s that spell? JESUS!
Who loves you the most?
JESUS! Who gives you life? JESUS!
And in the end, who’s gonna win?
JESUS!” Can you imagine what
those who distrust, even dislike the church would think? Some of you may think I am being irreligious
and disrespectful to our heritage and traditions.
But it seems to me, that the Pharisees thought the
same thing about Jesus. And maybe,
just maybe having tailgate parties in the parking lot is a bit extreme, at
least for some, but here’s the point God wants us to get, and get it right and
it’s the One Thing You Need To Remember:
God Wants His People To Be Passionate About This Life In Christ! Passion for Jesus unlocks the code for having
a thankful heart 365 days a year; and 366 days in Leap Years.
For This Life In Christ To Have Any Meaning For Us,
And If We Are Going To Share With Others This Life In Christ, Then There Needs
To Be A Sense Of Excitement And Anticipation In Us. It comes from
the deep realization that everything God has done, everything God is doing,
and everything that God will do for us, through us and in us comes from
His unimaginable love for us revealed in this mystery of Grace.
God freely lavishes His extravagant and outrageous
love for us. And in return for this
mystery of this unmerited favor, all God asks from us is to surrender each
moment of our ordinary day-to-day life as an offering to Him. He doesn’t ask us to earn His love because we
won’t. He doesn’t ask us to understand
His love because we can’t.
All God asks of us is that we accept, live in, and
share with others His love, and invite others to do the same by telling
YOUR story of grace. Think about it,
this should make life exciting. Yet
Sunday after Sunday so many enter God’s sanctuary out of a sense of duty rather
that this Tailgating Kind of Thankfulness.
When we try to live out the life of grace from a sense
of duty rather than this Tailgating Kind of Thankfulness, it zaps the
energy right out of us. And the world
sees it and make up their minds, “Well, if that’s what a Christian looks
like, I can do without it.” And So
Can I. And who blames them. If we walk into the sanctuary looking like
we’re mad at the world and walk out relieved that it’s finally over, I wouldn’t
want a life like that! In fact, I’m
not settling for that kind of life, and God doesn’t want you to either.
If living this life in Christ has become a burden to you, if you are not excited about this relationship of love and grace, then something has gone wrong, and the key to the recovery of the joy and excitement is found right here in Psalm 100. The Psalmist tells us that to live every moment with that Tailgating Kind Of Thankfulness, there are 4 elements that are guaranteed to put the zest back into your life.
1. The First Element Is Delight!
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!” (Verse 1)
Here is a worshiper who feels absolutely no sense of duty about worship, but finds Exhilaration In Worship. Take Delight in the fact that God loves you. Let His love give you the satisfaction and contentment that is so often missing in action in your day to day life. To Take Delight In God’s Grace Means We Become Captivated And Overwhelmed By This Undeserved Favor. Don’t feel bad that God loves you. Exalt that love. Relish that love.
Be happy that God loves you. Get excited about God’s love. Some folks say, “Well, I would rather be
mature than have a childish excitement.”
Well, God would rather you have childlike excitement because Jesus said
the Kingdom belongs to children. Live
every day as if there is an adventure, a discovery awaiting you, because it is!
2. The Second Element Is Joy!
(Verse 2) Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
Facial expressions tell a lot about a person, and the
absence of joy in our faces reveals an absence of love and faith in our
hearts. I know that everything doesn’t
work out the way we want. I know that
there are times full of fear and pain, heartache and loneliness. God doesn’t promise His people they will be
exempt from these experiences.
But God does promise this: That You Can Count On Him Being With Us
Through It All. It’s easy to whine,
it’s easy to be fearful, because that’s what Satan wants us to do. Every whining moment, every fearful moment,
every moment we spend focusing on the pain of what’s happened or worse—what
might happen—is a moment we withdraw from God’s presence.
Joy Is Not Rooted In What Is Happening Around Us, But
Rooted In All That God Is Doing In Us, For Us, Through Us And With Us. Worship Is Meant To Be Full Of Joy. And worship is
not something we do just on Sunday.
Worship means we honor God with our work and recreation. Our whole life is meant to be an act of
worship. God doesn’t want sad faces in
worship. He wants joyful faces.
3. The Third Element Is Dependence!
(Verse 3) Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
The Message puts it like this:
“Know this: God is God, and God,
God. He made us; we didn’t make Him.”
As I understand it, the original Hebrew would be something like
this: Yahweh is God, God is Yahweh.
Why is this important? Remember
that Yahweh means “I Am”! The
sovereign God has created us and has chosen to love us and offers to take care
God wants to be involved in every aspect of your life. He wants to be with you in every moment; the
highs and the lows, the good and the bad, the wonderful and the horrible. And He wants to do more than BE with
you. He wants to help you, but He can’t
until you give Him back that one gift He gave you: Your free-will. God will woo you, plead with you, draw you to
Himself, but He will not violate your choice to reject Him.
Allow Him to change your life—to change the things you
can’t change or don’t want to change. The
Reason He Changes Our Life Is So That We Can Become Who We Are Created To Be. Live in the confidence that if you depend on
God, He will always be with you, He will always have your best interests at
heart, and He will always take care of you.
4. The Fourth Element Is Gratitude!
(Verse 4) Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
To nurture a real spirit of gratitude, you begin with
thanking God that HE IS God! We
think thanksgiving means listing all the things God has done for us. And make no mistake about it—God does so much
that is marvelous, amazing and wonderful.
But before you list all those things, focus on the
reality of God. If we make giving thanks
all about what He does for us, we will become fickle. Sometimes God doesn’t do the things we want
or think He should do. Then we begin
comparing our lives to others and feel like we are missing out, and we are
convinced that it’s God’s fault.
Focus your heart and mind on God—Who Exists And
Dwells In Immeasurable Glory And Holiness—Who Isn’t Just Powerful But ALL Powerful—Who
Can Speak A Word And Create—Whose Awesome Presence Causes Angels To Bow In
Worship And Lift Their Voices In Praise.
Be Grateful That God IS God, Because Radiating From
The Very Core Of God Is Pure, Unadulterated, Unpolluted Love! And the object
and desire of His love??? You! Gratitude is lifting our hearts and voices in
praise that this indescribably Eternal Holy God has broken into the limitations
of our space and time and died for us, so that we might know that of everything
God is, above it all is this—He Is Love.
And the way we can live in a Tailgating Kind Of Thankfulness is to come to the realization that
His love never changes and will never go away.
(Verse 5) For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His
faithfulness continues to each generation. Now that you know God’s Love is unchangeable—maybe
a tailgate party isn’t such a weird idea.
But better yet, why not surrender your heart, mind, and each moment of
your life to Him. I believe we can reach
more people for Jesus here when we claim for ourselves this exuberant,
passionate life of Thanks Giving.
And here is your Next Step:
Find Your Voice Of Joy!
Sing a little louder in here—and a whole lot louder out there. When you look at the culture of society, the culture of politics, the culture of economics—there’s not much joy—if any. But If You Look To God—Look At Jesus—Watch The Holy Spirit At Work—Now There’s Great Joy—And A Tailgate Party I Want To Join. How about you?
When Jesus returns one day, He is going to gather all His people into one place. I know that Jesus described it as a marriage banquet. It was an image that the people He spoke to could understand. For me, it’s going to be the Biggest Tailgate Party ever. I want to be there, how about you?