Key to Worship
Your worship will play a key role in clarifying, understanding, and experiencing God’s purpose in your life. Worship is the recognition of God for who He is. Worship is our response to God’s presence. (Acts 13:2)
While ministering to the Lord (Worshipping) you will discover your purpose. God is our audience; we are the performers; Worship for an audience of ONE. Worshipping is not the Lord ministering to you.
Event worshippers are here for the show. Worship was never meant to be an event.
Serious Worshippers have decided that this team is worthy of their worship. When they get home they meditate on the service. The problem today is Jesus has fans, not worshippers. Worship is our response to who He is.
Worship is Critical
Worship is critical particularly to your PURPOSE. Worship takes you to a whole nother level. Worship brings us into His presence. If worship is only an event, you’ll miss the Spirit of the Living God.
Worship is Painful (Isaiah 6:1-8)
Worship is gonna hurt sometimes, it’s not always a joy, sometimes it’s painful. Coming into God’s presence He will reveal sin, He will take what we mess up and make it a miracle!
Sermon Video Transcription
Richie Thornton: 00:00 Man, excited to bring the word this morning and just always honored for this opportunity. And I probably thought that that was funnier than anybody else in here. So and so man, always want to give honor where it’s due to pastor James. I just thank you for the opportunity and hope you miss Debbie, you’re well rested. We miss you. And I also want to give a shout out to my family and thank you all for being here and a support me this morning. And I also want to give a shout out to my wife and my girls. I do have to tell you this, that you all didn’t hear this. Maybe some of you did, but I preached last Sunday in the 1130. And uh, you know, we all have momentary lapses of sanity at times. And I had one and stupid me said something about my wife’s cooking and so I lost 10 pounds this week and now, but a man, she is such a good cook and so excited to uh, to bring the word this morning, continuing our series wired for worship.
Richie Thornton: 01:08 Continuing our series wired for worship. This is part three of our series. And so I just want to open up this morning, but by telling you a little story and share, giving you a glimpse of a portion of my childhood. Now, I was a pyromaniac growing up. If you don’t know what that means. I loved burning things. You know, I had this strange fascination with fire. I just loved playing with fire and I can remember on multiple occasions being disciplined for playing with fire. You know, like I just, the concept of burning the house down was not in my mind. I’d go into the kitchen and man, we had one of those guests stoves and so you’d turn it on and it’s just an endless supply of fun. And so I turn it on and I’d burn pencils. I’d burn the trash. You know, I can remember, you know, one time my mom came in there and I’m just like burning the trash bag. She’s like, boy, you trying to burn the house down?
Richie Thornton: 02:02 And so one time that, that sticks out to me specifically, there were me and a couple of friends. It was me, it was Trey and it was Lane. And we were in the woods and Georgetown, Louisiana. And so you all know what the woods look like here. And so we’re out there and we’re having a good time and you, boy, I got a lighter in my pocket. And so I get the bright idea, you know what I’m about to start a fire. Sounds like a really good idea. And so I pushed some pine straw together and I light this far and all is well for a moment. But what does fire do? It spreads. And especially fast in a pine saturated forest. And so what started out as like some good fun and just about 10 seconds we’ve got a problem.
Richie Thornton: 02:52 And so this thing begins to spread and all of a sudden, Oh no, sets in. And so I start trying to beat this thing out and put this fire out. And at one point I’m literally running around the fire and in my head I told this story to my wife. She said, where were your friends? And I said, I remember them just like playing over here like nothing was going on. And so immediately I’m like, I need water, I need water. And so I lived in some apartments and so I’m like, it was like the little Rascals, you know what I mean? And so I’m running back to the house. I get the coffee pot, and I go to the sink and fill it up, while the woods are burning down.
Richie Thornton: 03:37 And so as soon as it’s full, I take it, it’s Sloshing and I run it to the woods. And it’s like, and this happens a couple times, and every time I come back to this fire, it’s just growing exponentially. It’s, it’s doubling in size every time. So after a couple of times of going in the house, you know, finally my mom starts to pick up on, she’s like, what are you all doing? Making mud pies, got to go. And so she’s not buying it. She comes out of the house, she walks around the apartment and she looks back there at the woods and there is an Inferno. Okay. The woods are on fire. She grabs the broom, the neighbors, you know, since we lived in this apartment complex, people have fire extinguishers. And so it’s like the neighborhood brigade runs out there. I have this faint memory of my mom out there with a broom, China, China put this inferno out. And I knew that things had gone too far when the fire department pulled up, you know? And so I’m like, I’m dead. And so thankfully my mom and the neighborhood brigade, fire brigade, you know, they’re able to put this fire out without the help of the fire department. And, and right about there is where my memory stop because I must have blacked out and blocked out the butt whooping that I got for that little incident.
Richie Thornton: 04:33 And so I tell you that story and in telling you that story with my situation with fire and my friends, I’m reminded of another story in the Bible about three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their situation that they had with fire. It reminds me of that story. And so I want to look to Daniel 3 and read the story about Shadrach. Meshach and Abednego.
Richie Thornton: 05:28 We’re kind of going to go through it and then we’re going to look at the scripture a little more in depth. That said, the King at the time, Nebuchadnezzar, he made a golden image that stood 60 cubits high and six cubits wide. And so we’re talking about 90 feet tall and about nine feet wide. If you can imagine about an eight story building, that’s about the size of this monument. That’s a huge monument. Then Nebuchadnezzar commanded all the people. As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, the flute, the zither, the lyre, the harp, the pipe, and all kinds of music, he said, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. So I want to tell you this, this morning, this was about control. This was about dominance. This was about allegiance. You see Nebuchadnezzar, he wanted to establish that everyone was in submission to his rule and his authority and to assure that no one would try to overthrow or challenge his kingdom.
Richie Thornton: 06:31 So, he set forth this command. He told everybody to bow down whenever the worship played in. If you don’t come on, he gave a really good incentive for it, he said, if you don’t do this, no problem. I’m just going to throw you in the blazing furnace. And so I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty good incentive to do whatever he said. And everybody did bow except for three, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And so I’m going to pause from there, at a moment, but uh, we’re going to come back to those three guys later on in the message. So don’t forget about them. Say, don’t forget, don’t forget, we’re going to come back. The title of this message is this fearless in the face of fire, fearless in the face of fire. I want to share with you some insights on how we can be fearless in the face of fire regardless of any situation we may be walking through or coming up against.
Richie Thornton: 07:32 I need to pray this morning, Lord, help me. Help me to communicate your word. Lord. Give me boldness to preach your word. Lord, give us a heart to receive what you have for us this morning. Lord, let it fall on good soil. Lord, we bind every plan and tactic of the enemy. We pray that you would have your will and your way in Jesus’ name. Amen. And so one of the things that I recognize about King Nebuchadnezzar is this. He was a master manipulator. He was a master manipulator. What do I mean? He knew exactly how to get into the hearts and the minds of the people. He knew exactly how to, how to get what he wanted and drive the results that he wanted. He had several, several methods by which he went about doing this. One of the ways was he used the governing authorities of the time. Another way was that he used brain washing techniques. Another way was that he used this music, but his ultimate tactic and his biggest tool that he used was that he used fear. His biggest instrument was using fear. I mean, if someone commanded you to do something or be burned alive, how many of you would be tempted to do it? I would be tempted to do it.
Richie Thornton: 08:43 And so, King Nebuchadnezzar, he set up this huge monument, gave a command to worship, and then he reinforced the command by saying those who do not will be thrown into the firing. This instilled fear in order to drive the results that he wanted. Here’s the thing, I believe that the enemy operates the same way today. I believe that the enemy uses the same tactics. He operates the same way. 1 Peter 5:8 it says, be alert and be of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Then in 2 Corinthians 2:11 it says, we are not ignorant or unaware of the devil schemes. In other words, we need to know how the devil operates. How does the devil operate? He will use the same fear tactics that Nebuchadnezzar used against the masses and he’ll try to use that against us.
Richie Thornton: 10:01 What I’m saying is, he’ll take this negative situation or this negative circumstance. He’ll blow it up and inflate it in our mind. He’ll make it seem like it’s insurmountable. He’ll make it seem like there’s no way out of this. There’s no way that you’re going to get through. Here’s the thing. He’ll begin to plague our minds with all the what if situations. you all know what I’m talking about? Man, what if, what if the money doesn’t come? How am I going to pay my bills? what if? What if I get a bad doctor report? What is that going to mean for my life? What if I get laid off? What is that going to do? He’ll begin to throw all these. What if situations and what could happen, and here’s the thing. If we begin to focus on those things, the cycle that begins to take root is one of fear, worry and anxiety. Come on. This is the same tactic that Nebuchadnezzar used.
Richie Thornton: 10:07 Here’s the thing, maybe you’re here this morning, you lost your job. Now you’re stressed out and you’re fearful and all you can think is, man, what if I don’t find anything? Is there any way out of this? Or maybe you’re here this morning, you’ve gone through a divorce or, or you’ve gone through a relationship that ended badly and now the devils throwing and all these what if situations into your mind. Well, what if your marriage never gets better? Well, what if you never find love again? Well, what if your heart never truly hears again and you begin to focus on that situation? Maybe you’re here this morning, you’re in a health or financial crisis and you’re scared to death because you’re like, man, what? How am I going to get out of this? And man, you’re just caught up in this mental cycle. How am I going to pay the bills? What am I going to do if I don’t get well and so on and so on?
Richie Thornton: 10:57 I know some of you may be in here this morning. You’re walking through that sort of situation right now, but I’m here to tell you at the end of this service, we’re going to have an opportunity to respond to Jesus and lay that down. I believe he can make a divine turnaround in your life. Do you all believe that? King Nebuchadnezzar commanded the people to bow down to the image and he used fear of being burned in the fire as a motivator.
Richie Thornton: 11:48 I’m here to shed a little bit of light this morning. I mean, is it okay if I tell truth and shame the devil and we pull the curtain back on his schemes and how he operates is that okay this morning? You see, here’s the thing. The devil wants to exercise control and dominion over you and me. The devil wants, he wants us to come into submission to his kingdom and his way of thinking. He wants us to bow down to our negative circumstances and situations and guess what he uses fear up here and right here to drive the results that he’s looking for. Is anyone walking in fear today? Is anyone walking in the situation, well, what if this doesn’t happen? How do we get through that? How do we get through that? Come on. We’re talking about how do we be fearless in the face of fire? I want to tell you something this morning that King Nebuchadnezzar, used a fear tactic. The devil, our enemy, the one who roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Guess what? He uses fear as a tactic. But can I tell you something? For the believer, there is a force and there’s something available that will trump fear each and every time. And that is faith. Somebody say faith right now.
Richie Thornton: 13:05 1 John 5:4 says this, for everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes present tense, the world. And this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world. Our continuing persistent faith in Jesus, the son of God. You see, I want you to know this this morning that you may be walking through a situation, a trial, a circumstance that seems bleak, like you don’t know how you’re going to get through it. But the Bible just told me that I’m victorious and I’ve already overcame through Christ Jesus. I’m not working for my victory. I’m working from it. And if we can get a hold of that, it’ll change everything this morning. So what is faith? What is faith? Hebrews 11 verse one the amplified says this. Now faith is the assurance. I love this, or the title deed, the confirmation of things hoped for, divinely guaranteed in the evidence of things not seen. The conviction of their reality. Faith comprehends us fact, what cannot be experienced by the physical senses. In other words, faith is this, it’s the confident expectation that, guess what? My God is going to do what he said he’s going to do. Faith is this, that man, I may not see the end result. I don’t know how God is going to do it. I don’t know how he’s going to get me through it. I don’t know what this thing is going to look like, but faith says, I know that my God has everything under control.
Richie Thornton: 14:34 Come on, that’s, that’s faith and he can turn it all around. I’m going to come out of this thing victorious in Christ Jesus. Anybody coming up against a big problem this morning? Does anyone feel like they’ve got that monument, that 90 foot monument standing in front of them? And then you’re going through this cycle. You’re playing just like, man. It’s forcing you to bow because you know what the consequences may be if the thing doesn’t work out. We’re going to discover how to break this thing this morning. Amen? When we’re in Christ, we have the title deed to all the promises of God. That means they belong to you and I. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, for as many as are the promises of God in Christ, they are all answered yes. So through him we all say amen to the glory of God. Somebody say amen this morning?
Richie Thornton: 15:37 What are some of the promises of God? Isaiah 41:10 we sang about this this morning, so do not fear for I am with you. Do you believe that this morning? Do you believe that no matter what you’re going through, that you’re not going through it alone? Do you believe that God’s right there with you? He says, don’t fear for I’m with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. I hope I’m speaking to somebody this morning. Psalm 23:4, even though I’ll walk through the darkest valley or the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. I don’t care what valley you’re walking through this morning. It may be dark, but come on. The light of the world is walking with you through it. 2 Timothy 1:7, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a power and of love and of a sound mind.
Richie Thornton: 16:27 What about Philippians 4:6-7, the new living translation? Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for what he’s already done. Then you experienced God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. You see, here’s the reality this morning, when we come up against that circumstance or that trial, that thing, that seems huge like we’re never going to get through it. We literally have two options. We can either bow at the foot of that problem, we can cower down in fear and worry and anxiety and man, what is going to happen? How am I going to get through this? And we can bow down at the foot of the problem or we can do what this scripture just said and say, I’m not going to bow at the foot of the problem. I’m going to bow at the foot of Jesus and begin to tell him what I need.
Richie Thornton: 17:20 God, I trust you. God, I know you’re the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. Lord, I know that you’re right in my story right now. I’ll know that no matter what I’m going through, you’re right here with me. Lord, I know that you’re going to make a way where there seems to be no way. Come on. When we began to do that, it’s an act of worship and there’s a promise that’s attached to it. When we begin to respond that way, he says, then the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Richie Thornton: 18:01 What are you walking through this morning? This is not in the notes for, let me ask you this. How has worry worked out for you? Why not try God’s way? I mean, I said I was going to say, I’ll try anything at least once, that can be dangerous. I won’t try anything once. I’ll try some things once and so, but why not try God’s way? Why not say, you know, I’m done worrying. I’m done stress and I’m done being filled with anxiety and you know what? I’m going to try God’s way. I’m going to bring these things to the feet of Jesus and exchange it for his peace and his clarity. Here’s the thing. I believe there’s someone in here this morning. There’s someone in here this morning you’ve been bowing at the foot of your problem. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what you’re coming up against, but I want to tell you, don’t you dare bow down to it. Don’t bow down to it. Jesus paid to have a price for us to bow down to those problems.
Richie Thornton: 19:34 Here’s what we’ve got to begin to do. We’ve got to begin to stir up our faith. We’ve got to begin to stir up the faith on the inside. Well, how do we do that? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. You need to be begin to get some of these promises, speak them over your life and speak them over your situation. Now, here’s the thing. I believe in Google, okay? I believe in Google. You can go and you can say promises of God and there’ll be a list this tall that prints out for you. You can do that. I believe there’s nothing like getting in this book and say, God, speak to me and speak to my situation.
Richie Thornton: 19:34 God, give me a ray, a word for you. God, speak into the heart of this situation right now. And as you read these pages, something’s going to jump off at you and God’s go site. That’s what I’ve got for you, and you begin to take that and apply it to your life and your situation. He’s going to speak to you. He’s going to root it in your heart and it doesn’t matter. Come hell or high water or what people say to you, they’re not going to shake you because you’ll say, my God’s already spoken to me and I’m claiming this over my situation. He’s faithful and just we’ve got to begin to stir it up. Stir up. I hope your faith is rising this morning.
Richie Thornton: 20:25 So, do you remember those three boys, I left in the furnace? We’re coming back to them. Whatever happened to them? King Nebuchadnezzar, he commanded all the people. As soon as you hear the sound, all the instruments playing, you must fall down and worship the image of gold. If you don’t do it, I’m going to throw you into the fiery furnace. Every one bowed. Can you imagine everyone bowing down around you, except for three people, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Daniel 3:8 says, some of the astrologers told the King, when the music plays, these boys, they don’t bow down and worship the image that you set up. Let me tell you something. When you begin to walk through your trial, your fire, your situation, but yet you’re walking in faith and you’ve got a word from God. There’s going to be some people that don’t understand it. Some people aren’t going to understand it just because you’re not bowing down to it. They’re going to say, man, how? How do you have the peace of God in this situation? Don’t you know what you’re coming up against? Yeah, but God already spoke to me.
Richie Thornton: 21:20 Come on. Here’s the thing. This news infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar, so he summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He questioned them. Is it true that when the music sounds, you won’t bow down to the image? They said, that’s true. He gave them one more option. He said, you bow right now or I’m going to throw you into the fiery furnace. I want to pick up in Daniel 3 verse 16, I love this. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, King Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it and he will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold that you have set up. Come on. What if you could declare to the enemy, you may be unleashing all hell against me, but I want you to know devil, I’m not going to bow to your image or this problem because I’ll only bow to my God at the feet of Jesus. Come on.
Richie Thornton: 22:25 Come on. That’s where we got to get, man. That’s what I want God to accomplish in the hearts this morning. That despite our circumstances, despite our situation, despite what he’s thrown us, despite how big our problem looks, that we say, you know what, my God is far able to deliver me, but even if he does not, I’m not going to bow to this thing. I’m not going to bow. I’m not going to waiver in my faith. I refuse to bow down to the devil schemes because I only bow at the feet of Jesus. That’s the heart I want to get this morning.
Richie Thornton: 23:08 Many of you know how this thing ends. The King was so furious. He had the furnace heated seven times hotter, say that’s hot. He had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego thrown into the fire. The Bible records this, that the fire was so hot and so intense that it literally burned alive and killed the guards that threw them in. I love verse 24 then King Nebuchadnezzar, he limped to his feet in amazement, asked his advisors, weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? They replied, certainly your majesty. He said, yeah, but look, I see four men walking around in the fire, Unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like the son of God. I’m telling you, God wants to release your bonds this morning. He wants to break the chains of fear and anxiety and depression in your life. This morning. He wants to break it. Nebuchadnezzar approached the opening of the blazing furnace. He shouted, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the most high God come out here.
Richie Thornton: 23:58 So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they came out of the fire. Skip to verse 28 then Nebuchadnezzar said this, the same guy who threw them in the fire praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who has sent his angel and rescued his servants. Now, many scholars, they read this story and they believe that the fourth man who in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was actually Jesus himself. This is something that we call a Christophany in theology. What does mean? That’s where Jesus appears to people outside of the gospels. That is where it gets weird. I don’t even know all of it, but that’s what it was. So they believe that it was Jesus.
Richie Thornton: 24:47 And so let me tell you something this morning. I would love to stand up here and tell you that, Hey, when you come to Jesus, guess what? All your problems are going to drift away in the sweet bye and bye. I believe a lot of people have been fed that and guess what? It’s a lie. And it sets a whole lot of people up for failure. I wish that I could say you’re never going to go through anything again. Jesus himself said, in John 16:33 I’ve told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart or be of good cheer because I have overcome the world. I want to tell you this, that in this story, God could have intervened at any time. God could’ve intervened at any time, but guess what? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they still got thrown into the furnace and God saved them from the furnace. What does that mean? You and I are going to go through the fire. Sometimes we are going to go through the fire, but here’s the thing. God says you’re never going to go through it alone. I’m going to go through it with you. We’re never going to go through the fire alone.
Richie Thornton: 25:55 What do we do in those trying times? What do we do when God allows us to go to the fire instead of bowing at the foot of the problem. It’s my prayer this morning that we would learn to bow at the feet of Jesus and say, you know what? I’m not going to give one more ounce of stress and fear and anxiety to this problem. I’m about to pour it out on the feet of Jesus. I’m about to worship on the feet of Jesus. If we begin to stir our faith and remind ourselves of his promises, if we can focus on Jesus and not the problem, then guess what? We can be fearless in the face of any fire. Can we begin to practice that this morning? Here’s what I want you to get out of this this morning. That his promises are yes and amen. And no matter what you’re going through this morning, he’s going to provide an answer. He’s going to provide an answer. He’s got the power to remove the problem, or he’s got the grace to get you through the problem, but he’s going to provide an answer. Do you believe that this morning? As we submit to him, I love this. He displays his glory in us for all the world to see.
Richie Thornton: 27:11 We’re about to go into a time of prayer, but before we do, I want to, I want to tell you not a story but a testimony. There’s a girl that I know many of you know her in here. She’s on Facebook. Her story is on Facebook. I won’t tell you her name. But you wouldn’t have to do much research to find out, but she’s a young mother who’s battling cancer. And it’s so amazing to look at this young woman who’s fighting cancer that has two babies. One of them just now born and look and it’s like she’s unshaken it. I mean, it’s like, man, how do you walk through that? How do you walk through that and still bow at the feet of Jesus? How man, I hope I never have to walk through that. I hope you never have to, but guess what? We’re all going to go through a fire. What is it? I think she’s learned the secret of this, that she’s learned to tell her big problem, Hey, guess what? My God’s bigger, my God’s bigger. I’m not going to bow to the foot of this thing. I’ll only bow at the feet of Jesus.
Richie Thornton: 28:08 What are you walking through this morning? Would you make a declaration and say, you know what? I’m not going to bow to your schemes, devil. I’m not going to bow to this problem. I’m going to bring it and lay it at the foot of Jesus. Can we make a declaration to do that this morning? Come on. Maybe you’re going through a financial situation and you need God to come through for you. maybe it’s your job. You feel like there’s no way out. You’ve been plagued with the what ifs. Maybe you’ve been controlled by fear and anxiety and anxious and you’re like, I’m done. I want to break the cycle this morning. We have an invitation to cast our cares upon him.
Richie Thornton: 29:04 Maybe it’s your marriage, maybe its finances. Maybe it’s a health situation. What’s the giant that’s coming up against you this morning? Don’t bow to it. Bow at the feet of Jesus. Maybe you’re in here and God’s speaking to you. He said, I want you to join the church and guess what? Maybe there’s a fear of commitment in some of your lives. You’re like, that’s why I’m not joining. Maybe you need to break that this morning. Maybe you need to give your life to the Lord and confess him as Lord and savior. Asked him to forgive you of all your sins. Maybe you need to join a small group or a serve team. Whatever it is, I pray that you would do it this morning. Will you rise with me? Will you stand with me as we go to the Lord in prayer.
Richie Thornton: 29:49 Lord, I thank you for your goodness. I thank you that your greater. Lord do your work this morning. Break the cycle of fear and worry and anxiety. Do your work. We know, Lord, that your promises are yes and amen. You’re either going to remove the problem or give us grace to go through the fire. Give us grace to go through the problem. Lord, we take heart in this, that we will never go through it alone. Lord, I pray that whatever you’re calling these people to do this morning, I pray that you would give them the grace and empower them to do it in Jesus name. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.