Coming out of a very familar passage, Acts 16:25-29, Elder Joshua M. Washington blessed and challenged our congregation on Sunday, November 21, 2010.
Here are his sermon’s highlights:
– When you carry God’s Word, you cannot be afraid.
- What spirit do you carry in you?
– We have to learn to recognize a person’s spirit.
- Speak to the spirit, not the person.
– If you’ve never encountered the Devil in your ministry, you might need to check if you’re within God’s will.
– How can you use your mouth for gossip, but not for praise?
– When praise is a habit, your surrounding won’t affect it (who’s next to you, where you are, etc)!
- “If you knew my story, you’d understand my glory!”
- Our praise is not predicated by what we go through. Habitual praisers go hard, regardless!
– Praisers have more favor.
– Do I have the courage to praise God when I’m going through hardship?
– We should grow to the point of praising because we’re praisers, regardless of what’s going on or how things are going.
– Your praise should be so awesome that the things binding you become the same things that release you.
– Our praise ought to be so effective and powerful that our enemies forget they hate us and become interested and desire a relationship with God like ours.
The concept of effective and powerful praise seems simple to some, but to me it is challenging. Just a couple months ago, in our Young Adult Sunday School class, I told our young adults that God desires intelligent praise and then my sister and I had a conversation about her pastor’s discussion of 2 Cor and in his sermon, he repeated this same idea, God wants intelligent praise. It is not His desire that we throw ourselves around aimlessly with no result in mind. It is not His desire that we repeat “hand-me down praise”. You the things we heard our parents and grandparents say as they worshipped that mean nothing to us like “You didn’t have to do it but you did, Lawd. You didn’t let my bed become my cooling board. You kept me in a right mind…”. While some of their testimonies may have become ours, our praise should be a reflection of our relationship with God, not our family’s relationships. Powerful praise in unadulterated, pure, and sincere. This would require coming to church with the purpose of praising, not waiting for the musicians or the praise team to get you there, not praying God puts you there during altar call, not waiting for your pastor’s hoop to get you there, but having the spirit and purpose of praise before you even enter His house! Effective praise achieves a goal. You should leave a worship service feeling lighter or filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with peace, clarity and understanding. However, too many of us get caught in the happy feelings of others who aren’t going through what we’re going through. It’s nice to rejoice and feel pain for our brothers and sisters, but we should be praising God for who He is and who we need Him to be for us. I love the idea of intelligent praise. It is impossible to worship God for who He is without knowing Him and it is impossible to know Him without knowledge of Him. How can you forfeit Bible Study, Sunday School, and personal devotion, but wanna be the first to lead worship or lead a song? We need to grow to the point that study and worship just make sense together. I pray this reflection challenges you to learn more about God and that, as a result of what you discover about his amazing being, you begin to develop the most incredible habit ever: the habit of praise!