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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tim Morrison

Hollow Worship

So I know many of you order things online. It's become such a nice convenient way to do things. A few years ago I had ordered a book. To be honest it was one of the last Harry Potter books. Yes I am one of those Harry Potter fanatics. Though I don’t get into dressing up an living it out, my kids will tell you that if I’m flipping through the channels and I find any of the Harry Potter movies on… then it's over, that is what we will be watching. And… while I would love my children to share my passion I believe it has turned them off. ANYHOW… so I had ordered the book right? There was a specific day it was supposed to arrive at my house so I could hide away for hours devouring the pages and discovering the latest adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione. So they day came and finally the box arrived. As the mailman was handing me the box he looked at me weird and just turned and left. I thought that was odd, but as I held the box I too began to have an odd expression. It was far too lightweight. As I opened the package I found that there was nothing inside except a bookmark and tissue paper. I was upset to say the very least. Amazon was quick to recover and make it right, but still…

The thing is that when we worship we offer our gifts to God. The songs we sing, the sermons we preach, the acts of service we do… are they just empty gifts or do we really mean what we say, sing and do? All too often we are offering God Hollow Worship and I believe this is one thing that Jesus would undo!

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Matt 15:1-2

The Pharisees were obsessed ceremonial cleanliness. They believed that before someone could be eligible to worship they had to be ceremonially clean.

For Devout Jews—Two categories: Clean/Unclean. So what constituted someone who was not clean? Touching certain Animals—Food—Things could make you unclean. Unclean is contagious—Transferable. So those with Skin disease, those who had any Bodily discharge, touching a Dead body or Pig or Mouse. Even if a Mouse touched a cup then You drank out of the cup, you were Unclean because basically the mouse Touched you through the cup—Unclean.

So to get clean there was an Elaborate ceremony. There was a minimum amount of water—Quarter of a log—Fill 1 ½ egg shell. You then poured the water on both hands—Fingers pointed upward. Water must run off wrists downward. Then you Rub hands. Now a Strict Jew not only did this before meal but between courses.

Jesus then Unleashes on these Pharisees—”You aren’t treating people right”—Obsessing over externals. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain…’ ” Matt 15:7-8

So WWJUndo? Hollow, Empty, Vain Worship. Praising God externally when our Hearts far from truly praising him. Showing up on Sundays just because, instead of showing up because we come to give the praise and glory to God.

The thing is, we have Confused worship: We think it is about Style, Environment (Reverent/Rowdy) or Song selection.

Here’s the thing...I grew up Methodist and that meant we sang a lot of Hymns. But from a very early age on Sunday evenings we would always attend worship at a charismatic church where there was Raising hands - Speaking in Tongues—Shouting—Dancing—Ribbons. So Which is right? Both or neither?

Here’s the truth: Worship isn’t about the style of music—Condition of your heart.

The first time I was introduced to contemporary worship in a Methodist setting I was in 8th grade and I was so moved by the worship that it was transforming to me. However, I came back and asked if we could do some of those worship songs in our church and there was a resounding no. Why?? Because those songs don’t belong in church I was told. It's these experiences that have lead us to believe that worship is about the music style or the environment, but it isn’t.

Worship isn’t about the style of music—Condition of your heart. You see Christianity is not a hobby. It is not an interest. It is Not just a part of our lives. Christ is life! Worship isn’t limited to the songs we sing— Worship is the Life we live!


Sometimes we bow in reverence.

Psalmist said…6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Ps 95

When we Kneel in reverent submission—We are saying “You are holy!” One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, both those headed for heaven and those who are not. The angels and the demons, and even the prince of Darkness… they will all bow and recognize that Christ is Lord.

This is one of the reasons that we would like to extend the worship platform in this sanctuary. Doing so would allow us to provide a kneeling rail for communion and for regular prayer in our services.

Sometimes we lift our hands in adoration.

People get all strange about this. The thing is, it's Not a weird thing— it's a Bible thing—Paul (lift holy hands to God). The first Sunday I was here at the praise service I lifted my hands in worship and it was so funny to see the praise team’s faces… they were like… uh oh… we got one of those pastors! Listen to what David says… 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Ps 63:4 Lifting hands is a Sign of: Surrender and Victory.

Sometimes we dance in celebration.

3 Let them praise his name with dancing. Ps 149:3, If I told one of my kids they were getting a new iPhone they would dance around the room. If that certain someone Asks you on a Date you might dance around the room. If the Browns actually won a game I would be dancing around the room… heck I was dancing last week!

David said you turned my mourning into dancing!

No idea who I’m talking to today… But Someone has been here knows about dancing in praise of God. You know about being Set free! Healed! Forgiven. You have dance before God!

Sometimes we worship with a sacrifice of praise.

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise… Hebrews 13:15

We worship him when we feel him—Worship him when we don’t. We worship when we are joyful—When we are sad. Our worship isn’t based on our circumstances—His character.

Daily, we lay down our lives as an act of worship.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

Worship isn’t just the songs we sing—Worship is the Life we live.


Who is God?

Our Rock, our Redeemer, Righteousness.

God is our Deliverer, our Defense.

Our Strength, our Shield, our Salvation.

He is the Bread of life—Living water.

He is the Good Shepherd—True vine—Way, Truth and Life.

Light of the world—Lamb of God—Lion of Judah.

He is All powerful—All knowing—Ever present.

He is the Alpha—Omega—Beginning and end.




25 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise…27 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling… 29 Give to the Lord the

glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor…

31 …Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” 32 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever…36 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the Lord. 1 Chron 16:25f

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