SSS#1. What is Glory?

The Secret Sunday Service #1
August 27th 2016.

Welcome to the Secret Sunday Service. Kind of like church you can attend in your pajamas. Grab a cup of coffee and a donut. Let’s get started!

~~~Announcements~~~

~ Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

~ For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

~ Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

~~~Worship~~~

Play ‘You Got a Friend’ by Carol King (James Taylor’s version is good too) and hear Jesus speaking to you.

~~~Message~~~

What good is Glory?

God seems to make a big deal about glory. The Bible is shot through with mentions of God’s Glory, people giving glory to God, things that do or do not glorify Him and so on. What is the big deal? Why is glory so important? Then what is the point?

Think about it. What is glory good for? Well, what would you do with it? Think of the last time you achieved some recognition for something. What did you do? Probably strutted around like a peacock with your feathers in the air crowing at anyone too slow to get away. That’s what I would do. Why not? That’s what man’s glory is good for. When you get a moment of glory it separates you from the crowd and makes you shine amongst your peers. You can show off and trash talk and brag until everyone around you wants to kill you.

I live in LA, the entertainment capital of the world. Hollywood is notorious for lavishing awards on itself. Oscars, Golden Globes, People’s Choice, Emmys, it goes on and on until you throw up. Some receive these honors with grace and gratitude. Others take these moments of personal glory and use them to step on the faces of their rivals to get ahead. When was the last time anyone gave you a televised award for doing your job? Yeah, that’s what I thought. In regular life, it’s hard to get anyone to recognize your achievements. Everyone is preoccupied with themselves. If you do manage to get someone to squirt out a little glory in your direction, you take that trophy and you put it up on the mantle for everyone to see. And polish it every night.

It is different with God. God has no peers to show off to. God has no one to judge His performance. He has no equal. God has no rival. The devil is not His rival. Some people think the devil is the equal opposite of God. Ridiculous! The devil is just another balloon animal God made for this party we call life. Believe me, no one in heaven is uninformed about God’s place at the dinner table. Nothing even exists that God didn’t make. He is simply incomparable. So then, why does He require Glory? What does He do with it?

When my car breaks down and I need a good mechanic I go to Yelp. I look for a shop that has lots of reviews and lots of stars (like Joe Alio’s Integrity Auto in La Habra). Those Yelp stars are glory. Shops with few stars and reviews (probably mothers or girlfriends) have no glory and are not worth wasting a mouse click on. In time of need, you go with a shop that has a reliable reputation (glory). This is just what God does with glory. He uses it to attract broken down people who need a good life mechanic. In fact, He is the Inventor, the Chief Engineer, the Factory and the Dealer, all rolled into One. In short, He is definitely qualified to work on your trainwreck. God will tell you straight up what He will and will not do, but He doesn’t really brag on Himself, he lets satisfied customers do the talking. (Now, that’s framing what He does for mankind in the lightest possible way. The reality is gravely critical. The difference between Heaven and Hell). Ask a Christian what God has meant to them. He must have a bazillion stars on Yelp by now.

Is God so insecure that He must be showered in glory constantly? No, God does not use glory to inflate His ego. There’s no point in that. Glory is for our sake, not His. God uses glory to attract the attention of people who are lost, beat up and in desperate need of rescue. When you give a favorable ‘review’ to God for something He did in your life, that gives Him glory. He takes that glory and immediately uses it to attract someone else so they can experience His love and power, who in turn, will give Him glory and so on and so on. All that Glory feeds the flame of a giant lighthouse set in the midst of the stormy seas of humanity. It has stood there for all of history and will until the end of time. It is a beacon to navigate by. It points the way to safe refuge.

When the church gathers together on Sunday to worship with song, what is really happening there? Are we brown nosing God to curry favors? Are we sucking up to the biggest bully on the block? Of course not. We have experienced Him. We love Him. We know for a fact that He is the only hope there is in this life. We know He is the source of everything good and that He loves us. Yet those songs and shouts of praise are not what glorifies God. He appreciates our opinion of Him, but just as anyone can write a bogus review on Yelp, anyone can spout off compliments to God for various reasons. What really glorifies God is what He has done in our lives when we surrendered to Him. If you haven’t had God working in your life, why would anyone believe your opinion about Him? Unless He has done something in your life, you don’t really have any glory to give Him, regardless of your opinion about Him. Worship can be proactive but most often it is in response to something He has done in us. Our worship services are in fact, an invitation to the lost to look closely into our lives and see what God has done. If there is nothing there that shows God’s glory we come off like a con man. If they find something real that it is glorifying to God, they might feel inspired to surrender to God themselves.

I have never been excited about the prospect of standing before the Throne of God singing praises to Him for all eternity. Seems like that would get boring for God and us after a while. Then I had a revelation. The eternal worship spoken about in the Bible isn’t so much about us singing something before God, it’s about us being something before God. We are the Worship, the Work, His Work. And the Work will speak for itself. That is what will shout Glory to God for all time. We’re going to be busy doing our Father’s will but His Glory will never stop broadcasting from us. (Now, what God will use that Glory for, on that side of eternity, is another question, but it portends great things).

Now I acknowledge some have had a bitter experience with God or His church. They would have nothing but bad reviews to share. If that’s you, I’m truly sorry. Usually these sour experiences have more to do with people that they do with God. Nevertheless, I encourage you to have a frank and bare knuckle conversation with Him. He’s a big boy and can take whatever you have to dish out. You might get some understanding. You might get your perspective reset. The fact is, Jesus saves. He has redeemed countless wrecked lives. It’s what He does best. You can rely upon this, if you invite Him into your situation, He will change it for the good. See? I just gave God glory, not for His sake, but for your sake.

Surrender your life to God. Let him make something glorious out of it. Live your life in a way that depends on God, that experiences God. Then you will have something to say. Then you will become a beacon of His light on the stormy seas of this life. His Glory will shine through you. Someone who lost their way will see it and be saved.

John 12:32- “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

That’s all for today. Drop a comment if you want. Message me if you want to keep it private. I really care about this and I’m praying that this makes a difference. Better yet, go out there and be the difference. See you next Sunday!

Chris Jon Lawler

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