Friday, January 17, 2014

The Inventor of Awesome

Take a moment to notice how often we use superlative words like "awesome" "amazing" and "epic" in everyday language.  "That movie was awesome."  "This steak is amazing."  Could it be that we are so lacking in transcendent experiences that we have to take ordinary things and make them seem "epic?"  If a meal or an amusement is "awesome," what would we think if we truly encountered God? 
We think too small.  That’s certainly true in the way we think about God.  I could cite any number of little anecdotes or statistics, but let me just say this: I think we all know that church attendance in our nation is lower than it has ever been.  But I think even a great percentage of those who come to church do so for the wrong reasons.  They come, hoping that sitting through an hour’s worth of religion will cause God to be impressed with them.  That way, He might overlook some of the selfish stuff we’ve done this past week.  And He might choose to protect our loved ones, ensure that our next doctor’s appointment goes well, give us a little advantage at work and in our bottom line.  Let me just say it clearly: God is not impressed with our church attendance.  You don’t get any extra credit for singing the songs, listening to my sermon, or even for contributing to the offering (I hope you still come anyway!).  We have such a transactional relationship with God.  In our minds, He’s like a small-time gangster in the old neighborhood; pay Him a little tribute, and He’ll take care of you…or at least, there will be one less thing to worry about.  Or, to use a less offensive illustration, He’s like taking vitamins.  No one can really tell that it’s doing any good, but they say it’s worth it, so we keep on popping those one-a-days, just in case it helps a little.  Our theology is cheating us out of so much.  God watches us practice our version of Christianity, and I imagine He wants to say, “Do you really think that’s all there is to knowing me?”        
That's why this year at Westbury, we're seeking to know God better than ever before.  I am preaching all year on the attributes of God.  We’re studying His holiness currently.  A big part of God’s holiness is His majesty and greatness.  We need to see how incredibly awesome God is.  In fact, He’s really the only thing in the universe that deserves an adjective like awesome.  He invented awesome.  Isaiah 40 is one of the great chapters in all of Scripture for reminding us how awesome He is.  When this was written, God knew that His people, the Jews, were discouraged.  They felt abandoned by God, and they felt like their lives were worthless.  So right there in v. 9, He gives the order: Say to the people of Judah, here is your God!  This Sunday, we'll discover what makes God so awesome. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For more on the subject from a slightly different perspective, check out Jan 17 post at