Did you worship God this Christmas? How do you know? What does it look like to worship God on December 25th? Today AMBrewster provides a helpful way to do a worship checkup as well as explains why it’s so important.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a family resource from Truth.Love.Parent., a ministry dedicated to rooting families in God and maturing families for God so they can harvest blessings from God.
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Click "Read More" for today’s Episode Notes and Transcript.
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If you celebrate the civil New Year, then I wish you a happy one! If you celebrate your New Year at some other time . . . well, then I’ll wait.
Either way, regardless of whether this is the beginning of your year or not, God is good, and He is to be celebrated every day of every year.
And so we continue our Year Long Celebration of God by doing another worship checkup. We’ve successfully navigated Advent and Christmas, so we need to ask ourselves how well we actually did.
But before that, will you please take this opportunity to rate and review The Celebration of God podcast? It’s extremely helpful and encouraging when you do. Your review makes it easier for others to find and join us in our journey to give God the preeminence that He deserves.
Also, today’s episode notes and transcript are available at CelebrationOfGod.com on our blog for which I’ll include a link in the description. And it’s accessible on the Christmas page at CelebrationOfGod.com as well.
So, it’s the New Year, how did you do celebrating God in December of last year?
First, why is this important?
Those of you who have been with the show for a while understand the value of this, but for audience members who have recently joined us, our checkup episodes are important for one main reason. Allow me to explain by using myself as an example.
By the grace of God, I’m not who I used to be. Most of you probably wouldn’t have liked the teenage version of me, and maybe not even the 20-something version of me — though my elementary-self was pretty darn cute.
But that’s what sanctification is all about. God the Holy Spirit is working in me to change my personality and character so that it’s more conformed to the image of Christ.
But here’s what I’ve found. God wants us to be intentional, but the problem with immaturity is that the time before, during, and after sin is generally anything and everything other than intentional.
Sure, we often sin in premeditated, purposeful ways, but I’ve found that the bulk of our sin is the result of wafting through life without giving the conscious thought to God that we should.
So, let’s say that I’m just feeling my way through life, doing what feels comfortable to me. That right there is already sinful. I’m not living by faith. I’m not being wise or discerning. I’m not redeeming the time. I’m not living in the reality of God. I’m doing what I’m doing for no other reason than I want to. And that’s called idolatry.
But let’s say that it goes from noble idolatry to clearly sinful behavior. Let’s say that I snap at my kids. Well, that’s obviously a sin. No one has a problem identifying that.
But, what happens after the sin?
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will convict us, and we’ll actually go to our kids to confess and ask forgiveness. That’s wonderful! But far too often we just keep moving on in an idolatrous haze of instinctual living — constantly moving toward that which pleases us the most.
But let’s say that I really want to change. I don’t want to just apologize to my kids again, I really want to stop the insanity.
First, what do I mean by insanity? Well Einstein is attributed with saying that doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. So, I think to myself, how many times have I snapped at my kids and then asked them to forgive me? What’s the frequency? Why do I keep doing the same thing over and over with no change.
If I realize that I snap at my kids consistently once a week, then whatever I’m doing to fix the problem isn’t really working. I’m sinning in the same way with the same frequency; I’m not maturing, I’m not growing in my sanctification in that particular area.
So what do I do now?
Well, now allow me to stop using me as an example.
I work with a lot of families. As a biblical counselor, it’s my job to help repentant people make the kind of change we’re discussing. That’s the definition of biblical counseling!
So, one of the tools I use is much like an after-action-review. In an attempt to help the parents or spouses or whoever else break the cycle of their sin habit, we sit down and evaluate the situation. We honestly look at it through biblical eyes so that we can see it the way God does. Then we pick apart the external fruit and the internal fruit. We even drive down to the root of the issue, and we often start there.
But we also implement external, more superficial changes as well. For example, if a father always seems to snap at his kids when returning from work, we need to short-circuit that sinful response. We need to do something different.
We may implement any number of internal and external changes. A man who regularly snaps at his kids when returning home from work doesn’t understand who God is, who he himself is, and doesn’t understand how God expects him to live in light of those realities. He needs to come face to face with God in Scripture. He needs to beg God for forgiveness and strength.
The point is, we’re doing something different. We identified the problem, were honest about how we’re addressing the problem, and then we seek for change and maturity.
Now, what does this have to do with Christmas and worshipping God?
Well, I think we can all agree how easy it is to mindlessly waft through our holidays. We’ve been observing them for decades. We know how they work. We know what’s expected of us. But when its said and done we probably ended up worshipping ourselves more over the holidays than we should have.
But if we don’t stop and really address the problem, we’re likely going to continue the same pattern year after year.
That’s why these checkups were designed. Sure, they may seem a little laborious, but they are so incredibly important. If I work through the checklist and I either can’t check off much of anything, or I have to fudge some answers or outright lie to myself to check most of them off . . . then I am unveiling a very real spiritual problem in my life.
And that’s the goal. We want to be intentionally honest with spiritual maturity as the goal. That’s a big part of discipleship.
So the checklist provides both a litmus test for how I did in the past as well as a goal for how I can do next time. It forces me to be intentional and premeditated with myself and my disciplees — whether that be my kids, congregants, students, friends, or coworkers.
Now, today’ checkup episode is already a little different than previous. I don’t intend to work through the list every single time, but it is important discuss the importance of the items on the list.
And today I want to talk about why the two main parts of the Checkup are so vital for believers.
The first half of the list — which you can find in today’s show notes or on the Christmas page — is specifically about your interaction with The Celebration of God podcast and resources.
Now, that might not sound that important. Millions of believers have lived and died and glorified God without The Celebration of God discipleship experience. And that’s true.
But the Bible says there’s wisdom in a multitude of counselors. The Scriptures encourage us to live and interact with other believers for accountability, strengthening, teaching, rebuke, edification, admonishment, help, prayer, and so many other things.
And that’s exactly what The Celebration of God is designed to accomplish. This isn’t just a podcast about discipleship. If you engage with the content and put it into practice in your life, you are actually being discipled. You’re growing in your relationship with the Lord. The Celebration of God experience starts first with your personal discipleship.
From there is equips you — during that discipleship process — to help others be discipled in a similar way you were.
Interacting with the first half of the Christmas Checkup will only help you and others on your journey of following Christ.
But, it’s the second half of the list that’s absolutely, completely, and totally necessary for all believers.
The second half of the list are all things that God expects from us. If we’re not doing those things, we’re not really worshipping Him. If we’re not worshipping Him, we’re worshipping self. And that’s idolatry.
I know that many people won’t do the checkup, but I believe those who take it seriously will be the ones who spiritual mature faster than the rest.
By the way, I don’t make these resources just for you. Honestly, I make them for me and my family, and you guys are invited to participate. I’m not just modeling for you how this works, I’m focused very closely on my own sanctification.
So, yes, I do the checkup every time. I recognize where I failed to worship God, I reevaluate, and I make a plan to do better, not just next year, but tomorrow.
Download the checkup from CelebrationOfGod.com. Follow the link in the description. Use it. File it in your Celebration of God folder so you can review it next year, and be intentional about your walk with Christ.
Next week we’re going to have the second part of our “Celebrating God at Church” series, and then we’re going to prepare to worship God on Valentine’s Day.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.