COG 6: When to Celebrate God
There are obvious times — like Christmas and Easter — where it makes sense to celebrate God, but what are God’s expectations? Join AMBrewster as he steps through the six basic times for adoring God.
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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If you’re new to the show, I welcome you and recommend you listen to all of our introductory episodes so that you can better appreciate and use the Celebration of God resource. Over the past few episodes we’ve been laying an important groundwork for our understanding of praise, adoration, worship, and celebration.
Most of the information we’ve discussed up until now has been big-picture stuff, but today we start unpacking the details that make the Celebration of God unique.
Again, if you’re just joining us, the Year Long Celebration of God is a discipleship tool that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians and their families to know, believe, and celebrate God all year long.
This is all about discipleship. It’s about growing in our sanctification. It’s about family worship. It’s about knowing and loving God. And it’s about helping others do the same.
My name is Aaron, I’m the president of Truth.Love.Parent. and the creator of The Celebration of God, and I invite you to follow me on Parler, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram if you’d be interested in getting to know me a little bit more. I’d love to connect with you there.
I also want to invite you to check out CelebrationOfGod.com for a growing collection of resources including episode notes and transcripts of our shows.
Our topic today is “When to Celebrate God.” If you’re uncertain what we mean by “celebrate God,” you should check out our previous episodes because I think we’ve done a good job unpacking a biblical understanding of celebration.
So far we’ve learned . . .
1. Celebrating God and worshipping God are identical ideas.
2. We should celebrate God with holidays and feasts, but He must also be celebrated in silence and normalcy.
This involves not only the pomp and circumstance of our celebration, but it also involves whether or not we’re celebrating with other people.
We didn’t previously specify this in particular, but when it comes to celebrating Christas and Easter and Thanksgiving, we generally do it with other people. In fact, until recently, that’s what most of us imagined when we heard the word “celebration.”
But — as we learned last time — God also desires for us to celebrate Him when we’re by ourselves. We’re to set aside our habitual, fleshly choices and worship Him through obedience. In that way, our individual celebration is just as precious to Him as our corporate worship on Easter Sunday.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that large corporate celebrations only please Him to the degree that the individuals are pleasing Him in their personal celebration.
So, whether you’re participating in the Celebration of God for yourself or you’re hoping to lead your family or small group or congregation in it, remember that God will only be glorified in your worship of Him when you — personally — celebrate Him in a way that pleases Him.
The same goes for your kids, accountability partners, and fellow church members. They won’t be able to rest on yours or anyone else's celebration . . . they will be responsible to God for their own worship.
So, celebrating God and worshipping God are identical ideas, and we should celebrate God with corporate holidays and feasts, but He must also be celebrated in personal moments of normalcy.
And here is where we transition into some exciting specifics for the Celebration of God resource.
3. We should celebrate God within all the rhythms He created.
When you study any facet of creation, you will quickly discover that the cosmos, the world, and everything within them has natural rhythms.
For example, let’s consider just your physical body. You have circadian rhythms, diurnal rhythms, ultradian rhythms, and infradian rhythms. And there are other who would argue you have many more biological rhythms at work in your cells this very moment. These biological rhythms are all tied to the fact that we’re finite beings that were created to exist within time.
You see, God is omnipotent and omnipresent. He exists outside of time, and one of the things that makes Him God is that He has the ability to experience every moment of time at the exact same time without being overwhelmed. In fact, we can say that God can give His full attention to an infinite number of people during an infinite number of times all at the same time. Needless to say, humans beings can’t do that.
Even the Christian’s glorified body in the eternal state will still experience the passage of time. We can only experience one moment at a time, so it makes all the sense in the world that God created us to be tied to the seconds and minutes and hours and days in which we exist.
Now, this podcast is not designed to focus on health and wellness per se, but we’re going to have to discuss topics like this if we’re going to celebrate God when we’re eating or drinking or sleeping or working or whatever we’re doing.
For example, it’s interesting to note that when mankind fights these created rhythms, bad things happen. Did you know that Chernobyl and the Three Mile Island accidents both occurred during third shift? And the vast majority of single driver accidents happen after nightfall and before dawn.
So, yes, the Celebration of God is going to discuss rest, sleep, food, work, night and day, bodily rhythms and anything and everything that will affect our ability to celebrate God any moment of any day.
I hope you’re seeing that this program is far more than just a discussion of our major Christian holidays.
Of course, I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. That’s the last thing I want. We’re going to ease into the Celebration of God slowly the exact same way I’d encourage you to introduce it to your congregation, counselees, family, and friends. Let’s take it one step at a time.
Any time we introduce a change in our thinking — a paradigm-shift as it were — it’s good to lay the important groundwork so we’re all on the same page and so that no one feels overwhelmed or afraid that they have to jettison all their old traditions for brand new ideas.
No, this podcast is dedicated to helping each of us better know, understand, and love God. As we learn something new about Him and work to understand it, that Truth should cause us to adore Him more and more. And as we believe His Word, it will be easy to trust Him even when it means maturing in our faith and potentially changing the way we do things. That’s it. Little by little.
So, if we’re going to truly participate in a Year Long Celebration of God, then we’re going to have to learn how to worship Him within all the rhythm’s He’s created.
So, for the sake of painting with a broad brush today, let’s consider some of them most basic and applicable rhythms on which the Celebration of God will focus heavily.
First, we have the Daily Rhythm.
From the very beginning of created time, God designed for the world and everything on it to function off a 24 hour period of rotating dark and light.
These daily rhythms include both our sleeping and waking hours, and the Celebration of God is going to teach us how to glorify Him in our days regardless of whether they’re the highlight celebration of the year or as normal as a Tuesday in March.
This includes our major holidays, church services, personal Bible study, work, school, playing with friends . . . everything happens during the course of a day.
Second, we have the Weekly Rhythm.
I know, this is groundbreaking stuff.
But as we discussed before, the seven day cycle of working and resting was instituted, blessed, and sanctified by God Himself during the very first week of time.
God decided that our days would join together — not in a never ending string of individual units but as a rotating collection of seven day increments. And — within those weeks — God has specific ways He wants us worshipping Him.
The Celebration of God curriculum — if you can call it that — is going to help us better appreciate the unique nature of the seven-day cycle, and help us understand from the Scriptures the intricacies God built into the week that He wants us to use to celebrate Him.
And I bet you all know where I’m going from here.
That’s right . . .
Third, God created the Monthly Rhythm.
Now, this can actually get a little confusing. We can’t get into all of it now, but I’m really looking forward to studying this with you more in the future.
For now, I’ll tell you that the first time the word “month” shows up in the Bible is Genesis 7:11 where God tells us about the universal flood.
The first time the word “month” is used outside of Genesis is in Exodus 12. Here God is instituting the Jew’s “beginning of months.”
So, we know that God ordained for days to be collected into weeks which would then be collected into months. And there’s a lot of interesting information on this subject, like pre-flood timetables versus post-flood timetables, lunar months, solar months, the seeming insanity of the Jewish calendar to the mind of someone who grew up using the Gregorian calendar, so on and so forth. But does it really matter when a month starts or how many days are in it?
Well, it does matter because God has always wanted His people observing certain monthly celebrations. These distinctions in time are not useful human creations in order to codify our existence. God created and subsequently taught man to understand and use the daily, weekly, and monthly rhythm’s He hardwired into creation. It’s in the movement of the celestial bodies, it’s even in the movement of our very cells.
It’s really cool. As we move through the Celebration of God material, we will take time to look at the scientific and historical information. In fact, episode 10 is going to be a short primer in understanding biblical calendars and times so that when we read the Bible we can better appreciate the rhythms God is unfolding to us.
But if talking about science and history doesn’t excite you — take heart — most of our study is going to come from the Bible, which I pray is very important to you.
My point here is that in Genesis 1:14, on the fourth day of Creation God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.” God created the calendar, He created timekeeping, and He did so for very important reasons.
So . . . God created us to function in days, weeks, months, and . . . that’s right, you thought I was going to say years . . . but you’re forgetting one thing God just mentioned in Genesis 1:14.
Forth, God collects the months into Seasonal Rhythms.
Most Christians are familiar with the King James rendering of the passage that starts in Ecclesiastes 3, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
The Hebrew word translated “season” in that passage refers to an appointed time and has been translated everything from “time” to “year” to “season” to “continually” to “circumstances.”
The word translated “season” in Genesis 1:14 is a different word that refers to an appointed time that is fixed and regular and definite.
Still, whether we’re talking about the four seasons or a season of peace, our modern understanding of the word is accurate.
The Celebration of God has four main seasons that correspond to the four meteorological seasons. The first full season we’ll be observing — starting in 2020 — begins on September 1st and runs through November 30th. It’s commonly known as Autumn or Fall, but in the Celebration of God it’s also know as the Season of Mercy.
I look forward to explaining all of that in an upcoming episode.
So, God created days and weeks and months and seasons that all fit together to create years.
Fifth, God ordained the Annual Rhythms.
When an event is celebrated once a year, it’s really significant. That one celebration occurs only on one specific day of one week during one month and one season . . . once a year. That makes it unique and worthy of special attention when that day comes around.
It’s a silly example, but I’ve noticed that there’s something we all do every day, multiple times a day, that’s very important, but that no one every discusses with their friends. When was the last time you talked to someone — other than a dentist — about brushing your teeth. No doubt you have a favorite brand of toothbrush and toothpaste, no doubt you do it religiously, and yet we never talk about it in normal conversation.
I think there are many reasons for that, but one of them is the fact that we rarely spend too much time talking about things that we do every day, multiple times a day. But things we only do once a month or once a year or once every couple years . . . those hold a different level of importance in our minds . . . but is it really more special?
So, you can expect that The Celebration of God podcast is going to discuss that phenomenon — and we’re going to do that in just a minute, but we need to look at final point first . . .
Sixth, God expects us to worship Him with Septennial Rhythms.
In preparation for next year’s Celebration of God — I know, we haven’t even started this one yet, and here we are talking about our next one — anyway, in preparation for next year’s Celebration of God we’re going to take some time to really appreciate the biblical significance of the seventh year.
Now, I want to remind you — especially if you missed episode 3 — I am not saying that modern Christians are responsible for observing all of the Old Testament feasts and celebrations. I do not believe God expects His church to do all the same things He expects from His chosen people, the Israelites.
But I do believe that every word of every book of the Bible is instructive and necessary for God’s people. That means that — that if nothing else — we have things to learn, and if God went through all that trouble to talk about the significant rhythms He built into the very fabric of the cosmos, then we’re definitely going to have to grapple with those ideas as we participate in our own Year Long Celebration of God.
Now, I have one last observation about the day, week, month, season, year, seven year segments of time and bushing our teeth.
Like I mentioned, the yearly observances are significantly more involved than the daily expectations . . . but if we go back to our very first points, we’ll see that just because the event is “bigger” doesn’t mean it’s intrinsically “better.”
God commands our worship every day in every way. We are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Him for the miraculous blessing He's bestowed on us when He saved us.
And God commands that we celebrate Him to the best of our ability in the big, corporate festivals and feasts as we do in the small, private acts devotion where we reverence His will above our own.
So, whatever it is you’re doing right now — it needs to please Him just as much as a septennial celebration of the year of Jubilee.
Easter is no more important than any other Sunday of the year. Saturday is no more important than Monday. The scarcity or the normalcy of the celebration doesn’t make it special . . . the fact that we’re celebrating God makes it special.
So, this episode posted on a Friday. God wants us to celebrate Him just as deeply and just as obediently today as He does during the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as He inaugurates the eternal state.
Please allow me to paraphrase I Corinthians 10:31, Whether, then, you work every Thursday or celebrate Easter in church one Sunday of the year, do all to the glory of God.
They’re equally important. God deserves worship and adoration and praise during both events. Yes, they’ll look different. Yes, some will be simpler than others, others will be more involved, but they’re just as important.
I can’t justify eating to my own honor and glory on Wednesday just because I went to church on Sunday. No. God has an expectation for my worship on both days . . . even though that worship may look different.
You see, that’s how the Celebration of God will help each of us know and love God better. It will use the Scriptures to help us see that there is no distinction between the secular and the sacred. From God’s perspective, His celebration started in eternity past and has continued every moment of every day since He created the world, and will continue into eternity future . . . and He is gracious enough to invite us to join it with Him.
The Year Long Celebration of God will help us all live in the reality and rhythms that God created — all to His honor and glory and blessing.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets and join us next time as we talk about the Purpose of Celebration. Yes, it’s how we worship God — that’s very important — but He designed it to accomplish so much more.
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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.