Welcome to part three of our message series called Come to Worship. So far we have talked about lifting up our hands in worship, we’ve talked about bringing our gifts, and today I want to talk about something that maybe you’ve never thought of as a form of worship, but as we look at pouring out our hearts to God you will see that it is not only an act of worship but it will connect your soul intimately with God. So we’re not just talking about worshiping with our mind but worshiping from the very depth of our souls.
Today I want to give you the opportunity to pour out your heart. If you’re in the middle of a hard time, I encourage you to pour out your heart, to cry out to God, because he cares for you. And so we’re going to look at several different passages from God’s Word and see how pouring out our hearts is an act of worship. And so first, let’s look at Psalm 142, written by Israel’s King David when he was experiencing a low point in his life. Let’s read verses two, three, and five.
“I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way… I cry to you, O Lord; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living" (Psalms 142:2-3, 5).
David said, “I pour out my complaint.” He’s not saying, “God you’re awesome.” He’s saying, “God, my life is unbearable” and he pours out his complaint before God. He cries out, telling him his troubles, and then he says, “You are my refuge.”
Now the word refuge, is very meaningful in the Old Testament, because there were cities of refuge in David’s time where if you accidentally killed someone and your life was in danger from a family member taking revenge, you could go to one of these cities of refuge, to find safety, and protection. So it is a very powerful description of God to say he is my refuge.
Again in Psalm 62, David says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalms 62:8).
So David says again and again, “God is our refuge.” As a matter of fact, 44 times in the Psalms you find the word refuge. And so you can call out to God, pour out your heart to God, because he is your safe place. He is your refuge and he loves when you cry out to him, when you pour out your heart to him, because he wants to hear from you, he loves when you seek him, when you need him, and he can handle the tough stuff as you pour out your heart to him. As we consider pouring out our hearts in worship there are a couple things to remember.
First as you pour out your heart, remember God’s faithfulness.
As you cry out to him, remember God’s faithfulness in the past. As a matter of fact, let’s look at Psalm 42 for a moment, because this Psalm was written by the sons of Korah. If you remember, Korah was a Levite who led a rebellion against Moses in Numbers chapter 16. If you’re familiar with the story you know that he was killed, but in spite of his poor leadership example, his sons remained faithful to God, and continued later to serve in the temple. Now I don’t know whether this Psalm was written reflecting on the tragedy of losing their father or not, but obviously the writer was at a low point in his life.
Let’s read together at verse three, “My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God…” (Psalms 42:3-6).
Now I wonder, how many of you ever felt like that, where you would say, "My tears have been my food day and night." In other words, you cry yourself to sleep, you’re hurting, and you feel all alone. You’re serving God, your tears are your food, and people ask you, “Where is your God?” And so you find yourself wondering, “Why is all this happening in my life?” You know, “Where is your God?”
When you are at that point, walking through the valley, verse four is key. He says, “These things I remember as I pour out my soul.” These things I remember in this pain. These things I remember as I cry out to God. And he reflects upon going to the house of God in worship; and as he does he reminds himself, you know, it’s like he’s preaching to himself, and he says, "Put your hope in God for yet I will praise Him, my Savior and my God."
So when you’re crying out to God, you’ve got to recall the faithfulness of God and put your hope in God. This morning, we’re going to give you opportunity to cry out, to pour out your heart, and to say, “I don’t understand, this doesn’t make sense, why aren’t you doing what I think you should or could? Where are you God?” And as you remember God’s faithfulness in the past you find encouragement, because you see that he’s always been there for you. In fact, Jeremiah in Lamentations chapter 3, he pours out his heart, just complaining of the pain and the grief. For 20 verses, he lays it all out there and we have permission to do this before our God. You see, God can handle it, and he knows it all already anyway.
Some of you, may be wondering why God isn’t doing what you want in your marriage? Maybe financially you’re a wreck? Maybe you’re pouring out your heart to God for your children? Whatever it is, you don’t understand, but you just cry out to God, and that’s exactly what Jeremiah did. Listen to what he says in verse 19.
He says, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:19-23).
And so, in the middle of pouring out his heart before God, in the middle of his brokenness, he remembers God’s faithfulness in the past. “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope” he says. He’s complaining to God, he’s talking about God, and then he says, "Great is your faithfulness." And just like that, sometimes we just need to get lost in the presence of God as we cry out to him. We need to think back and remember what he’s brought us through to remember his faithfulness. To think back when you called on him and he forgave you the debt of your sin. To remember when God answered that prayer and there was no way that it could’ve been anything but God, because it was so miraculous. Jeremiah says, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope… Great is your faithfulness!”
So whenever I’m hurting and I don’t understand, I pour out my heart to God and I remember the faithfulness of God. That’s the first thing as we pour out our hearts in worship. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. And the second thing as you’re pouring out your heart in worship is trust in God’s great power.
As you pour out your heart to God, trust in God's power for your future. In Psalm 102, the psalmist was in distress, physically at the lowest point imaginable, and some of you have been there. You understand what the psalmist was going through as from the very depths of his soul he poured out his heart to God.
In verse one he says, “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly… Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones… I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. All day long my enemies taunt me…” (Psalm 102:1-2, 5, 7-8). Then in verse 12, he says three words that absolutely change everything, and these three words just may be the three words that you need to hear today. The psalmist said, “My life is falling apart, my body’s falling apart, and I don’t understand. I cry out for help, I am all alone, and my enemies taunt me… but three little words in verse 12,
“But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations… He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; and he will not despise their plea” (Psalm 102:12, 17).
This morning some of you are about to have a “But you Lord” moment. You’re going to pour out your heart, you’re going to complain, and honestly, you’re just going to let her rip from the depths of your soul because you don’t understand. And so you keep crying out to God until you encounter his faithfulness. With the psalmist you say, “But you Lord.” And from the depths of your pain you cry out to God and he responds to your prayer in faithfulness. Great is his faithfulness. You remember God’s faithfulness in the past and you trust in God’s great power for your future.
But maybe today, you recognize that you haven’t experienced God’s faithfulness in the past. Maybe you recognize that you don’t have a personal relationship with God where you can cry out to him and talk to him as your Heavenly Father. But you need to know that God loves you and he wants to hear from you. This is God’s greatest desire and it’s why he sent his son Jesus Christ to be born in the flesh, born without sin, living a perfect life, dying on a cross and rising again, so that anyone who calls on his name would be forgiven, transformed, and filled with the Spirit of God and that we could know God personally.
Maybe this morning you are like me. You see, I was raised in a church, I knew about God, but I didn’t know him. And some of you this morning recognize it’s time to pour out your heart and tell God I need you. I’m sorry. Forgive me. I want you in my life and I surrender my life to you. If that’s you, if you would say yes, “I need his forgiveness, I need his grace, and today by faith I’m asking him to save me and to be the Lord of my life. If that’s you, if that’s the cry of your heart, would you respond to God right now?
The psalmist said, “I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way… I cry to you, O Lord; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living" (Psalms 142:2-3, 5). Today, as you’re crying out, pouring out your heart to God, at some point you push through the pain, the difficulty, the whatever, to the point of praise. You don’t understand it, you don’t like it, you wish it were some other way, but you breakthrough saying, “But you Lord” are still in charge, you’re still on the throne, your plans are still in place to bless your people, to prosper them, and not to harm them, but to give them a hope and a future.
“But you Lord,” are working in all things to bring about good to those who love you and are called according to your purpose.
“But you Lord,” will never leave me and you’ll never forsake me.
So, you push through the pain to the point of praise. Some of you have lost someone and the pain is so deep. Some of you your finances are messed up. Some of you have medical issues. Some of you are hurt and rejected. Whatever it is for you just name it and push through the pain to the place of praise.
But you Lord are my provider… you Lord are my healer… you Lord are my comfort… and your name, the name of Jesus is above every name. You Lord have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. And so at some point in your pleading, your crying out, pouring out your heart to God, at some point, because you know God, you stop pleading and you start praising. Suddenly in the middle of your groaning you realize who you’re talking to and how much he cares.
Psalm 34 reminds us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalms 34:18). So suddenly your cries for help turn to praise because he is good and he is worthy of all praise. He is worthy and you push through the pain to the point of praise and suddenly you’ll find yourself worshiping him. You don’t know how it’s going to work out, you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you know that he is always good and so you thank him ahead of time, because he is faithful.
Suddenly out of your pain you find the ability to worship, not because your life feels good right now, but because God is always good. You push through the pain to the point of praise, pouring your heart out to God, knowing he can handle it, and remembering his goodness. Knowing that when you do, God has always been faithful in the past, he is good in the present, and therefore you can trust him with your future. As we close in worship I want you to take this time to cry out, to pour out your heart, because our God is worthy.
I want to take a moment and pray for those of you who are in the middle of a very difficult time. If right now your cry to God is one from a place of pain, questions, confusion, disappointment, anger, fear, or whatever the case may be, and you need special prayer today, I want to pray that you’ll be able to push through that pain and see the faithfulness of God. That he would do whatever it takes to bring you to the point of trusting him. Let’s stand together as we close in worship. And I want to invite you forward if you are crying out to God in the middle of a difficult time, in that place of pain, or disappointment. Whatever it is that you are going through and crying out to God for, pouring out your heart, as we close in worship come forward to pray. Let’s pour out our hearts to God together!
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
December 13, 2015