Love the Lord your God & serve only Him!

Tonight at the New Wine Ireland Summer Conference in Sligo, Steve Morris encouraged people to serve God whole-heartedly and lay down any idols that stand in the way of that.  Here's a summary of his message brought to you by VOX magazine.

I’m going to talk about the story of God’s people and then I’m going to talk about my story and then about your story!

I came across a prayer and I pray it every Monday morning.  The prayer captured me:  It was a note found written in the office of a pastor in Zimbabwe.  He wrote this prayer the day before he knew he was likely to be martyred.  He pinned it to the wall of his office.  Read it here.

Constantly in the story of God, the people got caught up with idols.  The second commandment says, “You shall have no other gods before me…”

Why would we have the arrogance to think that we would not get caught up in idol worship when down through the ages, God’s people have worshipped idols.

The root of all sin is the belief that God is not good so we rely on other things.  The essence of sin is disordered love.  Our hearts only have room for one devotion, we can only cleave to one Lord.We are told time and time again to flee from idolatry. 

We were made to worship and if we do not worship God, we will find something else to worship.

Solomon had everything… money, sex and power.  He had them all in abundance but the result was that his heart turned away from God.  If you don’t believe me, believe the richest man in history… going after money is like “chasing the wind” - it is all meaningless. 

Look at the people who have money, sex and power and ask how happy they actually are.  Those who seemingly have everything are miserable. 

What is turning your heart away from God?  What runs the risk of appearing better than God?  What pulls you away? 

My idol became a three-bedroomed house - it wasn't bad in itself.  But there is only one “o” between good and god.  Some things are good but too easily they can become “god”. 

In South Africa, I was confronted by a young 14 year old girl who had been sold my her auntie into sex slavery.  She had been sold to man after man for two years.  I heard her story and I can see her face.  She sat in a meeting and said, “I never knew the love of God until you told me about Jesus Christ.” 

I told my wife, “We need to something about these children.  It is not okay that kids are been taken into slavery.  It is not okay that they don’t get a good education.  It is not okay that they don’t have clean water.”

I heard that £40,000 would pay for a new secondary school for the township.  And I said, “somebody” needs to do something about this. I thought God would cause some "rich" person to give the money.  Then as I was walking home one day God asked, “Is your bank account in?” I had to tell my wife, I had committed all our savings to this project.  We drew a line under the balance and said, “That money is committed to the poor.”

Later I had to preach (unexpectedly) at New Wine in the UK and people started putting money on the stage.  Come lunchtime there was £30,400.  That day a businessman committed £5,000. 

I phoned South Africa to tell them and they cried their eyes out.  Someone had prophesied the day before that all the money would be raised!  They realised we were nearly there!

The way to defeat the idol of money is to be generous.

Don't play around with numbers and percentages.  Say to God 100% of this is yours and ask Him to tell you what to spend. We don’t get legalistic about it but we give with joy.  Give your money away and you’ll be glad.

We’re moving to South Africa to live by faith and work in the townships because we are believing in God to transform that place.  We must not give in to bowing down to idols.  As to me and my wife, we will serve the Lord.  

He deserves our worship, our adoration and praise, 100%.  He deserves everything you’ve got our bank account.  Can we not give ourselves to Jesus and see Him transform this nation?  Why should we just see worship here?  Is God not big enough to do that in every town and city of Ireland?  Of course He can transform this nation but what it will take is for us to be wholly and completely focused on Him.

I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed!  The best way to defeat these idols is to worship Jesus and put Him back on the throne!