Did you go to church yesterday? Was it good? Did you feel like you had met with God and been encouraged, challenged and transformed?
I guess that most of us aren’t going to church today. Do we feel like we can still meet with God and be encouraged, challenged and transformed?
I hope so, but if this is true then,
Why do some Christians have wildly different expectations of God depending on whether it is a Sunday or a Monday morning?
Why do some Christians have wildly different expectations of God depending on whether they are in a church building or just living their everyday lives?
The beginning of our service at Orchard yesterday was amazing and as we sang it felt like we were connecting directly with God. Our worship was for God but as we connected with him we had a powerful and a meaningful encounter that affected me.
Does God need a group of talented musicians in order to get us to a place where we can encounter him?
Does God need a special worshipful atmosphere in order to connect with us effectively?
If you think that the answer to either of these questions is yes, then your god isn’t very powerful or creative!
Moses was at work looking after a flock of sheep when he saw a bush that was on fire but that was not burning up. As he went to have a look he met with God. (Exodus 4)
Peter was at home and it was getting close to lunchtime. He decided to take some time to pray and he met with God. (Acts 10)
Paul was asleep and he had a dream where God spoke to him. (Acts 16)
Gideon was terrified and was hiding but God spoke to him and changed everything. (Judges 6)
John was in prison. On the Island of Patmos where he was the prisoners were sentenced to hard labour. John was in a tough place, a place that must have felt like Hell on Earth but in this desperate situation he met with Jesus. John’s circumstances didn’t change but his attitude and perspective did. (Revelation 1)
God was at work in all of these situations where there had been no singing or other Christians to encourage one another.
God appeared and God changed things and he is still doing this today!
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is something special that can happen when Christians gather to worship and God can be present in a special way as we meet with him together. I believe that God is at work when we meet on a Sunday morning but I believe just as passionately that he is at work wherever we are on a Monday morning.
God may be just as much at work but are we open to his leading?
Are we ready for what he wants to do?
Do we expect God to move in power or are we just trying to make it through to the next Sunday?
Is our spiritual life and health dependant on a once a week worship experience or do we encounter God throughout the week?
We all know that God can act regardless of what we are thinking and doing but there can be a mysterious link between our expectation and faith and God moving in power.
Jesus sometimes said ‘your faith has healed you’.
James said in his letter ‘you do not have because you do not ask God’.
I see this as being a potential problem. God can clearly act without us (even when there is no faith) but he really longs for us to have the faith in him and to call on him to work through and around us.
God wants to be at work in our lives today!
Will we expect him to be and will we call on him to fill us with his power and presence?
Will we try in the ordinariness of our lives today to be open to God’s guidance and leading?
Will we pray that the people who we encounter today would have an encounter with God.
One last thought for you. Were Jesus’ miracles mainly seen
- In religious gatherings?
- When he was alone with his disciples?
- When he was out in the real world surrounded by people who weren’t following him yet?
Jesus said that God is constantly at work. Do we agree with Jesus and will we be open to working with God today?
God is for life, not just for Sundays!
So look at this picture again. In which of these pictures is God’s presence found? Is your answer different to when you started reading this?
Thank you for the thought. Or I should say “… for the reminder”!
I’ve been a follower of Jesus for over 35 years now, and I NEED reminding of this, especially as I’ve become a grumpy old man who just sits and picks holes in the service now, and thinks that a man like me who is tired of the old songs and wants fresh ones since he’s the adventurous type, and who’s able to change his theology a bit as he grows, and truly sees all the inherent problems in what is ‘accepted’ in evangelicalism as ‘the truth’, and blogs about it constantly, and was never saved in a church anyway, and is trying to write a book on contentment and how to find it, but is still being subjected to VERY discontenting things in order to learn this lesson so that he can share it effectively, and is now a worship coordinator who has to realise that worship is the only ministry where EVERYONE has an opinion on what you’re doing…. aaaand breathe!
This is something I am reminding myself of as I type, and finding your post on godinterest while I was scrolling to see just how far down mine has gone by now, was meant to happen. Praise God. I’ve blown the dust off a book I read a LONG time ago – the classic ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ by Brother Lawrence – and I should read it soon, and find God again in everything I do, and blow out those cobwebs of cynicism and mistrust that old churchgoers like me get a bit too much of.
Even as a very young Christian, I met up with some girls my friends and I got chatting to on a CB radio (yes!) and went to their church, where I realised I had yet to be baptised and went forth and did so. The service was very uplifting, but when we left, one of the girls said “oh that was SOOO good, I can’t wait until next week for the next service!” with a sullen look on her face as if the week ahead was going to be cruel to her until then. Even then I thought ‘church attendance should not be like a drug that we rely on for an injection of ‘holy goodness’ but should be a healthy recharge for our batteries that will last us for as long as we need!’ I suppose since I had survived a whole year and grown as a believer without going near a church, I knew myself that ‘meeting together’ is only ONE way of encountering God in our lives. After that year, I knew I needed to find fellowship, but it was not the most vital part of my walk. I despair of those who attend 4 or 5 services a week and look down their noses at SMOs (Sunday Morning Only) but miss the point that such attendance doesn’t necessarily mean that THEY are getting any closer with God. For many it’s just a routine (and for me it feels like that tbh).
Thank you again. Grace be with you.
Reblogged this on Honest about my faith and commented:
God really is for life, not just for Sundays!
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