|Tree, in my back yard|
(I develop ideas like this in my new book Leading the Presence-Driven Church.)
It's a Sunday evening, and I am thinking about the beautiful time of worship we had at Redeemer this morning. It was beautiful because of the felt presence of God. Near the end of the worship time, our worship leader, Holly, asked "How many of you are experiencing God's presence this morning?" Many raised their hands. Me, too.
This is what Church is all about; viz., God and his unsurpassable presence.
The one thing we want our people to be saying, as we gather together, is: Surely the Lord is in this place. Without that, we're just another entertainment center striving hard to keep the people happy.
Sadly, most American churches leave one wondering where, if at all, is God in all of the programming? This observation is confirmed by Gordon-Conwell theologian John Jefferson Davis, who writes:
"I believe that the problem of the loss of the awareness of the presence of the Holy God and the risen Christ as the central reality of worship is present to some degree in most evangelical churches today, whether charismatic or noncharismatic." (Davis, Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence, Kindle Locations 2474-2475)
"The fundamental issue is the recovery of the centrality and reality of God in the worship and life of the evangelical church generally: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead; Jesus is still alive today, and is present here with us in the power of the Spirit to enjoy communion with his people.
It is the recovery-each and every Sunday morning-of the consciousness of this fundamental fact, without which the New Testament church would not have been born, and without which there would have been no new, continuing religion called Christianity.
This is the reality for which I am contending." (Ib., Kindle Locations 94-97; emphasis mine.)
BTW, for those of you who like A.W. Tozer - he was contending for this, too.
And, Jesus was contending for this as well. That is why he says, e.g., the Temple is going to fall. Once, God's presence was there. No longer, when Jesus comes on the scene.