Friday, April 13, 2018

Expect to Experience God's Presence (The Presence-Driven Church)

Redeemer sanctuary, inhabited by God's presence

Tim Curry and I are now doing most of the preaching at Redeemer. Before we preach, we spend many hours studying the relevant biblical texts, writing down things God gives us to say, and praying through the whole thing multiple times.

This coming Sunday I am up. I'm giving part two of a teaching I'm calling "Breaking Free From Entitlement to Join God on His Mission." Today I'm heading off with my sermon notes, reading them and praying them. When God speaks to me, I'll write it down.

When I do this I always sense God's presence. It will happen today. Sensing God's presence is normal, something I expect, more than ever.

Sensing God's presence on Sunday mornings is our church's normal. As it should be. Dallas Willard writes:

"Beyond simple faith in God’s omnipresence, we sometimes have a vague but powerful sense, feeling or impression of God’s presence. We need considerable experience in order to learn how to accurately recognize this and assess the meanings of such impressions. Yet a sense of God’s presence is frequently verified through the judgment of several individual members of the group. Different people simultaneously sense that certain things are to be done— that God is here and is moving in that direction. 

This corporate sensing is a well-known phenomenon. Experienced ministers and laypersons frequently find they have synchronized their activities unerringly in a meeting or other form of service through their sense of God’s presence and what God intends for the particular occasion. It is something they come to expect and to rely upon." (Willard, Hearing God Through the Year: A 365-Day Devotional, p. 56). 

Jesus did not say,

Where two or three gather together in my name
I am with them in theory.

My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church.

I'm working on:

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation