(To my church family, and you, too.)
I wish I was with you as I share this next part of being a disciple. For it would be better to be in your presence, than apart.
Linda and I love gathering with you on Sundays. To see you, to speak with many of you, to hear your voices as we worship together – how beautiful this is to us! Better is a Sunday morning in the house of the Lord than a thousand mornings elsewhere!
My Jesus-following life began in 1970, when I heard God tell me, “John, I love you.” Let me repeat: I heard this. It astonished me! I would never make something like this up. I felt God close to me, like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Good-bye, religion. Welcome, relationship.
This began what has become a love affair with God, in His presence. As one of Jesus’s disciples, He has made it clear to me that He is with me. And, that He will never abandon me.
I understand “He is with me” to mean, I am in His presence. (How weird to have someone be with you, and not with you at the same time.) My Teacher has taught me that all that is of value and worth is found in His presence.
Soon I will be seventy-five years old. I feel the things of this world dropping off me as my desire for His presence increases.
To know Him. In experience.
To experience God, knowing and searching me out.
The reason the psalmist declares “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere” is because of the earth-shattering, loving, presence of God in the Temple.
I resonate with the plea of Moses in Exodus 33 – “Lord, if Your presence does not go with us, we’re not going!”
This is the disciple’s distinctive: the presence of God.
My dear brothers and sisters, I want you to exist for His presence.
I desire nothing more than to be in the Lord’s presence.
I sense God-with-me several times each day.
Because I dwell in God’s presence, I am an empowered person.
Sometimes the presence of God overwhelms me.
I’m not making a move without being in His presence! (You can read more on God's presence in my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church.)
(From my book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship.)