I love it when God goes to church. I’ve been to church when God wasn’t there. It’s dry and lifeless and nothing God-sized ever happens. When God isn’t at church it then falls to man to bring it, and by bring it, I mean to produce an experience that comes as close as it possibly can to one that looks like God attended.
Some of us have been attending church so long without God that we have forgotten what it looks like when He does show up. I know, I’ve been to that church. I’ve been a part of churches where God was never even invited to come, or even expected, really. Some of the best-orchestrated services one can imagine, and still… all without God.
So. My question today is… Did God show up at your church service today? How about last week? Last week was Easter, surely He came then, right?
Sometimes even well meaning ministers or lay people can have a great idea, decide to put that idea into action, and only then ask God to bless their endeavors. We want God to come be a part of what we are doing. Sometimes He just says no. I’ve been in that spot myself. You see, that’s God following us, and that’s backwards.
I love being a part of a church now that rarely, if ever, has a weekend where God doesn’t show up in a big way. Last Sunday over three thousand people decided to follow Jesus at the church where I attend. That’s big. Like Pentacost big. We saw many of those people be baptized today. It was spontaneous. Oh, the staff had made arrangements for anyone who wanted to do it… down to providing them with clothes to be baptized in, a towel, hair drier…. even… dry undies! Still, this was not a thing that had been broadcast in advance. The people who did it didn’t come planning to do it, but God showed up, and they followed Him. Hundreds of them followed Him in baptism. Hope. Of. The. World.
God wants to be inside the prison facilities in Alabama. So our church has followed Him there. Now the Bibb County Correctional Facility has a church service every week facilitated by the staff and volunteers of church I attend. The service has over two hundred in regular attendance weekly. Very soon, we will follow God into all the correctional facilities in Alabama. That’s where God is going, and we are happy to follow Him. This will not increase our church membership, or our church coffers, but it will increase the Kingdom. The local church is the hope of the world.
God is saying that the church is not only for America. So we have followed Him to China to help educate 3000 pastors there. Did you know China even had 3000 pastors? I didn’t. Even in communist China, the local church is still the hope of the world. You get it, yes?
So I’ll ask my question again. Did God show up at your church today? How can you tell? Did anything happen today that only God could have pulled off? If not today, how about last month? Last year? …Ever?
Lots of churches are busy. Many of them have scads of programs to offer. But busy-ness doesn’t mean that God is in attendance. Does the church exist for itself or for the furtherance of the Kingdom? Is the church following after God or asking God to follow after it?
When God shows up at church, it’s people feel alive and energized. When God is not there, a church can suck the life out of its people. It has to. Without God there supplying the life, it must get it from somewhere.
I’m sorry if it seems that I am bragging a bit on my church. I’m not really. I’m bragging on God. I am blessed to be a part of a church with leadership that sees the value in following God rather than leading Him, and that still believes that the hope we have is still worth sharing. Do you have similar stories to share of your church? What is God doing there that only He could do? Do you feel energized and rejuvenated when you go? Did God go to your church today? Is your church still the hope of the world?