Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pastors of His Presence

In Exodus 33 we see a relentless pleading by Moses for God's presence. He cries out to God, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth"(vs. 15-16)?

The distinguishing mark of a church should be the manifest presence of God in the midst of His people! The only way the world can distinguish us from themselves is when God's presence is manifested among us. What is it that church planters and missionaries bring to a community? It is not flashy programs, although they are important. But as good as we are, we can’t compete with the billions of dollars spent by the entertainment industry, the community leagues, and activities. It is not simply more information about God – we are far educated beyond the level of our obedience. It is not mere inspiration – people are inspired by watching athletes like Lance Armstrong or skaters in the Olympics. No, what we have to offer that is unique – and only the Body of Christ can do this – is the presence of the Holy One of Israel.

There is no other organization or governmental program that can take people into the presence of God. It is our responsibility.I believe what people expect from us is not simply friendship – although that is significant. They don’t even expect us to be the best philosopher – they get that as a freshman in college. They expect us to be men and women of God – people that represent Christ.

Visiting the sick in the hospitals is always a humbling experience for me. It is in this setting that I become very much aware of inadequate explanations. The words I had to offer are sometimes pitiful and helpless. But that is not why people wanted me there in the first place – they wanted someone that would represent the presence of the comforter.People in our pews, chairs, seats, whatever,,...need the one who speaks, to have come from the Holy place. It’s the Spirit of God that draws people to Jesus – not slick presentations.

We are men and women of God first. Lord, do not let me go anywhere without Your presence.

May I nurture the presence of God in my life and the people I serve.


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