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God's Powerful Presence

As we bask in the afterglow of our Easter celebrations, many of us are already looking ahead to summer and fall. We might be deeply engrossed in planning Vacation Bible School, preparing for mission trips, or anticipating family vacations.


In the midst of our busy schedules and meticulous planning, there's a vital responsibility that we must not overlook: guiding those in our care into the personal presence of God. For those of us who have encountered God's presence in a powerful way in the past, there's a deep yearning for Him to move in our lives and our churches once again.


I've been blessed with moments where God's presence was tangibly felt, both personally and within our congregation. I've witnessed His Spirit stir hearts, seen lives transformed, and watched as hundreds embraced salvation and baptism. I've been part of movements where God's hand was unmistakably at work. And in the quieter seasons, I've heard His gentle whisper, urging me to confess, to trust, to speak boldly, or sometimes to simply be still. Oh, how I long for His powerful presence to fill every day of my life!


These experiences weren't the result of my own intellect or organizational skills. In fact, those things can sometimes get in the way. No, these were moments when God graciously chose to reveal Himself, reminding us that He is always near, waiting to be sought after and experienced anew.


Unfortunately, I am often willing to settle for normal, no-spirit, no-power, no-presence living. I am not willing to work, sacrifice, humble myself, and take the time and effort to see the Lord in my everyday life. This could be one of our biggest issues in the Church in the West today. Schaeffer wrote this:

"The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us [nor, I would add today, postmodernism or materialistic consumerism or visceral sensualism or whatever]. All these are dangerous but not the primary threat.

The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord's work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them."     Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People (Wheaton, 2003), page 66.


If we truly want to make a difference in the world, and especially in our communities, we need the presence of Almighty God. We need His Spirit to empower, guide, and influence "the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts," and the actions of our hands and feet.


I invite you to join me on this journey as I seek to experience the Lord's presence in every mundane and profound moment of my life. Here are a few ways we can embark on this journey together:


  1. Summer Cohort: I have selected three books to review this summer. If you're interested, I will organize meetings for us to discuss these books. Please let me know if you would like to participate.

  2. Scripture Chart: I have found a chart highlighting the presence of God in the Scriptures. I believe it will be a valuable resource for our journey.

  3. Summary: I have provided a summary of one of the books we'll read this summer, which includes practical action points for all of us.


Let's walk together on this path. My heart's desire is to see Christ exalted and God glorified in North Georgia. I long to be part of God's work in saving sinners, sanctifying saints, encouraging congregations, and starting new churches. What are you willing to do to experience the manifest presence of God in your daily life and ministry?

 

In His service,

RJB



BOOKS FOR THE SUMMER:

 

The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence. Classic from centuries ago. Good word for modern people.   See summary at the end of this article.  https://tinyurl.com/3ewpzau8

 

The Presence Centered Church, Bill Elliff. Practical Approach for the church to go into the presence of God together.  https://tinyurl.com/y3s7atp8

 

God’s Relational Presence, Duvall & Hays. Academic, comprehensive treatment of the presence of God in the Bible.  https://tinyurl.com/kwnceajd

 


7 Dimensions of God’s Presence

Seven Dimensions of Presence

Scripture References

Capsule Summary

God’s omnipresence filling every square inch of the universe eternally.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Ps. 139:7).

Christ everywhere

Old Testament manifestations of God’s presence at altars and in the cloud at Sinai, the tabernacle, and the temple.

“I am going to come to you in a dense cloud” (Ex. 19:9).

“So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels” (Ex. 40:38).

“Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud” (2 Chron. 5:13).

Christ in special places

Christ being physically, temporally present in the incarnation.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).

Christ on earth

Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father’s throne, from his ascension to the present.

“He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Heb. 1:3).

Christ above us

God’s Spirit indwelling believers from after his ascension to the present.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

Christ within us

Christ being spiritually present in worship assemblies and at the Lord’s table.

“When you are assembled … and the power of our Lord Jesus is present” (1 Cor. 5:4).

Christ among us

God’s direct, eternal presence in the new heaven and earth.

“God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).

Christ with us

 Paul E. Engle, When God Draws Near: Exploring Worship from Seven Summits (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2019), 168–169. 

 

 

SUMMARY OF THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD, BY BROTHER LAWRENCE. (ChatGPT)


"Practicing the Presence of God" is a compilation of letters, conversations, and reflections from Brother Lawrence, a 17th-century Carmelite monk. The central theme of the book is the practice of being aware of and living in the presence of God at all times, not just during formal prayer or worship.

Brother Lawrence describes his own spiritual journey and how he came to understand that one can live in constant communion with God by simply doing everything, no matter how mundane, with a heart focused on Him. He emphasizes that this practice leads to a profound inner peace and joy, transforming even the most routine tasks into acts of love and devotion.

Suggestions for “Practicing the Presence of God” Today:

  1. Mindfulness: Begin by cultivating an awareness of God's presence in your everyday activities. Whether you're washing dishes, driving, or working, remind yourself that God is with you.

  2. Intentional Prayer: Set aside specific times for prayer, but also practice "short prayers" throughout the day. This can be as simple as whispering, "Lord, I love you" or "God, help me" in the midst of your activities.

  3. Gratitude: Cultivate a habit of thankfulness. Take a few moments each day to reflect on the blessings in your life and thank God for them.

  4. Scripture: Incorporate reading Scripture into your daily routine. Even a few verses can remind you of God's promises and presence.

  5. Silence: Spend time in silence each day, even if it's just a few minutes. Use this time to quiet your mind and listen for God's gentle whisper.

  6. Service: See your interactions with others as opportunities to serve God. Treat everyone you meet as if you were serving Christ Himself.

  7. Reflection: At the end of each day, reflect on the moments you felt God's presence and the times you might have forgotten Him. Use this reflection to deepen your practice.

By integrating these practices into your daily life, you can cultivate a deeper awareness of and relationship with God, following the example set by Brother Lawrence.

 

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