Friday, May 4, 2012

Awe in the Conversation

“How does a simple church gathering bring about a sense of awe of God?”

I’ve had the above question posed to me in different ways a number of times. Some folks ask it as a sort of objection, while others inquire out of straightforward curiosity. Either way, it is a valid question.

Before answering the question, I’d like to point out that it normally presupposes that some sort of ceremony is needed/is best for creating a sense of awe among the people. If this is assumed, then it is understandable that it would lead to questions and even objections about simple gatherings.

I’d like to suggest that the need for a ceremony is simply a cultural norm. It is what we are generally used to; therefore, we believe it is necessary for creating an atmosphere of seriousness. This is fine for a wedding or funeral, but it is not necessary for church gatherings.

It all comes down to what causes us to stand in awe of God. Must we take part in a crafted ceremony to feel in awe of God? This seems contrived to me. It should be God Himself who brings about this awe. This can certainly occur during a ceremony, but it does not have to.

As followers of Christ, we ought to stand in awe of who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing. In simple church gatherings, we generally hear all these things. Someone offers a teaching from scripture about attributes of God. Someone else might talk about what God did as seen in the bible. My favorite part is usually when someone shares about what God is doing in their lives or someone else’s that they know. When I hear these things, I stand (not literally) in awe of God.

I love hearing from multiple people about how they have seen God act during the previous week. Usually it is in the little things. Occasionally, it is the bigger stuff. Either way, my faith is strengthened through it. My hope is that others are encouraged as I speak. Sometimes we all just sit in silence after someone has spoken of what God has done and is doing.

This sort of gathering finds awe in the conversation. Someone might speak about a passage of scripture from an angle that I have never even considered before. When a light bulb comes on in my brain, the response is usually awe of God and thanks to Him. Someone else might speak about being stuck in a situation where there seems to be no way out (whether it be big, small, or somewhere in between), only to then find God delivering them from it.

As we gather, I’m usually sitting on the floor or on a couch. Literally, then, I’m sitting. Emotionally and spiritually, however, I’m standing. I’m standing in awe of God because of what I’ve heard in the conversation.

This might happen during the week during a phone call, but usually the scene is our larger gathering in somebody’s home. We talk, we listen, and we grow. All the while, we’re in awe of our great God.

9 comments:

simplydisciple.com said...

Eric, great post.

I'm a pastor who grew up and was trained in how to program great church services, and I am now part of a simple church here in Seattle. My upbringing is constantly sitting on my shoulder, telling me I need to program great experiences for this church, so I have to fight the urge to jump in and make something happen. More often than not, Jesus is already orchestrating an awe inducing time together.

-Joe

Aussie John said...

Eric,

We are one organism:"For just as THE BODY is ONE and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are ONE BODY, so it is with Christ. For in ONE SPIRIT we were all baptized into ONE BODY—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of ONE SPIRIT. For THE BODY does not consist of one member but of many".

Eric said...

Joe,

Thanks for reading and commenting.

I fight some of the same things you do as far as jumping in is concerned. The whole process is still one of learning for me. Thank God that we can trust him to lead. Great point, by the way, about Jesus orchestrating things.

Eric said...

John,

The bible does say it best. Thanks.

homward bound said...

Here is an awe Matthew 10:16-20
Howard

Eric said...

Howard,

Thanks for your comment. Do you think the Spirit works in the same way in regular church gatherings as he does when we face persecution as we see in Matt. 10?

homward bound said...

Eric, from what I have learned is I am only a vessel. Like a water glass is only a vessel. I am the master of the water glass and will use it as I see fit.
Now in God I am the vessel and God is the master of me through my wanting, trusting, believing, for we all have free choice. This is my choice to serve God. So therefore God picks me up puts me here, there, or over yonder. This is the same with all believers, just not all believers see this. The spirit works the same anywhere one is led. The main point in Matthew 10:16-20 is Do not be concerned with what you say, take no thought and the Spirit will lead with such logic that truly your opponents may try, but really they can't reply. for the Holy Spirit speaks truth, that even surprises yourself when spoke through you. Easiest way I know to put this; is just be available to be used by God, and God will use you to bring the sheep home to the kingdom. It is amazing, for as you go carry the Gospel with you. Bototm line GOD JUST LOVE YOU.Too many think god does not because of what they thought or did, and that is the farthest from the truth that can be. PERIOD God just love us all, just not all have received this Thanks Eric for letting me respond to this
Love Howard

homward bound said...

Eric an additional seeing how the Ghost works When Jesus had talked to Nicodemus John 3:6-8 in verse 8 this is how the Spirit worketh everywhere through out the earth bringing in the sheep. Only the Holy Ghost can do the job. So now God only desires willing vesells to be used by God The Holy Ghost
Thanks again Eric Just grow in stature and wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ
Love howard

homward bound said...

Oh and if desire look at my blogger if like keep it if not toss
it is http://www.godjustloveyou.blogspot.com
Thanks might be some meat to add to yours
Howard