As you prepare for this session, read or review chapters 2 and 3 in The Presence.
After reading and reviewing the notes for each chapter
Watch the video in Right Now Media - (link above)
After watching that Video watch the discussion video
Notes from Chapter 2: Driven to Worship
Referring to a story the author shared of experiencing God’s power in a dramatic way. He says,
“Our untamed God will not be drawn into a predictable, cause-and-effect relationship with us that essentially leaves us in the driver’s seat. Encounters with god simply cannot be manufactured by our own efforts.
Certainly, we need to seek the Lord with all our hearts, to draw near to him. But there is no guarantee that the faith practices we engage in will automatically and immediately bring God near to us with the kind of dramatic demonstration of his presence we experienced…”
We need to set aside time with God every day. We need to attend worship as often as we can. But should we expect to experience God’s overwhelming presence every time? Should we expect to leave every Bible reading with an epiphany? Should we expect to have an emotional encounter with God at every worship service?
Moses didn’t see a burning bush every day – but did Moses stop seeking God’s presence? We practice spiritual disciplines “in order to learn and grow…and be accessible to God when God chooses to reveal Godself to me…God is sovereign, and God moves according to God’s own wisdom and purpose.”
According to a Christian polling organization 6 out of 10 Christians in North America say that God is not their top priority in life.
I say God is my top priority – but then I asked myself this question, which have I spent more time doing in the last two months, watching the news, or watching God? Watching my friend’s comments on Facebook or watching God? No wonder my frustration level has been high. No wonder my adrenal glands are working overtime. My priorities have been skewed.
There is nothing wrong with the news in limited amounts. There is nothing wrong with Facebook in limited amounts. There is something wrong when they get more time than God.
Your questions might be different – but we all have areas we need to question.
We need an awakening to our first love!
Signs of Revival: “Worship becomes spontaneous, joyous, and authentic.”
Sunday School Class
Notes from Chapter 3:
John Wesley believed our understanding of God must be derived from 4 sides. Scripture being primary but cannot be known without adding experience, reason, and tradition. If we rely too heavily on any of four, we will have a skewed view of God.
At times, the Church has relied too heavily on experience thinking God can only be found in emotional types of experiences.
At times, the Church has relied too heavily on reason thinking God can only be found by accepting a thesis and comparing that to the antithesis. Reasoning how God created compared to other theories of creation. When we realize no other creation story really makes sense, we then deduce that God is real. But we cannot feel God, we just understand that God is out there somewhere.
At times, the Church has relied too heavily on tradition. Our ancestors believed it. Our world was much better when people were in church, therefore, we must need God. We must not change anything about how God was perceived or worshiped by our ancestors.
This author agrees with Wesley in saying all of these must fit together to fully experience God. He says, “Life is not merely a set of principles to be applied to our lives. It is an invitation, through Christ, into God’s unfolding drama. We hear God’s lines as we read Scripture; we receive cues from the Holy Spirit at work in the people around us (who are also cast members of this drama); and we learn the story as we live it out…I invite you to jump into the drama-to put yourself into God’s story and not merely study it on the page.”
God shows up in forceful ways when we have let the cares of this world cause us to wonder away.
“The Second Great Awakening, a revival that arose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations in the early 1800’s, happened at a time when the spiritual temperature in the United States was very low. Americans had, for the most part, forgotten God, and life in the towns and villages of New England reflected it. Meanwhile, a holy dissatisfaction was growing in the lives of many Christians across the country, and much prayer was focused on the national need for renewal.”
“We can and should live in expectation that when things look the darkest, God seems predisposed to make himself known when a remnant of his people commit themselves to a protracted season of prayer.”
“Cultivating our hearts for God’s presence puts us in the proper position and condition for God to make himself known. Keep in mind that God loves to make himself known.”
Signs of Revival: “The Word of God comes alive among believers, resulting in renewed obedience to God.”