Q&A - Questions We Didn't Get To: Are You There, God?

Q&A, 6:18.jpeg

What is the point in continuing searching for God if every time I read or pray, he is NOT there? Every time I ask others, they say “You gotta get in the word...” but I’ve already been there, and keep trying, but GOD APPEARS TO BE NOWHERE, so what is the point in searching for God, if he’s not there? How come he seemingly appears for others but not me?

With all sincerity, I would like to ask the person who submitted this question what exactly s/he is looking for from God. Dealing with the very last question first – I don't know anyone (sane) who says God “appears to them” in a visible sense. He has never appeared to me that way, either.

His presence in this age is His Holy Spirit, who resides within you and changes you. Someday, we will be in His actual presence, we will be face to face with our Lord, but until then, He has ordained faith as the way of walking with Him.

I would also tell this person to ask those “others” who say they experience God's presence to please explain what they mean by that. Hear them out – maybe they experience God in a way that you never understood before – but can have opportunity to yourself. 

I Like the Way You Think, Abe

Many people have denied any form of spirituality because “it isn’t logical”. To believe in a “higher power”, creation, supernatural activity, life after death…it just defies human logic.

I will agree. Faith has its own logic. And this logic isn’t founded on human sensibility or worldly reasoning. Faith logic is the Holy Spirit empowered reasoning that is based on the character of God and the reliability of His Word.

By God’s grace, He is teaching me how to think faith logically. The poster boy for this is Abraham:

Hebrews 11:17-19 - By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

Follow the faith logic here.

God: “Abraham, I am going to fulfill all of my promises to you, and the world, through your son Isaac.”

Abraham: “God is going to fulfill all of His promises to me, and the world, through my son Isaac.”

God: “Now: sacrifice your son to me. Kill him.”

>Pause< Let’s apply some logic.

Worldly logic would say:

-”God lied to me the first time. He never intended to fulfill anything through Isaac. God did not keep His word.”

-”I must have misheard God. Instead of ‘I will fulfill my promises through Isaac’, maybe He said ‘I waffle my prom, ices through eye sick.’ I don‘t even know what that means, my hearing must be going bad, but He surely didn‘t say anything about my son Isaac before if He is telling me to kill him now. My bad.”

-”Maybe he doesn’t want me to literally sacrifice Isaac. Maybe he just wants me to think nice sincere sacrificial thoughts about him. Yeah, it‘s just a metaphorical poetic non-literal hyperbolic, uhm, thing.”

Worldly logic. All wrong.

Faith logic would say:

-”God says He will fulfill His promises through Isaac. God says kill Isaac. How does that makes sense? Oh, I see. God must be able to raise the dead. That’s the only way this makes sense.”

That’s faith logic. If God said it, He’s going to make it happen in a way that only He can. I am going to move forward trusting God to be faithful. Because He is. Always.

God doesn’t need to you to try to figure Him out. He calls you to trust Him. Let’s get in God’s Word and start thinking like Abraham. Faith logic.

p.s. - Needs to go waffle his prom now.

Being a Part of a Church Plant Takes Radical Faith

So Erin and I went to the Pastors and Wives Retreat last week at beautiful Harvest Bible Chapel Orlando.

Pastor James MacDonald said something that really resonated with me. So much so that I told our pre-service pray-ers Sunday. Then I told the whole congregation. And now I just have to put it on here.

He was talking about seasons of ministry and how we in church planting world start small and meet in schools and eventually grow and move in to our own buildings. In the midst of this, Pastor James lauded the caliber of the people who would commit to being part of a start-up church plant. Those who would “be a part of your thing before your thing was a thing.”

He’s right. I think back on all of those who quickly committed and bailed when work needed to be done. Those who were “all in”, and left when discovering “all in” was a huge responsibility. And those who made it one lap around the track but didn't have the heart to make another.

I am so thankful for those who have walked through this journey. Everyone who doesn’t care that we meet in a school and don’t have all the bells and whistles. Those who are just coming to worship and pray and encounter the loving God and aren’t afraid to give more of their time and money because we are so young. Those who are joyful and flexible and expecting God to show Himself mighty.

I guess I knew this, but James brought back to the forefront of my mind: it takes a very special type of person to be a part of a church plant. What kind of person?

It takes someone with faith.

Church planting isn’t for someone who likes to see the fruit of what has already happened. It is for those who have faith to see what the Lord is about to do. You just have to know you are being called to it.

It takes someone with vision.

It’s easier to plug into a church where everything is established. But to be a pioneer, to establish a culture, to spearhead a new mission, to seek God for how He is calling you to step up and pass a vision on to others and equip them and coach them and train them and be patient with them and grow and adapt and lose people and trust the funds to come in and not get discouraged and not let your people get discouraged and… Well, you got to have a vision and be committed to it.

It takes someone who won’t quit.

Someone who is not afraid of hard work, or recruiting, or going the extra mile. Leadership and church planting sound like a lot of fun, but many step up to the plate and discover that they aren’t ready to play ball. So they leave. It’s too hard, we’ve had a setback, my expectations aren’t being met. Quitting is the easy way out. And it is always painful for the people who were counting on them. I am so thankful for those who are truly committed - and it would take a wheelbarrow full of dynamite to blow them out of the church. Those are the people who are an encouragement to me when my spirits are down!

I could go on. But I won’t. I am so blessed to see the people the Lord has brought… and continues to bring. And I pray they experience the blessing for their radical faith.

Because anyone can do things the easy way.

p.s. - surrounded by bulldogs