The simple belief building events, orchestrated by God,
that do occur in all areas of the greater Christian Church.
A guide on how to recognise them.
In essence this website tries to guide ‘thinkers’ in their search for belief in God, and building Christian faith for themselves as a result. The article “Choosing a church” provides a rundown on the various types of fellowships available to us. I maintain that there is plenty of evidence, of God’s presence, available throughout the greater Church. Once you know how to recognise it, of course.
The so-called Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement, which is the subject of the previous article, is far from mandatory for Christians on their journey of faith. The ‘movement’ is there for those people who it just plain suits. You can come away from a service in the movement, knowing that God in the person of the Holy Spirit had been deliberately engaging with the fellowship there. Glimpse the article “Experiencing the Holy Spirit” to get a feel for what I mean.
But look, although I love it there in the movement … maybe their services are just too emotional and overly uplifting for you personally. And maybe there is just too much action there? We are all wired differently!
If so, then look to the plain old traditional/ mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant and Catholic church services. Sure, they lack the action of the movement but they make up for it in other ways. And I am confident, from my own lengthy experience there, that you will still find evidence of God’s presence in that setting.
This article then discusses how to recognise evidence of God’s presence in that venue, for your own evaluation. Yes, you should still be able to build belief and faith there.
(To read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
2. ‘LIGHT BULB MOMENTS’
Firstly, when attending these churches, try to recognise God there; open yourself to his presence. Newcomers in particular, hoping to build belief, often come expectantly to church. As long as they have an open mind on the matter, and provided that church clergy are effective, God will do the rest. As I have indicated, I found that he can gently reach any of us in almost any service at any church we might attend.
2.1 Guiding each one of us
Particular advice or reassurance from God might, for instances, shine out from a Bible reading, from a single line in a church leader’s sermon (talk), a hymn (song) or prayer.
Grasp the message
In effect, it initiates an exaggerated kind of “Ahaaa!” in your mind that provides a way forward on a life or faith issue that you have been very unsure about … or maybe even prayed about sometime in the past.
One of my earlier church leaders, and now a member of my advisory team, referred to it as the “Christian light bulb moment”. Watch out for them, they’re common.
I emphasise that we must grasp the message, because from my experience they really can change lives for the better.
A solid example
A close friend springs to mind as a major example of one such ‘moment’. I had invited him to attend my Protestant church because, although not strictly a believer, he was open to God’s existence. As background, his two greatest interests in life were his bank balance and his vegetable garden.
I ask you, what subjects of everyday life did our church leader include within his sermon/ talk that very same morning? You guessed it: ‘love of money’ and ‘vegetable gardening’. Not the two subjects you’d expect to find in the same sermon at all.
The high odds of the two topics coming together on his first attendance were not lost on my friend. Not surprisingly, he jumped to the conclusion that I must have had something to do with it and he challenged my sense of confidentiality. That is he believed that I must have spoken about him before his arrival there. I don’t think that I have ever seen my friend as surprised, as he was then, when I insisted that I hadn’t said anything about him at all.
You know, the sermon on “The danger of loving money”, should have been a real Christian light bulb moment for my friend! Yes, at least I could see that ‘sledgehammer’ advice had been directed at him by God.
2.2 Guiding the fellowship
Sometimes God orchestrates a ‘light bulb moment’ for the entire congregation, i.e. he broadcasts his advice. I have encountered that on many occasions, so it is worth watching for. I know enough of the organisation and planning for our church services to recognise the Lord’s presence there, in and through these ‘broadcasts’.
Message shapes up
What happens is that a humanly unplanned, yet common theme, (an important message on faith/ life) builds up within a service through its sermon, intercessory prayers or even choices of songs/ hymns. And what I mean is that a secondary issue, not intended by those presenting it as being a focal point, is raised continuously by different presenters during the service. I mean that they do not mention to each other that they individually intend to raise, or even include, the particular issue.
So, to the presenters, it may just seem an incidental point raised individually by them. But as the service moves along, it becomes an overall focal point because of the repetition from all those different presenters.
How and why God does it
To my thinking, God places the thought in each of their minds beforehand. His sovereign power, within life on Earth, allows him to orchestrate any event he wants. So, if he has the need to awaken all of us in the fellowship to his advice, then he ‘dashed well’ does just that!
Another church leader from the past admitted to me that the number of times that this happened gave him a ‘buzz’ as well. So again, I do not believe it is my idle imagination at work. This is all just small scale evidence of course, but it is still demonstrates God’s presence there in the Church none-the-less.
3. STUFF JUST KEEPS HAPPENING
Stick with any fellowship/ congregation of genuine Christians and you may even come to witness some larger wonders. Positive evidence of God’s presence, through his readiness to engage with us in our church fellowships, occurs in many forms.
3.1 Group prayer
As my best example personally, our fellowship had two members over the same period of time: one younger and one older, from different families. Both of them were suffering with terminal illnesses. Everyone in our church knew of them and cared about them deeply at the time of their respective illnesses. Of course we always pray for all our sick ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’, but these two had both struck a special chord with everyone because of their dire circumstances and their closeness to us all.
We prayed for them powerfully as individuals, during our church services, and in various ministry groups to which we belonged. That is whenever we came together. Neither of them should have survived. Their recoveries certainly amazed their doctors. They both had secondary cancer (metastasis) for example. Neither had the right to accept that they would recover, but they did. To our church, these events have been just as faith building as a manifestation of a gift of the Holy Spirit would be to a so called Charismatic congregation.
3.2 Spiritual healing
Also note that many churches, who are outside the movement, have actual healing ministries on offer. Clergy will lay on hands, anoint the sick with oil etc when requested.
Results of such practises may not be as spectacular, as is possible to witness within the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement, but positive outcomes of some degree absolutely do flow from them!
The Lord can still prove he is present there in a gentler manner and yet still build up his Church.
I could go on, but I hope that you are getting the picture. Stuff just keeps happening in our church, and it never stops surprising and encouraging us! It indicates that when faithful Christians come together, no matter what the setting – traditional/ mainline and evangelical Protestant, Catholic and whether Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement or not – God’s presence becomes evident amongst us.
I will add a proviso though. The congregation needs to contain a good proportion of people who place their faith at the top of their priorities – they have ‘sound faith‘. I would not suggest you join a church where that was not the case! It provides the best environment for you to grow as a Christian; to be nurtured.
Remember too, that faith and belief building should also be happening within our lives as a direct result of our walk with the Lord. Results there in life compound with the events that we experience within the Church, and vice versa.
Yes, the more we engage with God in our lives, and of course in church, then the faster we accumulate relevant evidence of his presence. It’s just about recognising all that ‘more of the same’, ‘more of the same’ God stuff happening.
And if you happen to be doing things that God expressly wants to be done, like doing stuff for other people who need help … well, ‘more of same’ results really ratchet up! Continue to the next article, “Involvement in ministry”.
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