The simple belief building events – set-up by God – that do occur
in all areas of the greater Christian Church.
How to recognise God at work there in church.
In essence this website tries to guide ‘thinkers’ in their search for belief in God’s existence, and building Christian faith for themselves as a result. The article “Choosing a church” offers a rundown on the various types of fellowships available to us. I am totally confident 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 necessary for all Christians on their journey of faith. The ‘movement’ is there for those people who it just plain suits. And if does so, then they can come away from a service, convinced that God in the ‘person of the Holy Spirit‘ had been deliberately engaging with them there. Glimpse the articles “Experiencing the Holy Spirit” and “Is this ‘Spirit’ stuff real?” to get a feel for what I mean.
But look, although I personally love it there in the movement … maybe their services are just too emotional and uplifting for you personally. And maybe there is just TOO MUCH action there? We are all ‘wired’ differently! I can say though, never be nervous about fronting any type of church. They are all ready to welcome us.
If you don’t think that sort of church (i.e. in the movement) suits you, then look to the plain old traditional/ mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant and Catholic church services. Maybe, they lack the action of the movement but they make up for it in other ways. And I am totally confident that you will still find evidence of God’s presence in that setting.
This article then discusses how to recognise that evidence of God’s presence in that ‘plain old area’ of the Church, in particular, for your own evaluation. Yes, you should definitely 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, we must ‘work at recognising’ that God is there spiritually. We simply open ourselves to his presence. Newcomers in particular, wanting to build belief in God, often come to church with ‘high hopes’. 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, as examples, shine out through a Bible reading. Maybe from a single line in a church leader’s sermon (talk), a hymn (song) or prayer. Let’s look a little deeper then …
Grasp the message
In effect, this stuff initiates an exaggerated kind of “Ahaaa!” in your mind. And that usually provides a way forward on a life or faith issue that you have been very unsure about. Maybe you have even prayed about it sometime in the past.
One of my earlier church leaders, and now a member of my advisory team, referred to this stuff as “Christian light bulb moments”. So, please watch out for them, they’re common. In fact, just too common to be overlooked by most of us!
I emphasise that we must grasp these messages when they do arrive with us, because from my experience they really can change lives for the better.
A solid example
A close friend springs to mind as a solid example, that I can use, of one such ‘moment’. I had invited him to attend my traditional/ mainline 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 growing bank balance and his vegetable garden.
Now I ask you, what subjects of everyday life did our church leader include within his sermon/ talk that very same morning? You probably 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 certainly not lost on my friend. Not surprisingly, he ‘jumped to the conclusion’ that I must have had something to do with it. As such, he challenged my sense of confidentiality. That is he believed that I must have spoken about him (to the church leader) before his arrival there. I don’t think I have ever seen my friend more surprised, as he was when I insisted that I hadn’t said anything about him at all.
You know, the sermon on “The danger of loving money”, came to be 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. He was making it clear that we can’t have a sound relationship with him and be obsessed with our bank balances at the same time. And as a result, the Lord made it pretty clear to my friend that he really was spiritually there with us.
In the end, I could see the odds of it ‘all coming together’, like that, wasn’t wasted on my friend at all.
2.2 Guiding the fellowship
Sometimes God orchestrates or sets-up a ‘light bulb moment’ for the entire fellowship, 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 right through its sermon, intercessory prayers and even choices of songs/ hymns. And what I mean is that a ‘secondary’ issue, not intended by those presenting it as being the main point, is raised continuously by different presenters during the service. Again I mean that they do not mention to each other that they individually intend to raise the particular issue.
So, to the presenters, it may just seem an unimportant point raised individually by them. But as the service moves along, it becomes an overall ‘focal point’ in the church service 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 (set-up) 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 know it is not my ‘idle imagination’ at work. This is all just small scale evidence of course, but it 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. Yes, they’re all about drawing us to him; building up the loving relationship he wants to share with us.
3.1 Group prayer
As my best personal example of ‘group prayer’, our fellowship included 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 serious 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 for one reason or another. 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 genuine positive outcomes of some degree absolutely do flow from them!
The Lord can 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 churches, seriously ‘against the odds’. And it never stops surprising and encouraging us in our journeys of faith! It indicates that when faithful Christians come together, no matter what the setting – traditional/ mainline and evangelical Protestant, Catholic … whether Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement or not – God’s presence becomes evident amongst us.
I will add a ‘condition’ though. The congregation needs to contain a good proportion of people who place their faith at the top of their priorities. That is, they have ‘sound faith‘. I would not suggest you join a church where that was not the case! It offers the best environment for you to better grow as a Christian; to be nurtured there.
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 build ever upwards 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 gather relevant evidence of his presence. Bible-based of course. (Our church should see to that.) 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 definitely wants to be done, like doing stuff for other people who need help? Well, ‘more of same’ results really do ‘ratchet up’! Continue to the next article, “Involvement in ministry”.
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