the weblog of Alan Knox

God is really among you

Posted by on May 4, 2012 in community, edification | 11 comments

God is really among you

If you’ve followed my blog for even a short time, you probably know that Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” is a good friend of mine. We’ve known each other for almost 10 years and have spent time with one another’s family – although not enough in the last few years because we live in different states (and different countries for a while).

Like me, Eric’s understanding of the church has changed since we’ve known each other, even though we’ve taken different paths along the way. One thing that we’re both convinced of (currently) is the benefit of conversation and discussion among the church. His latest post, “Awe in the Conversation,” touches on one aspect of the idea of teaching one another through discussion.

Here’s one snippet from his post:

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.

When I read Eric’s post, I couldn’t help but think of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:

If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (1 Corinthians 14:23-25 ESV)

Obviously, in that passage, Paul is comparing the benefit of tongues speaking (which people cannot understand) to the benefit of prophecy (which people can understand). But, his last point is important: The unbeliever recognizes that God is among them because he hears from God through different people.

Oh, yes. There is definitely “awe in the conversation” when our hearts are focused on God together and we seek to build one another up together.


11 Comments

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  1. 5-4-2012

    It is beautiful to see /hear the Lord’s Spirit speak through people sharing their lives together. This is the fellowship we are experiencing since we were told to leave our church. It rarely happened before, especially inside of the church building, but outside where the air is clear, it is a regular occurrence.
    Praise the Lord!

  2. 5-4-2012

    What I love about this post is the simplicity of it. Conversations in a living room or coffee shop or wherever to simply encourage one another in our walk with Jesus…how simple is that?!?!

    It seems to me (to quote Wayne Jacobsen) that we have made Christianity far more complicated than our Founder intended.

  3. 5-4-2012

    Alan,

    Thanks for the link. What a joy it has been to have God slowly open my eyes to what his church can be. Still a long way to go though.

  4. 5-4-2012

    Thanks alan I like this post. Here is what speaks to me to speak to all since we all here are listening to hear anothers point of view and how their walk is made alive. Matthew 10:16-20.
    Thanks again, hope all is well
    Howard

  5. 5-5-2012

    Marc,

    I know of many among the church – bought those who are part of more institutional expressions of the church and those who are part of less institutional expressions of the church – are learning the importance of listening as Christ speaks through any of his children.

    Scott,

    I agree that it is quite simple, but also so different from what many have experiences and have been taught.

    Eric,

    I love reading what God has been teaching you and others. :)

    Howard,

    This is a good one too: Colossians 3:16.

    -Alan

  6. 5-6-2012

    I agree, but I watch for the other that is weak in that, if they have an offense in one or the other and I know it. I do not wantto flaunt it
    Thanks again

  7. 5-6-2012

    Absolutely! We have had some great fellowship/building each other up/church time these past few weeks in our home – I’m so thankful for what God is up to… and that is definitely how I would describe what happens. We each contribute, each contribute different things… yet it all ties in together in Jesus…. and the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us all to “get” something from what each other one brings.

    Awe is a great word….that is how I would describe it too — when you know the Holy Spirit is helping you all converse & get benefit from each person that speaks even if it’s all different themes/topics.

    I love too that more we talk about Him and look for Him, the more we will be able to recognize His fingerprints/His voice in things… and I am finding that I see/hear from Him EVERYWHERE. The more we can talk about Him with others and help keep each other’s spiritual memory stay full & vibrant – the more our hearts brim over with thankfulness & AWE!

  8. 5-7-2012

    Howard,

    What if you are the one who is weak? Would you know it? For me, this is one of the main reasons that it is important to listen to one another.

    Randi,

    I agree! And, it becomes even more awe-inspiring when our words to one another are combined with our lives in Christ shared with one another.

    -Alan

  9. 5-8-2012

    Alan, I am weak and gloriously am thankful for this, this makes God perfect, and as Paul said in 2 corithians 12 1:10 . God told Paul that God’s strength is made perfect in Paul’s weakness, so Paul glories in his weakness (s), and so do I, for God’s grace is sufficient for me. for all the glory goes to God and my Lord Jesus Christ. Each and everyone of us needs God above all else then collectively we share in fellowship
    Thanks Howard

  10. 5-8-2012

    Howard,

    Isn’t it amazing how much God used a weak person like Paul to serve others – traveling all over the Roman Empire to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to help other people follow Jesus. This is the kind of thing that God does with those who recognize their own weakness and trust God for his grace and sufficiency: God uses them as his instruments to impact the world for his kingdom.

    -Alan

  11. 5-8-2012

    Alan yes, yes and yes again Completely and wholeheartedly. Thanks Alan
    Howard