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Nearly every day–at least every week–I face needs in my own life and I hear of needs in the lives of friends and acquaintances that just can’t be met with “natural resources.” What I mean is that the normal human “resources” are just not sufficient for addressing, meeting, and resolving needs like . . .

A marriage that is on the brink of destruction

A friend who is trapped in a habit of sin that is destroying life

An acquaintance with such physical suffering that death looks very much better

A fellow follower of Jesus who cannot see the way clear to handle the demands of life, family, work

The needs are physical, emotional, mental, bodily, spiritual, relational. They are profound. And if I really listen to the cries that rise from the lips of the afflicted, they are in need of more than pat answers, simplistic affirmations, and clichéd “hang-in-there’s.”

Looking through the Gospels, it is so very clear that these profound needs were constantly before Jesus. And time and again he spoke, and touched, and acted, and moved, and listened . . . and addressed the needs, lifted the burdens, changed lives. He offered something that was so much more than just “human resources.”

Tucked into Paul’s counsel to the Corinthians about their stumblings over spiritual gifts, we find some broad-brush thoughts about what is supposed to happen when the community of the believing meet.

If therefore the whole church should assemble together and . . . all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (1 Corinthians 14:24-26)

Without resolving the specifics about tongues or prophecy or interpretation, it is still possible to glean some beneficial insight from Paul’s thoughts.

Apparently, when the believing community showed up and met together, Paul anticipated that the Spirit would show up and minister through them to others. However you resolve the issues of tongues and prophecy, what cannot be easily dismissed is Paul’s expectation that the Spirit would show up, God would be evidentially present, when the community of the believing met.

I like that. I long for that. When I meet with other followers of Jesus–in large groups or small gatherings–I really don’t just want us to be there. The needs are too great. The challenges are so far beyond us. I really want the living God, because of Jesus and through the Spirit, to meet with us, to change us, to meet needs, to put himself on display.

I want to experience what it is like to be drawn to fall on my face and declare with certainty that it was not just us who meet together . . . but that God himself showed up and made himself known.


One Comment

  1. Keep seeking and you will definitely find. God will let Himself be found by those who diligenty seek His face.

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