When I started this blog, I made up my mind that I would keep it positive. There would be no griping, complaining, or venting about my pet peeves. alittlestrongereveryday.com would be a place where people could find encouragement, inspiration, insight, and maybe a touch of humor now and then.
Today, I’m making an exception.
For sometime now I’ve been seeing/hearing some of my fellow preachers use terminology that I find quite troubling. To be honest, I can’t take it anymore. It’s time for me to get this off my chest. So please forgive the following rant. The kinder, gentler me will be back later in the week.
Here’s the type of statement I’ve been seeing and hearing that drives me crazy:
“Let’s hope God shows up big this Sunday at ___________ Church!”
Where to begin?
First of all, a statement like this makes God the fall guy if things don’t go well. Attendance was down? The worship music wasn’t up to par? No one came forward to accept Christ? Sigh. I guess God didn’t show up big.
Second, a statement like this implies that God could show up little, as if some weeks he might be off his game. Like a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher has an occasional game where he can’t get anybody out, so God has some Sundays when he just doesn’t have his best stuff.
Third, a statement like this implies that all we can do is hope God shows up. I hope it rains (or it doesn’t). I hope the Cardinals win. I hope the person I’ve been witnessing to shows up at church. But I never have to hope the Almighty will show up at Poinciana Christian Church as long as we gather in his name. We have his promise that he will. (Matthew 18:20)
So can we just stop saying we hope God shows up big at our church services? Please?
He will show up if we gather in his name. And he will show up with his best stuff. Please keep in mind that just because you didn’t see anything amazing happen, doesn’t mean it didn’t. A lot of what God does, he does quietly in people’s hearts. I can tell numerous stories of days when I felt the service was a dud, only to discover later that someone was deeply touched and motivated to make profound changes.
I learned years ago to stop living by sight when it comes to church services. No matter how it feels to me–good or bad–I know there’s a lot going on that I cannot see and may never know about. And it’s being done by a God who’s never shown up anything but big.