Home > Personal Spiritual Development > Do You Camp Around the Sermon or the Presence? 8-22-13
 “The church camps around the sermon; Israel camped around the Presence. Learning to recognize, treasure and carry this Presence is at the heart of the Christian life.  Recalibrating our hearts to this supreme value affects everything.”    Bill Johnson, “Walking in the Power of His Presence”
We can have a sense of living with “good theology” by praying a few minutes a day, reading a few random chapters of Scripture a month and listening to Sunday morning sermons on CD or MP3 while we drive to work.  We can attain that easily, on our own time schedule, in our own strengthBut is that the strength that will release the Kingdom and reveal Jesus to our world, carry Him into our personal spheres of influence wherever we go? Johnson continues, “God’s Presence may be central in theory for many of us, but it is time for it to also become so in practice.  It must be measurable…we owe the people we serve an encounter with God, and for that to be a consistent outcome of our ministries, we must be full of the Holy Spirit.  Fullness is measured in overflow.  Many have stopped short of a divine encounter because they were satisfied with good theology... the cultivated awareness of His Presence is vital.  To be truly effective, this awareness should be learned when there is no ministry.  It is to be developed in the context of relationship…He is to be encountered, experienced, known, followed and affectionately embraced…”

Whoa.  I think Jesus expressed that same sentiment, in different words:  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25, NAS) All four gospels record the same statement in almost exactly the same words.  It must be important.

 We Americans…and I fit that category, too…we’re often a bunch of save-our-own-lifers.  We’ve been trained from birth to be save-our-own-lifers.  We carry our “Bible ammunition” on wide belts, but our hearts are wrapped – and trapped – in

our schedules,
our needs,
our money,

our pursuits…So when Jesus asks, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26, NAS) I get the sense that in our schedules, our needs, our money, our pursuits, there’s also our loss….our loss of experiencing the fullness of Him Who calls us…our loss in not experiencing His joy and releasing His deliverance in the lives of others, setting the captives free….

Paul prayed that the Ephesians would “…be able to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God…” (Eph. 3:18, 19 NAS)

I like the way Bill Johnson describes his “personal routine”:  “My personal routine looks like this:  I cry out to God in private and take risk in public.  When the breakthrough I long for isn’t happening, I go back to God in the secret place…”

Good advice. It directs me towards living His Life, through me