Notes from When God Comes to Church
by Steve Gaines with Dean Merrill
The Real Quest
"I am convinced that one of the reasons so many people are turned off from the idea of church these days is that it is all so explainable. Church
programs, in and of themselves will not change one person's life for eternity. Rather, what causes a thief to quit stealing from his employer, what causes
divorced people to soften their hearts and remarry each other, what causes a man to stop using pornography, what causes a homosexual to turn away
from his or her lifestyle, what causes grown people to reconcile after not speaking to each other in years is the touch of God.
Churches are becoming like the Wal Mart Supercenter. They desire to be efficient, offer a dizzying array of products and be smooth at the checkout lanes;
but there is little if anything that transcends the ordinary. There is no awareness or focus on the presence of God in the place. As though their motto is
"Come as you are; leave as you came."
True worshipers are sought after by God. Those who worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23). The humble and hungry of holy hearts.
Don't defend denominations but be known as a church by God's presence and power and exists for God's glory. A church so dependent on the Holy
Spirit that if He moved out, the whole thing would collapse.
Worship services should not be designed primarily to attract people. Rather, worship services should be designed to attract the manifest presence of
God, and He in turn will attract the people. In other words: Don't seek results! Seek Jesus, and He will give you the results.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church not talented preachers (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
Consumed with presenting a glittering image
Personal goal: maximum visibility
Tries to "work the crowd", to manipulate an experience
Disallows or interrupts silence
Consumed with a passion for God
Personal goal invisibility
Fosters an atmosphere of worship, then steps back and lets God meet people where they are
Lets go of control, allows God to speak in the quiet voice to deal with people's brokenness
Church needs more than sermons, songs and announcements; Church need the presence and power of God back in them again.
The work of God is meant to be done the with power of God. They prayed for ten days, the Holy Spirit fell and soon a large crowd was hearing the mighty
deeds of God (Acts 2:11). The Peter preached a sermon for about 30 minutes and 3,000 people were saved. Today we have it backward we pray for 30
minutes and preach for ten days.
Church growth, incidentally, was a by-product, not a goal, of this early church. Worshipping and serving Jesus was their priority. Church growth was just
a natural result. Jesus said that He will build His church (Matthew 16:18). These early Christians were simply living holy lives, loving lost people, and
one another and sharing the gospel of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The church enjoyed peace, being built up and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit; it continued to increase (Acts 9:31). Not
only were there unity, spiritual growth, edification and reverent worship, but they also experienced tremendous numerical growth.
Holiness..."if my peoople...turn from their wicked ways." ~cleanness of hands and hearts~ A lot may think that this doesn't matter all that much; after all ,
"nobody's perfect", as the saying goes and God uses crack vessels in the ministry all the time. We've heard about preachers who use their oratorical
abilities even though their personal lives were a mess. And crowds keep coming to hear them regardless (Ps. 51:10-14)
Preachers who harbor sin in their lives undermine both their prayers and their sermons. One can get so caught up in "doing ministry" that you forget the
Prayer...Lord teach us to pray (Luke 11:1). Where prayer becomes the focus of a church God's power falls. Some things God will do all by Himself,
whether we pray or not (sun rises - Col. 1:17). Some things will not happen no matter how hard we pray. But some things will happen only if we pray
(Abraham and Lot). Spurgeon: "I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach."
Repentance...The closer we get to God, the more embarrassed we are likely to become about our sins and shortcomings (Acts 3:19).
Continuous Flow...Little to no disruptions as possible
+Don't waste time with excessive humor or personal tales from the past week
+Maximize over encounter with God and reduce distractions.
If pastors are not careful they can turn into Pharaohs sitting on their thrones and declaring how things are going to proceed. They veto certain
expressions because "we don't do things like that at this church". But God is saying "let my people go to worship Me. Quit squelching their sincere and
ope hearted devotions -stop blocking the way.
Preaching is meant to be more than an encounter with the word of God but an encounter with the God of the Word.
Entering the heart and head not just the eyes
preaching appeals to the heart as well as the mind
a call to action as well as understanding
moves the emotions as well as the intellect
Holy Spirit is needed
I thought this was a very insightful book. If you get a chance to read it please do and keep an open mind and allow the Holy Spirit to teach , give you
revelation and illumination.
May God remember you like Noah
May God favor you like Moses
May God honor you like Mary
May God Fight for you like the Israelites
May God prosper you like Isaac
May God promote you like Joseph
May God intervene for you like Ester
May God protect you like Daniel
May God use like Paul
May God heal you like Naaman
May God answer you like Elijah
May God anoint you like David
May God keep you safe like Shadrach, Meshach and Agednego
In God's Hand & His Service,
Mary J. Bryant