Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Emotional Experience or Divine Encounter

I know that we are emotional beings. I recognize that some of us grew up in church environments that were vibrant and expressive (using nice terms). Others of us...not so much. Perhaps you spent more time in contemplative, reverent and reflective worship environments.

In either case, allow me to share something was developing in me last week during message prep. I posted yesterday that one of the ways that we can distance ourselves from God is by over-sensationalizing our relationship with him.

My observation here is informed by 24 years in Pentecostal churches and almost 5 years of leading a Mennonite congregation:
  • Some of the most expressive and emotional believers I have met have exhibited some of the poorest Christian behavior when no one else is watching. (or as I said Sunday "they leave church and have screwed up by the 2nd traffic light")
  • And of the most unexpressive and contemplative Christians that I have seen have exemplified very, very deep faith a righteous living. (they may make it 10 traffic lights)
So...what am I saying?

I am saying that we need to be seeking divine encounters, not emotional experiences. God wants us to experience Him and to be changed by him in a way that leads us to right living. And He is a LOT more interested in us living and being great, then feeling great.

I think this issue rears its head most often through statements like this: "I did not feel the Lord during worship today." or "I want to go back to blank church because they know how to do church."

So, what are we seeking? Emotional experiences or divine encounters? Hype or transformation? Something God-inspired or man-made? Just thinking with the volume turned up. Paul had a divine encounter in Jail, for crying out loud.

More on this later.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for that statment. That is exactly what I have been fighting with in my Penecostal college, then my experience in a mennonite church for many years, and now in a non-denominational church who were formally Mennonite. I find myself so confused on Who, or better yet, What is real. Your statment was much needed. Thanks

Noah said...

Glad it made impact!