07/02/2008

Passion for His presence

It seems that almost every time I post here, I am apologising for the long time since the last post! But this time, I have searched my Bible and I can't find any commandment which says "thou shalt blog at least once a week"! Praise God!! Although I am grateful for those of you who take time to visit and I don't want you to be wasting your time checking and finding nothing, I plead for your patience!

Allow me to explain! I am certainly not lacking anything to post! It is simply time!! I could happily sit and post here all day, but as I am responsible for the church here in South East London, that has to be my priority. So I haven't forgotten the blog, there is much I am bursting to say (three more draft posts, and one over at the new blog After God's Own Heart) and it will come out as time permits!

Anyway, last week in my reading through the scriptures, I came to Psalm 84. Verse 4 says (in the NKJV), "Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You."

There was a real mistake I made in previous years as a pastor. I was so desperate for passionate worship in the church that I must admit I put pressure on people. Of course, there is a place for exhorting people to draw near to God, but the exhortations had become heavy handed; I was almost looking for a charismatic "form" of worship (hands raised, dancing etc, etc) and (although I didn't realise it at the time) people were crushed. Many were feeling that if they didn't "perform" then they weren't accepted. The horrors of legalism!!
:-(

My problem was passion for a "form" of worship, rather than a passion for His presence. This verse is so key - those who dwell in His house (are tangibly in His presence), will still (other versions say "always", "ever") be praising. Presence leads to praise! Presence leads to passion and delight in God.

Dwelling in His presence leads to effortless praise. Of course we still have to choose to declare His praise, but His presence releases something in us. How can we be silent with such tangible power and glory around us? How can we ignored the beauty of the Lord?

His presence is everything! Ruth Heflin said, "The glory is not in a song - the glory is in His Presence".

Rob Rufus said, "God said to me when I moved to Hong Kong; 'Son, if you will live not to fill buildings with people but will live to fill people with My Presence then I will fill buildings with people full of My Presence'".

This is also a vital promise for our own personal walk. The key word is "dwell". What a wonderful word!! Not "visit" but "dwell". Most of us visit God's presence. We visit in corporate worship, or in our regular "devotions". But this verse says "dwell". And this is the norm of new covenant life. The curtain is torn in two and so we meet God on the basis of His finished work!! There is no work to be done to get in His presence!! We haven't got to be kneeling or bowing or talking in hushed tones. We haven't got to have our eyes closed. We haven't got to be in a church building.

The curtain is open, we can dwell in the house of the Lord. You can be in the house of the Lord at your desk at work, on a building site, fixing a computer, playing with the children, washing up, cleaning the house, digging the garden, walking the dog, going for a run, lying in bed, having a shower, painting a wall, driving a car, anywhere!

And the result of being in His presence - we will still be praising!! Always, anywhere, anytime. Praising in His presence!

6 comments:

Dan Bowen said...

There's nothing I can say that would add anything to this wonderful teaching post. You truly are a gifted Ephesians 4 Minister and I am so blessed to have you in my life as my best friend and pastor really! Your blogs may be infrequent but BOY are they worth waiting for!!

lydia joy said...

Peter,
I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear a pastor admit he led his people in a bit of legalism, but now you seek to move away from it and into grace and building others up in pursuing God's presence and other wonderful truths! It is a rare thing in my experience to see a church leader admit something like that!!! Thank you for your honesty!

Peter Day said...

Thank you so much for your encouraging comments, Lydia and Dan. I shall have to post more often if I am going to get comments like yours!! :)

jul said...

really good. thanks!

janelle said...

Wow that was really good. The Rob Rufus quote is powerful, and so true!

Peter Day said...

Yes, I love that Rob Rufus quote. There are a few things that I can say have been real turning points in my ministry. Hearing Rob Rufus say that was one such time. In my first years of ministry all I strived for was a full building. Now, even though I still want many to be saved, I have seen something more important - seeing people filled with God's presence! I really do thank God for Rob Rufus.