People of Presence

How do we as people learn?

Much learning is done through the spoken or written word. Someone stands in front of us in some setting and tells us about something, and through the “telling” points us to a recording of the verbal teaching in a written format that is supposedly tested and true.

This is the primary teaching method not only in the educational environment but also in the church environment. We “preach and teach” the people in the congregation through the spoken word based upon the truth of the Bible.

I have no problem with this method. It definitely has its place in an educational setting. But, I have found out that to transform a heart requires the addition of one more thing: the involvement of the Holy Spirit!

You can teach people about reaching their neighbors for Christ. You can point out the scriptures in the Bible which command them to “go into all the world” (forget the world – we would be happy if they went into “their” world) and talk to people about the reality of Jesus. But, often it seems as if this type of education falls short of reaching the goal – the change of people to reflect the truth shared with them!

I believe that the ultimate form of education that leads to transformation comes through exposure to the Presence of God. Even in a situation in which the spoken word of God is being taught, revelation is still needed. Revelation does not come through teaching alone but through exposure – it requires the involvement and presence of the Holy Spirit!

In the fourth chapter of Acts, we see Peter and John teaching the people about Jesus and His resurrection from the dead. Boy! Don’t we wish our people could be found where ever they work or live or shop speaking to others about the reality of Jesus and His resurrection!!

I know that the disciples had teaching on reaching out to others. We know that Jesus gave them the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as part of His teaching. Yet, these truths didn’t seem to transform them until the presence of the Holy Spirit came upon them and brought change. We can teach and teach and teach but change comes through exposure to and an encounter with the Holy Spirit!

In the fourth chapter of Acts, we see the priests and Sadducees trying to figure out why the disciples were so intent upon sharing the truth of the gospel.

Verse 13 gives us the conclusion of the matter:

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

It was not the hearing of a spoken word that had caused the transformation of these men. They were ignorant and unlearned in the “teachings” of knowledge. Their transformation into what the Scripture taught had come through an encounter with the Holy Spirit! We can talk to a chicken about becoming an eagle, teach him the ways of the eagle, feed him eagle food and show him pictures and videos of an eagle………Or………….we can put him into a situation in which he will be transformed into an eagle!!!

You will never act out of character unless transformation takes place and you experience change!!!!

Back to learning…………..

How can we get people to become something that they are not? I’m not just talking about people that don’t know Christ, I’m talking about people who do! How do they become transformed?

We must make them people of Presence! Do we want them to be full of joy?

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11

Do we want them to be “full of fire?”

“Our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29 

We’ve got to get “close” enough to be changed by what we encounter!!!!!!

How close are you to God? How much anticipation do you feel about the next opportunity to be in His presence? If you’re not moved by what you hear, get closer to God! Call out on the Holy Spirit for revelation!!! Pastors – get your people into His presence in praise and prayer!

Remember the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

An encounter with Jesus does what a thousand words cannot do! Instead of intellect, let’s depend upon wisdom breathed upon and made alive by the Holy Spirit! You’ll finally experience the change you have been looking for!


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