The "Wow" Factor
    Through the years a refrain I've heard often in the church concerning our gatherings is the joy we feel when the Lord "shows up."  Truth to tell, a good part of those found in the weekly worship service attend with some degree of hope that in that time, He will "show up."  It's the prayer of most, if not all worship leaders and pastor's, and a good number of the congregation as well.  I wonder though, how many of us consider that in the heart of the Father, is a longing for us to "show up," to be present with Him, not in part, but the whole?  I wonder even more, how much of our desire for Him to come among us, comes from a desire to see Him "perform," to do amazing things among us?  Our flesh has always liked a good show, and this is true in the church just as much as in the world.  In the Gospels, it's often written that when Jesus did some miracle among the people, that they were "amazed."  In their amazement, they followed Him, longing to see more, experience more.....amazement.  Yet, as a friend said, whenever He sought to take them from the emotion of amazement into a deeper place with Him, they very often sought to kill Him.  We love the "Wow factor," but all too often, that's about as far as we wish to go with Him.  Our expectation will be that He must do something even more amazing the next time.  I've a friend who once told me that during a time of wondrous growth in his church, he regularly received calls from members telling him they couldn't wait till next week to "see what God was going to do."  The church came to a point where the Father sought to take them into a deeper place in Him, but the people, disappointed that the show had stopped, began to leave.  Jesus is not interested in "wowing" us, but in living completely in and through us.
     I think most of us today are very content to be like Jacob.  If you know the story of his life, he was the master manipulator and trickster.  He was always looking out for himself, always seeking to receive the blessing and the benefit.  His spiritual state is best seen in Genesis 28, when, on the run from Esau, who he'd tricked out of his birthright, the Father appeared to him in a dream, and spoke to him of intentions for his life.  Upon awaking, he exclaimed, "Surely the Lord was in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it."  I think that's an apt description of how many of us live today.  Unaware.  Unaware of His presence, His personality, character, life.  Yes, I know that we like to say that "the Lord is present," but we say it in a very general way.  He's around, but He's not intruding, interfering.  He's pouring out blessing, which we're glad to receive, but He makes no demands, and kindly keeps in the background, and only comes out when we really need Him.  We're satisfied with a general sense of His presence, one based on our receiving His blessings.  Few know of His manifest presence, which is where He reveals to us in intimate, powerful, and very real ways, His personality, character and will.  He revealed Himself in such a way to Jacob, but it would be another 20 years until Jacob, at Peniel, reached a place of surrender to Him that transformed him  and gave him the new name of Israel.  How many of us are content to remain "Jacob," and so never enter into the riches of the life of "Israel?"  We keep looking for the "wow factor," and keep missing Him in all of it.  Living unawares.
     Are we living unawares today, always seeking that "wow factor," the next big thing?  Are we crying out for Him to show up, while He gently, passionately, constantly, calls us to show up before Him?  Are we living unawares, and if so, how much more of Him will we miss, as we keep looking for the One who is already there?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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