Sunday, May 15, 2011

Encounters With God

The Presence In the Midst
In many ways, the Bible is a history of human beings encountering God.  Adam & Eve encounter God in the Garden of Eden, both before and after they sin.  Joseph (the one with the coat) encounters God through dreams.  Moses encounters God through a burning bush.  Elizabeth, Mary and Saul encounter God through visits from angels.  And thousands of people encountered God through the person of Jesus.  God shows up in a variety of different ways in the scriptures, but know this- God always shows up!

I believe this is still true today.  We encounter the living God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit; this is not meant to be theological series, it is meant to an experiential series!) in many different ways in our lives, but I firmly believe we do encounter Him.  My experiences go all the way back to high school.  Quaker worship is all about practicing the presence of God and knowing God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit is always with us.  I remember sitting silently in meeting for worship at New Garden Friends Meeting during open worship and suddenly realizing my heart was full with a message to share. A "strange force" would have me on my feet and talking before I knew it- and I knew from whom the message came.  I had a good friend receive a missionary call to go to Belize in that same setting, and she had never heard of Belize before!  I remember sitting on a hillside in Virginia at Sam Levering's orchard and seeing the incredible night sky and knowing God was there with me.  God showed up so many times in so many ways during my years at Quaker Lake Camp, at the campfire circle and on the Vespers Hill.  I remember seeing Jesus show up in the lives of so many students over my years in ministry, as well as at so many worship services.  And I know that in my own darkest hour, God spoke to me and through me to reach out in a way I could have never imagined myself.

But the next 2 weeks are not about me.  They are about the what Rich Mullins called, "the reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God."  Over the coming weeks you will hear from at least 13 different writers sharing their own encounters with God.  I do not know what direction these stories will take us- that is part of the wonder of God.  We do not all experience God in the same way, and I trust that these stories will open our hearts and minds to new possibilities.  My prayer is that they will serve to remind us that if we feel far away from God, it is not God who moved.  I hope that these heart-felt tales will help each of us to to seek to encounter God, to want it so badly that we constantly seek God's presence in our lives. 

Come join us on the journey.  It begins tomorrow with a very moving post from Eric Hendrickson (@uscerock379 on Twitter) and continues with a different writer each day.  God is always in your midst.  Encounter Him...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Really looking forward to these Carl!

  2. Me too, Amy. The ones I have already received are blowingme away- including yours! I cannot wait to share them with the world!

  3. Anonymous5/15/2011

    What can you tell me about the picture at the top? I assume it is Amish- it is a very powerful image. -Chris C.

  4. Chris, it is a traditional Quaker painting by J. Dole Penrose. I think at least 50% of the Quakers in the world have a copy. I just love it!


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