We are formed skeptics. Years of disillusion, disappointment, or disaster has made many of us jaded and cynical. Even the most optimistic among us often struggle with hope and wrestle with doubt. “Where is God in this world?” or “When will God show up in my life?” are questions we frequently ponder.
It was no different for the Ancient Israelites. Many Jews in Jesus day were oppressed, exploited, and frustrated with life. They felt abandoned by God. Yet in the midst of their misery they sought God, and as they did Jesus came to them. God came to them in the flesh. This is our model for meeting with God too. God tells us to seek him at all costs and he will come to us. This Advent, we will learn better what it means to seek and search for God, so that we might find God coming to us too.
Quotes from the book, Renovation of the Church:
I had just finished talking and praying with a long line of people after one of our better conceived and more powerfully performed services, and I went over and plopped down next to our creative arts pastor, Manuel Luz. Manuel was directly responsible for everything that happened in our seeker services…From a performance perspective, we had put together a first-rate product. The artistic elements were very compelling and technically excellent. There were times when people were laughing uproariously and others when they were wiping away tears. (“ Make them laugh and make them cry”— in some seeker-church circles this is known as the Disney formula.) After settling into the chair next to Manuel, I sighed and said, “Wow!” And with uncharacteristic dark irony Manuel said, “You know, we don’t even need God to do this.” ~pp. 23-24
“Gradually, we began to get some clarity on a troubling truth: attracting people to church based on their consumer demands is in direct and irredeemable conflict with inviting people, in Jesus’ words, to lose their lives in order to find them. It slowly began to dawn on us that our method of attracting people was forming them in ways contrary to the way of Christ…We began to realize that our current church structure was actually working against the invitation of Christ to experience his authentic transformation. In order to help people follow Christ more fully, we would have to work against the very methods we were using to attract people to our church.” ~p. 35