Summary: There is a huge difference between an encounter and a Close Encounter. In this 4 part series, learn the ingredients that are necessary to have a Close Encounter with God. You will be challenged by this series.
Pt. 3 - The Time
Review – You are going to get sick of this, but I want to make sure that you not only know it by memory but you know it by heart. Our mandate is simply to Encounter, Equip, and Engage. We illustrate this by Hands Up, Hands Open, Hands Out. We will do nothing more and nothing less.
So two weeks ago I challenged you that we must press into a Close Encounter with God. A simple encounter will not do because there is a huge difference between an encounter and a close encounter. We are determined to be a 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 church, where the glory of the Lord is so strong that it fills this place and our lives.
Then last Sunday I began dealing with the terms or conditions that we must meet in order to have a Close Encounter. We are required to be hungry. Our cravings drive our appetite so in order for our appetite to change you must change your cravings. I want you to crave God with every fiber of your being. So much so that you will do weird things to get to Him if you have too. Like get up early. Refuse to go where everyone else goes, etc. Second, we are required to be honest. Too many of us put on a show when we get to church and the fantasy that we play out keeps us from having a close encounter with God or with each other. Third, we must be holy. I didn’t say perfect, but on a genuine pursuit of holiness. We can’t ask God to make holiness or righteousness fit us, but we must fit and live up to His standards.
That brings us to today. There is a very crucial element that we must take into consideration if we truly long for and are willing to pursue a close encounter with God.
I believe that in order for us to have a close encounter with God we must be willing to invest our time in Him. Notice I didn’t say spend time I said invest time.
1. What we want
Our struggle is that we are accustomed to, desire and even demand convenience. We live life at such a fast pace that we want everything fast, immediate, and instantaneously.
For example, now not only do want our convenience stores convenient we want them with drive thrus. We want drive-thru weddings. We are in such a hurry that since we no longer have the time to lay out we want fake tans, but laying in a tanning bed takes at least 15 minutes several time in a row so now we want a spray tan that only takes a fraction of the time. We read cliff notes, find large amounts of research with one click of a button, and microwave our food. The fast and the furious is not really a movie about cars, it is a statement about our life.
And then we come to church! We don’t gripe when we have to stand in line at the Hornet’s game, or about the wait in the concession stand movies, or when we have to wait 45 minutes in line at Disney to ride the ride but for some reason we get very cranky, antsy, and aggravated when we can’t seem to encounter God in 20 minutes.
We have tried to limit God to our time. We need to understand that God was before time, created time, operates in time, but is not limited or controlled by our time. God will not be held hostage to our watch or even our calendar.