Summary: Finding and living out the presence of God in our midst.
SERIES: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It
(freely adapted from Craig Groeschel’s It: How Churches and Leader Can Get it and Keep it)
“WHAT IS IT?”
A man traveling on business was really excited about his relationship with the Lord. He was staying in a town where he didn’t know anyone but was determined to be regular in church fellowship during his stay. He looked in the hotel directory and found a church not too far away from where he was staying.
On Sunday morning, he got up bright and early. He showered, got dressed, did his morning devotions, and ate breakfast in the hotel dining room. As it got near to the time for church to start, he paid his bill and walked down the street to the church building.
It was a beautiful church building with huge stained glass windows and a very tall steeple with a chorus of bells. A lemon-faced man met him at the door and handed him a bulletin. He walked into the auditorium and was amazed by the beauty of the décor. He found a seat near the front and settled in.
It bothered him that not very many people were there but he figured the place might fill up as it got closer to time to start. The organist began a dry sounding prelude and when it was finished, someone opened the church service with a very formal sounding prayer.
The congregation stood and began to sing several hymns but nobody sang with any enthusiasm. As it got time for the sermon, someone announced that the regular preacher was not there and that the sermon would be brought by a young man from the seminary several miles away.
Everyone could tell he was a little nervous and things started a little rough. The visitor was determined to stay with it and pretty soon the young man relaxed a little and made a pretty good point concerning the scripture he was preaching from. The visitor got excited. He shouted, “AMEN!”
One of the deacons in the church came up beside this visitor and said, “Sir, we do not customarily respond to the sermon in such a way. Please refrain from such behavior.” And the deacon went back to his seat.
The visitor was taken aback at the response but he sat there quietly for awhile. But the young preacher was really doing a good job and the visitor just couldn’t hold it in. He shouted, “Preach it, brother!”
Again the deacon came to where the visitor was sitting and said, “Sir, I’ve already explained that we do not behave in such a manner in this church. Again, I’m going to ask you to please restrain yourself.” The deacon went back to his seat.
Almost everyone in the church was looking at him. He felt very self-conscious but again got to listening to the young preacher. As that preacher began to tell about what a wonderful savior we have in Jesus Christ, the visitor got excited and again just couldn’t restrain his enthusiasm. He shouted, “Hallelujah!”
That deacon came storming toward the front where the visitor was seated. He looked the visitor in the eye and said, “Sir, what is your problem?”