How Important is Glory?
14And he [God] said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15And he [Moses] said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” —Exodus 33:14-16
Church must be about helping people discover and experience glory, 52 weeks a year, every year for the rest of their lives. No personal quiet time, no Christian book, no community or small group or service can substitute for the absence of God coming down to meet with His church corporately. And it’s time that we stopped accepting substitutes. When God announced to Moses that He was abandoning His stubborn people on the path to the Promised Land, Moses highlighted something the church must come back to . . . "Is it not in Your going with us that we are distinct among all the peoples of the earth" (Exodus 33:16). Apart from the revealed presence of God in the midst of the church, we are just the Rotary Club without music, or the Boy Scouts without fire.
· Would you keep going to Burger King if they didn't have beef?
· How long would you sit in a theatre if the screen didn't light up?
· Would you line up for gas at a station where fuel tanks are empty?
And eventually, everyone vacates church where God is not obviously present and working. Churches don't die, God's voice in them dies, and then the people’s response of adoration goes stone cold too. Getting people back to church is pointless unless God comes back first in His glory—that's what Vertical Church is all about!
The problem is, you can’t fake glory. You can’t manufacture it, or manipulate it, or manifest it at will. Only God Himself can bring glory into a church, but when He does, communities get shaken and lives get changed, and the fame of Jesus Christ curls upon the shore of human hearts like a Hawaii 5-0 wave. Church is supposed to be a tsunami of glory every Sunday and that is what we gather for. Push out of your mind concepts of church as community, church as mission, church as evangelistic tool, or church as instruction in Scripture. Church can be all of those things with great power if God is in the house. If you are looking for that, I encourage you to join me this moment in the stubborn-hearted prayer I stole from Moses, “show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). —James MacDonald
· When I ask God to show me His glory, what am I expecting?
· What do I think would happen if I began to make this my heart-felt prayer each week-end as I enter church?
Prayer - Father, I do want to see Your glory! I know that I don’t have to be like Moses to make this request because You have already showed us Your glory most clearly in Your Son Jesus, who was full of grace and truth. So, I want to “see” Jesus, Father. I long to live my life in fellowship, obedience, and intimacy with Him, trusting His guidance and work in my life each day. Open my eyes, Lord, wider and wider! In Jesus’ strong name, Amen.