A Rant on Technical Difficulties and The Presence of God

We had a projector malfunction (along with some other frustrating factors) at church Sunday. It produced a long rant on several church related topics including the importance of God’s presence in the midst of his assembled people, excellence in a church service, church unity, spiritual gifts, church attendance, holiness, and more. Yes, it was quite the rant. You can listen to it below.

[bra_highlight style=’highlight1′]Note:[/bra_highlight] The frustration I reference at the beginning was minor. I didn’t throw the projector, yell at anyone (it wasn’t anyone’s fault), or go home to sulk. I demonstrated my frustration with a few words and an honest prayer.

[mejsaudio mp3 = “″] [bra_blockquote align=’right’]The nations will come to church…and the people will be drawn to it…if we will live out God’s will and allow for him to say I’m comfortable being in that place.” [/bra_blockquote]




I would genuinely enjoy dialoguing with you about the things I said in my rant. Leave a comment below to get the discussion started.

What do you think?


  1. I thank you guys for all you did for the homeless. I am helping the homeless here in molalla. Because I know how god used you guys to take care of his people. so I am letting god use me.

    1. Hi Debra. Thank you for the affirmation and the update. I’m glad to hear that you God is using you to help people without homes. I believe that one of the most important ways Christians can reflect Jesus is by helping the hurting, homeless, and helpless. I’ll pray that God blesses you and your efforts.

  2. I find the quote from the youtube video interesting. Because the Israelites had the Lord speaking to them, often times through Moses, but still speaking to them. And for us in this time period, the Lord speaks to us through Pastors (and yes He speaks through lots of other means as well). So by saying we encamp ourselves around the sermon is He meaning our motivation for coming to church is for the sermon to see what we can learn and how we can grow, rather than coming to church to be in the presence of God?
    If that is the case then I think for some people it might be unintentional. They don’t intentionally encamp themselves around the sermon. But with the way some churches are ran, and a lot of services the focal point is the sermon it becomes that without them realizing it.
    And I’m not saying that this is an excuse for it. Just saying maybe there needs to be a fix to it. First by bringing awareness to it like you have been doing within these blog posts and your rant. And then what?

  3. Juliann, I agree that God speaks through pastors. It is my weekly prayer that God would communicate through me when I preach my sermon. Biblical preaching has been and always should be an important part of church gatherings.

    Bill Johnson’s quote (the Youtube reference I made) was in regards to a miraculous event that was taking place in their church gatherings. He is the pastor of Bethel Church in Redding – they are of the Pentecostal feel. I can’t speak to his exact intent was with his words, you m have to ask him for that information 🙂 However, I can tell you why I love the quote. It reminds people that God’s presence is the most important aspect of a church gathering.

    From a theological/philosophical standpoint the importance of God’s presence is obvious. However, from a tangible/practical standpoint the differences in thinking are less clear. You mentioned coming to church to learn and grow, two things that I think are an important part of church attendance. So, lets say you go to church with these two goals in mind, but don’t ever consider the presence of God. The focus will quickly turn to how well the pastor communicated, how good his illustrations were, and how intellectually satisfying the sermon was. When we come to church with our focus on interacting with God, the pastor’s preaching ability becomes secondary. God can speak through the worst of sermons (trust me). Another easy example is music. Most American’s go through musical worship thinking about whether they like the songs or not and if they “feel” something. When we come to church focused on the presence of God, the kind of music and our feelings become secondary. We strive to communicate our hearts to God because he is with us.

    You can perhaps tell from the two above examples that I agree with you that most people camp around a sermon (or others around music) instead of God’s presence unintentionally. I think that churches have placed tremendous importance on certain aspects of church and people have willingly followed in their thinking. Your statement is right on – “But with the way some churches are ran, and a lot of services the focal point is the sermon it becomes that without them realizing it.”

    Yes, bringing awareness to the presence of God is key. If you were to ask someone who regularly attends Creekside where God is most powerfully present, they would probably answer, “In the midst of church.” I could be imagining or it could be coincidence, but the loudness of voices when we sing on Sunday mornings tells me that people are approaching music differently because they are focused on God’s presence in our midst. Another answer to “then what” is returning churches to a place where God is willing to more fully dwell. We have, for far too long, seen churches do what “works” and not what God wills. I firmly believe that God’s presence is not as thick because of this. Throughout the Old Testament God pulled his presence away from the Israelites when they were disobedient and I believe we are seeing that in the American church today. Stories from other places in the world, where the church is young and pure, remind us of how clear God’s presence can be. I have written a guest post for a friend of mine that offers three areas where I believe the church has blatantly disregarded God’s desires. I’ll comment here when he posts it. For now, I’ll just say that churches need to return to a place where they take more seriously the Word of God. A third answer to “then what” is that individuals within churches can make a conscious decision to approach every church service with their minds focused on God’s presence. Leadership can only make people aware so much. At some point, people in the church have to say “When I go to church, I’m going there to meet with God.” When you read this statement you may think that it means people falling on their knees and crying everywhere. This could be true, but won’t necessarily be the case. I believe expressive people would probably be more expressive, but non-expressive people would probably be more worshipful in their non-expressive ways. It isn’t about style, its about being sensitive to God. A final answer “then what” is probably obivious. We need to pray. I believe that churches need to be on their knees begging God to show up in such powerful ways that people can’t help but notice and unbelievers “fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you” (1 Corinthians 14:25).

    Thanks for the great question. It pushed me to think. In fact, I just wrote enough words for another blog post 🙂

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