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The Real Thing

Recently, I asked a Sunday School class what a Spirit-filled church would look like.  And we quickly discovered that is not an easy question to answer.  To describe what something looks like can get really tricky.

As they say, “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck,…then it probably is a duck.”  That’s all well and good but if you don’t know what a duck looks like, walks like or sounds like how much help is that?

How would you describe an apple to someone who doesn’t know what an apple is?  What makes “appleness”?  It’s not color or shape.  They can be different or can be shared by something else.

The point of this is you may not be able to describe an apple but, if you’ve experienced apples, you know one when you see it.  It may be red, yellow or green.  It may be shaped differently, even deformed, but you know the difference between an apple and a pear.

A Spirit-filled church is not described by its style of worship, or music, it’s building, even its organizational pattern.  But if you’ve experienced it you should know it when you see it.

You see, it’s about God.  You can’t describe God, explain or understand God but you can recognize God when you experience God.

Then there are counterfeits.  Counterfeits are look a-likes.  Do you know what a hologram is?  Without getting too technical, a hologram is a three-dimensional image produced with “coherent light (as from a laser).”* It looks very real. But it isn’t.

When I went to the University of Iowa to attend graduate school, George W. Forell, was head of the School of Religion.  As a Christian preacher, thinker and writer (over 220 entries for him on Amazon Books) he is widely respected.  One of the most popular teachers at Iowa, his graduate class, open to undergraduate honors students, was always packed.  He used to tell his new class that some of them came expecting him to try to convince them to believe (convert them). He said, “I can’t convert anyone.  But if you encounter Almighty God you’ll know it.”

When believers gather, we will meet God if we open our hearts to Him and we will know it.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there…
                                                                                      -Matthew 18:20

*Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

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