The Presence of God

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I’d like to recap some key ideas from Foursquare Connection last week in Nashville. First of all, we elected a new Foursquare president: Randy Remington.

Bishop Kenneth Ulmer spoke of God doing something new through Foursquare Church.

Isaiah 43:19: For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Phil Manginelli spoke about calling. He said, “Calling must be greater than significance.” Knowing Jesus must be greater than the need to be known and significant. Just because our church is smaller and has fewer people than other churches in Sioux Falls does not mean our calling is any less important.

Finally, Banning Liebscher talked about making the presence of the Lord a top priority.

Exodus 33:14-16: The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

Moses had two options:

  1. Go into the Promised Land without the presence of the Lord

  2. Stay in the wilderness with the presence of the Lord

Moses didn’t hesitate - he chose to remain in the wilderness in the presence of the Lord. It’s His presence that changes us. David understood the value of the presence of the Lord:

Psalm 84:1-4: How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.

He is our strength, our shield, and our rewarder. One day in the presence of the Lord is better than a thousand elsewhere.

Psalm 22:3: Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

God enthrones the praises of His people. His throne represents His rule and reign. That means it is in our praise and worship to Him when things begin to change. People encounter salvation, healing, deliverance, peace, rest, and strength.

I want to close with this portion of Scripture. This is a very popular verse — many people can quote it but may not know the context.

Jeremiah 29:10-14: This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

God speaks this verse to Israel while they are in captivity to Babylon. Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s good and perfect plan for our lives while we are facing trials, but He makes it clear that if we seek Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him. God shows up where He is invited. When He shows up, we are never the same. If we are truly going to reach our city as a church, we are going to need the presence of Jesus. Let’s seek God with all our hearts and see what He does!