"If Your House Was The House of God" by Keith Giles
"I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord'"- Psalm 122:1
The year I was licensed and ordained as a pastor they handed me a key to the church building. I was barely 22 years old, newly married, with a heart full of hope about my calling to pastor God's people.
On Sunday evenings I would unlock the old building an hour early and wander through the dark corridors behind the stage, through the choir room, up through the narrow stairway to the baptistry, quietly talking with God as I moved through the silence of an empty church.
Those were sweet times for me. I remember pouring my heart out to God during those moments, dreaming of the future, wondering where my journey with God would take me, how things would turn out down the road.
Imagine my shock when someone suggested to me that God didn't actually live in that place. He didn't splash in the baptistry when no one was there. He didn't hum His favorite hymns in the darkness waiting for us to return on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. He wasn't confined to that place as if it were some Holy container for His Glory.
That idea took me some time to process. I knew in my heart it was true. God's word even supported the concept that man could not build a house for him, nor did he ever ask for us to construct a castle for his Spirit to dwell. In fact, the only temple God has ever wanted was you and me.
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." - 1 Cor 6:19
The more this idea permeated my mind, the more revolutionary it became to me. I realized that I could have that same intimate experience with God that I enjoyed in the empty church building on Sunday evenings in my car, or at work, or in the park, or anywhere I went. It was very liberating and empowering for me.
Since we started our house church over 2 years ago, I have had another revelation about the House of God. As we've been hosting church in our living room, our family actually lives in the very place where our church gathers to fellowship and worship.
My own house is now the House of God. I eat in this same house. My family wakes up every single day of the week in this house of worship. We laugh here, we argue here, we cry here, we play here, and we live each day in the same house where the worship and the Bible study and the singing take place every week.
It begins to change the way you think of your house. It starts to affect the way you live. It changes the way you interact with God.
God is not hidden away in a large building somewhere. I do not visit Him each week and catch up on lost time. He does not remain behind when my family leaves to go out to lunch with friends, nor does He sleep on the floor waiting for me to return for Sunday worship.
God has made His home within me. My house is the place where we worship and fellowship each week, but I carry around in my soul the very presence of the living God. Even as I sit at my desk at work, I am on Holy Ground. Even as I pump gas at the gas station, I am in the presence of the King of the Universe. Even as I sit here, typing this article on my computer, sipping my coffee, listening to Snow Patrol, I am not far from Church.
In fact, I am the Church. God has made His home in me and this is simply a foretaste of the day when I move into His house and eat at His table and we are forever, eternally, together.
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” - 1 Peter 2:5
What if your house was the House of God? Would it change what you watch on television? Would it affect the way you treat your spouse or your children?
Welcome to the House of God, my friends- It's you!
Last Saturday just over 100 people gathered together to share an open dialog about the Kingdom, God's heart for the poor and what it means to live an outward-focused life. It was phenomenal.
God showed up with amazing power and His presence was felt from our very first session.
I hope to collect a few testimonials from those who were with us that day and post them over at the Non-Con website (http://www.non-con.com) soon.
Special thanks to our leaders who volunteered their time and talent to make this day so amazing: David Ruis, Jackie Pullinger, John Thomas, Cindy Rethmeier, Crissy Brooks, Marti Clark, Spencer Burke, Scott Laumann, Bill Burgess, Heather Wright, Paul Martin and my wife Wendy Giles who was my secret weapon. She took care of all the food and a lot of the daily logistics so that I could focus on the rest of the day and facilitate our time together. I'll never do another one of these without her help.
IT'S YOUR FUNERAL - My article about the last day of your life is now online at http://www.theooze.com
Go check it out and leave a comment if you like.