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Experience

Yesterday I went to a life and science museum with my two granddaughters, L.E. and McRae.  It’s a pretty fun place.  It has one of the fastest kids’ trains I’ve ever been on.  You can tell that the engineer wishes that he were operating a roller coaster, although it was a bit slower than last  year.  I imagine some parent complained because their less than wild-at-heart kid got scared.

This museum has a lot of outdoor stuff;  things you beat on with sticks, like chimes, drums, bells, and other objects, water sprays that  you operate  yourself with pumps, an area of farm animals, a train caboose that you can climb around in.  It also has a butterfly house where you can watch moths and butterflies come out of cocoons, and at 11:00 am they release them into the house, after a staff describes each one to you.  There is something  magical about watching a butterfly on its first  flight.  In the main building there’s a space and astronaut area, a big sound room with floor pads and motion sensors that activate all sorts of rhythms when you move.  It’s fun watching  adults jump around and run in ways they would never do in public.

L.E. is fascinated with weather, especially tornadoes and hurricanes, and there is a weather area that has one spot that uses a vapor mist and fan currents to simulate a tornado right before your eyes.  You can even stick your hand in it.  We got some great pictures there with L.E., like a giant, standing beside a tornado.

The dominant theme of the museum is learning.  The dominant  method is  experience.  Everywhere you turn you are invited to hold something, build something, examine something with a magnifying glass, roll something, beat something, turn something, jump on something, touch something.  And my granddaughters love it.  It’s a must trip on every visit.  I love it. I’m usually the last to leave the exhibit.  I was just getting my groove on with the steel drums when they were ready to go to the next thing.

What a lesson for those who follow Jesus.  The most compelling thing we have to offer anyone is an invitation, an invitation to experience Jesus, an invitation to experience God.  We act as if the most important thing we have to offer is an argument – an argument about why they should believe everything we think there is to believe about God, an argument against whatever they might believe.  We may also tend to think that the most important thing we have to offer is a correction, a correction to their  bad behavior and lifestyle.

I really appreciate Psalm 34:8 because it is an invitation:  “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  Later in the NT, Peter uses that phrase to describe what it means to have become a Christian.  (1 Peter 2:3 – an invitation to hunger even more for God, his word).

I hate to think of how many people I have pre-judged to be beyond experiencing God because they don’t believe the right things, or don’t behave the right way.  How can they believe the right things if they haven’t tasted? Then I think of how many people have the right beliefs but they have never tasted  God.  They fill our churches.  They may be some of us.  Toxic faith – the right beliefs, even some right behavior – but no right experience.

My goal is to invite people to taste God, starting wherever they are, with whatever faith or curiosity, or more likely a need they have.    God is a lot more explainable when people experience him.

Practical Application:  The next time someone shares a need with you, it may be an opportunity for you to invite them to taste God.  Without being sanctimonious, consider inviting them to seek God’s help with that need.  You might suggest that they ask God to help them with that.  Or, you might tell them that you would be glad to pray for that.  If you are nervous about messing something like that up, you’ll do fine -you will not come off in a Church-Lady way.

Comments

  1. In college, I experienced the Church Lady and ran away from all things God, Jesus and Christian for a long time; CL let me know that my “wrong” Bible and I weren’t going to cut it in her Bible study. Years later, I started experiencing God though I didn’t yet know Him. These experiences came about because some women loved God, loved me and extended an invitation to me to just come and taste; to come and see. And so I did.

  2. I too, as a young adult, ran away from the church because there were too many CLs letting me know that you had to be near perfect to be in their world. Not only did I feel I couldn’t be a part of that world, I didn’t want to. Later in life, I found people who loved me through my worst self and because of the love they shared, I am able to love others deeply no matter where they are on the journey. Love is a pay it forward deal and it works!!!

  3. I totally relate to what Laura and Sandie shared. I think some times people Have experienced God, but they might not Know it was God or really think they have cause it didn’t take place in a ‘church’ setting. It may have just been a really healing talk with someone. Well, to me Any healing is from God. The other day I was talking to a friend who said he’d never Felt God. I brought up all these things that Did bring Feeling to him, and showed him that That was God. . . it was news to him~

    I know for Me, it was the Word. I think I thought the bible was just lists or blah blah blah kindda stuff, or maybe I was just to lazy or distracted to ever even think about picking it up. When I Finally Did pick it up, man oh man. It wasn’t anything but totally confirming and totally comforting. I Hungered for Anything with The Word. So the more Word that went in, the more all that other stuff just went out.