Cerebral Faith, Encounters with God and Ecumenical Worship

When I was a youth I remember being in a very prideful place in my heart. I thought that I knew all about the Bible and Christianity. I remember speaking to a youth leader talking about how disgruntled I was that there wasn’t anything more to this whole faith thing. In Grade 9 I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip with my youth group. The leader of this missions trip was someone I had heard of but never met; His name was Daniel. Our youth leader whose name was Jared, he was a friend of Daniel and he asked if we as a youth group could join the trip. As a result a  group of Pentecostal, CRC , and EMC, church people decided to go on a missions trip together. It was a 10 day trip to the town of Las Margaritas Mexico near the Guatemala Border. We were there to help a new church plant build a church. We thought we would be laying brick but we ended up with pick axes, rakes, wheelbarrows, and shovels and we emptied the area of 17 truck loads of clay. We also spent time with kids and helping at church services. At these services I saw people interact with God in a way that was different then my own experience….they were emotional… they were joyful…. they spoke as if they actually knew God like he was a person right there in front of them. I looked around at our team and we were different too…. Pentecostals, CRC people, EMC people worshiping together with this little church… it didn’t matter in that moment what church we came from… in that moment we encountered God and He met us in a way that was relational. Suddenly the words in scripture describing God’s love became real. They made sense in a way they hadn’t before. This discovery sent me on a journey to learn more about this God who had spoken to me in a different way. I learned that God created us with minds that can think, God created us with emotion, and that God created us as physical beings and He desires to reveal himself to us in all these forms and in ways that speak to us in light of how unique we each are. As the years have passed I have wrestled with this truth. I have gotten into places where my faith was purely cerebral and at other times it has been purely emotional. One of these moments comes to mind: Before Bible college the guy who had led that missions trip (Dan) was now my youth Pastor and Mentor and I remember him warning me: “Bart in Bible college you can get into a spiritual funk because your faith becomes too much about understanding and not enough about building a relationship with Jesus.” He was right. When I started my classes I would rationalize away the notion of spending alone time with God thinking; “I learn about Him all day in class,” but knowing about Him and knowing  Him are two different things. Luckily many of my professors would remind us of this truth regularly. As a result I encourage you with these words:  God created you with a brain, emotions, and a body, use each for the glory of God, but allow him to encounter and transform each part of you as well.

On that note here is an article that may help!


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