Last week at Calvary we finished up our teaching series, “Come Thirsty.” Really the whole series was all about being with God, life with God. I offered two words that shape our pathway to life with God. If we want to be with God, we need the right balance of Desperation and Expectation.
Last summer, I challenged Calvary to spend a day with God. The challenge came from David’s words in Psalm 84. He starts in verses 1-2, with, “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
David just wants to be with God. He’s desperate for God. How lovely is your dwelling — probably a better translation is “how loved is your dwelling…” It’s not just lovely; like, “Oh, God you have a lovely house.” It’s loved. David would rather hang out with God than be at a Penn State football game. He would rather drink coffee with God than go camping, or shopping, or bar-hopping. David just wants to be wherever God is.
It’s not limited to church, but honestly today David say, “I can’t wait to go to church. I long to go to church. My soul yearns for church. When I get to church, I don’t want to end. I don’t want to leave. No place I’d rather be than church. If we are honest, that sounds weird in our ears. If someone said that to us, we might say, “You need to get a life!”
Last week 15-20 of us from Calvary and a few other congregations took an all day trip to Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn New York. During the day we attended sessions on prayer, but I’m certain that most of the people who went would say that the highlight was the prayer meeting. It starts at 7pm, but sometimes people start lining up around 4pm to get a good seat. The doors open at 5pm and by 6pm it was getting pretty full (~4000 seats in the auditorium). Prayer is already going on. People are lining up for prayer. And in the room, there is is this amazing mix of desperation and expectation.
They are desperate for God, and they have seen Him work so often that they are expectant for God. I love what Jim Cymbala writes about church,
Too much of our religious life is made up of programs and human ideas, talents and strategies. While these have value, they pitifully fail to meet the need of the house. What is missing today is something from heaven itself, something from God the Holy Spirit that fills and floods our lives. This has always been God’s design for His church.
Do you understand what Cymbala is saying? He’s saying if church is boring, something is wrong. If you want to leave church early and come late, something’s missing. If you were given tickets to a Taylor Swift concert (sorry Jake) or a seats on the 50 yard line to watch Penn State and Alabama and you can’t imagine trading those in for church, then somewhere along the line we’ve missed God’s design for the church.
In Psalm 84:10, David writes these words, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. This phrase, the “courts of the Lord,” is woven thru the Psalms. It’s simply another to say “with God.” Being in the courts of the Lord is all about being with God.
David’s saying, “If I only had one day to live, I would live it with God.” Better is one day with God than three years without God. Better is a month of days with God than a lifetime without God. I know it’s a psalm, perhaps a bit of creative license. But don’t miss the delight, and anticipation, the desperation and expecation of what the psalmist feels when he says, “I would exchange a lifetime anywhere else for a month of days in your place.”
How about you? What is your best day?