God Out There: Experiencing God’s Presence Outside the Church
June 12, 2019
We’re excited to dive right into summer with a three-week sermon series entitled God Out There. Rev. Ann Willet will be leading this series- and YOU can participate. Read below to see what our focus is for the rest of June, and learn how you can be involved.
By Rev. Ann Willet
Being at church naturally points us toward God’s presence. Whether you are in a Sunday School class, or attend just for worship, you come to church expecting to experience God here. So what happens in the summer, when kids are out of school and the lake is calling? What happens to our experiences with God when we are at a college reunion for the weekend or when it’s time to visit those out-of-state relatives?
This summer, as you travel, as you rest, as you slow down the frantic pace a bit, we invite you to a little show and tell. We notice that some of you are away, and we miss you. We look forward to seeing you when you get back. But we also know that you don’t have to be in the church building to experience God’s presence.
In the summer of 2001, our family of five rented a place on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, for six nights. It was the longest time that we had stayed anywhere with our three young girls, who were 13, 11, and 8 at the time. It was also the first time that we felt they could handle some level of independence, so my husband and I could walk down the beach alone and they could stay at the pool, as long as they stayed together. My most cherished memories of that trip were times alone with God early in the morning. I got up before the family was stirring and took my mug of coffee down to the beach. I found the wooden deck chairs empty at 6:30 a.m., and God and I had some amazing talks. I wasn’t in church, but I was clearly in God’s presence.
In worship June 16, 23, and 30, our sermon series, entitled God Out There: Experiencing God’s Presence Outside the Church, will help us explore how it is that we experience God out in the world. In addition to all the wonderful music, prayers, and fellowship that you enjoy each Sunday, we’ll have scripture readings and sermons that invite us to experience God in nature (June 16), God in our loved ones (June 23), and God in the stranger (June 30). Whenever you’re in town, we hope you’ll be in worship with us! This would be a great time to invite a friend or neighbor to join you.
If you’re not present on Sundays, you can still contribute by sharing photos and stories of the ways that you have seen God outside the walls of the church. Your stories will be some of our best sermon illustrations, as you share how God has found you in a crowded water park, in a restaurant with an old friend, or in your great aunt’s living room. Please send a photo or tell us a story of your God-moments that have been a reminder of God Out There. Angela will collect your information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for expecting God, even when you’re not in church!
I’ll see you Sunday……or the next Sunday!