Gods Presence at Netcast

My daily reading today was to read through the Book of Jonah. As I read the first 3 verses God began to speak….

Jonah 1 
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. 

When the Lord began to put the dream of Netcast in my mind, a longing for "Gods Presence" was at the center of those dreams. I longed for the day to see God build a church that was more concerned with His presence than anything else. Do I love good theology, sound teaching, authentic leadership, Gospel-Centrality, certain worship music, community, etc? Absolutely…But no amount of right intellect, wisdom or musical preference can produce the personal transformation that occurs when we are saturated in the presence of the Lord.

Since Netcast began, "presence" (among other things) has marked us. People have walked into our worship gatherings and been overwhelmed with Gods presence, brought to tears in Gods presence, healed in Gods presence and danced in Gods presence. Presence has grown to become one of the common things that people speak of when they visit Netcast. I can't tell you how many emails I get that speak about visitors "sensing God or feeling God" while in a worship service or Community Group. Sturgeon has continued to encourage us as a church to keep pursuing "Presence over Programs or Process."

When I read those first three verses in Jonah, it stirred things in me. It reminded me of the importance of being faithful to Gods call on Netcast. It reminded me that "Gods Presence" through the proclamation and worship of Gods Son, is our only hope in seeing Greater Boston transformed. It reminded me that if we ever stop prayerfully seeking Gods direction or neglect His leading, then it's possible to lose the most important thing we have; "The presence of the Lord". When Jonah failed to be obedient to the word God gave him and fled to Tarshish instead of Nineveh, it clearly says that "Jonah didn't just run from Gods call, but actually ran from Gods Presence." In the same way, if we stop seeking God for a unified direction, the first thing to go will be the sensing of His Presence. Not because the Lord has left us, but because we stopped following the Lord.

Similar to Jonah, the Lord has called us to a "great city". Like Nineveh, Greater Boston is a great city full of people "who do not know their right hand from their left. (Jonah 4:14)" Greater Boston needs to turn away from its idolatrous evils, repent of its sins, trust in Jesus and experience Gods Presence. May Netcast never stop being a place that displays the beauty of our "gracious God, who is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Jonah 4:2)"

May we lead the way in seeing Gods presence known by (1) keeping Jesus central to everything, (2) creating deep authentic communities, (3) worshiping God with all of our being, (4) planting churches, (5) equipping Gods people as best as we can and (6) being willing to do whatever we believe the Lord is leading us to do.

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