• on September 12, 2016

Participant or Consumer: Mountain Heights to Daily Lifes

by Daniel Burton
by Daniel Burton

I can still remember it clearly to this day; the first day I ever truly praised God from my heart.  While I had grown up in the church, there was a battle to make my faith my own.  It was at a conference I attended with my youth group at the time called DCLA.  During this three-day event, we discussed our story, God’s story, other’s story and how they all three intersect.  While I had sung songs before and meant every word, this felt different.  God was stirring up a passion for him in my heart.  It was as if God awoken the slumbering portion of my heart that longed for him. For the first time in my life, I heard God and heard Him clearer than I ever had before.

The Old Youth Group.. yes that's David Crowder in there.
The Old Youth Group.. yes that’s David Crowder in there.

And then the conference ended…

Getting back on the bus, I started thinking.  Surely we could stay there.  There was more to encounter. But the bus drove off and me on it, thinking “what do I do with what just happened?”  For the disciples, specifically Peter, John, and James, they encountered a similar experience with a life changing moment.

[Jesus] took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

– Luke 9:28-36, NIV

Participant or ConsumerAs Peter, John, and James encountered the fresh revelation of who Jesus is, their immediate reaction was to stay put and immortalize the place.  They wanted to immortalize the event rather than the focus of the event when the focus should remain on Jesus.  For us, we can strive to immortalize our church service when our services should always point towards Christ.   We may have great encounters, but unless they are lived out and shared, they are of no use to those in desperate of the Gospel.

Seeking The Mountain Top Experiences

Mountaintop are fine, in fact, they are encouraged.  You should actively seek out those Kodak moments of faith where, in a moment, your life is transformed. Those moments where you encounter God in a fresh and revitalizing way. Every bone in your body wants to stay there and experience that moment forever.  You want time to freeze and forever remain there, in that brief glimpse of heaven and how it will be when we are in perfect communion with our creator.
Participant or ConsumerYet, to stay here, would utterly and completely miss the point.  To stay we would be merely consumers of a special event.

We are blessed to have a glimpse of heaven.  Our charge is to tell the world and be participants of the unfolding narrative that God has told from the beginning of time.  We do not hide the effects of Christ in those moments, we invade the community with the righteous Gospel that our God saves and His love is never ending and unceasing.  We do not merely consume the mountain top event, we participate in our communities by living it out its effects.

Have you been shown the love of God?  Then show the world.  Has God transformed your life? Allow the effects to ripple through your community.  Our God is just as present on the mountain top as He is in the community we are called to serve.  The God of the special event is the same God of the mundane and daily.

So now, 12 years after my life changing event, and years of asking “So what now?” I can, with full confidence answer that question.

Tell everyone what my God has done.

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