We had another great time in our cellgroup last night. We had one of our "waiting on God" evenings where we give the whole time over to worshipping God, pressing in to his presence, responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and stepping out in the gifts. Our group is really growing well in this area, and we are coming with a sense of expectancy and faith each time for what God will do amongst us — we are never disappointed. Last time we met like this everyone prophesied. This time everyone received a personal word from God.
What struck me most about the evening though was how it ended. We reached the end, or so I thought. I had nothing left to bring and no further instruction or direction for the meeting... yet the tangible sense of the presence of God was still very much present. No one wanted to move or say anything. We enjoyed more precious time in God's presence in silence, but nothing further came. I asked if anyone had anything further to bring, but no one did. Finally I felt some direction. God was teaching us something. He wanted us to learn that it's good to come with an expectation that we will encounter the presence of God when we meet, but it's not good to have an expectation that his presence is just for meetings, and we can put him back in a box when we are done. God wants us to live in a continual abiding sense of his presence with us. He wants us to go out still full of his presence, a people marked out as those who have stood in the presence of the Lord.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. (Ex 34:29)
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (Ac 4:13)