We can use our connections, time, and gifts in order to bring people to Jesus Christ...
Meeting God Face to Face
By S. Joseph Kidder and Kristy L. Hodsonl
The Bible includes the stories of a handful of people who met God face to face.
Perhaps the clearest record of such a life-changing encounter was recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8. Isaiah saw a heavenly worship scene. Angelic beings surrounded God, giving Him adoration and praise. These angels hovered by the throne of God, singing of His holiness and glory. Overwhelmed, Isaiah felt unworthy of this vision. He felt ashamed and ruined because of his sinfulness.
But this was not the end of the experience; one of the angels touched Isaiah’s mouth with a live coal from the altar, taking away his guilt and pronouncing forgiveness. God then offered Isaiah an opportunity to serve by asking, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” (verse 8).
The prophet did not hesitate. This encounter with the glory of God prompted Isaiah to make himself available: “Here am I! Send me” (verse 8).
Catching a Glimpse of God
Like Isaiah, before we can be available to God, we must first catch a glimpse of God. God must minister to us; only then can we hear God’s voice telling us what He wants us to do. We are to respond with an attitude of gratitude, not obligation, because He has cleansed us through the blood of Jesus. There is a sense of healing in our lives. We want to serve God because of who He is and what He has done for us. The wonder of the sacrifice of Christ must be the driving factor in all we do. When we rediscover God’s grandeur, we are compelled to minster on behalf of the only One who can offer atonement for sin.
An experience with God affects how we see the world. Isaiah heard God’s heartbeat for a lost and dying people. We too must hear God’s summons to reach out to broken people in our community. God called; Isaiah answered. This unconditional response comes only from the heart of one who has seen the vision; one who has met with God. Once we’ve seen the Lord, we go where He sends us.
Isaiah did not say, “What’s in it for me?” He signed over his whole life. Because he had seen God’s nature and character, Isaiah reprioritized his life and put God’s mission first. He came to see service for God as worship.
We See—Then We Serve
Ellen White also connected worship and service. “True worship consists in working together with Christ. Prayer, exhortation, and talk are cheap fruits, which are frequently tied on, but fruits that are manifested in good works, in caring for the needy, the fatherless, and widows, are genuine fruits, and grow naturally upon a good tree.”* Service is the result of becoming overwhelmed with appreciation for the One who heals brokenness with love.
The heart of worship is being available to God on a daily basis. It is not a onetime act on Sabbath morning; it is a day-to-day experience. Therefore, for Christians there is no such thing as sacred and secular. Everything belongs to God. Whether we eat, drink, play, or work, we do it all in the presence of God and for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Worship is a lifestyle.
A life of worship makes us available to the Holy Spirit and eager to see His work done in us.
Once we come to understand the gospel, the sacrifice Christ has made for us, and the grace of His enduring love, then we will realize that renewal and cleansing come from above. We will be led to a response of service. Such was the case for Ann.
Overwhelmed and Available
One day I [Joseph] received a card in the mail from a woman asking for Bible studies. When I knocked on her door, she said that she was not interested in studying the Bible and had not sent the card. I asked if she would allow me to pray for her, and she consented.
She then told me about her neighbor across the street who might be interested in a Bible study. When I went across the street, a woman, 73 years old, drunk and smoking, opened the door. I asked her if she would like to study the Bible. She did not have anything to do, so she said “yes.” I started to study the Bible with Ann. After some time she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior.
During a study on the greatness of the power of God, Ann became overwhelmed. She broke down crying and asked how she could experience that power to overcome her smoking and drinking. We arranged a time for the church elders to come for an anointing service. After that service God gave her victory over those bad habits.
A few weeks later she was baptized. I visited her the next day. I wanted Ann to consider how she could incorporate worship and service into her life. How would she live out a response to the greatness of God and His forgiveness? What mission was God giving to her?
“Ann, do you have a family?” I asked.
“I have a huge family.”
“God has a mandate for you. He wants you to win your family to Him.”
“How am I going to do that?”
“Pray and make yourself available to be used by God.”
About three and a half years later the union communication director came to shoot a video of Ann on Sabbath morning. Picture the scene: Ann stood in the middle of the platform surrounded by 57 people that she had led to the Lord, including Jena, the woman who had refused to study the Bible with me.
The communication director went around asking the 57 people, “Why are you an Adventist today?”
He always got the same answer: “We saw the change in Ann’s life, and we wanted it.”
Then he turned to Ann. “What did you do to win your family and friends to the Lord?”
“I prayed for them day and night. Then the Lord showed me many ways to strengthen my relationship with them and meet their needs. When the time was right, I invited them to church, a Bible study in my home, or an evangelistic meeting. Every time one of them became a Christian, that person joined me in praying for the rest. God has been so good to us.”
This is the power of prayer, relationship, and ministry, the power of an ongoing process. It is the power of personal spirituality and seeing God. When we have an experience with God, we are overcome with a desire to share Him with others.
Isaiah and Ann met with God and had a revelation of His greatness, and it changed their lives. The same living Lord is anxious to meet with us. In true worship we experience the presence of God, and it changes us and leads us to service.
Have you had a “throne room” experience? Have you heard God’s voice? accepted His call to service? Open your heart to Him today. Worship Him through praise and service. Meet God face to face and allow yourself to be available to Him.
*Ellen G. White, in Review and Herald, Aug. 16, 1881.