Pastor Steve spoke in our Every Nation Philippines Staff Meeting today about keeping the pattern of Sound Words, Sound Doctrine, and Sound Teaching. (2 Timothy 1:13-14)

He gave the illustration of how a lion tamer can calm a lion by using a chair. The lion is distracted by the legs of the chair because it cannot focus. In the same way, we might become passive or ineffective if we are confused by trying to accomplish too many things at the same time.

He mentioned two possible distractions that we might be tempted to pursue.

Sometimes we’re tempted to pursue Experience.

Experience isn’t bad. I love my experiences with God. Until today I can still remember experiences as a child, a teenager, an adult, and on and on of times with God. Some experiences were in groups or events, many were alone. In short, experiences are good!

But they become a problem when we chase experiences. Here are some instances of this:

  • When we define our relationship with God by our experience. (I didn’t cry during our quiet time so maybe God’s not with me.)
  • When we evaluate a person’s walk with God only from their mystical experiences.
  • When we judge a worship moment because it didn’t measure up to our standard of what the experience should be.
  • When we try to conjure and manipulate the experience because the meeting feels incomplete without it.
  • When we look for the feeling of the presence of God, more than God Himself.
  • When we think that lives are only changed in hair-raising, mystical experiences.
  • When we emphasize the experience in the meeting more than going out and making disciples.

People who focus on the experience – whether it’s a concert-feel at the worship service, an undefinable pseudo-spiritual sensation, or are obsessed with having only one kind of preaching style – have tell-tale indicators.

  • They’re critical of anything outside of their preferred experience.
  • They really want to talk about their experiences and nothing else.
  • They aren’t as focused on the mission.
  • They tend to look down on people who don’t have the same experiences as them.
  • They attend meetings and services like judges at a talent show, you can expect them to give you their evaluation of your “performance” afterwards.

If you encounter this in anyone, explain to them that our Mission and our Relationships are the priority here. If these experiences and encounters help us with the Mission great. But if we can accomplish the Mission and keep the Relationships without the experience sometimes, we’re good with that.

That’s what this movement is about.