As Told to Jessica Hanewinckel
My life is going to be all rainbows and unicorns. At least that is what I thought after having a dramatic salvation moment when I became a Christian at age 16. Of course, that wasn’t reality. It took a week for my life to go up in flames.
I came to realize I wasn’t living a presence-centered life. I was experiencing presence-centered Sunday services, but living a me-centered life. Just because we leave a Sunday service or observe our daily devotions doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit is guiding us. I needed to make sure I asked God for his opinions and his thoughts more often. What helped me go from having Holy Spirit moments to living a Holy Spirit life was adding rhythms of the Holy Spirit in my life and trying to build a presence-centered lifestyle.
I’m a huge believer in the power of acknowledgement. I’m reminded of Proverbs 3:5–6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” I acknowledge him while I’m washing dishes, while I’m commuting to work, while I’m changing my child’s diaper, while I’m walking into a meeting, while I’m paying my bills.
Busyness doesn’t have to compete with my intimacy with the Lord. I do everything for him and with him. I dedicate everything I do to the glory of God, acknowledge him as I do it, and thank him when it’s done. Acknowledging that he’s with me has so much power to fortify that relationship.
From 2020 on, I was deeply challenged in my church-planting journey. When you have no money, when you are not able to gather, when you really don’t have any of the right pieces to build a church, it really comes down to this: Is the presence of God enough? There was even a point when we were near homelessness, when we had lost everything overnight because of the pandemic. This was my question before the Lord as I was wrestling in prayer: Does God really build his church?
Now I can, with much faith, declare that the presence of God is enough. When it comes down to it, if we discount his presence in building our church, that is when we just have a busy church with not much spiritual vitality.
I think sometimes we equate spiritual vitality with bustling programs and a lot of members. But when the presence of God is replaced with big lights and hype, that’s when we find ourselves in positions where Christians start to burn out and go through wilderness journeys away from God. And so making sure that we are building presence-centered churches is imperative. My hope is for church leaders to be filled with faith to be able to build communities that are centered around the presence of God.
Faith Eury Cho is the co-founder, with her husband David, of Mosaic Covenant Church of New Jersey. She is also the CEO and founder of The Honor Summit. Her latest book is Experiencing Friendship With God: How the Wilderness Draws Us to His Presence (WaterBrook).