Woman Worshiping with a Group

Be honest. When you find some time to read the Bible, you generally don’t dive right into the temple vision that God gives Ezekiel. It’s one of those passages with lots of numbers and measurements and regulations. And it’s just a bit weird.

But buried within those homers and ephahs and cubits, God says something quite interesting about the worshipers at the temple. Listen in:

“When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate” (Ezekiel 46:9)

God may simply be worried about crowd control here. Or He could be suggesting that anyone who comes into His presence—and experiences a true move of God—won’t be the same when they leave. After all, God knows how to get to the heart.

That’s the sort of thing that Pastor Artie Davis wants Christians to remember. You can’t fake it when God shows up at a church:

“There’s no way to manufacture a move of God. Yes, we follow God’s heart and the Spirit’s leading to plan, pray and prepare in faith that God will move though all we do, but only He can make the move.

“At times, we may be tempted to ‘hype’ things up to give the appearance that God is moving, (nothing wrong with passion and excitement) but how do we know it’s God?”

To tell if something is genuine, Davis suggests that we look for three important signs:

1. Tears: There should be outward proof of an inward work of God. Real tears show real change.

2. Talent: Just as God provided David with an army in the wilderness and Moses with leaders among the Israelites, He provides the talent needed to make something happen.

3. Time: Being passionate about a vision means giving time. When people in a congregation get motivated, they’re more worried about life change than who’s getting paid for what.

In a recent article on ChurchPastor.com, Trevin Wax hits on a similar topic. For him, all this hype and buzz for every service has unnecessarily burned out churches. After all, God can move in what we might think of as an “ordinary” service:

“…let’s not overemphasize the dramatic results of one incredible worship service and underemphasize the long-term results of faithful, ordinary church-going. The week in, week out routine of gathering with God’s people and listening to God’s Word is not a waste, even if your people walk out the door on a given Sunday and can’t recall the second point in your sermon. It’s the cumulative effect of our practices that matters, not the spectacular experience of the moment. Sometimes, it’s not one sermon that changes a life, but 1000 sermons.”

What about you? Have you seen churches that try to “manufacture” a move of God? How do we know when God shows up?

John UpChurch is the senior editor of BibleStudyTools.com and Jesus.org. You’ll usually find him downing coffee at his standing desk (like a boss).