Face to Face – Deuteronomy 34:10-12

Welcome here!  This posting is the start of a new online experiment at Westwood Church.  Coming out of today’s teaching time (and after playing “I’ve Never” with way too many people at one time!), we were all challenged to consider, connect and commit, as we each pursue a more intimate “face to face” relationship with God.

The three “I’ve never …” self-assessment statements that we explored were:

  1. I’ve never … experienced a “face to face” relationship with God.
  2. I’ve never … had a clear sense of mission or purpose that God has given me.
  3. I’ve never … replaced my Christian “consuming” with Christian “serving”.

Which statement resonates with you the most?  Do you see how all three are inter-connected?  Whether your past experiences have been positive or negative, which one of those three realities do you want the most in your life right now?

In my own experience, my deepest sense of purpose and growth has most often come from times of serving God in roles that freak me out because they are way too intimidating for me.  Kind of a “”what am I doing here?!?” moment.1

Anyway, that is enough of me talking (typing?).  Why don’t you post some comments below, and let’s get a great discussion going on some practical ideas for connecting with God, finding a purpose in life, figuring out how the church can help, etc.


  1. One of my most life-changing experiences happened years ago in a hospital in Saskatchewan.  I was part of a chaplaincy team and we came across a guy who had just been in a bus accident and was expected not to live (massive trauma, brain damage, in a coma, etc).  My friend and I, since we were the “chaplains”, had to pray for this cold, clammy, lifeless looking person with a steel valve inserted in his head.  What a completely humbling and terrifying experience.  You have no idea how inadequate we both felt.  We had the correct theology (were were both in Bible college at the time), but we weren’t in a place of complete dependence on God.  Until that moment.  So, we prayed two short, weak, brief prayers in ICU, and then we left (in retrospect, I realized that short, weak, brief prayers are often the “best” prayers, aren’t they?).  Anyway, in the end the guy recovered and was sent home.  But what has stuck with me to this day is not his recovery, but how God took a situation with three people who were desperate (one physically, the other two spiritually) and brought healing and growth to all three of us (especially to the two of us who weren’t expecting it!).  God is good!

Leave a Reply

5 Replies to “Face to Face – Deuteronomy 34:10-12”

  1. Hello?? Where is everybody? 🙂

    Here are some simple and practical ideas for getting involved, serving God, getting off the couch, etc:

    – Help in the kitchen with Alpha this fall, or be a table leader! (talk to Mel)
    – Talk to Holly or Garth about volunteering with the children or youth
    – Be an usher or a greeter on a Sunday morning (talk to Kerry)
    – Host a Life Group in your home this year, or maybe even help lead a group (talk to me)
    – There are more opportunities …

    How have you served God in the past? What was hard? What went well? Did you grow closer to God in the process?

  2. Thanks for the posting, TJ, and I tend to be on the same page as you. It is a struggle that I sometimes have as well.

    A number of years ago at another church, we did some teaching on spiritual gifts and then had a personal follow-up session with anyone who was interested (to help them get connected into serving). In general, it went quite well. What I noticed, however, was this. Those who were new to the Christian faith often had lots of enthusiasm but not a lot of clarity as to “what” to do in ministry. “Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it!” was a common sentiment. After all, they had never served God before, so they didn’t know what their options were. Long-time Christians, on the other hand, often faced the challenge of knowing who they were (or what they thought their calling was), but they had a declining interest in doing it. Sometimes, it seems that older Christians can put themselves in a box. What they need is fresh air.

    There is an old saying that goes like this: “You can’t steer a parked car”. And in the life of a Christian, that is often quite true. One of the best ways to figure out what God might be “calling” you to do is is to simply start serving in a church. Get involved in different areas, listen to the observations of those who are in ministry with you. Start serving God now, and fine-tune your activities as you go along. When you or I wait around for the perfect opportunity to serve and we do nothing in the meantime, the perfect opportunity seldom (never?) comes along.

    For those of us who like to read, here are three good books, and I recommend reading them in this order. The Bible (seriously). Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby. God Talk, by Ruth Tucker. And while you are waiting for the books to arrive in the mail, start serving at church. I’m sure I can get you plugged in somewhere … 🙂


  3. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for a thought provoking sermon today. Thank you also for this website. And thank you, Shawn, for mustering the courage to be the first participant!

    I am interested in exploring the second statement, although they certainly are all related.

    It seems a good place to seek one’s mission is through prayer and through Bible readings. But it still seems elusive. I hear many people in the church state that God was “calling them” to one thing or another. I am not sure what they mean… Perhaps they feel a certain passion to serve in a certain area. Throughout the Bible, many prophets knew their missions through literal “callings” – God spoke to them in dreams or even while awake. But this doesn’t help me (er, is that a consuming statement??). I want very much to be God’s instrument. So far, we’ve established that He is not calling me to the couch; but how do I know where God wants me to serve? Trial & error? Or maybe it doesn’t matter – so long as I serve…

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, Shawn. I think you are making a couple of great choices, in getting connected with both Alpha and our Life Groups! Also, in terms of getting a good idea of what the path of Christian growth can look like, check out this posting (it has a couple of links to some good Westwood info, and a short description of “what to do next”).


  5. Mark,

    I was very moved by your sermon today and it really made me now realize that there is real spirituality out there and i am now set on a path to discover it. I know it is there i just desperately need to find it. I believe that you and the people at your church are the ultimate key to me finally making the connection with god that is so desire. I believe that thru alpha and life groups what i long for will come. I just wanted to say thanks and i look forward to many great and exciting times at westwood as i realize my search and where it will take me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.