What if God Showed Up at Our Small Group Meeting?

“Wouldn’t it be great if God would just show up physically in our meeting? It would be awesome if he would show himself or if we could literally hear his spoken voice!”

“But be careful! You did not see the Lord’s form on the day he spoke to you from the fire at Mount Sinai. So do not corrupt yourselves by making a physical image in any form” (Deuteronomy 4:15-16).

I was struck by a couple verses this morning as I read Exodus 20 during my quiet time. When God appeared to the Israelites, he did not show himself in any physical form. If he had, the people would have idolized the form itself. In verse 23, God reminded them (again) to not make or worship any kind of idol.

God reveals himself today in many ways: through nature, the Bible, miracles, gifted spokespeople for him, etc., and people have idolized all of these. That’s why Jesus said we are to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23). “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).


“False gods are always gods one can see (and touch).”
– Christian philosopher Jacques Ellul


In Exodus 20:24-25, God commanded that the altars made for sacrifices be made simply and naturally, out of the raw materials God had provided for them. Otherwise, the altars themselves would become idols, and man’s work would be more important than giving worship to God.

When Jesus built his church, it was a simple, organic movement that needed no buildings. It was built upon the Rock (himself) and lots of uncut stones (that’s us!). During those days, the church grew like never again. The Temple was destroyed in those days when God’s church was growing.

The people of Jesus’ day still confusedly confined worship to a certain special location (John 4:20). But the Father seeks those who worship him in spirit and truth, and that happens anywhere even two or three come together in Jesus’ name (Matt. 18:20).

Leading from the heart means leading people to the presence, power, and purposes of Christ in your midst … wherever you happen to gather.

Father, today help me to be careful not to idolize the buildings we meet in or the work that goes into them. Help me to worship you in spirit and in truth. To recognize your presence, power, and plans for me wherever I am.  You want my heart … in complete surrender and worship to you.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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